Summer Squash and Corn Chowder with Tomato Bruschetta

Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Serves 4

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder:

2 slices applewood-smoked bacon
3/4 cup sliced green onions, divided
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 pound yellow summer squash, chopped
1 pound frozen white and yellow baby corn kernels, thawed and divided
2 1/4 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1. Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Crumble bacon, and set aside. Add 1/2 cup onions, celery, and squash to drippings in pan; saute 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

2. Reserve 1 cup corn; set aside. Place the remaining corn and 1 cup milk in a blender; process until smooth. Add remaining 1 1/4 cups milk, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to blender; process just until combined. Add pureed mixture and reserved 1 cup corn to the pan. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly.  Stir in 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 1 tablespoon of bacon, 1 tablespoon remaining onions, and 1 tablespoon cheese.

Tomato Bruschetta:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

2. Arrange 12 thin baguette slices on a baking sheet; bake at 425 for 6 minutes or until toasted. Rub toasts with cut sides of halved garlic clove. Combine 1/2 cup finely chopped tomato, 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; top toasts evenly with tomato mixture.

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