I was totally inspired by this lunch-lady-dude on Next Food Network Star when he made maple bacon creamed corn to top with a crab cake. I wish it were time for local fresh corn, but we’re not quite there yet. Instead, this is the snazziest freezer-side-dish ever.
We grilled some chicken to serve over this sweet and smokey creamed corn. I couldn’t believe it…the little one gobbled almost a whole chicken thigh! He tends to choose the fruits/veggies/carbs over chicken but we just keep serving it. He had some regular corn and some of this maple bacon creamed corn.
The creamed corn took the same amount of time to cook as the chicken. Perfect!
2 slices of bacon
1/2 yellow onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups corn
3 tablesoons of water
1/3 cup milk or cream
2 tbs maple syrup
Pan fry the bacon.
While the bacon is cooking, chop the onion and add the onion pieces and butter to a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Let the onions cook until soft & translucent ~8 minutes.
Add in the corn (mine was frozen), the water, syrup, and the milk.
Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5-10 minutes.
If using frozen corn, remove about 1/3 – 1/2 and blend or food process it a little bit. Break it down a bit without totally obliterating it. Fresh corn will likely break down a bit on is own.
Add that back in, stir, and then add in the crispy bacon.
Stir while cooking another minute or two. Serve and enjoy!
I loved the sweet maple-y bacon flavors with spiced grilled chicken. It was a quick & unusual side dish for us with some pretty easy grilled chicken thighs. I like a new thing to go with something hands-off/no-stress/straightforward other foods. It would have been ideal to have a sharp & peppery arugula salad with this, but this was what we could make happen. This family dinner outside was glorious.
One drizzly Sunday I was hell-bent on making corn & zucchini something. As in, there were already groceries in the house and I willingly ventured to Wegmans…on a Sunday…with the little one…after going to Target. I do love taking the little one on errands partly because he seems to enjoy it, and I want him seeing people/places/learning how to behave in public/knowing we need to do things beyond playing together. But let’s be real: most grocery stores are BA-NAN-AS on Sunday afternoons. Also, we need a rule against 85-year-olds doing their errands on the weekends.
Anywho, I got it into my head that it should be like a pancake-ish. Mine ended up being a little more eggy/fritter-y but we still got the little one to eat it. (he’s not so into eggs right now)
I loved these as a non-traditional side dish for our house. They reheat well too.
Corn & Zucchini Fritters
adapted from Menu Musings’ Corn Cakes with Cilantro Lime Cream
2 cups corn (I used cooked frozen)
2 small zucchinis, shredded & moisture squeezed out
2 tbs chopped chives (optional)
1 tbs fresh thyme (optional)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup panko
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees (or warm a pan if frying them – I did both).
Mix together corn, shredded zucchini, chives, thyme.
Whisk the eggs and milk, then add panko, cornmeal, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
Add the wet mixture into the veggie mixture and stir to combine.
Use a muffin tin, muffin-top pan (my fav), or a baking sheet and spray liberally with non-stick spray. Add the zucchini corn mixture and bake. Cooking time will vary depending on your baking vessel. I partially cooked by baking for 10 minutes to set before pan frying.
Or pan fry until crisp. I pan fried to finish them off for about 3 minutes per side to crisp the edges.
I liked these a lot! They might not be a meal you remember for life, but they’re a fun way to enjoy some veggies in a form I don’t have daily. They reheat well and could be made as mini balls with toothpicks as an appetizer! They’re pretty mild flavored and friendly for the kiddos or your favorite vegetarian.
Yes to breaded eggplant. Yes to Parmesan. Yes to puff pastry. I love all these things so I was secretly psyched for a cooler drizzly day to whip up this dinner. Ohh so good. I liked how quick these were and all the flavors I wanted while still feeling different. Puff pastry is so foolproof. Fill it with anything and you’ll have a happy dinner.
Also, let’s discuss my sous chefs: note how they flank where I stand at that neon-green cutting board. It is so nice they want to be a part of everything, but sometimes I just need some room. I fear the babe will think their names are Bailee Move and Windsor Move. They are cute though, aren’t they?
(for 1 sheet of puff pastry making 4 pockets)
~12 slices of breaded eggplant (3 slices per pocket)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup ricotta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the eggplant until crisped, flipping once. (I cooked mine the night before to speed it up).
Roll out the puff pastry until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut into 4.
Top with a slice of eggplant, a few small dollops of ricotta, some shredded mozzarella, and a slight drizzle of tomato sauce (not too much! it’ll get soggy!) Add another eggplant slice and keep the layers going…3 slices per pocket. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Pinch together opposite corners and keep tucking the puff pastry underneath. Cut a few slits into the sides to vent.
Bake 25-35 minutes. Check at 25 minutes – mine needed a few more minutes to get golden brown.
Enjoy! Serve with some tomato sauce for dipping if desired.
I really loved this. The crispy, buttery, flakey outside with the eggplant and all the cheese inside – ohh so great. The little one likes the breaded eggplant and gobbled it up a dinner and lunch in a row. Yes! Winning all around!
Have a happy Memorial Day weekend!
I know. I can admit. I’m caesar dressing obsessed and after making Caesar Brussels Sprouts, I thought it would be really good for roasted asparagus. It was! I jazzed up some creamy caesar dressing and added some hard boiled egg, but you could totally make your own caesar dressing. I loved it and could have had just that for dinner!
1 bunch asparagus
1 egg, hard boiled
1/4 cup creamy caesar
2 tbs grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 tsp minced garlic
cracked fresh pepper
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Trim the asparagus then drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet.
Roast for 15 minutes.
In a jar, add caesar dressing, 1 tbs of parmesan, anchovy paste, garlic, and pepper. Shake well.
Lay the asparagus on a serving plate. Drizzle the dressing over the top, and the remaining Parmesan.
Chop the hard boiled egg and sprinkle over the top.
I loved this. The tiniest bit of anchovy paste makes this dressing so. much. better. Trust me, nobody will know what it is, but that tiny touch is necessary. Plus, it lasts forever in a tiny tube in your fridge. I love the salty, peppery dressing with the just-roasted asparagus and egg. It was such a great side dish and a sign that spring is on the way!
I mixed up these spinach squares last weekend thinking they’d be a good thing to pack for the little one’s lunch. Thennn I also munched it for my quest for savory breakfasts. I also was reminded that my mom makes this as an appetizer…such a multi-functional food! There are so few ingredients and I liked that they weren’t so eggy that it seems like square quiche. The trick making them so good is quality cheese and is that they get baked in a butter bath.
The little one liked it a few times, but seemed to tire of them. That’s a trend for him: a few meals something is good, then he kind of passes on it. If we give it a break, it is all good awhile later. I’ll probably pop some into the freezer.
3 tbs butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 package frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed well
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
optional: 1 small onion & 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
In a 13×9 baking pan, melt the butter by putting both into the preheating oven.
In a mixing bowl (I used my stand mixer), add in the eggs, cheese, spinach, milk, flour, baking powder, and salt.
Stir well to combine.
Pour into the buttery baking pan.
Bake 30 minutes.
Let cool, slice and enjoy at room temperature or warm!
I used more butter but thought maybe there was a bit too much (gasp!) it pooled a bit one mine so next time I’d use 3 tbs (as suggested above). I love these! My mom’s are a bit thicker and more fluffy…mine seemed a touch dense but I still liked them! Use the good cheese…these have so few ingredients they’re worth it!
These sweet potato patties were served at work for lunch and I knew I had to recreate at home. They can easily be a veggies burger, or bake them up as little patties or balls and nobody will even cringe thinking they’re eating a veggie burger! haha just kidding. Well, maybe kidding. If you’re comparing these buggers to a burger, they will definitely not seem the same. If you’re into sweet/smokey flavors then these will be a hit. The chef at work used this recipe from Minimalist Baker. I tweaked mine slightly for a bit more of a southwestern twist.
I mixed up a big batch and Mr. J and I ate them in ball form over salad, the little one munched his in pieces. I formed a few into patties and froze them for another time. I baked them all and just turned a few times for a crisp exterior. Yum.
based on Minimalist Baker’s recipe
2 sweet potatoes
1-1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 can black beans
3/4 cup corn
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
drizzle with sour cream/salsa/liquid smoke as dressing
Boil/bake/microwave sweet potatoes until fully cooked.
Cook the rice.
Rinse the beans. Add half into a bowl and mash with the back of the spoon. Then add in the other half of the beans and the rice goes in.
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Add the cooked sweet potatoes and corn, then cilantro, paprika, cumin, finally chili powder. Mix well (I used my stand mixer but a spoon would be fine too). Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce and a splash of liquid smoke and mix again.
Form into patties, burgers, or balls. Then bake on a sprayed baking sheet for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
I love the smokey flavors from the paprika, cumin, and liquid smoke. The corn and cilantro seem quite fitting here without quite being a taco salad. I kept the same flavors going with a little smokey dressing of sour cream, salsa, and liquid smoke. and tossed together some greens, tomato, and avocado.
These are good on their own or on salad, or I’d totally warm in the toaster oven and then pop a patty into a pita pocket. I’m glad to have a few more stashed in the freezer. Coming up with lunches for the babe that can be eaten cold and to keep some variety takes some thought. The babe liked them and had his just alongside some chopped tomatoes & avocado. I appreciated how filling they were and I threw a bag of instant brown rice in the boiling water with the sweet potatoes. Boom. 2 foods, one pot.
My side dishes tend to be really supporting characters rather than the blog-worthy item. Until now! I saw a recipe for caesar green beans and thought it would be even better for brussels spouts since the leaves would hold the sauce so well.
2 cups brussels sprouts, shredded
1 tbs butter
1/4 cup creamy Caesar dressing
1 tsp grated Parmesan
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter while chopping the brussels sprouts.
Sear the brussels spouts to gently brown, stirring well. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium.
Add in the caesar dressing reducing the heat to low.
Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Sprinkle with Parmesan then serve & enjoy!
These were really addictive. We served them with some marinated grilled chicken.
Ok folks. You haaaave to make this. I’ve had Mexican street corn, Elotes, and wanted to try making some myself. It is normally on the cob but now that we’re out of that season, I wanted to make some as a side dish. It is such great flavor of sweet corn, salty cheese, lime juice, and a creaminess that is ohh so good. We ate this as a side dish for a fiesta dinner but it’d be fun as a dip too. Or in tacos! (or by the spoonful).
I skipped the jalapeno not wanting this to be too spicy for my crowd. I don’t know that it needs it, so do as you wish!
12 oz white & golden corn
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cotija cheese or feta (I don’t have cotija at my grocery store so I used feta)
1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 jalapeno pepper (optional)
Cook the corn according to the package. (I used frozen corn).
Mix together the lime juice, mayo, garlic, chili powder, and some lime zest.
Add a splash of milk if it seems to thick, or mix it with the corn and then add if necessary.
Mix the dressing with the corn and cheese.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
I really loved this. So did the whole fam! It had a great flavor and texture. It was really great alongside our tacos. I admit I scooped with chips but with salsa and guacamole, I’d still keep this as a side dish. It was a winner and so quick. I’ll totally make this again…asap.
One minute fall is in the air and the next, it warms up to 70-degrees. Welcome to New England. I wanted some fall flavors for a night that was really quite warm. I decided to make a copy-cat Roxy’s Grilled Cheese. I used apple, sweet potato slices, and cheddar. Then I grilled it in brown butter. Hello. This is what dreams are made of.
Sharp cheddar cheese
sweet potato, cooked and sliced
2 tbs butter, browned
Layer the bread with cheese, apple, sweet potato, and another slice of cheese.
Brown the butter over low, being careful not to let it burn.
Pan fry the grilled cheese until very lightly tanned on each side. Then, spoon some brown butter onto the bread and flip the brown butter side down. Grill a few minutes, then repeat for the other side.
Give it a minute before slicing so all the cheese doesn’t escape.
I loved this. The brown butter really made a lovely touch…so worth it. I liked the apple crunch with the soft sweet potato and sharp cheddar. I’ll admit, some American Cheese would have been have been a good addition with the cheddar.
I will totally repeat this grilled cheese again this fall.
I’ve never loved quick dinners as much as I do right now. Get ready for lots this month & next! These are super quick and could be adapted in any way that strikes you. I was really wanting the combo of sweet pear & salty feta. While Mr. J and I ate this for dinner, the little one eat some pear pieces! Perfect!
I grabbed naan which make for the best pre-made crust option and realized that not only do meatless meals make dinner come together faster, but cheaper. Win win! Check out the cost below. Spoiler: it is staggeringly awesome.
2 naan (white, wheat, garlic all work great)
1/4 red onion
1/2 cup feta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, or until syrupy. Then remove from the heat.
Chop the onion and saute over medium heat in just a little olive oil. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Add pear to the onion for either just a minute to warm or 3 minutes to cook/soften as needed. (Don’t cook too long or you’ll have pear mush!)
Put the naan onto a cookie sheet and top with mozzarella, then onion & pear mixture. Then bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with feta. Then drizzle balsamic reduction over.
I loved this combo. These are such easy ingredients to have around and can be your starting point. For me, it was an easy few-ingredient meal. It has potential to be whatever you’re in the mood for.
Pear & Feta Flatbread (cost per quantity used)
total: $6.25 for 2, $3.12 each!
I overestimated the feta. I used really little so this could even cost less. Grab the feta from the salad bar if you won’t use the leftovers. It lasts quite awhile or use the remainder for Peach & Feta Salad or Quinoa Bowls or this quick Greek Dip with Hummus or Greek Meatball Wraps.