It is almost that time of year when every meal should include fresh corn on the cob as a side dish.  My family generally just unwraps a stick of butter, puts in on a plate and passes it around the table for everyone to roll their ear of hot corn in.  I love to sprinkle a bit of dill over my melty buttered corn.

Another one of the best ways I have found to eat corn is to cut it off the cobs, put it onto a cookie sheet, toss it with a drizzle of olive oil, a little butter, salt and pepper and roast it in the oven.  The corn gets almost caramelized and could be served as dessert it is so sweet.  If you think that corn is a pain to shuck, clean and cook, I encourage you to watch this video.  This is how I cook my corn every single time and it is quick, clean and comes out perfectly without fail.

Here are some other ways that I would love to enjoy corn this summer:

White Chicken Chili from Cooking Classy:  I like to enjoy soups and chilis year round and this one looks so flavorful.

Jalapeño Creamed Corn from Spicy Southern Kitchen:  Simple, yet I’m sure so rich and delicious.

Esquites-Mexican Street Corn Salad from See Brooke Cook:  Every time I see a recipe for Mexican street food corn dusted with spices and sprinkled with cotija cheese, it makes me drool and this salad looks like all of the best ingredients from that popular street food.

Pasta with Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto, Fresh Corn and Tomatoes from Oh My Veggies:  I die for anything with cilantro pesto and this pasta looks so fresh and drool-worthy.

Corn Fritters with Coconut Whipped Cream and Sweet Honey Bourbon Syrup from Half Baked Harvest:  I don’t feel that any explanation is necessary for this one making it on my list.

What is your favorite way to enjoy fresh summer corn?  Please share recipes in the comments if you’d like!

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One year ago......
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I mentioned earlier this week how I tried out some new dinner recipes and they have been so scrumptious that I couldn’t wait to share them with you.  I have never been a huge baked potato fan.  When I used to think of russet potatoes, which are the most traditional baking potatoes, I thought of them being dry and blah and needing a lot of butter, sour cream and other toppings to make them worth eating.  However, I have to start singing a different tune, because I used russets for this recipe, and found the potato to be more flavorful and have better texture than I remember.

I suppose it helps too that the innards of the potatoes are scooped out and  mixed with flavorful mixture of mashed steamed cauliflower, garlic, buttermilk and a bit of cheese. I love these potatoes in particular because they give you the benefit of squeezing in some extra veggies where there might not otherwise be any.

I topped my potato with a little extra cheese, prosciutto, hot sauce and a small dollop of light sour cream.  I will be welcoming variations of this Twice-Baked Potato into my dinner repertoire in the future.

Lightened Up Twice-Baked Potatoes (with a secret ingredient!)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 potatoes

4

Loaded baked potatoes with cauliflower for extra nutrition

Ingredients

  • 6-8 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
  • sour cream, scallions, any other toppings you would like

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place prosciutto onto a baking sheet and bake about 5 minutes until crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Poke potatoes all over with a fork.
  4. Place potatoes on a plate and microwave for 4 minutes to give them a head start on cooking.
  5. Remove from microwave and place potatoes on a baking sheet and rub with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tender.
  7. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and place steamer basket over the pot of water. Place cauliflower into steamer basket, cover with lid and steam about 10 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.
  8. Remove cauliflower and place into a food processor. Add buttermilk, garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper and cheese and process until smooth.
  9. Use a small paring knife to cut a large oval in the top of each cooked potato. Scoop out the flesh of the potato leaving about 1/4 inch-thick wall.
  10. Combine scooped out potato with cauliflower mixture and pulse in food processor to combine.
  11. Fill cavities in potatoes with the cauliflower mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven to melt the cheese.
  12. Top with crisped prosciutto and any other desired toppings.
  13. Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine
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I feel a sense of urgency to squeeze in as much summer produce as I can before all of the perfectly ripened tomatoes, peaches and corn are gone.  Sometimes I wish we had summer produce year round, but then I wonder if we would still appreciate how good and refreshing watermelon tastes during the few months we can get it, for example.

Corn on the cob is prime right now, and it is good in it’s own rite, but another one of my favorite ways to enjoy corn is in a thick and creamy soup.  I especially love when I can make a creamy and satisfying soup without actually using heavy cream and multiple sticks of butter.  This soup will give you just that.  I added dill because I love the way that dill can lighten the richness of a dish and add a whole other flavor profile.

Dilly Corn Chowder with Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree, Soup, Main dish, Healthy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Hearty, yet light corn chowder
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill weed
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • ½ cup fat-free half and half
  • salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
Instructions
  1. In a medium stock pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and stir occasionally until tender, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in thyme, bay leaf, dill, salt and pepper and broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Add potatoes and continue to boil until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and add corn. Cook until corn is tender, about 2 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to low and stir in milk and half and half.
  7. Serve sprinkled with the shredded cheese and more salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Recipe adapted from Sunset.

Which summer produce do you wish you could enjoy year round?

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What will I do when the Olympics are over next week??  I’m beginning to panic.  There is officially a permanent imprint in my couch from where I sit waiting for the next gold medal to be awarded.  So I guess one thing I can do when the Olympics are over is rotate my couch cushions…..

And how is it almost the middle of August already??  Where does summer go?  The one good thing about summer coming to an end is that all of the produce that we have waited all summer for is finally ripe and ready to use!  I picked up some adorable zucchinis a couple of weeks ago and was excited to try a new recipe.  Last year I shared these zucchini recipes with you:

Cream Cheese-swirled Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Oatmeal Zucchini Sandwich Cookies

Zucchini Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

This year, I am adding Zucchini Coconut Muffins to the mix.

Not only can you feel good about these muffins having a serving of vegetables inside, but they also use less sugar than most recipes and white whole wheat flour.

Zucchini Coconut Muffins

by Mercedes Porter

Keywords: bake breakfast dessert side healthy coconut zucchini muffin summer

Ingredients (12 muffins)

For the muffins

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup while whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cups grated, unpeeled zucchini
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

For the glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

For the muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl and with an electric mixer, mix eggs, honey, oil and brown sugar until well combined.

Add ginger, flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder and mix until well incorporated.

Add zucchini and coconut and mix well.

Divide batter between 12 muffin cups.

Bake 16-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean.

Cool completely on wire rack.

For the glaze

Mix powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth and drizzle glaze over cooled muffins.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.

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mix eggs, honey, oil and brown sugar

add ginger, flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda

add zucchini and coconut and mix well

divide into muffin pan and bake

cool completely before glazing

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Who doesn’t love pizza in any form?  Around Super Bowl time, I was seeing all kinds of pizza dips popping up as suggestions for game day fare.  Football is not a huge deal at our house and so I had to wait for another occasion to make a version of pizza dip.  Hosting book club last week happened to be the perfect reason to give it a try.

Many of the recipes that I have seen for pizza dips involve cream cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream as a base layer.  One of my favorite swaps for mayo and sour cream that makes dishes healthier is nonfat plain Greek yogurt.  It is tangy, thick and creamy without being heavily laden with calories and fat.  I also cut down on a few calories and grams of fat by using reduced-fat (part skim) mozzarella cheese.

This dip is plenty flavorful even with these healthier modifications.  Top the dip with a variety of vegetables and you’ll really have a popular dip that you can feel great about serving.

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combine cream cheese, yogurt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning

spread cream cheese mixture into pan

top with pizza sauce

sprinkle cheese over the sauce

top with chopped veggies (and meat, if using)

bake until cheese is melted and serve

 

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