Forager Flatbread

This many-cheese flatbread is quick to put together with lots of customization options. It is kind of a brown meal, but, it is so so good. There’s a butter + parmesan + garlic spread, mozzarella, ricotta, mushrooms and honey drizzle. The earthy mushrooms and honey are such a great combo. Mushrooms not your jam? Italian sausage and honey would be a great combo too for a sweet and savory mix!

The Three Bite Rule - Forager Flatbread

Forager Flatbread
Ingredients:
(for 2)
1 pint mushrooms
2 flatbreads (I used naan)
2 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon parmesan
1 teaspoon cream or half & half
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons ricotta
1/4 cup fresh mozzarella balls
1-2 teaspoons honey
pinch of oregano

The Three Bite Rule - Forager Flatbread

Directions:
Pan fry the mushrooms in some butter and olive oil to get them a bit caramelized around the edges.
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Mix together the butter, parmesan and minced garlic then stir in just a drizzle of cream, adding more if needed.
Assemble the flatbreads by spreading the butter/garlic sauce onto the naan and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Top with shredded mozzarella, dots of ricotta, some mozzarella balls, and mushrooms.

The Three Bite Rule - Forager Flatbread

Cook for 5-10 minutes (10 will be crispy edges, 5 will be warm and soft).

The Three Bite Rule - Forager Flatbread

Drizzle with honey and sprinkle on some oregano.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Forager Flatbread

I looooved this. It is quite a brown meal and I almost added arugula. The mix of cheeses and the mushrooms with sweet honey is delightful. I’m the only mushroom eater at home so these were lunch and I was very happy. It reheats fine (top with honey just before serving), but is definitely best fresh.

Spinach Strata

This spinach strata has a shortcut to pack a flavor punch – creamed spinach gives this so much a salty creaminess and keeps the ingredient list quite short. I made it as I would a bread pudding so while strata means layers, mine didn’t have to soak as long and came together so quickly. 

The Three Bite Rule - Spinach Strata

It poofs up like a souffle and then settles a bit. It is less eggy than a lot of breakfasts which was nice for variety. I loved it reheated too. I intended it to be a ready-made, savory breakfast but I needed a handheld one for en route to the bus stop. This became lunch and I was not mad about it. I microwaved on low (try a defrost or reheat setting) and thank me later. 

Spinach Strata
Ingredients: (for ~6 servings)

1 loaf bread (Italian or focaccia or sourdough)
1 package creamed spinach
3-4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
salt & pepper
1-2 cups fresh greens (I used baby arugula)
1/2-3/4 cup shredded cheese
3 tablespoons parmesan 

Directions: 
Slice and cube the bread – let it sit out for a few hours to get stale. 
Warm the creamed spinach according to the package. Then stir and cool. 

The Three Bite Rule - Spinach Strata

Mix up the eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper – go gentle on the salt since the creamed spinach will likely provide enough salt. 
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and spray a 9×9 baking dish. 
Gently mix together the bread cubes, creamed spinach, egg mixture, and fresh greens. Ensure it is all evenly coated. 

The Three Bite Rule - Spinach Strata

Spoon half into the baking dish, add a sprinkle of each cheese, top with remaining bread mix and finish with the remaining cheeses. 

The Three Bite Rule - Spinach Strata

Bake ~40 minutes. 
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Spinach Strata

Let me declare my love for creamed spinach as an ingredient as we never eat it as a side- I love it mixed into pasta to be a sauce, or in a calzone for some cheesiness, or into the ricotta mixture for stuffed shells or lasagna. Also, since it lives in the freezer, that makes it very handy. The salt content is up there, but that is usually based on 2-3 servings and I often use it as ~6 servings. 

Peanut Sesame Noodles

{originally published in 2016 and updated in 2022}

Our fam will always eat pasta and this one is a crowd pleaser – and I love it for variety so pasta doesn’t always look one way. There are lots of recipes out there and I’m happy with the ratios now that I’ve made it 1,000 times. This is great warm or cold and for a very “pantry” dinner it is per-fect for those too-hot-to-be-creative or meals on a budget or what-the-heck-is-for-dinner meals. 

The Three Bite Rule - Peanut Sesame Noodles

Peanut Sesame Noodles:
Ingredients: (for 4)

1 pound spaghetti/fettuccine
3 tablespoons peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon sriracha
sesame seeds & green onion to garnish

Directions:
Boil salted water for the pasta.
Whisk together (or shake in a jar) peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and sriracha.

The Three Bite Rule - Peanut Sesame Noodles

Cook the pasta to al dente.
Mix most of the sauce into the pasta. Toss and add remaining sauce.
Top with green onions, sesame seeds and enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Peanut Sesame Noodles

It was mild but additive. Interesting but comforting. Silky but with a small crunch. Sometimes we have it with Trader Joe’s Potstickers or with edamame. I remember loving to see our little guy as a toddler slurping these and beaming with pride when the whole thing makes it into his mouth.

Better Eggplant Parm Subs

These eggplant parm subs are show-stoppers. They’re better than average – not because I made my own breaded eggplant, ohh no, but because there’s so much flavor and texture here. Arugula adds the freshness and crunch this needs and fresh mozzarella gives some bite and some melty pull you will just love.

The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Subs

Breading eggplant is tough to get right – I find it frozen at Trader Joe’s and Aldi, sometimes it is prepped in refrigerated areas at Wegman’s, and Costco has had it, but not regularly.

Eggplant Parm Subs
Ingredients:
(for 2 subs)
~4-6 small slices per sub breaded eggplant
2 small sub rolls
~1/2 cup tomato sauce
~4 oz fresh mozzarella
2 cups baby arugula
2 tablespoons Italian dressing

The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Subs

Directions:
Preheat the oven, toaster oven, or air fryer to 400-degrees. Bake/air fry the eggplant until golden brown and well crisped – about 10 minutes.
Warm the sauce, slice the cheese, and toss the arugula in dressing.
Slice the roll and spread some tomato sauce onto it then layer on the eggplant and fresh mozzarella.
Return to the oven/toaster/air fryer to melt the cheese.

The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Subs

Then top with greens and enjoy!

I loved this. As takeout, it is always so soggy. The sauce, crispy eggplant and the cheese make it comforting but the fresh crunchy greens with bright dressing bring life to it! Don’t skip the fresh mozzarella – it elevates this really nicely.

The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Subs

Subs are great to make one or two – all in the toaster oven or air fryer! I wouldn’t make them in advance, but everything but the greens could be frozen.

French Onion Manicotti

French onion soup meets stuffed manicotti! It would have been stuffed shells but they were MIA at the grocery store. These were fun! I caramelized onions, added french onion soup mix to the ricotta filling, and topped it with an onion sauce with optional mushrooms. I’m the mushroom fan, and the rest of the family had without.

The Three Bite Rule - French Onion Manicotti

French Onion Manicotti (or stuffed shells)
Ingredients (for ~5 servings)

1 onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 package manicotti (or jumbo shells)
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 packet of french onion soup mix
1 pint of mushrooms
1 cup veggie broth or golden mushroom soup
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup milk or half and half
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions:
Slice the onion and cook in a large skillet over medium-low heat with olive oil and butter, stir often and reduce heat once the onions are translucent. Cook for ~30 minutes until caramelized, soft, and brown.
Boil a large pot of salted water for the pasta. Cook until al dente and drain.
Mix half the onion soup mix into the ricotta.

The Three Bite Rule - French Onion Manicotti

Slice the mushrooms. Cook in a hot pan with olive oil and butter – not stirring, let them brown on one side and flip once.
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees and spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.
Warm veggie broth, worcestershire sauce, and remaining onion soup mix over low heat. Cook for ~10 minutes to cook the soup mix. Then and add in the milk/cream and cook for another 5 minutes.
Spoon the ricotta into a zip-top bag (tip: put around a tall drinking glass with one bottom corner pointed down). Then snip the bottom corner and pipe into each end of the manicotti to fill. Place into the baking dish.
Top with caramelized onions and mushrooms.

The Three Bite Rule - French Onion Manicotti

Spoon 1/2 to 1 cup of sauce over the top. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Bake for 40 minutes until warmed through and the cheese melts.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - French Onion Manicotti

I liked this one! I wouldn’t make it alllll the time, but it had good flavor and was fun for variety. I rarely make manicotti but they’re so good and piping in from a bag was great – I’d be pulling my hair out if spooning it in!

If mushrooms/onions aren’t your thing:
Make with pesto & sausage (here)!
Make like chicken parm (here)!
Make with butternut squash & alfredo (here)!
Make with spinach & cheese (here)!

The Three Bite Rule - French Onion Manicotti

Pizza Beans

December neeeeds easy dinner ideas, right? Pizza beans are such a hit here – we get the flavors of pizza in a warm and comforting dish. This busy time of year seems ideal for dinners that are easy and minimal cooking required. There are lots of ways to customize these which helps be a crowd pleaser – or to use random leftovers with some pantry basics!

The Three Bite Rule - Pizza Beans

White beans and tomato sauce are the base with all the toppings you love! They’d also be a great option for a pizza spread for a gluten-free or custom dietary options.

Pizza Beans
Ingredients: (for 3-4)

2 cans white beans
1-2 cups tomato sauce
1 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon parmesan
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
pepperoni

Directions:
Cook the beans, tomato sauce, garlic, and oregano over low heat for ~10 minutes until fully warmed through.

The Three Bite Rule - Pizza Beans

Serve and top while hot.

The Three Bite Rule - Pizza Beans

Top with shredded cheese, pepperoni, and any other toppings.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Pizza Beans


Toppings we love: crumbled sausage, chicken, roasted peppers, sauteed onions, chopped arugula, fresh mozzarella, dollop of pesto or alfredo, or whatever you like!

I love this. It is a great use for small amounts of cheese and tiny bits of any topping. It reheats well if packing for lunch or eating separately though beans aren’t always the best when frozen. The beans are filling and provide lots of fiber and iron. The kids love it – probably because it has familiar flavors and easy to chew.

This was a side-step from these Tomato Basil Polenta Bowls

The Three Bite Rule - Tomato Basil Polenta Bowls

Grab your beans and give it a Mexican twist with some roasted tomatoes, salsa, queso, roasted corn, etc – give it a Mediterranean twist with warmed beans mixed with caesar dressing, chicken, spinach, feta, etc. Add to your beans with ricotta and mini meatballs and call it a lasagna bowl! Bean bowls are fun – they just don’t have the same ring as some other names.