Thursday, September 23, 2010

Texas-Style Beef Chili

I was looking for a new slow-cooker/crock pot recipe to try this fall, and I came across this recipe which appeared easy, full of flavor, and didn't require me to run right out and spend $40 on all the ingredients.

I don't know where you all live, but here in the midwest, we've got some serious rain coming down outside. There's not a more perfect day to be holed up at home and trying out a new recipe that will warm you right up.

Forgive me, Texans, for not knowing what makes this particular chili "Texas-Style," (please enlighten me if you know!). All I know is that it's YUM-TASTIC.

Above I posted the original recipe, below is my version of it. I adjusted a few of the ingredients and amounts to give it a bit more flavor and make it just a wee bit more on the healthier side.

Texas-Style Beef Chili 

8 strips bacon (I used turkey bacon for less fat)
2 lbs. boneless beef cubes (I used organic ground beef that I just happened to have in the freezer)
1 can (15 oz.) dark or light red kidney beans, drained
1 can (28 oz.)diced tomatoes
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce or paste (your choice)
1 small finely chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup diced carrots
1 large chopped green bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 tbsp. minced parsley
3 medium cloves garlic minced (Ka-POW! with the flavor!)
1 bay leaf (let it be known that I no longer have to avoid recipes that call for bay leaves as I finally got some)
3 tbsp. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Fry bacon until crisp; remove bacon with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Brown half the beef cubes in pan with bacon drippings, about five minutes. Place in slow cooker. Repeat with remaining meat. Stir bacon and remaining ingredients into 3 1/2 to 4-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for about 7-8 hours or until beef is tender. Stir occasionally. Serves 6.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pizza Pasta Salad

My mom came across this one from Kraft's Food & Family magazine.

Check it out! Are you drooling yet?

Pizza Pasta Salad

3 cups penne pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
4 tomatoes (1 1/2 lb.) chopped
12 slices Oscar Meyer Hard salami, chopped
1 cup Kraft Natural Mozarella Cheese Crumbles
1/2 cup sliced fresh basil
1/2 cup Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing

Toss all ingredients in large bowl; cover
Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Makes 10 servings, 1 cup each.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chicken Alfredo Pizza


You can feel free to make this a bit more to your liking (say a homemade crust, alfredo sauce, spices, etc. etc.), but since we're all about the simplicity here at Cooking With Court, you'll be able to whip up this easy meal in a matter of minutes.

I love Chicken Alfredo and I love pizza; so it was natural that I decided to combine the two. You can add your favorite pizza toppings of choice. We did red onion, green pepper, green olives, and mushrooms.

Lots of other chicken alfredo pizza recipes call for broccoli florets, parmesan cheese, other fun foods...

But here's our's. We love it, and I have to say it went really great along with NFL Football today!

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

1 Boboli pre-made pizza crust (we used whole wheat crust)
1 small jar of alfredo sauce with cheese (at least 12 oz)
1 package of pre-cooked chicken strips, heated through and cut into bite-size pieces
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup of sliced red onion
3/4 cup of diced green pepper
4 oz. can of pieces and stems mushrooms
1/4 cup of sliced green olives

Obviously you can use whatever toppings you prefer. And if you do use others, please comment below and tell my readers how it was!

Preheat oven to 450.

Lightly spray bottom of pizza pan or cookie sheet to avoid sticking.

Spread alfredo sauce evenly all over pizza crust. Top with chicken, onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and green olives. Top with generous portions of mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.

Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and serve.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sweet & Spicy Picante Chicken with Rice

You guys are gonna LOVE this recipe. Chances are you have most, if not all of the ingredients already in your kitchen.

If you're a busy bee like me and you're looking for a super cheap, RIDICULOUSLY simple, and fast recipe for dinner tonight? You've stumbled upon the right one. I had this whole thing whipped up and in the oven in less than 5 minutes.

Sweet & Spicy Picante Chicken with Rice

4 cups of Success White Rice (I used Instant Brown Rice)
4 boneless/skinless chicken breast halves, thawed
1 1/2 cups Pace Picante Sauce (use Medium or HOT to give more kick with flavor)
3 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp. Dijon-style mustard (I used spicy brown mustard)

Prepare rice according to package directions.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken into 2 qt. shallow baking dish. Stir picante sauce, brown sugar and mustard in a small bowl. Pour picante sauce mixture over chicken. Bake 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve chicken and sauce over rice.

It's as simple as that!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Parmesan Spinach Cakes

I got this recipe off one of my weekly emailed newsletters from

Given the big lover of spinach that I am (if you're a faithful blog reader, you know this well), I had to try these cute little cakes.

The hubby and I were in love at first bite. Surprisingly, there was a lot of flavor and they kept us "full" for a decent time. So if you're looking for a healthy snack, check this out!

Unfortunately, I could not get a decent picture with my camera, so I'm using the pic from the actual newsletter.

Parmesan Spinach Cakes

12 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, or low-fat cottage cheese (I used ricotta)
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
2 large eggs, beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Pulse spinach in three batches in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add ricotta (or cottage cheese), Parmesan, eggs, garlic, salt and pepper; stir to combine.

Coat 8 cups of the muffin pan with cooking spray. Divide the spinach mixture among the 8 cups (they will be very full).

Bake the spinach cakes until set, about 30 minutes. Let stand in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and turn out onto a clean cutting board or large plate. Serve warm, sprinkled with more Parmesan, if desired.

**THE ORIGINAL RECIPE CALLS for cakes to bake for 20 minutes...I found it to be more like 30-35. So keep an eye on your oven!