Corn Alfredo Sauce

Corn Alfredo Sauce with Penne and Chicken

I love watching cooking shows (I’m sure you aren’t surprised), including Chopped.  I am always amazed by the random mix of ingredients in the baskets and the creative recipes that the chefs create.  I guess that is why I just had to try the Chopped contest sponsored by Del Monte and Food Network.  The virtual basket included fresh lemon, fresh basil, feta cheese, and one can of Del Monte corn. I had a few ideas that came to mind, but one I wanted to try was a Corn Alfredo served over Penne and Chicken.

corn alfredo sauce

  I replaced some the cream and flour typically used in an alfredo sauce with pureed corn, which also was a great way to sneak in some veggies. The alfredo sauce was seasoned with fresh lemon zest and feta to create a fresh and unique sauce that wowed my family.  I made a simple dish by tossing it with pasta and chicken, and then garnished it with fresh basil and black pepper. 

My recipe ended up in the middle of the gallery of entries for the contest.  Just browsing the submittals makes me hungry.  I can’t wait to try some of these other corn inspired dishes!

Corn Alfredo Sauce


Corn Alfredo Sauce with Penne, Chicken, and Basil

1 ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
15.25 ounce can of Del Monte Whole Kernel Corn, drained
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 pound penne pasta, cooked and drained
1 cup chopped, pre-cooked chicken
0.25 ounces fresh basil chiffonade
Black pepper for garnish

To make the corn alfredo sauce, place  whipping cream, corn, and lemon zest in a medium sized sauce pan and use an immersion blender to process until smooth.  Heat over medium heat until it reaches a simmer, then stir in feta cheese. Use the immersion blender again to process until smooth, then bring the sauce back up to a simmer. Place the pasta in a large bowl, remove the sauce from the heat and pour over the pasta.  Add the chicken, and stir until the pasta and chicken are coated with the corn alfredo sauce.  Garnish with the fresh basil and a dusting of black pepper and serve.

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Pork Green Chili

Pork Green Chili

I like to make a big pot of chili as an easy dinner that provides plenty of leftovers for multiple meals (lunch included).  I tend to gravitate towards beef chili, but this week I was in the mood for a Pork Green Chili.

Pork Green Chili

I kept it simple by using my crock pot.  A pork loin was cooked until tender and easy to shred, and then creamed corn, green salsa, onions, and beans were added to make a hearty and tasty chili.  The green salsa had a fair amount of kick, providing a great base for the chili.  We ate ours with cheddar cheese grated on top, but a Monterey jack would compliment the dish just as well.

I’m sure I will tinker with this chili the next time I make it. I can never seem to make chili the same way twice.  What is your favorite chili mix in?


Pork Green Chili

4 lb pork loin
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup diced yellow onion
2 cups jarred green salsa
One, 14 ounce can creamed corn
One 15 ounce can northern beans, drained
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cumin

Cheese for serving (optional) 

Place the pork loin in a crock pot with 2 cups of chicken stock on high for 4-6 hrs. Skim off the fat and shred, then add onion, salsa, corn, beans, cumin, and garlic.  Stir to combine and cook on high for 1 hour longer. Serve; refrigerate any leftovers.

Notes:  Looking for the same amount of kick? I used 505 Southwestern hatch green chili in medium for my chili. I was not sponsored for this post.

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Carnitas Pupusadilla

Carnitas Pupusadillas (a.k.a. Triple Decker Carnitas Grilled Cheese)

Since my family regularly eats Mexican inspired cuisine, I threw my hat in the Del Real recipe challenge just hours before they closed applications.  The challenge asked contestants to create either a kid-friendly or an outdoor themed recipe with their products that could be prepared in under 30 minutes.  Oh, and since I applied at the last minute, I had less than 2 weeks to create my recipe. Time to get cooking!

One of the Del Real products I chose to use was their cheese & bell pepper pupusas.  The pupusas (thick, corn tortilla stuffed with cheese) were my inspiration for a triple decker grilled cheese/quesadilla that would please children and adults.  The resulting Carnitas Pupusadilla has three cheesy layers, with the middle layer a scrumptious mix of Del Real carnitas, corn, tomatoes, and cheese.

The biggest kid of my family (OK, my husband) loved the sandwich, so the Carnitas Pupusadilla is a winner in my house. If it is a winner in your eyes, please consider voting for my recipe in the challenge!

Carnitas Pupusadillas


Carnitas Pupusadillas (a.k.a. Triple Decker Carnitas Grilled Cheese)

 
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 ounces queso fresco
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
¼ teaspoon freshly minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup Del Real Carnitas
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
¼ cup diced baby tomatoes
4 Del Real cheese and bell pepper pupusas
 

Place the corn in a microwave safe bowl with 2 tablespoons water.  Heat for 2 minutes, then drain and add to a food processor.  Blend the corn until smooth, then add in the queso fresco and blend until smooth.  Add the cilantro, garlic, and salt to the food processor and pulse until the cilantro is chopped and mixed in. Scoop the corn mixture into a large bowl, then add the carnitas, shredded cheese, and diced tomatoes and mix until well incorporated and the carnitas is distributed.

Place a paper towel on a microwave safe plate and place the pupusas in a single layer on the plate and microwave for 1 minute. Remove the pupusas from the microwave and evenly divide the carnitas/cheese mixture between two of the pupusas, spreading to near the edge in an even layer.  Place the remaining two pupusas over the carnitas/cheese layer making two sandwiches.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Gently place the sandwiches in the pan and grill for 1-1 1/2 minutes per side, flipping once, until sides are golden and cheese mixture is melted. Remove from the pan, cut in half and serve immediately.  Makes 2 adult size servings or 4 child servings.

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Curry Corn Fritters with Cilantro-Coconut Dipping Sauce

My family is in love with non-dairy milks, so when I heard about the So Delicious and Go Dairy Free Snackable Recipe Contest  I was super excited for such a good excuse to try a wealth of other dairy free products.

Snackable-Recipe-Contest-Badge

What most peaked my interest was the variety of coconut based offerings. I quickly nabbed the So Delicious original culinary coconut milk and So Delicious unsweetened cultured coconut milk. The culinary coconut milk is thick and creamy, whereas the cultured coconut milk is akin to sour cream, keeping the tang of sour cream and adding just a hint of coconut flavor.

SoDelicious

The contest poses the challenge of creating something sweet, something savory, or something sippable. Hmmm. After swirling a few ideas around I landed on savory, deciding to go with Thai themed Curry Corn Fritters. In addition to the So Delicious culinary coconut milk, I have stirred in a bit of corn, green onion, and red curry paste to flavor the fritters. I kept it easy by using self-rising flour and by baking instead of frying the curry corn fritters (who wants to babysit a deep fryer during a party?). Yet, the fritters still seem like a luxurious treat when they get a dunk in the cilantro and garlic infused So Delicious cultured coconut milk.

Curry Corn Fritters

The corn fritters were a hit, which means I’m dreaming up even more uses for the other So Delicious dairy free products. Don’t mind me as a grab another Curry Corn Fritter while I ponder . . . .

Curry Corn Fritters


 

Curry Corn Fritters with Cilantro-Coconut Dipping Sauce

½ cup So Delicious original culinary coconut milk
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 cup self-rising flour
½ + 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
¾ cup frozen corn, thawed and well drained
¼ cup diced green onion
1 cup So Delicious unsweetened cultured coconut milk
¼ cup cilantro
½ tablespoon freshly minced garlic

 

Preheat oven to 400 °F.   Coat large cookie sheet with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, stir together the coconut milk, egg, coconut oil, and red curry paste. Mix together the flour and salt and then add to the coconut milk until dough sticks together. Stir in corn, and green onion. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 1 inch apart onto the cookie sheet. While the fritters are baking, stir together the dipping sauce by mixing the cultured coconut milk, cilantro, garlic, and remaining salt.

Bake 15-18 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve warm with dipping sauce on the side.

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Tomatillo Salsa

This week we hosted our church small group and the meal theme was taco bar.  I was lucky enough to get to prepare one of my favorite things to make – SALSA.  When I started cooking, a variety of salsas was what kicked off my kitchen experimenting. So much so, that people started saying, “oh yeah, you’re the salsa lady – I loved the ________ salsa you made last time”.

I love experimenting with salsa because it is so versatile, enabling both vegetables and fruit combos, and eaten with chips or as an entree topper.

My latest salsa is this tomatillo salsa, which starts with a pound or fresh tomatillos that get roasted,

tomatillos

roastedTomatillos

and then blended before stirring in a generous amount of red onion, tomatoes, corn, and garlic (plus a bit of honey to balance the natural tartness of the tomatillos).

tomatilloSalsa1

 

The salsa (and the taco bar theme) turned out to be a great hit – next time I plan on making a double batch!

tomatilloSalsa3

 

tomatilloSalsa5

tomatilloSalsa8


Tomatillo Salsa

1 lb tomatillos, husk removed
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup diced red onion
½ cup diced roma tomato
½ cup frozen corn, thawed
2 cloves garlic, minced
Set oven to broil and place tomatillos on a roasting pan. Place in the oven and roast for 8-10 minutes, turning once, until both sides are slightly charred. Remove from the oven and pulse in a food processor until smooth. Add the pureed tomatillo to a large bowl, and then stir in the honey, salt, onion, tomato, corn, and garlic. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips.

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Zucchini & Sweet Pepper Gazpacho

As is typical, I brought home a bounty of fresh vegetables from the local farmers market this week. Since there is no time like the present, I decided a refreshing gazpacho was in order for lunch.

Gazpacho, a chilled soup originating from Spain, typically consists of pureed tomato, chopped vegetables and a garnish of croutons or hard-boiled eggs. I’ve taken a more liberal approach to my version of gazpacho today, and replaced the tomato with zucchini and sweet peppers.

peppers_fm

I started with two globe zucchini, two sweet red peppers (one Italian Bullhorn and the other Aconcagua) and one ear of Peaches & Cream corn.

I decided to serve the soup in the globe zucchini, so I cut the tops off the squash and scooped out the insides, saving the insides for the soup. Next I diced the peppers after removing the seeds and membranes, and then cut the corn kernels off the cob.

Zuch_1

I reserved a bit of the peppers and corn to stir into the soup later, and placed the rest in a food processor with the zucchini meat and water and pureed until smooth. I then poured the soup into a large bowl, and stirred in the remainder of my ingredients, including green onions and horseradish.

To serve, I poured some into by globe zucchini bowls, making sure to include crackers on the side. This zucchini-pepper gazpacho was just as refreshing as the tomato-based variety, and a most tasty lunch!

soup_1


 

Zucchini & Sweet Pepper Gazpacho

2 globe zucchini
1 ear sweet corn
2 sweet red peppers
3 green onions, diced
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons grated horseradish
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper

 

Cut off the top of the globe squash and reserve, then scoop out the insides of the squash, leaving about ¼ inch shell. Place the squash meat in a food processor and refrigerate the squash bowls and bowl tops until ready to serve. Remove the corn kernels from the ear of corn, and then remove the sees and membranes from the peppers and dice the peppers. Reserve ¼ cup of both the corn and peppers, and add the remainder to the food processor. Blend the squash, corn, and peppers until smooth, and then pour into a large bowl. Stir in the remainder of the ingredients and chill until ready to serve. Serve in the squash bowls, or cups.

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