Grilled Mexican Street Corn Soup Recipe

 This grilled mexican street corn soup recipe, inspired by the mexican street food elotes, is the perfect way to welcome summer. | themillennialmenu.com

I'm super excited to share this Grilled Mexican Street Corn Soup recipe! It's a fun take on the classic Mexican street food, elotes. I love ordering this dish as one of the many delicious tapas at Toro, a great Boston restaurant that first introduced us to the wonders of Spanish tapas before our trip to Barcelona (no Mexican street food in Barca, though). While I definitely envision corn on the cob as the ultimate summer food, May counts as basically summer, right? This soup doesn't get too far ahead of itself, though, and will still keep you cozy on these still-chilly spring nights.

Elotes features a creamy coating on fire roasted corn, finished with bright flavors like chile powder, cotija cheese, and lime juice. There are so many layers of flavor when you take your first (very messy) bite that I wondered how I could ever re-create that in soup form. I'd been inspired seeing different elotes soup recipes on the internet, but the flavors just weren't the same when I tried to make it the first few times. UNTIL NOW.  It's all thanks to a few secret ingredients...courtesy of one of my favorite places on this planet, Trader Joe's. 

This soup wouldn't be the same without that charred, deep roasted corn flavor that comes from a fiery grilling. Thankfully, Trader Joe's freezer section has got you covered on this one: you'll need one bag of Trader Joe's Mexican Style Roasted Corn with Cotija Cheese and one bag of Trader Joe's Roasted Corn. Both bags have roasted corn, which will add that depth of flavor. I like the Mexican Style because there is some creamy sauce included in the bag, which acts as a nice base for the soup by adding that extra burst of flavor for you to build onto. I went with a more "plain" second bag because my recipe adds my own seasonings and flavorings, but this is really flexible -  Note: If you can only find one of these kinds of corn at TJ's, it is not a huge deal at all - just make sure you have two bags of corn total. You can also make this with regular frozen corn as well as canned corn - while the roasted flavor won't be as intense, the bright, flavorful toppings like the cotija cheese and lime juice will still guarantee this dish is a hit.


Grilled Mexican Street Corn Soup

Makes approximately 4 servings
Other recipes with these ingredients: Cilantro: all my recipes here, including my Chicken Enchiladas Recipe // Sour Cream: add it atop Turkey Chili or my Five Minute Fish Taco Bowls.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients
 




Dietary Substitutions:
Vegetarian Friendly
Gluten Free Friendly
Dairy-free or Vegan: Top with dairy free cheese, skip sour cream

Directions


1. Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium head. Add 1 small yellow onion, diced, to the pot and stir 2-3 minutes, until transluscent. 
2. Add the two bags of corn and stir for 3-4 minutes, until starting to defrost. IMPORTANT: Set aside 1 cup of the corn mixture, for topping the soup later.
3. Add 4 cups vegetable broth and 1/2 cup sour cream to the soup and let simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Slowly and carefully, in batches if needed, transfer the majority of the soup into a blender and blend until desired texture.
5. Transfer back into your soup pot and add salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste. Let simmer on medium-low heat while you finish preparing the topping.
6. Meanwhile, while the soup is simmering, chop about 1/4 cup cilantro and toss it with the corn mixture that you said aside earlier in step 2.
7. Plate the soup and top with the corn and cilantro mixture, cotjia cheese and a squeeze of the lime wedges and enjoy!

Yum.


Storing & Extra Ingredients

STORING - Store in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. I love making a big batch of soup and keeping it in the fridge for a quick meal. I wouldn't recommend freezing this due to the added dairy (sour cream) but if you leave that out it would be very freezer friendly - just top with cheese once defrosted!

LUNCH TOMORROW - Keep the toppings separate and add once you've heated up your soup. It will help it tasting just as fresh as the night you made it! Especially the lime - squeezing a fresh lime wedge over the top while sitting at your desk will make those desk lunches slightly less sad.

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - You'll likely have extra cilantro, which is also a favorite garnish in my Easy Chicken Enchiladas recipe. Check out all my cilantro recipes here by scrolling down the page). Use any extra sour cream atop a cozy bowl of Turkey Chili with some of that cilantro as well.

 This mexican street food-style corn soup, inspired by elote, is topped with a delicious mix of bright flavors like charred corn, cilantro, and lime juice. The best summer souP! | themillennialmenu.com

Post-Grad Pasta Recipe

 Easiest Pasta and Meatballs. 4 ingredients, 20 minutes. The best weeknight dinner ever!  | themillennialmenu.com

Everyone needs a go-to pasta and meatballs recipe. This one is a classic post-grad dish - nutritious, fast, simple, and more respectable than downing an entire bag of chips and salsa when you get home and calling it dinner. A big heaping bowl of whole wheat spaghetti, Rao's Tomato Basil Sauce, and Trader Joe's Turkey Meatballs is topped with real Parmegiano Reggiano and in your stomach in 20 minutes. You can't go wrong.

This should be your go-to Millennial Staple Meal - meaning you should always have everything on hand to make this for dinner. Pasta and red sauce in the pantry, frozen meatballs in the freezer, and a block of cheese in the fridge. Boom. 

The key here is the ingredients - this isn't going to be the same with store brand sauce and shaker cheese. Trust me. When you've only got four ingredients, every ingredient counts. It's worth the money to invest in a good block of Parmegiano Reggiano cheese that will last a while (especially when you vacuum seal it with your FoodSaver). Splurge a bit in the tomato sauce aisle - choose something that looks a little bit more artisanal than Ragu, but I'll tell you a secret - Rao's is the best. I am not even a brand snob and often buy store brand, but when it comes to tomato sauce, I refuse to buy anything else. Rao's is often on sale, so I just wait until I can find a good deal on it and buy a few jars for my pantry - either way, you get what you pay for. It has the fewest ingredients (meaning it's the closest thing to your grandma's tomato sauce), no added sugar, and least sodium. Naturally. 


Post-Grad Pasta Recipe

makes 1 serving
Other recipes with these ingredients: Turkey Meatballs: meatball sub // Pasta: pesto pasta, shrimp scampi, chicken parm side dish // Tomato sauce: chicken parm, mini pizzas
Prep Time: 10 minutes (prep while waiting for water to boil)
Cook Time: 10 minutes (pasta)
Total Time20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3-4 Trader Joe's Turkey Meatballs (1 serving's worth) Substitute: homemade meatballs, another brand of pre-made meatballs, sausage, chicken, etc.
  • 1 serving of whole wheat spaghetti Substitute: regular spaghetti, another shape of pasta
  • 3/4 cup Rao's Tomato Basil Sauce Substitute: any other jarred tomato sauce, homemade sauce
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste - go with a real Parmegiano Reggiano, find out why in the Grocery Guide Optional




Dietary Substitutions
Dairy Free: Consider using nutritional yeast instead of cheese or a lactose-free cheese.
Gluten Free: Substitute a gluten-free pasta alternative - there are so many options!
Vegetarian Friendly: Skip the meatballs, add in sauteed veggies, or try out Trader Joe's Meatless Meatballs
Vegan Friendly: Combine Dairy Free & Vegetarian

Directions

BOIL YOUR PASTA, COOK YOUR MEATBALLS
1. Choose how you're going to cook your meatballs - I preheat the oven to 350°F, wrap 3-4 defrosted meatballs in tinfoil, and heat them up in the oven while I cook my pasta. To defrost them, I just take 3-4 out and leave them in the fridge overnight to defrost by the time I get home for dinner. If your meatballs are already defrosted, you can either warm them in the oven as described or microwave them for 30 seconds - 1 minute. If your meatballs aren't already defrosted, you can also cook them in the oven - it will just take longer. You can also defrost them in the microwave, but I've found this often dries them out. My preferred method is defrosting them and then warming in the oven, as described above.
2. Boil water for your pasta (place the pot on the stove on high, there should be enough water in the pan to cover your pasta by about an inch). 
3. Add 1 serving of pasta (eyeball how much you want to eat, put that much in the pot, and simply tape the rest of your pasta box for a later date) to your boiling water and cook until chewable. For me, this is about 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.*

*Confession: sometimes I forget to stir occasionally. My pasta is totally fine. Try to at least swirl it around in there twice in the 8-10 minutes you're cooking it.

ADD SAUCE, CHEESE, AND ENJOY
4. Once your pasta is sufficiently chewable, drain the pasta. Add the pasta back into the now-empty pot you boiled it in.
5. Add approximately 1/2 cup tomato sauce (to taste) to the pot with the pasta.
6. Remove your meatballs from the oven and add them to the pot, tossing to coat with the sauce.
7. Top with parmesan cheese. 

Yum.



Lunch tomorrow, Storing, & Extra Ingredients

LUNCH TOMORROW - I really think that leftover pasta sometimes tastes better - the sauce has time to soak in. If you'd like leftovers, I would keep that in mind when you make your recipe - add a little extra pasta to the pot, and maybe defrost 2-3 extra meatballs. You don't have to warm up your meatballs in the oven if you're bringing them for lunch the next day - just add them defrosted to a Tupperware and re-heat at work the next day.

STORING - Keep both pasta and meatballs in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge.

Vacuum Sealed Parmesan Cheese

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - You can seal up your pasta box and re-use whenever you make pasta again (I recommend shrimp scampi or buying a nice pesto). Frozen meatballs will last months in the fridge and are great to have on hand for a quick, last minute dinner. Parmesan cheese will last for a while in the fridge because it's aged - to maximize the shelf life, vacuum seal it using the FoodSaver. The rest of your tomato sauce will probably last at least a week, maybe two, before getting moldy. To prevent this, use a clean spoon to scoop out your sauce (or just pour it out) so you don't add any extra bacteria to the jar. Seal it up tightly and keep it in the fridge. I use it to make chicken parm, more pasta and meatballs, and english muffin pizzas (these bring me back to my daycare days). If you're worried about using it, it's great to store in snack-sized ziplock bags (or even better, use your FoodSaver!) in single serving portions. You can defrost the night before, or even just pop the frozen cube in the microwave (outside of the ziplock, but you can keep it in the FoodSaver bag if you have that) or in a pot to defrost quickly. 

Five Minute Fish Taco Bowls Recipe

 Five Minute Fish Taco Bowls. My go-to quickest dinner I know, completed by Trader Joe's Corn and Chile Tomato-less Salsa! | themillennialmenu.com

FIVE minutes? Maybe five and a half. Minus the quinoa prep (which you can be doing as part of your weekly meal prep or even just the day before), assembling this bowl really only requires 5-7 minutes of your time. I'm all about fast dinners, but this Five Minute Fish Taco Bowl recipe is definitely the fastest dinner I've got. I'll admit, you have to be #efficient in the kitchen, but this is my go-to dinner when I know I'm going to come home hangry and need to eat ASAP. 

This recipe involves dumping your bowl ingredients into - you guessed it - a bowl, heating them up (optional), and cooking a piece of fish in the simplest way possible - in a pan on the stovetop. If you do things in the right order (#efficiency), you literally can be sitting down to dinner in under 10 minutes. 5 if you're fast.

This recipe is completed by Trader Joe's Corn and Chile Tomato-less Salsa, one of my 10 Trader Joes Favorites for Millennials, which you can get access to by subscribing to get blog posts delivered straight to your inbox! I am obsessed with this corn salsa - I buy 6 jars at a time (currently, there aren't any Trader Joe's near me, so there is a reason for the madness). It's tangy and sweet thanks to the vinegar and corn, with a little bit of heat (I hate spicy food, but this is perfection). I just love that it adds flavor sophistication with zero effort - a true millennial menu item.

If you're into meal planning, this is the perfect dish to make during the same week you're making my Freezer Friendly Mexican Stuffed Peppers. I think the peppers and fish tacos are a great pair of posts to start off the blog with because they're different enough that you feel your dinners are creative, but convenient enough that you can use similar ingredients to avoid wasting food and maximize your grocery shopping!



Five Minute Fish Taco Bowls Recipe

Makes 1 fish taco bowl
Other recipes with these ingredients: Corn salsa: Nachos, breakfast burritos, topping for grilled chicken // Black beans, quinoa & cilantro: Freezer Friendly Mexican Stuffed Peppers // Quinoa: add to salad for lunch, Mediterranean Quinoa Bowls with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
I'll be doing Millennial Menu posts of similar recipes to those linked here very soon, but for now, here are some ideas of how to use up ingredients!

Ingredients

  • Splash of oil (olive or canola works)
  • 1 filet of white fish (I like tilapia - if you'd like more guidance on what to buy, check out the Grocery Guide)
  • Salt + pepper
  • 2 wedges of lime
  • 1/3 cup dry quinoa (Substitute: farro, rice, etc.)
  • 1/2 can black beans (Substitute: pinto beans)
  • 2-3 scoops of Trader Joe's Corn and Chile Tomato-less Salsa
  • 1/2 avocado Optional

GARNISH

  • Shredded Mexican cheese Optional
  • Sour cream Optional
  • Cilantro Optional
  • + You can add any other toppings you'd like - tomatoes, onions, etc. But the corn salsa makes it so that you can keep the ingredient list short and simple and your meal will still pack a ton of flavor.




Dietary Substitutions
Dairy Free: Don't add sour cream & cheese at the end.
Vegetarian: Make extra quinoa for protein, or add tofu.
Vegan: Dairy Free + Vegetarian
Already Gluten Free

Directions

GET YOUR GAME FACE ON
1. Turn a burner on medium heat and place a frying pan on it to heat up. 
2. Note: making the quinoa now slows down your Five Minute Fish Tacos, but if you make quinoa the night before or as part of your weekly meal prep or as leftovers from another meal, like my Freezer Friendly Mexican Stuffed Peppers, it really is super quick). To make the quinoa: turn one burner on high. Add 2/3 cup of water to the sauce pan. Add in 1/3 c. dry quinoa. Read more about how to cook quinoa [Important Ratio: 1:3 dry quinoa:cooked quinoa, 1:2 quinoa:water]. Now you have to wait for the quinoa to boil, at which point you'll turn down the heat and let it sit and cook for 15 minutes, but...while you're waiting for the quinoa to boil...
3. Add a splash of oil to the frying pan (to coat the bottom)

COOK YOUR FISH
4.  Place your raw fish filet into the oiled pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper on one side. Add a squeeze of lime if you'd like. Let cook 2-3 minutes...while that's happening...
5. Once the quinoa comes to a boil, turn down the heat to low and cover the pot. Let the quinoa sit and cook for 15 minutes. 
6. Next, cut your avocado - learn the pro method. I use half an avocado per bowl, but you can use a full if you'd like.
7. Back to the fish. Flip the filet over to the other side, sprinkle salt and pepper on this side. It should need another 2-3 minutes to cook, depending on thickness. When it's done, it should be completely opaque/white on the inside, with no translucent/blue hue. (If you prefer temperature measures, fish should be cooked to 145°F). 
8. If you're using lime, squeeze a fresh wedge over your cooked piece of fish to really pump up the flavor.

ASSEMBLE THE BOWL + EAT
9. Now that your fish is done, you just have to dump layer everything into your bowl. I like to start with all of the cooked quinoa, then add 1/2 can beans, 2-3 scoops of corn salsa (to taste), half the avocado that you already sliced up, and your cooked fish, then top with cilantro, a handful of cheese, and a scoop of sour cream. You can't mess up this part - as long as you cook your fish, you can put it in a bowl with just about anything in any proportions that you want.

A Note About Quinoa: I know the quinoa slows down the recipe. Quinoa is a great make-ahead grain to have on hand for the week, so you can definitely have it prepped ahead of time for a true 5 minute weeknight dinner. Plus, if you subscribe to the blog, you'll know the exact moment when I post my "Secret to 1 Minute Quinoa Trick" which I'm planning to post about in the next few weeks - and then your dinner really will take only 5 minutes. 

Yum.


Lunch tomorrow, Storing, & Extra Ingredients

LUNCH TOMORROW - Anything in bowl form travels super well for lunch. Normally I just pack everything together, including a scoop of sour cream on the side of the bowl, and eat the entire thing cold. If you'd like, you can keep the warm ingredients in one bowl (either everything or just the fish, your preference), heat that up, and add cold ingredients, like sour cream, from a separate container afterwards. 

STORING - Leftovers should be enjoyed within the next day for best taste with fish, but will safely last 3-4 days in the fridge.

EXTRA INGREDIENTS - This recipe is meal planning perfection to have all the right ingredients to make a breakfast scramble or my Freezer Friendly Mexican Stuffed Peppers. Some other ideas: you'll have half an avocado leftover, but that might be the easiest ingredient to use up - whip it into a quick guac as a snack, mix your egg salad with avocado instead of mayo...the possibilities are endless. You'll also have half a can of black beans left. These freeze wonderfully and can go into so many recipes. Use a FoodSaver or place in a ziplock bag, label and date, and freeze! The shredded cheese and sour cream will last for weeks in the fridge and are great ingredients for healthy multigrain nachos as a snack. The best way to store cilantro is in a drinking glass with a bit of water in it, and place it in the fridge with a plastic bag over the top.