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Living in Texas, winter can go from one extreme to the other. One day we will be at or below freezing and a few days later, sunny and a blissful 75 degrees. But despite the inconsistencies in Mother Nature, from October to early March, most nights I crave a bowl of warm, comforting soup for dinner! In fact, February is Heart Health Month and I’m celebrating it with this better for you, flavor packed Southwest Corn and Potato Chowder recipe! Not only is this dinner recipe easy to prepare, it has a few simple swaps and uses wholesome, heart-healthy ingredients like Mazola® Corn Oil, which a clinical study showed Mazola Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, visit Mazola.com.
I am a firm believer in living a balanced, active lifestyle and don’t believe in fad diets or over exercising. However, we try to keep active as a family, going on evening walks, running around for hours at the playground or going on a Saturday morning hike.
I also try to make sure we are eating well-balanced meals and snacks, which does include occasional cookies or hot chocolate, but most of all I think it is important to make small, better for you changes in your cooking and daily lifestyle to achieve that balance I want.
For instance, I stock our fridge with tons of fresh fruits and vegetables and make simple swaps to our everyday ingredients. Things like using whole wheat pasta, no salt added or low sodium broths and canned goods and choosing lean cuts of meat are all easy ways for me to ensure that my family is eating wholesome meals as often as possible.
With February being Heart Health Month, I am reminded once again the importance of eating well-balanced meals and making simple swaps. In fact, the American Heart Association recently issued a new presidential advisory on dietary fats and cardiovascular disease (CVD) that strongly advised replacing saturated fat, like that found in coconut oil, with polyunsaturated fat, like corn oil, to reduce the risk of CVD by 30 percent. Also, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans no longer emphasize a “low-fat” diet, but rather choosing quality, “good” fats. This includes replacing saturated fats that are known to contribute to heart disease with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, like those in Mazola Corn Oil. And, according to the USDA, corn oil has more than five times the amount of polyunsaturated fats compared to olive oil. A clinical study showed Mazola Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, visit Mazola.com.
Today’s Southwest Corn and Potato Chowder recipe, inspired by my lightened up Loaded Baked Potato Soup recipe, is a prime example of how I typically take a recipe and make simple swaps to make it better for you. This Southwest Corn and Potato Chowder recipe calls for things like cheese and bacon; however, I use quite a bit less of those ingredients than other similar recipes. I also use reduced sodium bacon (but turkey bacon would work too!), milk instead of half and half or heavy cream and swap out the sour cream for Greek yogurt.
Other ways I make this Southwest Corn and Potato Chowder recipe better for you is by using reduced sodium chicken broth (I like to make my own homemade chicken stock when I can, so that I can control the salt levels). I also reduce saturated fats and cholesterol in this recipe with a simple swap of substituting butter with Mazola Corn Oil. Since Mazola Corn Oil an all-purpose, cholesterol free cooking oil that is a smart heart-healthy* choice for our family. *See Mazola.com for more information on the relationship between corn oil and heart health. It has a variety of uses including baking, grilling, sautéing, stir frying, or mixing up a marinade or dressing.
My Southwest Corn and Potato Chowder recipe is not only better for you, it is packed with sweet, plump corn and plenty of roasted red bell peppers and green chiles to add a nice smoky flavor with just a touch of heat. This recipe gets rave reviews every time I make it and is the perfect soup dinner to serve for not only Heart Health Month, but to get you through these final days of winter before soup season is long gone!
How do you and your family stay active and eat better for you meals? Please share in the comments below and scroll down for my Southwest Corn and Potato Chowder recipe!
HELPFUL COOKING TIPS AND INFORMATION:
What to serve with Southwest Corn and Potato Chowder?
Time Saving Cooking Hack:
I used jarred roasted red bell peppers in this recipe, however, you could certainly buy a fresh red bell pepper to roast and dice yourself or to saute when cooking the onions.
Also, if you want to prep all the ingredients for this chowder recipe ahead of time, place your peeled and diced potatoes in a bowl and cover completely with cold water. Cover potatoes and refrigerate for no more than 24 hours.
- 3 tablespoons Mazola Corn Oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 5-6 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth*
- 5-6 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
- 1 (12-ounce) jar diced fire roasted red bell peppers
- 2 cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
- 2 (4-ounce) can fire roasted green chiles
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 3 slices reduced sodium bacon, cooked and crumbled**
- ½ teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper
- For serving:
- 1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 3 slices reduced sodium bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup green onions, diced
1. Heat oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until onion starts to become translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds.
2. Sprinkle flour over vegetables to form a roux. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of broth, making sure to scrape off the bottom of pan. Continue stirring, until roux and broth are completely mixed together.
3. Add potatoes and 4 cups broth. Bring soup to a gentle boil and let soup boil for 12-15 minutes, or until potatoes become fork tender.
4. Reduce heat to low. Slightly mash about half of the potatoes with a potato masher. (You only want to mash about half of the potatoes to help thicken the soup and leave the remaining potatoes whole to add texture.)
5. Stir in red bell peppers, corn, green chiles and milk. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
6. Remove soup from heat and slowly stir in sour cream, cheese, bacon, salt and pepper; stirring until well combined and cheese is melted. Return soup to low heat, if needed to heat through.
7. Serve immediately topped with desired amount of cheese, bacon, Greek yogurt and green onions.
*Leftover soup will thicken in the refrigerator, so additional broth may be needed when reheating.
**Reduced sodium turkey bacon can be substituted for regular bacon.
Click here for more information about the health benefits of cooking with Mazola Corn Oil. And for more better for you recipe ideas, like my Southwest Corn and Potato Chowder, click here or follow Mazola on Facebook!