Tag Archives: bell peppers

Fresh Corn Salad- and tips for using corn

Sometimes memories are so vivid you feel like you can taste them.

That’s how I feel about the sweet taste of corn on the cob fresh my grandparents’ farm.

My family would visit every summer. Grandpa would harvest corn in late July into August and I’d help my grandma shuck it for dinner. She always boiled it and served it so hot that a slab of butter would melt and slide down the side of the cob the second the butter touched it.

I couldn’t wait to nibble off the golden kernels in horizontal rows. It was a delicious tradition and a wonderful memory.

I still love corn on the cob although nothing compares to the flavor of farm fresh corn. For starters, corn is best consumed the day it’s picked because within 24 hours of picking, the sugars start to convert to starch and some of the flavor is lost.

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That said, I recommend buying corn from a farmers market for the freshest corn possible. If you’re not going to eat it that day, pop it in the refrigerator to slow down the conversion.

If you’re substituting fresh corn for canned, as a general rule, when you cut corn off the cob, you get about ½ a cup of corn.

When cutting corn off the cob, a neat little trick is to place the cob in the hole of an angel food pan or Bundt cake pan and then scrape off the kernels so they fall into the pan without going all over the counter (Bundt works better because the hole is smaller). I saw this idea on Pinterest and it works beautifully.

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Microwaving corn is my favorite cooking method because it’s so simple and fast. Simply pop the entire corn in its husk in the microwave and cook on high for 3-3.5 minutes; two ears for 4-5 minutes; three ears for 5-6 minutes. Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before you shuck it.

Another popular cooking method is to boil the corn. I always add a good dash of salt but also 1/3 cup of sugar to the water to bring out the sweetness. I particularly recommend this if you buy corn in the off season when it’s likely been shipped from far away and not as sweet. Boil corn for about 6-8 minutes. The older corn is, the longer it takes to cook because it’s starchier (add 1-2 minutes).

If you’re working with a bunch of corn, don’t toss the cobs when you’re done. Corn cobs can be used to make wonderful corn stock and frozen for corn chowder this winter. I boil 8-10 cobs with 5 cups water, 2 cups chicken stock, a carrot, two celery stalks, 1 bay leaf, and one sliced onion. Boil for an hour and then cool and freeze it for corn chowder this winter. If you want to use it right away, you can use it in place of water when making rice, quinoa or risotto.

That’s all the corn tips I have. I made this for my husband when we first met and it’s one of his favorite dishes to this day. This salad has celery, several types of bell pepper, red onion, parsley, basil and a light vinegar dressing.

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It’s so refreshing on a hot summer day and goes with everything from sausages to chicken to burgers.  It’s perfect for picnics and potlucks. And is an easy side dish for rotisserie chicken. The great thing about this corn salad is you can substitute canned corn in the winter.

Summer Corn Salad

3 ears of corn

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

¾ of a green bell pepper, chopped

½ an orange bell pepper, chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1/3 cup chopped parsley

5 basil leaves, sliced thin

Dressing:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 heaping tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

For the dressing, whisk ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

For the salad, cook corn according to your favorite method. If you’re microwaving, microwave on high in the husks for 5-6 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove husks and corn silks and cut corn off the cob and add to a large bowl.

Chop all your vegetables and add to corn. Add chopped parsley and basil and toss the salad with dressing. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours before serving. Leftovers keep for days in the refrigerator.

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Two EASY Quesadillas: Goat cheese and grilled peppers; Chicken and Bacon. The choice is yours

I get on kicks. My latest is quesadillas.

A month ago, I made a wonderful black bean, Ranch, rotisserie chicken quesadilla, then a Mediterranean inspired quesadilla and I have several more in the works.

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The charm of the quesadilla is it’s quick, easy, versatile and delicious.

It’s portable so you can eat it on the go as a snack, but also filling enough to enjoy it for dinner.

If you’re watching your carb intake, you can substitute a high protein, low carb wrap for the tortilla shell.

A classic quesadilla is common street fare all over in Mexico. You can fill it with any variety of cheeses, meats, vegetables and use corn, black corn, white or wheat flour tortillas.  There are tremendous possibilities.

It’s a great way to use leftover barbecue meats, too. I nestle shredded barbecue pork in a tortilla, top it with cheese, cilantro, chopped red onion, and grill it. Then I serve it with barbecue sauce and sour cream. It’s delightful.

And you don’t have to know much about cooking to create a delicious quesadilla.

My biggest tip is when making a quesadilla that is stuffed with other ingredients, cook it cheese side down first so it has a chance to melt and the cheese doesn’t fall out when you flip it.

Use a nonstick pan or a skillet to make quesadillas. If you’re feeding a crowd, a pancake griddle works beautifully to cook several at the same time (if you have a family, a griddle is a great choice).

Here are two AMAZING and easy recipes:

The goat cheese quesadilla is tossed with green salsa and cuddles up to bell peppers and chicken. It’s L1070005 (2) one of my favorites as the creamy, tangy goat cheese contrast beautifully with a trio of bell peppers. Goat cheese is also less fattening and I like the fact that my recipe includes veggies. This is a single serving recipe, so perfect for a snack or someone who lives solo.

My bacon and chicken is about as easy as it gets and takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish. This is basic qubaconqesadilla with rotisserie chicken, bacon pieces, cheese and a dash of cumin. I grill it and serve it with salsa and guacamole.

I hope you enjoy these.

Goat Cheese, Chicken and Tri-Pepper Quesadilla

Serves 1

1 medium size tortilla

Cooking spray

1/3 cup of assorted sliced bell peppers, red, green and yellow or orange

¼ cup of soft goat cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons green salsa

Dash of ground cumin

1/3 cup sliced or chopped rotisserie chicken breast

Guacamole or green salsa for serving

First, slice assorted bell peppers and heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. When hot, add the bell peppers and cook 3-5 minutes until they reach desired tenderness. Salt the peppers and remove from heat.

In a bowl, stir together the goat cheese and green salsa until combined. Then spread the mixture over half of a tortilla. Top with chicken and bell peppers. Then sprinkle a dash of ground cumin on the other side of the tortilla and fold over to make a half moon.

Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat it over medium heat. Add the folded tortilla and cook about 2-3 minutes per side, until slightly crisp. Slice and serve with green salsa or guacamole.

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Chicken and Bacon Quesadilla

Makes 2 snacks or 1 meal size

2 medium size flour tortillas

1 chicken breast

½ cup shredded Mexican style cheese

2 heaping teaspoons real bacon pieces

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin or cumin seed

Cooking spray

Guacamole for serving

Salsa for serving

Cilantro to garnish

Cut the chicken breast off the rotisserie chicken, discard and skin and slice the breast. Then divide those pieces in half.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat.

Place half the cheese on half of each tortilla. Top with chicken, bacon and cumin. Fold the other half of the tortilla over to make a half moon. Then place in skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes per side.

Serve with salsa and guacamole.

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