Lightened up: Creamed Corn

I love living in the South.

There is just something about it. Laid-back but high energy. Sweet and sincere with a little bit of sass.

And the food. Ugh. The food is so freaking delicious it’s not even funny. Or fair. Particularly when you’re trying not to indulge in all of the amazing dishes offered. Especially in the lovely city of Memphis when on Fridays I can smell pork wafting down the street when I walk outside.

We are definitely known for some staples down here. BBQ. Fried Chicken. And quite frankly, when you’re in a restaurant serving either of those staples, you tend to find a lot of calorie-laden sides to accompany it. French fries. Fried pickles. Fried tomatoes. Mac and cheese. Creamed corn.

It’s almost like you don’t even have a fighting chance to be healthy.

Well, a few weeks ago I came across a recipe for creamed corn that sounded delicious – and actually not loaded with fat. Now I am picky about my sides – I can justify splurging a little on a main course, but I have to really be impressed by a side dish.

Plated - Creamed Corn

This is definitely one of those recipes. I’ve had creamed corn before – and it has just seemed bland. But the fresh herbs and  red peppers really jazz up this recipe.

Give it a try – we are definitely fans and have made it a few times already.

Lightened up: Creamed Corn (Serves 2 – 4 WW points each)

Slightly modified from original recipe found here.

1/2 Tbsp. butter (the real deal y’all)

1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped

1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

1/2 cup fat-free milk

1/2 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Step by Step - Creamed Corn

Melt your butter in a small saucepan. Add bell pepper and thyme and saute 2-3 minutes. Add corn kernels and stir to coat. Whisk in milk, salt and flour. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes. Remove half of the corn mixture and add to a mini food processor, pulsing a few times. Return to saucepan and stir well, simmering another minute or so.

I served this with another Cooking Light recipe for pan-fried chicken thighs – a first for me. It was absolutely delicious and I didn’t feel the least bit guilty after licking my plate.

Lightened Up - Creamed Corn

Have a great weekend y’all!

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Roasted Parmesan Asparagus

Growing up, I hated mushy vegetables. Scratch that – I still hate mushy vegetables. Probably why I have never been a fan of lima beans. Sorry Mom!

But seriously, to this day I don’t like cooked carrots which (much to my dismay) are very popular in the South. You can call them cute names like “Copper Pennies” all you want, but I will still only put one or two on my plate (to be polite, of course), chew them as few times as possible, and chase them with something more appealing. Like wine.

Soups are the only reason for vegetables to be somewhat mushy. And obviously, I’ll grant a pardon to potatoes because, well, they’re potatoes and I enjoy them in all forms.

Now, asparagus to me always used to have that gross texture. You know, when you bit into it and it’s all slimy and stringy? Ick people.

However, I now love asparagus. Because I found a way to make it absolutely delectable and non-mushy – and from me to you dear friend, this might be the easiest recipe I ever share with you. So no excuses – it’s healthy and it’s delicious. Make it!
Roasted Parmesan Asparagus (serves 4 – 2 WW points per serving)

1 bunch asparagus

2 tsp. olive oil (I just use my Misto to spray it on)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

4 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400.

Snip off ends of asparagus (you can usually tell where to trim – it’s lighter in color).

Coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray and arrange asparagus in a side-by-side line.

Brush/spray with olive oil to lightly coat. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 15 minutes. Then remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan. Return to oven for an additional 2-3 minutes until cheese has melted.

This goes great with anything – it’s amazing with fish or some delicious steaks – so divide, serve and devour!