Fire up a pan of this Southwest Sweet Corn and Zucchini Saute to accompany any and all of your Mexican inspired meals. Sweet corn straight from the cob, fresh zucchini, robust mushrooms, and savory onions are the perfect combo for a little southwest flare.
A story with the recipe…
This weekend has been just perfect. Well, it didn’t start out too perfect. Ben, my dad, and my younger brothers had a guys’ trip planned for this weekend. I almost typed “boys’ trip” but then decided that my 36 year old husband is far beyond the “boy” stage of his life. Anyway, they were flying out to watch a college football game in Houston.
Just typing the word “Houston”, I think you all know where I’m headed with the negative part of this story. I feel so heartbroken for my fellow Texans who are struggling with the destruction of their city. I felt helpless watching the wrath of Harvey engulf my childhood neighborhood with multiple feet of grimy water. Who cares about missing a stinking football game when you’re witnessing friends being flooded out of their homes???
After briefly considering keeping their flights to Houston and aiding where needed, my dad was informed that there was very little they could do at the moment, and it would be best to hold off on a volunteer relief trip. So, the airlines granted them a full credit on their flights to use toward any destination within the next year.
I was taken by complete surprise when my youngest brother called me up on Thursday and asked if he should use his credit to fly into Phoenix the next day with his family for a Labor Day weekend getaway. Uh, heck YES!!!! Are you kidding me???! I was stoked! Our weekend forecast went from, “Hmmm, what are we going to do now that dad is home???” to “Wahoo!!! We have visitors. Time to party!!!”
And party we did. Seriously, it was a nonstop party for four days straight.
First of all, we surprised the girls when they got off the bus, since they had no idea that uncle Weston was coming. They both squealed with joy and darted across the street (thankfully not in the path of any oncoming traffic) to dote over my brother’s sweet baby Georgia.
That night we braved the crowds of Phoenix to participate in the monthly “First Free Friday” at the Children’s Museum. It was glorious chaos. Just ask Ben. This is his favorite activity ever; squeezing up against random sweaty bodies, maneuvering his way through clouds of intense body odor, and dodging flailing children in the midst of a maze of uncontrollable mayhem. Sounds enticing, eh? Don’t worry, I’ll send anyone the details if they’re interested in going next month…haha!
The next day I woke up at 4 am so that I could squeeze in a 19 mile run before another full day of fabulous entertaining. And a full day it was! We spent a few hours at the local water park, dined at The Cheesecake Factory (where following our meal, we proceeded to order 5 cheesecake slices to go), and then fought our way against another mass of hysterical people at a high end discount store called Last Chance. I’ll tell you one thing, the only “last” thing about that store is the fact that it was the “LAST” time I’m ever going there!!! Holy crap!
Sunday we had a slight day of rest that consisted of going to church, baking a birthday cake, cooking up some fabulous ribs, and lounging around watching So You Think You Can Dance. It was a much needed low key kind of day.
But come Monday, Labor Day, we were back on the crazy horse, driving almost an hour to the fabulously ghetto Skateland roller rink where my sister-in-law and I got into a cat fight with some other women concerning saving a table, and Braelyn developed motion sickness from skating in circles in the dark with flashing strobe lights for over an hour. This event ended beautifully with Braelyn barfing in the parking lot, hurling in Ben’s truck (luckily in a plastic bag), and vomiting in the bathroom of the restaurant.
We followed up barf-ville with a trip to an outdoor mall in Gilbert where Emry soaked herself from head to toe in the splash pad area and then proceeded to pout about every store we entered because she was “freezing” (it was 110 degrees) and wet (duh, I warned her), and I was not willing to spend money buying her a brand new dry outfit.
Sounds like a fantastic day, huh?! Trust me, it actually was. We had a blast every moment of this weekend and I was super sad to see my family leave. Good thing we’re returning the favor and headed to crash their home turf in only one short month.
Here comes the food…
Anyway, after that kind of weekend, all I want is to throw something easy together for dinner and call it a night. No fancy spread, but just simple, fresh tasting food. And an extra hallelujah for it being “Taco Tuesday” night. Because tacos always equal easy.
So with tonight’s taco (or nacho) spread, I’m planning on firing up a batch of this Southwest Sweet Corn and Zucchini Saute. It is the ideal side dish to go with any of your Mexican flavored meals. It’s got all that taco inspired flavor with a subtle tang of lime juice and a touch of southwest spice.
I love the veggie mixture in this saute because you have the sweet juicy corn, the slightly tender zucchini, the almost caramelized onion, and the robust mushrooms. Plus, who can resist a bit of freshly cooked garlic with your veggies??? Mmm mmm! Just don’t kiss me after. No really, don’t.
This side can literally be prepared in 20 minutes tops. The only thing that takes a bit of time is prepping the veggies, but even that isn’t too daunting. Just husk two ears of corn, chop up some zucchini, dice an onion, and buy the pre-sliced mushrooms and pre-minced garlic. Bam! You’re done.
It’s pretty no fuss once you transfer it onto the stove as well. Just stir it a couple of times during the 10 minutes of cooking to avoid burning at the bottom, and that’s all the attention it requires. Super simple. Trust me.
And then I just have to throw in the little health aspect of this dish. It’s refreshingly healthy! This mixture is all about the natural veggies, bold spices, and vibrant colors. In fact, if you want even more color, toss in a diced red bell pepper when you add in the corn and zucchini. It will stay slightly crisp but keep that bright red color. Eat with your eyes baby, eat with your eyes!
NOTES ON THE RECIPE:
- Don’t overcook the zucchini – Zucchini is one of those veggies that has a sweet spot. It is delicious in the crisp/tender stage, but once you’ve gone too far, it turns to mush and you feel like you are eating slime. No bueno. Check the doneness with a fork after about 4-5 minutes of cooking the zucchini and remember that it will continue to cook a little more even after you remove it from the heat.
- Fresh corn vs. canned – Feel free to use 1 1/2-2 cups of drained canned corn (about 2 cans). Just don’t add the extra 1/4 teaspoon of salt since canned veggies already have sodium added to them. You also won’t get that slight crunch that fresh corn from the cob gives you, but use whatever you have on hand.
- Add any veggies – Besides the corn and zucchini which I feel are the stars of this side dish, feel free to substitute and add any veggies you have on hand. Shredded carrots, bell peppers, jalapeno, grape tomatoes, spinach, or kale would all be great options to add.
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY…
- Gluten Free Lemon Basil Zucchini Pasta
- Roasted Cauliflower and Rainbow Carrots
- Vegetarian Zucchini Pasta Sauce
- Roasted Broccoli and Butternut Squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- ½ cup diced mushrooms
- 1 zucchini, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 2 ears of corn, husked, rinsed, and kernals cut off
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1½ teaspoons lime juice (about 2 wedges of lime)
- Prepare veggies by dicing onion and mushrooms, chopping zucchini, and cutting kernals of corn off the cob. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once oil is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles, add onion and mushrooms to pan. Stir to coat. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Saute for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning, until onions are translucent.
- Add zucchini, corn, garlic, and lime juice. Add an additional ¼ teaspoon of salt. Stir to coat evenly in seasonings. Cook for an additional 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning, until zucchini is crisp tender.
- Remove from heat. Season to taste. Serve warm with tacos, nachos, salad, quesadillas, etc.
DON'T OVERCOOK THE ZUCCHINI - Zucchini is one of those veggies that has a sweet spot. It is delicious in the crisp/tender stage, but once you've gone too far, it turns to mush and you feel like you are eating slime. No bueno. Check the doneness with a fork after about 4-5 minutes of cooking the zucchini and remember that it will continue to cook a little more even after you remove it from the heat.
FRESH CORN VS. CANNED - Feel free to use 1½-2 cups of drained canned corn. Just don't add the extra ¼ teaspoon of salt since canned veggies already have sodium added to them. You also won't get that slight crunch that fresh corn from the cob gives you, but use whatever you have on hand.
ADD ANY VEGGIES - Besides the corn and zucchini which I feel are the stars of this side dish, feel free to substitute and add any veggies you have on hand. Shredded carrots, bell peppers, jalapeno, grape tomatoes, spinach, or kale would all be great options to add.