Cheese Fondue Party

Cheese fondue is just as delicious as it sounds. I hosted a winter sunday girls gathering featuring an afternoon of chit-chat, fondue, and crafts. Not many were interested in the crafts so maybe cookie decorating would be more popular 🙂 It was nice to get a few ladies together especially during a busy time of year. I figured late afternoon snacks on a Sunday would fit into busy schedules. Some shared fondue ended up being so addictive that we ate more than I thought our smaller group would!
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue

Mr. J and I got a fondue set last year and actually hadn’t tested it out until now. It was awesome for the “party” and I repeated it again for New Year’s Eve. It is an electric induction cooktop. We used another one that was gas lit and was wayyy more dangerous. I’d suggest either a baby candle lit one for chocolate fondue or some sort of electric one. A crockpot would work well too.

The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue
I googled some cheese fondue tips. Turns out cheese fondue really is a mix of multiple cheeses and thinned out with another liquid.

Ingredients:

~3/4 pound jarlesburg cheese
~3/4 pound gruyere cheese
1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup white wine
2 tbs garlic, minced
2 tbs dijon mustard
salt & pepper

Directions:

In a large pot heat broth, wine, garlic, and mustard over medium-low heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue
Shred cheeses and toss with cornstarch.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue
Slowly add cheese into the hot liquid in small batches, stirring continuously.
Keep adding until totally incorporated and melted.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Transfer into fondue pot or crockpot over low heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue
Dip, dip, and dip!
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue
This was so addicting and we loved it. It started out seeming kind of runny but was thicker as it cooled. It still remained totally dip-able. I feared it might be one big hunk of cheese.

Dippers:
crusty bread, cut into cubes (I used ciabatta)
broccoli, lightly steamed
mushrooms
salami slices or grilled chicken sausage
green apples

The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue
Like most parties, I got swept up and forgot to grab any photos until lots was already gone (minus restocking the broccoli). The broccoli and apples were perfect dippers in my mind being a bit lighter, but the bread was ohh so delicious.

The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Fondue
We also did a chocolate fondue (melted semi-sweet and whipping cream) with pretzels, sea salt blondies, and crispy vanilla cookies. I couldn’t find strawberries even close to being fresh but that would be in my dreams.

I’m not sure if I’d make a hot-pot broth to cook meat in, but I’ll definitely do cheese fondue again. It was the EASIEST party food I’ve ever done. I mean, honestly, it was largely uncooked foods. I am sure I wouldn’t mess with one lit with gas again. Let’s all just be thankful that I didn’t burn the house down.

Just you WAIT to see what I did with some leftovers!

Roasted Onion Jam

I gave fewer food gifts this year. I’m not always sure how well they go over. Everyone used to get one but it meant a few things to make in the final few days of holiday prep and food might not really be a gift to everyone. I know Momma R likes them, so she got onion jam this year. It was really simple and packed with flavor. I thought this could have a million uses and figured it would be something new since I’ve made Bacon Jam before. Don’t worry. Go ahead and pin the bacon jam recipe or bookmark it. I’ll wait.

Ok, welcome back. How amazing is bacon jam? Well, I have no words. One of my favorite things to eat, ever. The bacon jam requires a few more steps and I figured onion jam would be super versatile and would be easy enough to do while I had other things cooking. I gave it as a gift with a spreader and now I’m thinking it would make a nice hostess gift in a basket with some appetizer plates or with a baguette or something. How fun, right? I’ll have to remember that 😉

This is also super easy to make and let it do it’s own thing. I roasted the onions while I had other stuff in the oven, but this could easily be prepped in stages popping it into the fridge until the next time you had a few minutes. It would be pretty easy to do on the stovetop too. The hardest part is not crying while slicing up the onions.

Ingredients:

3 white or yellow onions
1 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbs garlic, chopped
1 tbs fresh thyme
2 medium roma tomatoes (remove the seeds if you’re into the esthetics)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400-degrees.
Chop onions into slivers (or chunks).
Roast the onions, butter, and olive oil in a baking dish, or a sheet pan that has sides.
Onions will roast for 30-45 minutes or they can cook in a dutch oven to speed the process up.
Once the onions are golden brown and caramelized, add them to a large pot over medium heat with the vinegar and brown sugar.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Onion JamCover and cook, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
By now a lot of the liquid will have reduced. Taste it. If you think it is too strong add some water (about a quarter or half cup).
Now add the tomatoes (optional) and thyme.
Cover and cook for another 20 minutes over medium heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Onion Jam

Turn off heat and allow to cool at room temperature.
I liked how chunky and “rustic” it was but you could give it a pulse or two in a food processor if you wanted it smoother.
Store in a glass jar. Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Onion Jam
The flavors in this onion jam are unbelievable. It’s quite sweet from the brown sugar (and caramelized onions) but tart from the vinegar. A little goes a long way. I think it would be fantastic on a burger or in grilled cheese. It could go on a flatbread or just as a dip…I picture it warm or room temperature, spooned on top of some warmed cream cheese. I would love it as a spread on a sandwich or panini. Onion jam could even get stuffed into chicken breasts before baking them. Don’t even think for a second I wouldn’t put a few dollops onto pizza or pasta. The possibilities are endless.

Whip this up for company. You can do all the work (and clean-up) days in advance and then it will make hosting your meal super easy. It would freeze well too so make a double batch and you’ll thank yourself later.

some suggested adaptations:
this onion jam recipe – thyme + rosemary/chives/fennel/oregano/whatever herbs you like = you own fav flavors
this onion jam recipe – tomatoes + roasted garlic cloves = different flavor
this onion jam recipe – apple cider vinegar + balsamic vinegar = less acidic taste
this onion jam recipe – tomatoes + sun dried tomatoes/roasted red peppers/tomato sauce = a more pantry-ready option

 

Eggnog French Toast

Today I’m lucky enough to have a snow day! Woohoo! I love snow days now that I don’t have to make them up. We got out early yesterday and are home today. Snow days are so fun to be unproductive and drink hot chocolate all day. Since today feels like a weekend day, I wanted to share with you a brunchy food I made for Christmas Eve breakfast.

To me, eggnog is like spiced up melted vanilla ice cream. I don’t believe people who say they don’t like it. I believe they would like it if they just tried it (I seriously assume they haven’t tried it or maybe not tried it in their adult years). It isn’t something I go around drinking non-stop during the holidays but a sip or two is de-light-ful…just about a 1/4 cup is plenty now and then. I drizzled just a touch into my coffee one morning and was swooning. #genius

The Three Bite Rule - Eggnog French Toast

Those 2-3 sip glasses of eggnog means there’s probably a lot left. Here’s what to do with it: Eggnog Baked French Toast. Ooooo so good! I’d also make eggnog pancakes or eggnog oatmeal. Maybe an eggnog glaze for cinnamon rolls? Love these thoughts! I whipped up this eggnog baked french toast for Christmas Eve breakfast. Mr. J and I hosted Christmas Eve dinner so this such a fun breakfast to make the day feel like a holiday before anyone even arrived to celebrate.

I learned at a young age that this is the good stuff and it only happens once a year so get the real deal. Go get some and make this so you aren’t singing the winter-time blues.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggnog French Toast

Ingredients:

1/2 loaf of crusty bread (like ciabatta or stale french bread), cut into cubes
1 cup eggnog
1 egg
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or a dash each nutmeg, cinnamon, all-spice)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Whip up eggnog, egg, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla in a large bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggnog French Toast
Add in the cubed bread and stir well.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggnog French Toast
Spray ramekins or a baking dish with non-stick spray before spooning the bread into the baking dish(s).
Pour any remaining liquid from the bottom of the bowl over the top of the filled baking dish(s).
The Three Bite Rule - Eggnog French Toast
Bake covered for 30 minutes.
Uncover, and bake for another 10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggnog French Toast

Voila! It was so good. There was that slight hint of wintryness to it but it very mild flavored. I loved it and would have loved an eggnog glaze over the top too. Maybe less eggnog-crazed people would think this was enough flavor.

Baked French Toast is the way to go. It is sooo much easier. A big one people could slice into would be good but individual ones are just so fun.  It saved me from having too much with leftovers. There are enough leftovers during the holidays. This one was just enough. I love the crunchy pieces from the top so I made sure they toasted up.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggnog French Toast
More eggnog leftover? Try eggnog cocoa! Or it would be prettttty amazing in a milkshake or smoothie! Now I wish I had some left! I can’t imagine buying more. I’d have to have a lot of plans for it. Plus I think the nutritionists at work would be horrified and pop out from the grocery dairy cooler. I’m pretty sure it’s a rule you can only buy one per year.

Cooking Forward to 2014

New Year’s resolutions leave me kind of undecided. Part of me thinks why not use the change in the calendar to be a better self. No time like the present to do or start something. The other part of me feels like there’s pressure to claim something big, or change drastically while sometimes New Year’s day feels a heck of a lot like the day before.

A friend told me once about doing a year-of-the-_____. I’ve enjoyed it some years while other years it gets kind of dropped. I think I want to do a food related one this go-around.

The 1st year I did year-of-the-earring. It was perfect since I’m picky about earrings.
The 2nd year I did the year-of-the-footwear. This worked well as I didn’t want to limit myself to just shoes.
The 3rd year I did year-of-the-home decor since it was the year we bought a house. It was kind of a bust.
Last year I thought I’d like to be more crafty, thank you Pinterest. I decided on a year-of-the-DIY craft. I probably did about half the year…if that.

I have a few thoughts for 2014 that might be fun blog posts themes, and we’ll see which actually happen. Maybe a monthly reminder is all I need, or maybe whatever sticks is just meant to be.
a) year-of-the-grocery store impulse buy
b) year-of-the-food re-do/restaurant recreation
c) year-of-the-monthly self-imposed cooking challenge
d) year-of-the-foodie excursion

Cooking Light has an actually do-able 12 Healthy Habits monthly challenge that is actually do-able.

Maybe I also will set some attainable goals for the year:
send more mail
make some Pinterest pins a reality
cook with yeast (yikes!)
try a spin class
make more cocktails
Buy myself flowers more often

What do you think? Do you make resolutions? Do you like hearing what others are doing for a resolution?

December In Review

December is over and 2014 approaches. In case you’ve been too busy for The Three Bite Rule, here’s some highlights of what’s been happening lately.

I was thrilled to see snow, but didn’t love my commute home. It seemed appropriate for December and a weeknight snowfall didn’t affect any holiday gatherings for me. Mr. J was psyched to use his snow blower. In December we cut down our Christmas tree, celebrated with each family, and I hosted a little holiday girls gathering one afternoon.

The puppies were just so happy to pose for a holiday card. Seriously. They love it. Windsor & Bailee are happy to have attention of any kind, also when earning a biscuit afterwards. Poor Windsor had a rough few weeks of seizures around Thanksgiving and then again on Christmas Eve. I told him people were going to think he didn’t like holidays.
The Three Bite Rule - Happy Holidays
For most of December I was obsessed with quick & easy meals. One of my favorites was Cheeseburger Soup that is easy on a weeknight or well suited to be kept warm in a crockpot.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Soup
I tweaked how I suggest adaptations, which has been well received: As seen at the end here for Sausage Stuffing
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
I figured everyone could use some tips to make better pizza
The Three Bite Rule - Margherita Pizza
And after all of that, who doesn’t need a lighter salad inspired by winter
The Three Bite Rule - Wintry Salad

It’s a light few days here on 3 Bite Rule and in the blogosphere. I have a fancy new laptop (eeeeek!!!) for January posts and some ideas for blog-related New Year’s Resolutions. Stay tuned!

Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta

The in-between of Christmas and New Years is kind of a weird time. Kiddos are off from school, travel wraps up, house guests leave, there’s still a holiday coming up, and there’s some more work in between. I also think there’s so much pressure for New Year’s Eve and resolutions. It is just a weird time.

I was on a quick-dinner-kick before the holidays and have just one more that I wanted to share for a keep-in-your-back pocket pantry. It also works for a great #meatlessmonday and a break from extravagant or elaborate holiday dinners.
The Three Bite Rule - Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta

Ingredients:

2 cups Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes
2 tbs cream cheese
2 tbs fresh basil
8 oz (1/2 box) bow tie pasta

Directions:

Boil salted water for pasta.
Heat a flat pan to medium-low heat, adding tomatoes to the pan.
Boil pasta until undercooked and almost al dente.
Reduce the temperature to low and add the cream cheese
The Three Bite Rule - Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta
Add in the partially cooked pasta, letting it cook for a few more minutes in the sauce, adding the basil.
The Three Bite Rule - Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta
Sprinkle with Parmesan and more basil to serve!
The Three Bite Rule - Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta
It is super easy and delightfully comforting. This pasta is just so fast yet it still seems like not the same-old same-old.

Any resolutions coming up? I tend to make them on my blogaversary but I’m thinking I might set a year-of challenge for myself. I have a few ideas brewing so stay tuned!

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays from The Three Bite Rule!

Mr. J did such a fantastic job with our holiday card featuring our furry cuties so I just had to share. I’ll be back after Christmas! Eat well!

The Three Bite Rule - Happy Holidays

What I Ate: Wintry Salad

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

This is the season of intense foods, holiday parties, hot chocolate based cocktails, and seasonal candy. I figured a few meals should off-set those delicious things. I threw this salad together calling it a Wintry Salad on our meal planning calendar and Mr. J found it comical. What’s winter about salad he asks? I say white beans, pears, and blue cheese dressing make a subtle nod to winter. Either way, we should eat more salads for dinner. This one is hearty and filling while still getting lots of veggies to you.
The Three Bite Rule - Wintry Salad
I had 3 chicken tenders I lightly breaded and cooked, but didn’t use and then froze them. I forget what they had been for, but that was the perfect amount of chicken for some protein without being a ton. I made enough salad for 2 of us for dinner and one for Mr. J to take for lunch. That equates to 1 chicken tender per serving. Plus 2 strips of bacon crumbled, into 3 servings. Basically, I just want to remind you that the amount of protein on salad can be wayyy less than you’d serve otherwise.

The Three Bite Rule - Wintry Salad

Wintry Salad Ingredients (add or swap as you desire!)
mixed greens
tomatoes
cucumbers
1 pear
3 chicken tenders
2 strips of bacon
1 cup white beans
blue cheese dressing

I tossed it with a tiny bit of Italian dressing. That helps reduce how much creamy dressing anyone will “need”.

suggested adaptations:
wintry salad + feta – blue cheese dressing = Greek-ish salad
wintry salad – chicken – bacon + artichokes = vegetarian friendly
wintry salad – chicken – bacon + leftover holiday ham + roasted carrots = lightened up leftovers
wintry salad + balsamic onions + warm bacon salad dressing = winter wonderland

Chicken Parmesan Calzone

I love the ease of calzones and this one is ideal to feed your hungry house guests or to keep your weeknights productive with simplicity or to be a hefty appetizer or a potluck star. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t finished wrapping Christmas presents and there are about a bejillion holiday movies on tv right now. Keeping wiggle room on weeknights is definitely what I need.

This is not a far cry from my Chicken Parmesan Pizza, but I want to save you from a lackluster Chicken Parm calzone if you were thinking of chicken and mozzarella. That’s not enough, but of course you weren’t thinking that. 😉 That’s almost enough for topping a Chicken Parmesan pizza but in a calzone it will be underwhelming and seem empty. Don’t forget to fill, fill, fill the calzone. It seems like wayyy less when you bake & slice it up.

Ingredients:

pizza dough
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes)
5 chicken tenders breaded and cooked through, and cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
1 cup Parmesan

Directions:

Preheat the oven, and pizza stone if using one, to 400 degrees.
Spread the pizza dough onto the pizza stone or pizza pan, off center so the filling can be on the “bottom” and the “top” can fold over. When the dough goes onto a hot pan it cooks a bit to hold the form.
Layer chicken chunks, mozzarella, ricotta spoonfuls, Parmesan, and tomato drizzles.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Calzone
Keep layering and making sure there’s filling all the way to the edges. Fill more than it seems like it needs.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Calzone
Keep filling, and filling, and filling.
Fold the top over and pinch the edges together.
Gently “squish” the fillings to the edges to pat it down a bit.
Slice some vents into the top, spacing them out and keeping any unplanned vents.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Calzone
Bake 30 minutes. Optional: Brush with olive oil or eggwash for a shiny top midway through.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Calzone
This is an easy one that is ohh so comforting. It is very simple but hits some flavors everyone likes, plus calzones are great as leftovers. I put tomato sauce into this calzone, but I normally just serve it on the side. I also would love slices of fresh mozzarella in here but I was trying to keep it pretty simple.

I made a few pizzas and a few calzones for guests. This one was a good crowd-pleaser amongst some other flavors. The chicken parmesan calzone helped the menu since I could prep it and partially cook it in advance. I paired this guy with a bruschetta pizza, a BBQ chicken pizza, and a pepperoni pizza for the kiddies. Something for everyone!

Sausage Stuffing

My mom makes some seriously awesome stuffing. It works like a side dish but I figured holding strong on 2 food groups meant I’d make it the main dish! I love this and would eat it far too often if it were at all good for me. It’s a fantastic wintry food and makes a great dinner or side dish. There’s a secret ingredient that is the trick.

My sous chef wanted to help #kitchendogs #fluffybailee

The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients:

4-6 sausage links, removed from the casing (I used turkey sausage this time)
1 loaf of sourdough bread or something crusty
1 can golden mushroom soup (even mushroom-haters will not notice this is in here)
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup water
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large skillet to medium heat while you chop the onion and remove the casing from the sausage links.
Brown the sausage, breaking it into smaller chunks with the back of a wooden spoon.
In a medium pot, warm the soup, wine, water, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic over medium heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Cut the bread into chunks.
When the sausage is mostly cooked through, drain any excess grease and add the onions into the pan with the sausage. Cook a few minutes until the onion gets soft and a bit translucent, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked sausage and onions and bread together.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl and mix well.
Empty the whole bowl into a large baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Broil the last 3 minutes if the top hasn’t crisped enough
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
Yum. I love this one. The golden mushroom soup is so flavorful – just don’t confuse it with cream of mushroom soup.

I served this with some roasted asparagus for a quick dinner. The leftovers are great and it is just an inviting unfussy meal.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage Stuffing
I found a loaf of artisan bread with garlic in it. It was pricey but I only used 4 sausage links and the bread. Other ingredients were super cheap and this was about 5 servings for us.

Shhhh. I nibbled on some leftovers for breakfast one morning when all I wanted was a non-sweet breakfast. What? A touch of maple and this is the ideal salty breakfast…just call it savory bread pudding and nobody will think twice.

some suggested adaptations:
this recipe + celery/kale/portobello/peppers = more veggie-ful stuffing
this recipe – golden mushroom soup + low sodium chicken broth = less salty/lower sodium meal (or reduce the soup to half a can and increase the water to 3/4 cups
this recipe + muffin tins = easily servable stuffing cups
this recipe – turkey sausage + soy sausage crumbles = vegetarian stuffing
this recipe + dried cranberries + sage = super seasonal flavors