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Makes 12 servings: 3/4 cup each
It may be nearing the end of summer, but it’s still the best of corn season. So here’s a way to celebrate it. First, to assure your corn is GMO-free, pick organic. Then rather than going greasy with bacon, I created a flavorful and more eye-appealing corn casserole-style dish by using a variety of peppers. What’s more, there’s now no overly-processed cheese-like product in the recipe. Yep, that means no Velveeta; I just can’t go there … ever. The end result is a lovely side to take your tastebuds deliciously into the fall.
By the way … don’t feel that you need to use fresh corn; frozen corn works perfectly well and saves time here. Leftovers are delightful, too.
Calories Saved: 160
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium organic red bell pepper, finely diced
1 medium organic green bell pepper, finely diced
1 small Serrano pepper with seeds, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk
1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
3 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
3 pounds fresh or thawed frozen organic (non-GMO) corn kernels
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the bell peppers and Serrano and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the butter and garlic and sauté until the butter is melted and garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook while stirring for 1 minute. Stir in the almond milk, about 1/3 cup at a time until well incorporated. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Stir in the Cheddar cheese, goat cheese, salt, and black pepper, remove from heat, and continue to stir until the cheeses are melted. Stir in the corn. Adjust seasoning.
- Transfer the corn mixture to a 9 × 13-inch baking dish and bake until top is golden and bubbling, about 40 to 45 minutes. If desired, place under the broiler for additional browning.
- Let stand for at least 5 minutes. Transfer to individual bowls, sprinkle with additional black pepper, if desired, and serve.
Per serving: 210 calories, 10g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 20mg cholesterol, 330mg sodium, 27g total carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 9g sugars, 8g protein
The “Before” Recipe
cheesy corn casserole
Adapted from recipe in Saveur http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Cheesy-Corn-Casserole
Makes 12 servings
4 slices bacon, finely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
2 ounces Velveeta, cubed
2 cups grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
3 pounds fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Heat the bacon in an extra-large saucepan over medium heat and sauté until browned, about 8 minutes. Add the butter and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the flour and cook while stirring for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, bring to a boil, and cook while stirring constantly until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese, Velveeta, cheddar, paprika, salt, and pepper and cook while stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in corn. Adjust seasoning.
- Transfer the mixture to a 9 × 13-inch baking dish and bake until top is golden brown and bubbling, about 40 minutes.
- Let cool before serving.
Per serving: 370 calories, 24g total fat, 13g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 60mg cholesterol, 410mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 11g sugars, 14g protein
- When forgoing bacon, don’t go for fake bacon; rather, incorporate other highly flavored fresh ingredients into a dish, like peppers
- Create a creamy cheese sauce with a combination of a naturally low-calorie plant-based milk and real cheese; get velvetiness from a just-right amount of goat cheese rather than cream cheese or Velveeta and keep rich flavor by using a tangy cheese, like extra-sharp Cheddar
- Don’t forget taste; there’s no replacement for the taste of salt … but do choose a salt you like the taste of, like a sea salt
- Do choose the best of the best, especially when an ingredient is the star, like corn is in this recipe; quality matters