What a perfect time of year: the end of summer, the beginning of school, the beginning of (slightly) cooler weather, and of course fall decor. Gotta love it! I also love this time of year because of the delicious summer vegetables available at Farmer’s Markets and in the grocery stores. Completely perfect tomatoes + summer squash + succulent corn-off-the-cob make for the ultimate end of summer vegetable medley.

Mexican Veggie Medley

What’s not to love here: deep Mexican spices + cool cotija cheese + zippy cilantro + delectable summer veggies.

And all for just 110 calories per serving (4 hearty servings from this recipe).

Mexican Veggie Medley

BUT! Before I get into this delicious side dish… a few randoms for this perfect Friday.

I just put this little fella together to stay on our porch (hopefully) all fall. I got the planter for just $30 at Target – I’d been stalking him literally all season. As I was checking out, a very sweet woman in line gave me a tip to stuff the bottom with grocery bags, then pour on the soil and plant the flowers. It’s working well so far and is WAY cheaper than having to fill this whole bad boy with potting soil. I once read in a Southern Living magazine that when it comes to making a dramatic potted arrangement, you want: a thriller, a filler, and a spiller. In this case, my thriller + filler are the same plant, and the purple sweet potato vine are my spiller. Love the concept though!

fall planter

If those cheeks ever go away, I’m going to protest by eating until they grow back onto my face. I can’t even handle.

corey douglas

My little J.J. Watt, y’all.

corey douglas

Except not really. The thought of him playing football makes me get mama rage already. Ain’t nobody hittin’ my baby.

corey douglas

He was still sleeping when I picked him up from school on Thursday. I had to take a picture of the absolute sweetness of this scene. It was kind of torturous to wake him up. I could’ve watched him sleep like that for at least 3 days.

corey douglas

Okay – back to veggies.

Here’s the easy peasy breakdown for this yumminess:

Wrap each corn cob in foil (no oil or S&P – just foil).

mexican veggie medley

Throw ’em on a baking rack and roast at 400 for about 30 minutes. Remove and let cool.

mexican veggie medley

I can’t remember the first place I saw this trick, but it became an instant game changer when it comes to cutting corn off the cob.

Getchya a bundt pan (okay, please tell me you read that like the lady from My Big Fat Greek Wedding).

mexican veggie medley

Set the corn cob in the middle of the bundt [booooonttt] pan. Start cutting the cobs and let the little fellas fall straight into the well of the pan.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Whoever thought of this is a genius. It’s so much easier to cut + keep the kernels together than just doing it on a cutting board. Gotta love a good kitchen hack.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Next, getchyer summer veggies + chop ’em up. Just a rough chop will do, but make sure the pieces are as uniform as you can get them.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Throw everything into a biggo pot with some EVOO. Sprinkle with seasoning + sauté over medium-high heat for a bit.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Meanwhile, crumble up some cotija goodness.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Before you know it, your easy-peasy, Mexican-y, healthy side dish is done.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Throw on that cheese + some cilantro.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Pair this with your next taco night or make it all into a huge taco bowl with some beans + grilled chicken. Nom Nom.

Mexican Veggie Medley

Mexican Veggie Medley

3 corn cobs, husks removed
1/4 tsp. ground oregano
1/2 tbs. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs. EVOO
1 yellow summer squash, chopped
1 zucchini squash, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 oz. cotija cheese, crumbled
2 tbs. cilantro leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 400.

Wrap corn in foil and place directly on a rack in the middle of the oven. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, or until kernels are cooked. Once cool enough to handle, cut kernels from corn.

Meanwhile, mix together all the spices (oregano through pepper) in a small bowl. Set aside.

Melt EVOO in skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash, garlic, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with spices and stir to combine. Cook just until squashes are al dente (about 10 minutes).

Remove to a serving platter and garnish with cotija cheese and cilantro.

These are a few of those meals that I go to when I want to “cook” but really feel like I can just throw things in the pot and move on. They’re perfect for those busy weeknights we all experience. You can feel good about everything going on down below. I’ve cooked each of these dozens of times, and they’re always a hit with the hubs [and me].

The cream of mushroom and Worcestershire recipe was one my dad made all the time. It really brings back some great memories of sitting in our living room, TV tray in front of us, and the TV muted while we just talk for hours. I miss that big oaf.

The last recipe [excuse the title] came when Jon and I were iced in one night and had just those few ingredients to make dinner. I threw it all together and he literally said, “This is the sh*t Mexican pork!” And thus our descriptive food vocabulary was enhanced…

Adjust the meat to match the needs of your dinner – more people, more meat. The sauces should be pretty on-point though as long as you’re cooking for 6 or less.

Easy Weeknight Meals

Easy Pork Chops in the Crock Pot

Boneless pork chops
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 envelope dry pork gravy mix
2 cups chicken broth/stockEmpty one can of cream of chicken soup into the bottom of the Crock Pot. Place the pork chops on top, ensuring that the bottom of the chop is completely covered by the soup (not just touching the bottom of the Crock Pot). Combine the chicken broth/stock with the two packets of seasoning. Stir to combine. Pour over the pork chops and add the other can of cream of chicken soup. Cover and cook on low for at least 8 hours until pork chops are tender.Serve over rice.

Italian Baked Chicken (3 ingredients – ish)
1 Jar of your fave spaghetti sauce
Boneless, skinless chicken breast (or thighs if you prefer)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Sliced mozzarella
Preheat oven to 350.In a baking dish or Dutch oven, spread a little of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom to make a thin layer. Liberally season the chicken with S&P on both sides and place on top of the sauce. Cover with mozzarella and then dump the rest of the sauce on top. Cover and bake for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve over roasted cauliflower to be on the healthy side or pasta to be on the devilish side.

Chicken/Pork Chops with Cream of Mushroom and Worcestershire

2 cans cream of mushroom soup
Boneless, skinless chicken breast or pork chops
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

In a baking dish or Dutch oven, spread some of the cream of mushroom soup on the bottom to make a thin layer. Place the chicken or pork on top, then cover with the remaining cream of mushroom soup (you want a lot for the sauce). Liberally season with Worcestershire sauce and pepper – the more, the wayyyyy better. Trust me. Cover and bake for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve over rice or egg noodles.