Thursday, July 14, 2011

Calabacita Squash with Corn, Tomato & Onion

During my first month at home with a new baby, someone gave me a copy of an Oprah magazine. I was intrigued by an article featuring Jennifer Anniston's celebrity chefs. They cook healthy meals--now, as much as I enjoy time in the kitchen (it's stress relief to me), to have a celebrity chef prepare healthy meals for my family and not to have to worry about dishes or clean up is the thing dreams are made of...well, I clipped Jill Elmore's favorite recipe on preparing squash and finally got to make it. What a wonderful way to use up summer's bounty--it's a delicious side dish! So, so, good!

You don't feel like you're eating healthy in a frustrated can use whatever cheese you have around--I used Swiss and enjoyed it. It's a flexible recipe--I used 3 large zucchini and a bag of frozen corn with good results. And because I was in a hurry, I didn't drain the zucchini. I think it would make a difference so I definitely will not skip that step next time. This vegetable recipe would make a great side dish or something different to bring to a potluck dinner.

You might be asking what calabacita/calabasita is. And I have seen it spelled both with a 'c' and with an 's'. It means 'little squash' in Spanish. It's a lighter skinned, shorter (squattier), summer squash used in Mexican and Hispanic cooking. I have read that it has a less bitter skin. I used this kind of zucchini squash. It was labeled as 'calabacita' in my Hispanic grocery store, but you can find it in regular grocery stores too. I imagine that any zucchini would work, really. Not really sure which is the proper way....but in any case, at last you can eat like Jennifer Anniston with this dish (ha).

Adapted from The Family Chef by Jewels and Jill Elmore
Serves 5
  • 4 small zucchini, diced
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 ears corn, kernels sliced off
  • 2 plum (Roma) tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella or feta (optional)

Place diced zucchini in a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt; toss and let stand 20 minutes. (This draws the excess liquid out of the zucchini.)

Transfer zucchini to a kitchen towel and pat dry. (This step is optional but worth the time: Drying zucchini prior to sautéing it keeps it from becoming watery, and Jill think this step removes its occasional bitterness.)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 to 5 minutes until soft. Do not brown. Add zucchini and corn kernels. Saute 6 to 7 minutes until vegetables are almost tender. Add diced tomato; sauté 2 to 3 minutes until softened and zucchini is tender.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese if desired.

Per serving: 143 cal, 4 g pro, 21 g car, 4 g fiber, 7 g fat (1 g sat fat), 0 mg chol, 602 mg sod

Jill's Tip: She says she loves adding leftover calibasita to scrambled eggs in the morning for a breakfast burrito. Add a dash of hot sauce, roll it up in a tortilla and hit the road!

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