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Cooking with Corn: Understanding Nutritional Benefits and Tasty Recipes

Posted Apr 12 2011 9:11am

If we conducted a highly scientific survey on the topic, we’d likely find that a majority of respondents believe corn is a vegetable. We buy it in the produce section of the grocery store and cook it like most veggies, but what most people don’t know is that corn is actually a grain and is packed with nutritional benefits galore.  Recent studies have found consumption of corn to reduce one’s risk of strokes and of developing heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers.  And because corn is also high in antioxidants, lutein, and zeaxanthin, research has shown that eating corn could keep your eyes healthy and prevent development of cataracts. 

Corn is available in many different forms. You’ll find it in the produce section of the grocery store on the cob, in a bag in the freezer section, and in the inner grocery store aisles in the form of cornmeal, polenta, grits, masa harina, cornstarch, and of course, popcorn!

Here is my all-time favorite recipe using corn...I promise it will leave your family and friends begging you to cook more often! 

Southern Cheddar Grits & Shrimp

Yield: 4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 ½ pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup finely diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • Salt
  • 1 ½ cups skim milk
  • 14 ounces chicken stock
  • 1 cup uncooked quick-cook grits
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and shrimp and sauté 5-7 minutes until shrimp are pink. 

2. Add tomatoes, onions, and ½ cup chicken stock and cook an additional 4-5 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Remove from heat.

3. In a separate pot, combine skim milk and chicken stock and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add grits by “raining” them into the liquid in a steady stream. Cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 7-8 minutes until thick. Stir in cheddar cheese, stirring until cheese is fully melted. Season with salt. 

4. Spoon grits into serving bowls and pour a generous portion of shrimp over the top of grits. 


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