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If you’re Italian, you call it polenta. If you’re from the South, it’s known as grits. I call it delicious. This creamy side dish errs on the side of indulgence, but when plated with leaner fare, it creates a healthy dish that actually satisfies.

I used medium-ground cornmeal, which gave the dish a chewy texture. Prepare the polenta according to the package’s directions; I recommend using whole milk in place of water. Once cooked through, toss in corn (fresh, frozen or canned will all work) and season generously with S & P, butter and cheese (I used Pecorino Romano, but you could easily substitute with Parmigiano Reggiano, or even smoked Gouda or cheddar cheese).

I served the creamy polenta with salmon and sauteed spinach:

I didn’t feel the least bit self-conscious when I stripped down to my underwear at the end of the night. And neither did my S.S. And, I’m sure, neither would my cousin Vinny.

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Diets suck. The key is to eat less, cook more, and include plenty of fruits and veggies. That’s the concentrated advice. Trust me, I’m a dietitian. Whether or not you want to diet, I assure you you need to make this recipe for marinated zucchini before summer disappears. (Adapted from a lunch at al di la.)

Finely dice zucchini and summer squash (alternately, thinly slice lengthwise). Marinate in freshly squeezed lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, chopped fresh mint, red pepper flakes and salt. Say what? Yes, that’s it.

This raw salad is so healthy and guilt-free, you’ll feel so good about the way you look, you’ll want to do more than just eat in your underwear.