Summer Squash and Corn Casserole

Summer Squash and Corn Casserole 2

Squash Casserole is a Southern staple. This is the best one I have ever made. Ever. I went all out with the addition of mayonnaise, sour cream, and lots of cheese, foregoing previous attempts at trying to make squash casserole healthier. It tasted so good. It really needs those ingredients to make it rich and creamy. The extra calories are worth it!

I love the addition of corn. It’s sweetness compliments the squash so well. I used pattypan squash from my CSA share for this particular casserole. You could use yellow squash and/or zucchini instead (or in combination).

Summer Squash and Corn Casserole

Summer Squash and Corn Casserole

6 – 8 summer squash (yellow or pattypan), sliced and cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups frozen (or fresh) corn kernels
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup breadcrumbs + 1/4 cup for topping
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cook the sliced squash in salted boiling water until tender, but not mushy, about 5 – 8 minutes. Drain well in a colander. I press the squash down with a spoon to remove as much moisture as possible.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and starting to brown. Add the minced garlic and cook a few more minutes. Turn off heat.

In a large bowl combine the drained squash, browned onions and garlic, corn, mayonnaise, sour cream, breadcrumbs, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs over the top.

Bake in the 350 oven for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.


Corn Salsa

Corn Salsa

Corn Salsa

This colorful salsa, eaten with tortilla chips is a tasty snack. It is also a nice addition to tacos, fajitas, or rice bowls. It can even be eaten on its own as a side dish or salad of sorts. It keeps well in the fridge for a week or so.

Poblano  chiles (fresh or roasted) can be substituted for the bell pepper and jalapenos.

Corn Salsa

1 pound frozen corn
1/2 large onion, small dice (red onion looks pretty with corn)
1/2 green bell pepper, small dice (you could also use red bell peppers)
2 jalapenos, or to taste, minced
handful fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
kosher salt, to taste

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the frozen corn and cook, stirring often, until heated through and starting to char. Cooking it this way really brings out the sweetness of the corn. Let the corn cool completely.

Once the corn is cooled, add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Taste and add more lime juice or kosher salt, if needed.


Poblano and Corn Chowder

Poblano and Corn Chowder

I got some wonderful poblano peppers in some of my CSA boxes this past spring. I roasted, skinned, seeded, and chopped them and then froze them in 1 cup portions. I used one of the portions to make this wonderfully rich soup.

Poblano and Corn Chowder

Poblano and Corn Chowder

5 large poblanos, roasted, skinned, seeded, and chopped (about 1 cup)*
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups vegetable broth
2 cups frozen (or fresh) corn
1/2 cup half and half
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion  and sauté until softened. Add the garlic and ground cumin and sauté one minute more. Add the potatoes and vegetable broth. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the roasted poblano peppers, corn, and half and half and heat through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

*How To Roast Fresh Chile Peppers

Gas Stove
This method works well for roasting a small quantity of chile peppers. Use a long handled cooking fork with a handle made with a non heat-conducting material. Pierce the pepper with the fork and hold the pepper over a gas flame (or grill flame), about 4″ from the heat source. Or use tongs. Keep turning the pepper until it is evenly charred on all sides. The pepper skins should turn black when properly roasted.

Dry Grill
For a larger quantity of chiles you can use a stove-top grill that fits over a gas or electric burner. Sit the chiles on top and turn occasionally to allow even charring.

Oven Method
Preheat your oven to 450°F. Spread the peppers evenly on a cookie sheet, in a single layer. Roast the peppers on the top oven rack for about 4-5 minutes until he skins blister. Watch carefully so they do not burn.

Clean and Peel
Place the roasted peppers in a plastic or paper bag and seal the bag – or – in a large bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Allow the chile peppers to sweat in the bag or bowl for about 10 to 15 minutes. When you remove them from the bag or bowl they will be easy to peel.  Do not peel them under running water.  Peel the chile, remove and discard the skin, seeds, and the veins.


Corn and Broccoli Chowder with Bacon

Corn and Broccoli Chowder with Bacon

Like much of the rest of the country, South Carolina is experiencing super cold temperatures. When I took my youngest son to school yesterday morning it was 16 degrees and with the wind chill it felt like 2 degrees. So cold. Upon returning home, I needed to warm up so I made this thick, hot chowder. It’s warming, delicious, and visually pleasing. I love the colors of the corn and broccoli in the creamy white. Oh, and it has bacon in it.

Corn and Broccoli Chowder with Bacon

4 slices bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
5 cups chicken broth
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 head of broccoli, cut into bite-size florets (save the stalk for another use)
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup milk or half and half

In a soup pot over medium-low heat, fry the diced bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pot using a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Increase the heat slightly and cook the diced onion in the bacon fat until it softens. Add the flour, and cook, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the chicken broth, a little at a time, taking care to whisk out the flour lumps. Add the diced potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook until tender (but not mushy), about another 10 minutes. Add the corn and milk (or half and half) and heat through. Season the chowder with salt and pepper and serve in bowls with the crisp bacon crumbled on top.


Spaghetti with Summer Vegetables

Spaghetti with Summer Vegetables 2 (640x480)

I love this recipe. Not only is this dish beautiful to look at, it is delicious and healthy, as well. This dish is perfect for summer because it’s not too heavy and it is bursting with fresh flavors, but it is also good anytime of the year.  Frozen corn works perfectly well when fresh is not available.  If you are gluten free you can use the corn spaghetti (which I get at the health food store) instead of regular spaghetti. I like crumbled goat cheese over the top, but parmesan or feta is good also.

Spaghetti with Summer Vegetables (640x480)

Spaghetti with Summer Vegetables

8 ounces spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
2 tablespoons corn oil or butter
1 small onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 cups corn kernels, from 3 ears of corn
1 bell pepper, any color, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
3 tomatoes, halved, seeded and diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 ounces queso fresco, feta, goat cheese, or parmesan

Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet and add the scallions, corn, bell pepper, and chile. Saute over high heat for 3 minutes, then add the tomatoes, most of the cilantro, and a ladle of the pasta water. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a little pepper and turn the heat to low. Drain the pasta, shaking off the excess water. Add it to the vegetables and toss well. Divide among pasta plates, crumble the cheese over the top, and add the remaining cilantro.


Spicy Southwestern Chicken Soup

We are not on a diet, per se, but we are making a concious effort to cut calories in general. Replacing a larger dinner with a flavorful low-calorie soup once or twice a week is a satisfying way to do so without feeling deprived. This particular soup is perfect because it is not high in calories,  tastes great, and is chocked full of protein.

Spicy Southwestern Chicken Soup

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped (green or red)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
1 cup frozen corn
1 14.5 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes (I like petite diced)
1 zucchini, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus additional for garnish
crispy tortilla strips for garnish (optional)
crumbled queso fresco (or feta) (optional)
lime wedges (optional)

Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and then the onions, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Saute until the vegetables are tender, then add the chili powder, cumin, salt and black pepper. Continue to saute until spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Next, add the broth, chicken, corn, black beans, tomatoes, and zucchini.  Bring to a boil and then reduced heat to medium. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add cilantro and serve. To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top with additional fresh cilantro, crispy tortilla strips, queso fresco, and a wedge of lime.


Corn Quiche

From August 6, 2006: I made this for dinner last night. It was nice served alongside a green salad with sweet grape tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives, pecans and goat cheese dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.  I used saltine crackers instead of cheese crackers  because I don’t usually have cheese crackers on hand….i’ve never liked them much. I had to cook the corn quiche for a total of 35 minutes until it was done (it may be because I used my ceramic quiche pan…everything takes longer to cook in it).

Corn Quiche

For the crust:
2 cups fine crushed cheese crackers
2 T. butter, melted

For the filling:
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
1/2 tsp. onion, minced (or 2 tbsp. fine fresh ones)
1 1/4 cups milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups cooked corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix the 2 T. of melted butter with the cracker crumbs. Pat into a glass pie plate or quiche
pan, reserving 1/2 cup for later. Set aside.

Melt remaining butter (2 tablespoons) in a saucepan over medium heat, blend in flour, seasonings, and
onion. Then add milk and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add hot mixture to eggs. Blend well and add corn.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pie plate or quiche pan. Sprinkle the top with the reserved cracker
crumbs.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.