Robin's Healthy Take: Creamed Vegetables

You don't need loads of butter and cream to make creamy vegetables. Robin Miller's recipes for creamed corn and spinach are creamy but not heavy.

Growing up, I couldn’t get enough creamed corn and creamed spinach. But the weird thing is, I never eat either one anymore. Not sure why. Restaurants don’t serve them as much and I never think to cook them – what with all the anti-butter-in-the-vegetables sentiment out there. But you don’t need loads of fat to make a veggie side dish creamy. I’m putting my favorites back on the menu with a little twist.

For the creamed corn, I made a small roux by using just 1 tablespoon each butter and flour (most recipes call for much more). The combination provides just enough thickening power to thicken the milk and make it creamy. I also added honey to bring out the corn’s natural sweetness. It’s totally amazing and brings me right back to childhood. For the spinach, I started with the same roux and then made a creamy sauce with fat-free evaporated milk (which has a richer flavor than regular skim milk). The addition of garlic, onion, nutmeg and Parmesan cheese takes the dish over the top. In fact, it’s better than any creamed spinach I had growing up!

Creamed Spinach
Serves 4-6
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
12-ounce can fat-free evaporated milk
1 teaspoon minced dried onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

20 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained (squeeze through a kitchen towel to remove all water)

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, until smooth. Whisk in evaporated milk, onion, garlic and nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Stir in spinach and return to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Creamed Corn

You may also use white corn or a combination of yellow and white kernels.

Serves 4-6
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low fat milk (1%)
20 ounces frozen yellow corn
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, until smooth. Whisk in milk and bring to a simmer. Stir in corn and honey, reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Using a potato masher, smash some of the corn kernels while leaving the rest whole. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

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