Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Make Ahead Kale & Sweet Corn Penne Bake

This is the one meal I am not making in my slow cooker this week, but it still was a make ahead dish. Over the summer, my sister's friend gave us mass quantities of shucked sweet corn. Yes, gallon size bags of pure Iowa gold. There is nothing like Iowa sweet corn kids. You other states might come close, but it will never compare to Iowa sweet corn.

Being I am one to savor and slowly use some of my favorite ingredients, I only pull this special corn out when I am missing the sweet flavors of summer. I had almost long forgotten about all of this corn until last week when my sister served up a large dish of none other than this very same sweet corn at Thanksgiving. My brain said, "Ding!" The lights went on. This recipe was born.

I'm sort of on a kale kick right now too. The Bear was not so sure about mixing kale with corn, but I think I won him over now that I've finally figured out how to properly cook kale. When I originally calculated the data into Weight Watcher's recipe builder this recipe tallied up to a whopping 10 points. Not so friendly unless you skimp on the rest of your meals for the day, use some anytime points, or swap activity points. I can't really teach while I'm hungry without turning into a crank. Something had to change. So, I cut the 8 oz. of cream cheese I usually use in some of my penne bakes to 4 oz. Voila! I cut out 3 points! This gluten-free, make ahead dish is now only 7 points per serving. Enough said my friends.

Make Ahead Kale and Sweet Corn Penne Bake
Makes 6 servings, 7 points per serving

Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups dry gluten-free penne pasta noodles
2 cups kale, hard stems removed and finely chopped
1 cup thawed frozen sweet corn
2 cups 2% milk
4 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese, melted (you can melt it very quickly in the microwave for 30-45 seconds)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
1 clove minced garlic
A sprinkle of salt and pepper
1 cup shredded 2% mozzarella cheese

Spray an 8-inch by 12-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss together the pasta noodles, kale, and sweet corn. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, melted cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, dried onion, minced garlic, salt, and pepper until smooth and combine. Pour the sauce over the noodle mixture. Toss until coated. Pour and spread the noodle and sauce mixture into the casserole dish. Make sure everything is evenly distributed throughout the dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the pasta. Cover and store in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to bake and serve. Before baking, make sure you thaw the dish if you froze it. When you are ready to bake and serve, cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5-10 minutes more or until the cheese begins to bubble in the middle and brown around the edges.

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