Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Risotto

I went and took a fancy Italian dish and trashed it up. Or Americanized it. Whichever phrase you prefer. But seriously though, who doesn’t love bacon, cheddar and corn? And creamy rice. Duh.
Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Risotto 5

I made this Saturday night for an impromptu date night at home after we got the kids to bed. We love to cook up a big, non-kid friendly dinner together at home every once and awhile since it’s so hard to get out on our own. We usually turn on some music, grill steaks the kids wouldn’t eat and make something fancy to go with it. Joel requested risotto this time so I looked around the fridge and pantry to see what we had and this is what I came up with.

Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Risotto 3

This hits on all those delicious taste buds and leaves you full and happy. The corn is sweet, the cheddar is sharp, the bacon is salty and smoky. Pretty much perfection in a pan. And it’s a fun and different way to use up that sweet corn before it’s gone for the season.
Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Risotto 1

This is obviously amazing with fresh corn cut from the cob, but you can also substitute with frozen corn (thawed first) when fresh isn’t available.

Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Risotto 4
If you want to serve it to the kids and are worried about the wine, just sub in additional chicken broth. This made a huge batch so the kids had it leftover for lunch with us the next day and they totally loved it too. “Like a fancy mac-n-cheese” said Noah.
Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Risotto 2
Because as you all should know by now, carbs and cheese are our favorites around here.

Sweet Corn, Bacon and Cheddar Risotto

2 cups water
32 oz. low sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, finely minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweet corn, cut from cob or thawed from frozen
6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1. Combine water and broth in a saucepan and warm over medium-low heat.

2. Melt butter in a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onion and saute for about 3 minutes, or until softened and translucent. Add rice; cook 2 minutes, uncovered, stirring constantly. Stir in wine and cook 30 seconds or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the risotto.

3. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total) until broth is gone or rice is cooked through. About 10 minutes in, stir in the corn. Once the rice is done, remove from heat and stir in cheddar.

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing

Southwestern Chopped Salad 1
I have another Mexican inspired recipe to share today in preparation for Cinco de Mayo tomorrow just in case you didn’t find something in yesterday’s taco post. We decided on these Loaded Carne Asada Tacos for our little celebration but if you want to make smarter decisions and keep it light, this Southwestern Chopped Salad is the way to go.
Southwestern Chopped Salad 2
Ever since receiving Seriously Delish for Christmas I have been dying to make the Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing. I’ve had it rolling around in my head for awhile and thought the cool, creamy avocado would pair really well with some smoky, spicy chipotle chicken.
Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing 2
Toss is some romaine, roasted corn, black beans, cilantro and even more avocado for a perfectly dreamy salad.
Southwestern Chopped Salad 3
I topped ours with crispy tortilla strips for some added texture. This salad was enjoyed by my entire family which is a huge feat. I couldn’t shovel it in Hannah’s mouth fast enough.
Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing 1
Southwestern Chopped Salad
serves 2

1 large romaine heart, washed and chopped
2 chipotle chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, diced
2 Tbsp. cilantro, finely minced
tortilla strips, for garnish
Blue Cheese Dressing, recipe follows

1. Preheat broiler. Place frozen corn on rimmed baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place under broiler and cook until some brown spots appear, stirring frequently. This should only take a couple minutes so keep a close eye on it. Remove from oven and scrape into a small bowl.

2. In a large bowl, combine romaine, chicken, corn, black beans, avocado and cilantro. Toss then add desired amount of blue cheese avocado dressing, tossing again. Serve with tortilla strips on top.

Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing
recipe slightly adapted from Seriously Delish

1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
1 garlic clove, roughly minced
Juice from 1/2 lemon
6 Tbsp. low-fat buttermilk
1 Tbsp. mayo
1 Tbsp. sour cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4-6 ounces bleu cheese crumbles (depending on taste)

Place avocado, garlic, lemon juice, buttermilk, mayo, sour cream, salt and pepper in food processor and blend until smooth. Gently stir in bleu cheese crumbles. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

*Disclaimer: the link above is an affiliate link which means if you click on the link and purchase, I get a small percentage from the sale.
Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing 3

Bacon and Bleu Hot Corn Dip

Bacon and Bleu Hot Corn Dip 5
I have a thing for dips. Chips and dip are my nemesis, my inner fat kid’s favorite snack. Seriously, I would eat them everyday if I could. We were playing a game recently called Truth Be Told and each round you have to answer a question about the reader of the card. Then they are read aloud and everyone tries to guess what the reader said. So, you come up with an answer that is fitting to the reader since you get points if they guess your answer. Does that make sense? Anyway, one of the questions was “what’s one food you wish was healthy?” CHIPS. Chips are always the answer. Chips for life. Sweets I can take or leave most of the time but savory snacks get me every time.
Bacon and Bleu Hot Corn Dip 1
So when I started thinking about something yummy to share with you all for the Super Bowl, my brain naturally went to a dip that I could dunk chips into. Sorry I was a little self-centered but I figured you guys wouldn’t argue. I’ve been really digging bleu cheese lately and was enjoying it in a Cobb salad with some bacon and roasted corn a few days ago and thought it would make an amazing sweet, smoky and tangy combination for a hot dip. With tortilla chips of course. I guess if you want to be healthy you could use celery, but it’s the Super Bowl, why would you want to do that?
Bacon and Bleu Hot Corn Dip 3
This dip is mixed and cooked in a crock pot for easy prep and clean up. I love a set it and forget it kind of appetizer especially for football games since I usually have a lot of snack-y type things to prepare. This could even be mixed up the night before and refrigerated. Just add another half hour or so to the cooking time to ensure it warms through and the cheeses melt.
Bacon and Bleu Hot Corn Dip 6
The super sweet corn and strong, stinky bleu cheese create a nice contrast. And bacon makes everything better. I may have eaten half the batch for lunch yesterday. Maybe. This would be perfect for snacking on while waiting hours for the pizza to be delivered on Super Bowl night. Not that we would know from experience.
Bacon and Bleu Hot Corn Dip 2
Bacon and Bleu Hot Corn Dip

3 1/3 cups frozen corn, thawed
8 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese, cubed
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled*
Salt and pepper to taste

Dump all ingredients into a crockpot and mix. Cook for 2 hours on low, stirring occasionally. Serve with tortillas chips or raw veggies for dipping.

*Before cooking, partially freeze bacon then slice very thinly. Cook in a skillet and it’s recipe ready.
Bacon and Bleu Hot Corn Dip 7

Hot Black Bean Dip {Football Food}

Hot Black Bean Dip
Those that know me well know that chips are my downfall, my nemesis, that one food I just can’t resist. I seriously have a hard time practicing self control when they are around. Which is why they are only in my house on rare occasions. Football games being such times since they are the perfect snack to inhale while watching the game. And although I would be perfectly happy with a bowl of chips (sea salt kettle chips to be precise), it’s nice to whip up a dip so that I can say I had black beans for dinner instead of just chips……
Hot Black Bean Dip
Tortilla chips are the perfect vehicle for this spicy, smoky, cheesy black bean dip. This dip takes a few steps but it’s very simple and can even be prepared ahead of time then put in the oven right before kick off, giving you time to whip up more delicious food to chow down on during the game. Because I guess eating chips and dip for dinner is not the appropriate adult thing to do.

And if for some totally indescribable reason you don’t like chips (I’m not sure we can be friends anymore), this dip is also very tasty atop crispy baked sweet potato fries.
Hot Black Bean Dip
Hot Black Bean Dip
recipe slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 (15½-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed well, divided
2 canned chipotle chiles, minced + 3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
¾ cup water
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1½ cups frozen corn, thawed
6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1½ cups), divided
6 ounces sharp Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1½ cups), divided
¾ cup chopped cilantro, divided
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking pan (I used an 8×8) with non-stick spray.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and salt, cooking until softened and translucent (about 4 minutes).Add the garlic and chili powder and cook another minute. Stir in 1 can of black beans, chipotles and adobo sauce, water and tomatoes. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, 2-3 minutes.

3. Transfer the black bean mixture to a food processor or blender then add the vinegar. Process until smooth then pour into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the remaining black beans, corn, half of the cheeses, 1/2 cup cilantro and pepper. Dump into prepared pan then top with the remaining cheese. (At this point you can cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake and serve – if you do this add 5-10 minutes to the baking time). Bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Top with remaining cilantro for garnish.

Turkey and Corn Chili {Football Food}

Turkey and Corn Chili
When I think of the perfect food to eat on a crisp fall day while watching football, chili automatically pops into my head. It’s warm, comforting, filling and can easily feed a crowd.

Although I love a rich, hearty and tomato-y chili, it’s still really warm around here so when the chili craving struck I went on the hunt for something lighter and a little different. This chili still has the comfort of traditional recipes but brings in flavors of the lingering summer to combine for the perfect game day meal.
Turkey and Corn Chili
The addition of barbeque sauce brings an amazing, smoky flavor that is unique and delicious with the turkey, corn and black beans.

If you are feeding a crowd, double the recipe and whip up some sweet cornbread to nibble alongside it. Perfect for cheering on your favorite team tomorrow. Go Huskers!
Turkey and Corn Chili
Turkey and Corn Chili
recipe adapted from Food Network

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb.  ground turkey
2 Tbsp. dark chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 salt
1/2 pepper
2 Tbsp. Mexican spice rub
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 to 3 Tbsp. hot sauce
1/2 large onion, finely diced
1/2 cup beer (the alcohol cooks out)
1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup smoky barbecue sauce
11 oz. can corn
16 oz. can pinto or black beans

1. Heat a pot over medium to medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and the turkey meat. Season the meat with: chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, Mexican spice rub, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Break up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon into small crumbles.

2. Chop the onion, reserving 1/4 of it for topping the chili. Brown meat 5 minutes, then add onions and cook 10 minutes more. Add beer and deglaze the pan, scraping up the drippings and cooking off the alcohol. Add tomato sauce and barbecue sauce and bring to a bubble. Stir in corn and black beans. Let chili simmer 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings and heat level to your taste. Remove from heat and serve.

Corn Tortillas

Corn Tortillas 4
A few months back, I shared a recipe for flour tortillas with you all that changed my life. The thought of store-bought tortillas just makes me sad now (don’t get me wrong, I still buy them occasionally for convenience). Considering that I enjoy corn tortillas even more than flour, I knew I would have to try them homemade as well.
Corn Tortillas 2
And they are even easier to mix up than the flour version! I whipped up a batch of these for some unique, delicious tacos I will be sharing with you this week. While I was working on the taco filling, I placed these (wrapped in a light towel) in the oven.

The taste difference of store-bought vs. homemade in tortillas is incredible. The store version doesn’t even come close and just tastes like cardboard compared to homemade tortillas. They are incredible soft and actually taste like corn.
Corn Tortillas 3
At my last visit to the Mexican market in Omaha, I picked up a tortilla press and it makes things so much easier but if you don’t have one, no worries. You can roll them out between two pieces of parchment, just get them as thin as possible.

Corn Tortillas
recipe from Eating Rules

1 cup Masa
pinch salt
3/4 cup water

1. In a large bowl, mix masa and salt.

2. Add water and stir. If the mixture is too wet, add a little masa. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water.

3. Roll into balls a little larger than golf ball size. Cover tortilla press with plastic wrap or parchment then place a ball in the center. Press down, turn and press again.

4. Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet to medium-high heat. Cook for about 30 seconds per side, or just barely browned. Serve warm.

Cobb Salad

Cobb Salad 2
Now that the summer heat has set in, I have been craving cool, crisp salad all the time. The only problem here is one of those boys I live with (the big one) doesn’t think salad is a meal.
Cobb Salad 3
In comes the Cobb Salad to prove him wrong because if you know me, you know I like to be right. I even have a magnet given to me by my mom’s best friend that states: “The Happy Couple: Mr. Right and Mrs. Always Right.” It’s a problem I have. But not really…life is just easier if things are done my way.
Cobb Salad 1
How could a salad covered in grilled corn, hard boiled eggs, bacon, chicken, avocado, cucumbers and cheese then drizzled with roasted garlic vinaigrette not be deemed a meal? Well, people…it was. I knew I would convince him (if he knew what was good for him). And there were no complaints from the dinner table. I call that a success!

Cobb Salad

1 romaine heart, chopped
1 head of butter lettuce, chopped
2 ears grilled corn
2 hard boiled eggs
1 avocado, sliced
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbles
1 grilled chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 english cucumber, sliced into half moons
1/4 cup bleu cheese, feta or gorgonzola
croutons 
Roasted garlic vinaigrette

Mix together the romaine and butter lettuce. Place chicken down the middle. In a line layer the avocado on one side and the cucumber on the other. Continue with the remaining items (except dressing). Serve individual portions being sure to get all the toppings. Drizzle with dressing and serve.