Tag Archive: corn

Low Fat Enchilada Soup

Time to get on those New Year’s Resolutions.  Put the cookie dough away and get back to basics.  I am starting with one of my favorites.   It has been cold and gray and nothing will do right now but soup.  I initially thought of one of my rich and warm chili recipes but that contradicts with any sort of healthy eating.  This soup has all the flavor and very little fat, depending on how much cheese one uses for the top and the kind of tortilla chips added.  You’ll note in the picture that I got a little heavy handed with the cheese, but hey, I didn’t have greasy chili!  Somewhere this started as a Weight Watcher’s recipe that I got from a friend over the phone.  I have made a lot of changes to suit my taste including omitting the chicken.  It isn’t a lot of fat, but if I don’t need or miss it, why not leave it out?  Room for more cheese!

A Tale of Two Corn Chowders

Meals and Memories is what this blog is all about.  So, it is not at all surprising that a slight tinge of coolness in the air makes my family think of soup.  It is also not surprising that a certain meal or menu comes to mind.  My daughter and I made each of our versions of corn chowder on the same cool fall day (for Texas) by coincidence.  Not at all shocking to me.  I taught her how to think appropriate for the season!  So, you pick.  My recipe isn’t too bad health wise.  Her’s is a healthier version.  Is your good diet angel or bad diet angel picking dinner tonight?  Fix a salad or a grilled cheese and get your spoons ready :)

Lightened Up Corn Chowder

When fall is in the air I can’t help but see soup.  Soup, soup,  soup. (see my Mom’s note above)  The kind I usually like has tons of cream, potatoes and butter in it.  That warms my soul.  I can do this though.  Here is a corn chowder that is lightened up and has a little zing to it.  It is based on the Weight Watcher’s recipe but I made some adjustments to thicken and spice it up. How did that cheese get in there?

  • 1 medium yukon gold potato
  • 1 spray cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup uncooked celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup  uncooked onion , chopped (or 1 large shallot)
  • 2 cups corn frozen, canned or fresh
  • 1 cup  sweet red pepper , diced
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and chopped
  • 4 1 ounce slices uncooked Canadian-style bacon, diced
  • 2 cup  fat-free skim milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • tsp hot pepper sauce, or to taste

Pierce potato in several places with a fork; microwave on high power until tender, turning over once, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool; peel and mash.

  • Meanwhile, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray. Add celery, onion, corn and red pepper; sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
  • Stir bacon and milk into saucepan; stir in mashed potato and mix well. Season with salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce; stir to combine. Cover and simmer 10 minutes (do not allow to boil). Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving.
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Quick Southern Corn Chowder with Bacon

A good Sunday Supper is a bowl of soup for me.  I am always looking for soups to make fast that have a good flavor.  What better way to satisfy a hunger than by adding bacon to something.  This one doesn’t even require frying the bacon.  It’s already fried, chopped and waiting to be used.  It is a 2.8 ounce package of Hormel Black Label Real Bacon Pieces (50% less fat).  I used about ½ the package for 2 servings.

My Sundays usually start early with church at 8:00AM, followed by reading the paper, doing laundry while working some in the garden and maybe a shopping trip to the outlet mall and trying to squeeze in some time to take a nap.  Since this food blog began naps don’t usually happen if I want to get ahead for the week, I try to do some of my cooking/photographing on the weekend.

I decided to try my hand at a chowder after reading about several.  This one is basically the vegetables I had in the crisper drawer and freezer.  Now what could be simpler than chopping a few veggies and adding some flavorings?

  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½  onion, chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • ½ cup half and half (low fat is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

Put the olive oil in a sauce pan large enough for your soup.  Have all the veggies prepared and diced about the same size for even cooking.  Heat the olive oil and add the veggies (except the corn).  Stir to coat.  Add salt and pepper and cover and allow to steam for about 5 minutes.   Put in the thyme (whole stems).  Add just enough water to cover the veggies.  Cook until the veggies are tender.

At this point add the corn and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the half and half and butter.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Remove the thyme stems.  Heat just to a simmer. Do not boil.

It’s ready to serve with a salad.

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Zucchini Boats

One last zucchini meal.  I really do like the things I have come up with this year.  This one is very tasty and it is an adaptation (very far removed).

Zucchini Boats

  • 2 Hatch green chiles, or 1 small can chopped green chiles
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 medium zucchini squash
  • 1 cup cooked Israeli couscous
  • 4 ounces Colby-Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup packed, plus a little extra for sprinkling on top of tomatoes)

Wash and dry the chiles and leave the stems on, use a knife and slit about a 1” verticle slit near the stem, and place them on a grill, the broiler or over the open flame on your gas stove.   I prefer the gas grill outside when the weather permits. (In El Paso that is almost always!)  Turn them until they are charred on all sides.  Once they are blackened all over, put them in a bowl or pan and cover tightly with plastic wrap, a plastic bag or even foil.  You want them to steam completely.  They need to be cool enough to handle.  With the back of a paring knife slip the charred skin away by sliding the knife down the chile.  Remove as much of the blackened skin as possible.  A little char adds to the smoky flavor of the chile.  DO NOT RINSE THE CHILES when preparing them for sauces, enchiladas, pico de gallo or casseroles/stews, unless instructed in a recipe. Dice the chiles into ¼” dice.

Add corn and onion to a non-stick pan and cook for 10 minutes, half way through, stir mixture and then sprinkle with minced garlic. Add corn mixture to chopped chiles; stir in oregano, oil, lime juice, salt, cumin, and black pepper.

Cut the zucchini in half and scoop out the inside; set aside.

Cook the couscous according to the package instructions. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork. Add to corn mixture; toss well.  Add the cheese to the mixture and carefully combine all ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spoon corn mixture evenly among each zucchini boat. Place in a baking dish.  Add about ¼ cup water to steam the squash.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler and sprinkle a little cheese on each zucchini. Broil 1 1/2 minutes or until cheese melts/browns. Serve immediately.

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Fresh from the Garden-Cucumber Cups

Almost too pretty to eat....ALMOST!

I am certain where I got a recipe like this one – Martha Stewart.  Over the years, I have tweaked and changed it to my taste.  I think that the original cup was a cherry tomato.  When I want a quick and refreshing little bite or plate of bites, I throw this together.  This is perfect for when the ladies come over for a glass of wine after work on Friday.

  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 ear of fresh corn (Grilled and cooled for added flavor if you like)
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 oz cocktail shrimp cooked
  • the juice from 2 limes
  • salt and pepper

Peel the cucumber.  I peel it into stripes for presentation.  Cut into about 1 to 1 ½  inch thick rounds.  Scoop out the seeds and some of the meat leaving the bottom in tact to form a cup.  I used the small end of the melon baller.  Place on the serving plate and salt lightly.

Meanwhile scrape the corn from the cob into a bowl (be careful with those silky threads).  Mix in the cilantro, lime juice, corn,shrimp and salt and pepper to taste.  Let sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Fill the cups and there you go.  Its fresh, light and a great treat straight from the garden.

Out of Flour? Buy Corn Instead

Last Thursday night I decided to make some cookies to take to work because we had all survived the hardest of weeks – a short week. That’s when you enjoy your long weekend and then make up for taking a day off by doing as much work in 4 days as you would normally have to do in 5 days!   The TWC didn’t have any flour in the canister!  Can you believe that?  I checked the pantry twice and even the freezer in case I bought some ahead and stored it.  Nothing!  Walmart is just about 5 blocks from my house but by the time I got home from Walmart, I would be out of the mood to bake.  So, sorry guys, no cookies this week.

Late in the afternoon before I left work Thursday, Mike was telling me about a dish he made by wrapping quail in bacon and cooking it in wine.  I didn’t have any quail either (and am not sure I would ever have any.)  But I have chicken – always have chicken.  After work on Friday I went to Walmart to stock up on flour, eggs, and mini chocolate chips. (They were out of flour too!)  There must be a run on chocolate chip cookies due to the last week of school!

I decided to try the bacon/chicken/wine dish.  I got some lower sodium bacon, a new bottle of wine (just in case). Then I was looking for a cool vegetable idea and came upon the fresh corn. It looked tempting so nothing would do but I got 2 ears of fresh yellow corn and that is how I came up with this salad.

Salad:

  • 2 ears corn cleaned
  • A pot of boiling water, salted
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

 

Clean the corn and boil for about 4-5 minutes in the salted water.  While it is cooking, prepare an ice water bath to dip the corn in to cool it off and stop the cooking.  Drain on paper towel.

Once it is cool enough to handle cut the corn from the husk.  I do this by laying it on its side and cutting all around the cob.  This avoids corn flying all over the kitchen.    Seed and dice the jalapeno and dice the onion.  Chop the cilantro and mix all these together lightly.

Mix up the dressing and toss with the corn.  I put this in the frig while the chicken cooked.  The chicken was ok, but this salad was fresh, crisp and just right!

This would be great with grilled burgers.  It is easy to take on a picnic.  I think it would be good served at room temperature.  Mine was a little chilled, but not icy cold.  It took no time to make.  A little left over with a sandwich was good too.

Give it a try. Add you own favorite herbs.  You can even mix up the vinegars for a new taste.  I think the light olive oil and white wine vinegar was light and fresh.  But try your combo and let me know how it comes out!

I still have no flour and have to bake for church.  I better get going to the store.  It may take all day to find a lonely 5 pound bag of all-purpose flour! The quest is on!

Chop Chop!

Confetti Salad 1

Chop, chop and chop some more for this great salad recipe!

As it gets warmer I always go back to summers in Kansas.  Homemade ice cream, banana salad, banana bread, homemade chicken and noodles, fresh country eggs and cream.  And the best salads.  I love marinated sweet and sour salads that are cut up in small pieces.  They make a sandwich taste so good.  I’m sure I got this from my grandmother.  She had recipes for 3 Bean Salad, Carrot Salad, and Pickled Beets.  She had small dishes of these on the cutting board along with cold sliced ham, pickles and bread and butter for sandwiches for lunch.

I spent 2 weeks each year in Meade, a little Kansas community, with my parents and brother and sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncle, and cousins.  I had a great time every year.  We had the best meals.   Many of those recipes are still some of my favorites.  But the memories that food conjures up are very special to me.  My grandmother had a little fold out of the wall table in her kitchen.  Lots of times the 3 cousins (Pam, Pat and me) got to eat in the kitchen at that little table.  There were more cousins, but we were the oldest and most important.  When I went back for a visit as an adult I was disappointed to find she had removed the table.

Of course, as a kid I never realized or understood how much energy it took to produce all those meals.  I do know how many dishes there were to wash and how hot it was in my grandmother’s kitchen.  Pam, Pat and I did an assembly line to try to get them done faster.  Aunt Betty and momma would pitch in too, and we would step out onto the back porch as we dried a plate just for a cool breath of air.  I believe the stove in her kitchen could have heated the entire house in the winter.  We would never have complained though.  She would have shooed us out of the kitchen and done them all herself (and we would have been in deep trouble with our mothers!)  Today, I would suggest we go out to eat!  But I would love to do it all over again – just one time in that same tiny kitchen with ALL those wonderful people in my life!

I use Con’ Olio olive oil in this recipe.  It is a great olive oil store in Austin.  Here is the link:  http://www.conolios.com/index.htm  They’ll ship!

Confetti Veggie Salad

  • 2 fresh zucchini
  • 3 fresh carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 can corn (drained)
  • 1 can cut green beans
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used about a third of a yellow, orange and red pepper)
  • 1 small package frozen baby peas

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup light olive oil (I used Basil Olive Oil from Con Olio in Austin)
  • 1 cup vinegar (I used my homemade Basil Vinegar)
  • 3-4 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic granules

Cut all the vegetables the size of the corn (or about that small). It took me about an hour to chop everything.  I was in no particular hurry so I’m sure it wouldn’t take a super chef that long.

 

 

Combine all dressing ingredients in a  jar.  Shake well until the sugar is dissolved and pour over the vegetables to marinade at least 2-4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container.  Stir occasionally to give all the vegetables a good coating.  If after marinating overnight it appears to be a little dry, I have been known to make another half recipe of the dressing and add that.  Your option.

When I serve this, I transfer the salad to a chilled bowl and don’t serve it with all the dressing.  Again, your option.

Start off with your largest bowl.  I graduated through three before finding one large enough to be able to toss it with the dressing.  My kitchen looked like my grandmother’s by the time I finished chopping and dressing this salad!  Bowls everywhere!

I have taken some liberty with this recipe and adapted it to my taste.  This wasn’t my grandmother’s recipe. Rather a girl at work brought this salad to a pot luck lunch one time.  Denise was very generous and shared this recipe with me.    I sent a bowl of this with my son to an office pot luck and they loved it too.  So I think it might be worth a try.