Heart Healthy Mexican Corn Chowder

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Heart Healthy Mexican Corn Chowder
Want to get away from it all? How would you like to go on a little Mexican rendezvous? Even if you can’t pack your bags and head for the Baja coast, you can take your tastebuds round trip to Mexico tonight, and escape it all as you savor a nice, warm bowl of Heart Healthy Mexican Corn Chowder. It’s easy to make using inexpensive ingredients, and it’s low in calories, sodium and cholesterol…feeling more relaxed already? And just wait ’till you taste it. Sunny Mexican spices and sweet corn blend perfectly in a creamy, velvety, comforting soup you can make just the way you like – fierce and fiery or mellow and mild, and topped with your favorite fixins.

Heart Healthy Mexican Corn ChowderThe all-purpose Mexican seasoning blend I refer to in the recipe is my own adaptation of a taco seasoning blend I found on allrecipes.com. Aside from one or two pokes and prods, the main change I make is leaving out the salt. And speaking of salt, if you’ve ever checked out the sodium content on most commercial taco seasonings, it probably knocked you back a few steps – it did me, for sure. No wonder they taste like salt with a little spice thrown in.

So forget Ortega┬« and Old El Paso┬«. It’s easy and cheap to make your own, much more delicious and healthy taco seasoning blends. The version I used in this recipe is decently spicy, but some might consider it a little on the mild side, so bear that in mind as you mix up your own. I use it when I’m cooking up taco fillings, but I’ve also added it to salad dressings, potatoes, this soup – basically, anywhere I need a nice shot of Mexican flavor.

Heart Healthy Mexican Corn Chowder
makes 9 one-cup servings

3 cups water
3 packets sodium-free chicken bouillon
4 cups corn kernels (I used frozen)
1/4 cup olive oil
6-9 green onions, sliced thin

all-purpose Mexican seasoning blend – stir together in a small bowl:
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
a few pinches black pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or red pepper flakes (make it as mild or hot as you like)

3 tablespoons flour
3 cups fat free milk
1 tablespoon lime juice (lemon will do in a pinch)
1 can salt-free diced tomatoes, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

optional toppings like additional Cheddar, fat free sour cream, diced tomatoes, green onions, chopped cilantro and chopped jalapeno

Heart Healthy Mexican Corn Chowder1. Combine the water, bouillon and corn in a large lidded saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about ten minutes.

2. In another large lidded saucepan, combine the olive oil, onions, and the Mexican seasoning blend. Cook together over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the flour and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes.

3. Add a cup of the milk to the olive oil mixture. Turn the heat up to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is heated through and all the flour dissolves. Add the rest of the milk and heat through, stirring occasionally.

4. Pour half the corn/water mixture into a blender and process smooth (if you want your chowder to be totally creamy, process all of it). Stir the corn into the milk. Stir in all the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook everything together for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Per one cup serving: 169 calories; 7.6g fat (1.8g sat); 6mg cholesterol; 72mg sodium; 22.0g carbohydrates; 6.6g protein