Kale, Corn and Tomato Salad With Basil Pesto Dressing

29 07 2014

This is a tasty and easy salad to help enjoy the bounties of fresh summer produce. Here I’m featuring kale, tomatoes, cucumbers and shallots from our Fresh Fork Market CSA share. Serve with whatever protein looks good to you and dig in. I love easy meals like this that allow me to spend more time enjoying the beautiful day, and less time in the kitchen!

Kale, Corn and Tomato Salad With Basil Pesto Dressing

The following serves 4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 4 small to medium ears of corn, shucked
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced in half moons
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 2 Tbsp champagne wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Drizzle shucked corn with a little olive oil and grill until slightly charred all over, about 5-7 minutes. Remove corn from the grill and set aside until cool enough to handle. I picked the following trick up from Rachel Ray and it works like a charm – place a small bowl upside down inside a large bowl. Stand the corn up on the bottom of the small bowl and using a large knife, cut corn off the cobs. The kernels will easily collect in the big bowl. When all the kernels are cut off, remove the small bowl.

Add the tomatoes, cucumber and shallots to the bowl with the corn. Add the pesto and vinegar, and mix well to combine.

Add the kale to another bowl. Squeeze in lemon juice and a good drizzle of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Massage gently with your hands for a couple of minutes, ensuring the kale is evenly coated. Massaging the kale will help it break down a little and soften, making it easier to eat and enjoy, in its raw form!

To serve, divide the kale among plates. Slightly push kale to the sides, creating a hole in the middle. Divide the corn and tomato salad among plates, filling the kale hole. Serve with a protein of your choice. Pictured above is petite sirloin steak.


Chicken Tortilla Soup

16 02 2014

This is a flavorful Mexican soup, that’s filling and fairly easy to make. Great for game day or a lazy winter Sunday, when you’re looking for a hearty meal to warm you up! 🙂

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

The following serves 4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 3 small-medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large soft tortilla, sliced into strips (use whatever you have, I had sun-dried tomato tortillas…you could also just serve with tortilla chips if you prefer)
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • Half a medium red onion, chopped
  • Half a medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 to 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 oz or half a large 28 oz can) diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz frozen corn (about half a small bag)
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Chopped cilantro, sliced green onions and reduced-fat cheddar cheese for garnish

Preheat oven to 350.

Boil chicken in a pot of water until fork tender. Remove to a cutting board and let rest a few minutes before shredding or cutting into cubes. Set aside until ready to add to the soup.

Spray tortilla strips with a little non-stick spray and bake on a cooking sheet for a few minutes until crisp. Remove from oven and set aside until ready to serve.

In another large pot, heat oil (use whatever you have) and saute onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add chipotles and break up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, let cook for a minute or so to melt into the onion and garlic. Add the chili powder, season with salt to taste and cook another minute.

Add the broth and tomatoes, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Add the corn and black beans, continue to simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree some of the soup slightly – just a few clicks of the hand blender. This will help thicken the soup a little. Then, add chicken and warm through, simmering another 5-10 minutes.

While the soup cooks, mix yogurt with the zest of 1 lime and season with salt to taste.

Before serving, remove soup from heat and add the juice of the lime you zested. Taste and season with salt if needed. Stir in the yogurt and mix well to combine and yogurt melts into the soup. Divide among bowls and garnish with cilantro, green onions, cheese and tortilla strips.

Sweet Potato, Corn and Kale Chowder

16 11 2013

This is a knock-out, healthy chowder recipe for cool fall or winter nights! The original recipe is vegan, from Clean Food by Terry Walters, however I switched it up for ingredients I had.

Sweet Potato, Corn and Kale Chowder

Sweet Potato, Corn and Kale Chowder

The following serves 3-4 (adapted from Clean Food by Terry Walters):

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cups stock (use chicken or veggie)
  • 2 cups non-fat half and half (could also use skim milk)
  • Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Spicy olive oil (optional)

In a large pot over medium heat, saute onion in 1 Tbsp oil until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, pinch of red pepper flakes, sweet potatoes, corn, thyme and stock, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add enough half and half or milk to cover the veggies. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until veggies are soft, about 20 minutes. I added a parmesan cheese rind to help enhance the flavor, you don’t have too if you don’t have one though.

Meanwhile in a small saucepan make a little roux. Heat another Tbsp of oil and add a Tbsp of whole wheat flour, cook, stirring for a minute until flour dissolves. After the soup has been simmering for 15 minutes, whisk the roux into it until blended. Continue to stir the remaining 5 minutes of cooking.

Off heat, partially puree the soup using an immersion blender – this will help thicken into a chowder along with the roux. Don’t puree too much, you still want to see some chunks of corn and potatoes.

Add kale, return chowder to a simmer and cook until kale is tender. If the chowder is too thick, add additional stock to achieve desired consistency.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. I also finished with a drizzle of some spicy olive oil since the soup is a tad on the sweeter side. I’d suggest tasting it and adjusting seasoning based on your own preference.

Roasted Corn and Zucchini Soup

5 11 2013

This is a light, yet hearty soup. It has different textural components thanks to the crunchy bacon. And because it comes together pretty fast, it’s a great fall-time, weeknight dinner option.

Roasted Corn and Zucchini Soup

Roasted Corn and Zucchini Soup

The following serves 2-3:

  • Turkey bacon, chopped
  • 2 small bags of frozen corn
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • Half a large onion, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic (use more or less depending how much you like garlic and the size of the cloves)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ground thyme
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Non-fat half and half

Preheat oven to 425.

Chop up a few strips of turkey bacon and saute in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove to a paper towel.

Coat corn, zucchini, onion and garlic with the drippings from the bacon, along with salt, pepper, a little ground thyme and a pinch of red pepper flakes. If there wasn’t enough bacon drippings you can add a little olive oil as well. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or so, turning occasionally.

While the veggies roast, heat the chicken stock in a large pot. Reserve some of the corn kernels to use as garnish, then add the rest of the roasted veggies to the pot of warm stock and puree with an immersion blender (or transfer to a food processor or blender to puree).  Put the soup back over a low heat and slowly add in a little half and half (one good turn of the pan). Taste and season with salt and pepper.

This addition is optional: for a little more substance, I decided to add some sautéed salmon to this dish. I keep a bag of frozen salmon burgers in the freezer for quick weeknight meals. I crumbled up one of the patties, seasoned it with salt, garlic powder and paprika and sautéed in the skillet I used to cook the bacon.

To serve, I put the salmon crumbles and some of the reserved roasted corn in a large soup bowl, then topped with the soup and garnished with black pepper and bacon bits.

Grilled Salmon With Pesto Over Zucchini, Corn, Spinach and Tomatoes

2 09 2013

This is such a tasty and fresh summertime meal, kids! With several layers of flavor and texture, you’ll think you spent way more time on this dinner than you actual did…this is a must try 🙂

Grilled Salmon With Zucchini, Corn, Spinach and Tomatoes

Grilled Salmon With Pesto Over Zucchini, Corn, Spinach and Tomatoes

The following serves 2 with leftovers (compliments of Rachel Ray and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 2 salmon filets, skin or skinless
  • 1 bag of frozen corn
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Handful of scallions, chopped
  • 1 small bag of spinach and arugula, separate the spinach and arugula
  • 2 Tbsp butter (or I can’t believe it’s not butter spread)
  • Dry, white wine
  • Good handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh herbs such as basil and mint, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pesto

Preheat grill to medium.

Season salmon with salt and pepper. Grill until done to your likeness, turning once half-way through. Remove from grill and let rest a minute or two.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the corn and lightly brown, 3-5 minutes. Add the zucchini, scallions, red pepper flakes and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook to soften, 3-4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with some dry, white wine – a good turn of the pan. Be sure to scrape up any brown bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pan. Add spinach and wilt, a few minutes. Next, add the butter and stir to melt, creating a creamy sauce. Remove from the heat and toss with tomatoes and herbs.

In another bowl, toss the arugula with some olive oil, fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Do not overdress.

To serve: Divide zucchini-corn mixture among plates. Top with a piece of salmon, then top salmon with some pesto (I had just made pesto from all the basil in my garden, but you can use store-bought as well). Next, divide dressed arugula to top each salmon piece.

BBQ Macaroni Salad with Corn, Spinach and Scallions

21 08 2013

This BBQ macaroni salad is a great summer side dish that comes together quickly! I served it alongside grilled chicken brats for a speedy Sunday lunch with friends, but this side dish would compliment any grilled meat.

BBQ Macaroni Salad with Corn, Spinach and Scallions

BBQ Macaroni Salad with Corn, Spinach and Scallions

The following serves 6: (compliments of Cuisine Lite and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 and 1/2 cups dry whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1 bag frozen corn kernels (about 2 cups)
  • Half bag of fresh spinach
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce (use whatever is your fav or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook macaroni to al dente, according to package directions. Add the corn and spinach to the same pot 2 minutes before pasta is done cooking. Strain pasta, corn and spinach, reserving some of the pasta-cooking water.

Add the BBQ sauce and chili powder to the pot. Stir in some of the pasta water, a few Tablespoons. Next, stir in the macaroni, corn and spinach to combine with the BBQ mixture. If the sauce looks too thick, add some more of the pasta water to thin it out. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Top with scallions and serve. If making ahead of time, serve cold or at room temp….it’s a versatile side dish!

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

8 07 2012

I usually keep all the makings for this appetizer / dip on hand to bring to last-minute gatherings. It’s a great go-to when you’re in a hurry and don’t want to show up empty-handed. The original recipe came from Guy Fieri, but I always improvise based on what I have – that’s why I love versatile dishes like these!

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

The following serves 6-8:

  • 1 bag (16 oz) frozen corn
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup diced cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • Small red bell pepper, diced
  • Juice from 2-4 limes
  • 2-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch or two of ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp – 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Tortilla chips for dipping

Cook corn according to the package. Drain and rinse under cold water.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine black beans, diced tomatoes, onion and pepper.

In another bowl make the dressing. I felt like I needed more than what the original recipe called for, so I doubled the dressing. That’s why I list a range of measurements above. Start with the smallest amount of each and double if you feel necessary. To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, cayenne and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the corn to the large bowl with the other ingredients and toss with the dressing until everything is well coated. Next, toss in the chopped cilantr0. Store covered, in the fridge until ready to eat. Serve with tortilla chips.