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Southwest Summer Stir-Fry

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For one of the most simple healthy summer recipes around, try out this delectable Southwest Summer Stir-Fry. This easy dinner has plenty of spice, but gets its flavor and healthy impact from the ample use of fresh in-season produce. You have bee forewarned: this may become one of your new favorite summer dinner recipes.

For me, healthy cooking and healthy eating is easiest in the summer. Living in a colder climate, I have only a limited few months to gather and use as much fresh produce as I can. While I love using ample amounts of spices in my cooking, I do not always need to during summer because fresh vegetables are just so tasty on their own.

In particular, I love when fresh corn season rolls around. I know corn sometimes gets a bad rap as its derivatives show up so often in processed foods. However, as a good Midwesterner, I cannot resist the tastes and aromas of fresh sweet corn. Since it is technically a grain and not a vegetable, I like using fresh corn instead of rice or pasta in my summer cooking. Many of my favorite healthy summer recipes, including this one, get an added boost of flavor this way.

2-3 ears of fresh sweet corn
2-3 red bell peppers, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 cup fresh spinach
1 large onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, diced
Jalapeno peppers, sliced (optional)
Chili powder, to taste
Paprika, to taste
Cumin, to taste
Fresh cilantro, to taste
Queso fresco or Pepper jack cheese (optional)

Heat a large wide skillet over medium-high heat. Then, remove kernels from the ears of corn and add to the pan.

Add the peppers, black beans, tomatoes and onion. You may want to use some vegetable broth to keep your vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the corn and peppers begin to blacken and the onions become translucent.

Then, add the spinach, garlic, jalapenos and spices. Cook for another 5 minutes, and then serve topped with cheese if desired.

Quick Notes:
To easily remove the kernels from the ears, place your shucked ears into a bowl. Then, with the ears pointing up, run your knife down the down the side of the ear until all the kernels are removed.

As always, feel free to adjust the amount and variety of ingredients based on what you have on hand. I like things to be spicy so I prefer to use jalapenos with the seeds intact. For a less spicy dish, be sure to remove all the seeds from your jalapenos before use.

Diet type: Vegetarian

Diet (other): Low calorie, Reduced fat

Number of servings (yield): 4

Meal type: dinner

Using fresh sweet corn makes all the difference with this recipe. While I find frozen corn to be rather bland and tasteless, fresh sweet corn is overflowing with flavor. My vegetarian summer recipes are transformed by fresh corn, and it should be a go-to grain for your healthy summer recipes too.

Your turn: What’s your favorite late summer produce item to use in your cooking?


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