Here's a great summer vegetarian dinner or side dish.  It features quinoa, a perfect protein and a whole grain with a low glycemic index.  I didn't feel like grilling the corn; so I used the oven method featured at the end of the recipe. I also only used four ears of corns.
Source: Food Republic

  • 5 ears corn, husks on but silks removed
  • 4 green onions, roots and tops trimmed
  • 2 cups quinoa, well rinsed
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • salt
  • 4 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped
  • juice of 3 limes (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • black pepper

Soak the corn 
  1. Place the corn in a large stockpot, or other container large enough to hold all the ears, and fill it with water. If you do not have a sufficiently large container, use your kitchen sink.
  2. Allow the corn to soak for 20 minutes. Remove from the water, shake, and tightly squeeze the husks against the kernels of corn to get rid of any excess water.
Grill the corn
  1. Heat your grill to high (550F) and close the lid. Wait at least 15 minutes before lowering the heat to medium-high (450F) and continuing. (Or see Cooking Notes for instructions on roasting the corn in an oven.)
  2. Place the corn on the grill rack, close the lid, and grill for 5 minutes. Turn the corn over and grill for another 5 minutes with the lid closed. Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 more minutes.
Pull back the husks and char the corn
  1. Take the grilled ears of corn and pull back the husks, exposing the kernels. Do not remove the husks. If possible, tie the husks back (see Cooking Notes).
  2. Increase the grill temperature to high (550F). Place a sheet of aluminum foil on one side of the hot grill. Place the pulled-back husks over the foil, allowing the exposed kernels to sit on the grill grates. (This is done so the husks don’t burn before the corn can char.) Close the grill lid and allow the kernels to char for about 5 minutes per side, or until they become dark and golden brown on all sides. 
  3. At this point, add the green onions to the grill and char on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Remove the corn and green onions from the grill and set aside.
Prepare the quinoa
Put the quinoa, water, and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Uncover and check if the quinoa is ready by tilting the pan to the side to make sure all the water has been absorbed. If not, continue cooking for a few minutes more. Transfer the cooked quinoa to a large bowl and allow to cool at room temperature.

Toss and dress the salad and serve
Cut the corn kernels off the cobs, slice the grilled green onions, and add both to the quinoa. Toss in the tomatoes and cilantro and mix well. Drizzle the lime juice and olive oil over the salad and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well before serving.

Cooking quinoa
  1. Quinoa should always be rinsed well under cold running water before it’s cooked; otherwise it will have a rather bitter taste.
  2. Package instructions for preparing quinoa state that you should use 2 cups of liquid to 1 cup of quinoa. I find this ratio results in a soggy texture that does not work well in a grain salad. Therefore, this recipe uses a proportion of approximately 11/2 cups of liquid to 1 cup of grain in order to end up with a grain that will stay intact when tossed with the vinaigrette and vegetables.
Roasting the corn
This recipe can easily be made in the oven using corn kernels that have been removed from the cob, or 3 cups of frozen corn that has been thawed. Preheat your oven to 400F. Roast the corn in a single layer on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, then allow to rest outside the oven for another 5 minutes. If you like, the green onions can just be left raw or can be roasted with the corn.

Tying back the corn husks
After the corn has been grilled in the husks, the husks will have dried out.  When you pull the husks back to char the kernels, remove two pieces of dried husk and wrap them around the corn husks, tying them into a knot (you may need to be a bit delicate so as not to break the husks). This step is optional but will result in beautiful presentation.

This is a great recipe the utilize's summer's freshest tomatoes and basil.  We ate this for dinner with some whole grain brown rice but it would also make an awesome flavor filled side.
Source: Rachael Ray Mag

1 lb of cherry tomatoes, halved
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T of extra virgin olive oil
2 T of basil, chopped (this is a minimum - you can never add too much!) 
T T of butter
1/3 c of panko bread crumbs

Preheat broiler.

In an 8 inch baking dish, toss tomatoes, garlic, oil, and salt & pepper. 

Broil for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft.  

Mix butter and breadcrumbs; spread them over the tomatoes and continue to broil for 30 seconds.  

Sprinkle on basil and serve. 
This is a delightfully cheesy spin on cornbread and is great served with soups.  I omit the roasted red peppers. 
Source: Everyday With Rachael Ray
  • 1 14 3/4 ounce can  creamed corn

  • 1 roasted red pepper, cut into small cubes

  • 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 stick  (4 ounces) butter, melted

  • 1/2 cup half-and-half

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup cornmeal

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . Grease a 2-quart or 8-inch square baking dish and set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the corn, roasted red pepper, scallions, eggs, butter, half-and-half and salt. Working over a large bowl, sift together the cornmeal and baking soda, then stir in the cheese.
  2. Stir the vegetable mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined; do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until set, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
This is a great way to get your in your veggies! I served this as a side with the last recipe.
Source: EveryDay Food
  • 1/2 pound orzo
  • 1 pound chopped trimmed spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook orzo according to package instructions. Stir in spinach until wilted. Drain.

  2. In a large bowl, toss hot spinach and pasta with mint, crumbled feta cheese, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

We should all be eating more legumes like lentils.  Seriously, this is the stuff we're supposed to be eating.  If you need more convincing, read all about them here. _
I will decrease the amount of water by 2 cups the next time I make this; it was painful to wait for the water to be absorbed while the lentils were already cooked.  I served this with grilled Naan, an Indian flatbread made from yogurt. 
Source: Food Network Magazine

  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Large pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Combine the lentils, 6 cups water, the tomato, ginger, turmeric, cayenne and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, vigorously whisking occasionally, until the lentils are broken up and the mixture is thick, about 45 minutes.

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute; stir into the lentils along with the cilantro and lemon juice. Season with salt.
Here are two more sides I tried from Rachael Ray's Thanksgiving magazine.  They are delicious, easy, and a little different; sure to impress!
Root Vegetable Bread Salad
  • 1 loaf  (8 oz) crusty french or italian bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

  • 2/3 cup EVOO

  • salt and pepper

  • 1 pound carrots - peeled, halved lengthwise and cut on an angle 1/2-inch thick

  • 1 pound parsnips - peeled, halved lengthwise and cut on an angle 1/2-inch thick

  • 1 red onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees . In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with 1/3 cup EVOO and 3/4 tsp. salt; spread in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, using the same large bowl, combine the carrots, parsnips and onion; toss with the remaining 1/3 cup EVOO and 3/4 tsp. salt. Spread the vegetables in an even layer on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Roast the vegetables, flipping them and switching the pans halfway through, until tender and slightly browned at the edges, about 25 minutes.
  3. Transfer the vegetables and any pan juices to the large bowl; toss with the toasted bread cubes. Add the lemon juice and parsley, toss again, then season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Spiced Butternut Squash
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO, plus more if needed

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • coarse salt

  • 3 pounds butternut squash - peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 8 cups)

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees . in a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp. EVoo, the brown sugar, cinnamon, paprika and 1 tsp. salt. Divide the squash between 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle the spice mixture evenly over the squash; toss to coat. (The squash should be lightly coated. if the spices are clumping up, add a little more EVoo and toss again.) Spread the squash out in an even layer; bake until the edges are browned, rotating the pans halfway through cooking, about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer the squash to a serving dish. Top with chives.
A nice side dish for fall/Thanksgiving.
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp sherry vinegar

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons EVOO

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets, stems cut on an angle 1/4-inch thick

  • salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees . In a small bowl, combine the cranberries, 14 cup hot water and 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar. Let stand until the water is cooled and the cranberries are slightly plumped. [Make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.]
  2. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet. Roast, stirring once, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, drizzle with 112 tsp. EVOO and sprinkle with the sugar; toss well. Let cool. [Make ahead: Seal in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 1 day.]
  3. Fill a 6-qt. pot with 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain well and pat dry, then coarsely chop. [Make ahead: Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before proceeding.]
  4. Pour the cranberries and their juices over the broccoli. Add the remaining 2 tbsp. EVOO and 1 tsp. vinegar; toss well. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the walnuts on top. Serve at room temperature.
After a week long hiatus from cooking (I was at the beach!), I was ready to get back in the kitchen.  I found a produce stand on the way home (more about that later) which was selling fresh corn, potatoes, peaches, and blueberries which inspired this meal.  I served these with grilled chicken basted with bbq sauce.  Scroll down below to see the dessert!
Aunt Janny-June's Red Potato Salad

This recipe is from Aunt Janet!  It's one of the best potato salads I've ever tasted.  It combines the creaminess of real mayo with decadent blue cheese.  It's all finished off with the fresh crunchiness of yellow onions, scallions, and celery.

2.5 lb of red potatoes, cut into 2 inch cubes (leave the skins on)
1 c real mayonnaise
1/2 - 1 c of crumbled blue cheese (start low and add and more, tasting as you add)
2 T sherry vinegar
1/2 c yellow onion, diced
1/2 -1 c diced celery
1 bunch of scallions, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes until soft.  Mash slightly and add the sherry vinegar.  Set aside until completely cooled.  

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  

Remember that you must never let mayo sit for too long out of the refrigerator because it can cause food poisoning caused by staph aureus.  
Sweet Corn with Basil

Inspired by the delicious meal I had at the Leaping Lizard Cafe!  This is so good, you'll never serve corn any different way :-)

4 ears of corn, shucked
15 basil leaves, minced
2 T butter
salt to taste

Cut the corn off the cobs and separate the kernels.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt the butter.  Add the corn and basil and cook, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes.  Salt and serve immediately.    

If you haven't given Israeli couscous a try, you should.  It is thick and chewy, very similar to pasta but in the shape of tiny pearls.  This recipe needed a few changes to make it a bit healthier.  It originally had 5 tablespoons of butter and 8 oz of bacon.  I scaled it back a bit and this was still a great fast, weeknight dinner.
Source: Rachael Ray Mag
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 box  (6.3 oz.) israeli or pearl couscous
  • 10 ounces frozen corn, thawed
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • ~ 2 cups chicken stock (low sodium, please!)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups (about 8 oz.) grated aged gouda (I would avoid smoked gouda in this recipe as it would overwhelm most of the other flavors)
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees . In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave, then stir in the garlic. Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; drizzle the the garlic butter. Roast until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Cook the couscous according to the directions on the box, but replace the water with the chicken broth.
  3. Add the corn and scallions to the couscous when it is about half way cooked.  When the couscous is tender, add in the broccoli and season with pepper.  Top with cheese.
A meal in a hurry this took about 30 minutes from start to finish and was full of flavor!

Tangy Lime Shrimp
Source: Everyday with Rachel Ray
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, patted dry
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, plus 1 tsp. grated zest
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  1. Season shrimp. Heat large skillet over medium-high; add 1/2 tbsp. butter and shrimp. Cook shrimp through, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to plate. Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tbsp. butter; add shallots, lime juice and crushed pepper; cook 2 minutes. Add remaining butter, zest, shrimp and cilantro; toss.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Source: Everyday Food 
  • 5 medium sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds)
  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Place on a large piece of foil on a baking sheet; fold foil around sweet potatoes to form a packet. Bake until tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. (I was in a hurry and I was only cooking for two people, so I just put two potatoes in the microwave for about 13 minutes on high.  I eyeballed the adjustments for the other ingredients).

  2. When cool enough to handle, halve sweet potatoes lengthwise. Scoop out all but 1/4-inch flesh from inside skins. Arrange 8 skins in a single layer in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish (discard remaining 2 skins). Place flesh in a food processor, along with 2 tablespoons butter and goat cheese; season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth, 2 minutes. Add chives and pulse to combine; spoon into skins.

  3. In a small bowl, stir together pecans, panko, and 2 tablespoons butter until combined; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle panko mixture over sweet potatoes. Bake until topping is golden, 10 to 12 minutes.