Posts Tagged ‘polenta’

Mexican polenta casserole

I think that I have never made a casserole before because I had to Google the spelling.  Actually, I’m not even sure this is a casserole.  But we’re going to call it that so it looks like I am trying something new and different instead of just making Mexican again. Which I do a lot.  I’m sure you’ve noticed.



This is pre-oven, obviously, because the cheese isn’t melted.  The recipe:

1 cup dry polenta, cooked according to the directions

3/4 can refried beans

I cup black beans

1/2 cup corn

1/2 of a red onion

1/2 cup diced tomatoes (I used canned)

2 scallions

2 cloves of garlic



chili powder, cayenne, cumin

1/2 cup or so of cheddar, shredded

Spray a dish like the one above with cooking spray and spread the cooked polenta along the bottom.  Stick it in the fridge to harden.  In the meantime, cook the onion until soft, add the garlic, then the refried beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro and spices to taste.  Once this mixture is hot, spread half of it along the top of the polenta, then add a sprinkle of cheese and a little sauce.  Add the remaining black bean mixture, sprinkle with scallions, then top with salsa to cover and the rest of the cheese.  Bake for about 30 minutes at 400.  You may want to cover it for the first 15 minutes or so so the cheese doesn’t burn.

My layering skills in action:


Not so hot.

My serving:


I think it probably serves four.  We only had one serving left, though.  Hmm…


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It’s Monday, in case you didn’t know.  Blah!  But at least this particular Monday is Chris’s birthday, which is exciting.  More so for him than for me, but I still get to go out to dinner.

On Saturday we had a karaoke party to celebrate:


The extremely talented Jaclyn made Chris pretty much the most amazing cake ever:


And we sang a lot:


Betsy was not particularly impressed with my talents:


This may not have been my best song, I’ll admit it.  She wasn’t looking at me like that during my rendition of “Like a Prayer,” though, I’ll tell you that.

Anyway.  Moving on to cooking, the focus of this blog.  Here is last night’s dinner:


It’s roasted vegetables and polenta.  This is roughly the recipe:

  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1/4 of a red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed up
  • 4 cremini mushrooms
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 – 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 T walnuts
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 cup polenta (dry)

Cut the butternut squash, parsnip, mushrooms, onion and tomatoes into bite-sized peices and mix with two sprigs of thyme, the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Roast at 475 for 20 – 30 minutes.  Make the polenta according to the package directions (I added a little soy milk to mine), adding the remaining thyme.  Toast the walnuts in a dry pan.  Top polenta with the vegetables and walnuts.

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Who knew?

I made polenta – from scratch – for the first time ever tonight.

Actually, that’s not true.  I made it one other time, a dinner that is frequently referred to by Chris as the “Rosemary Incident of ’05.”  Let’s just say that rosemary is potent.  A little goes a long way.

This time, I went the basil route and made some to go along with fish:

It was so easy, I was really surprised. It seems intimidating for some reason.  I used this brand, and basically added a bunch of basil to the recipe on the package: 1/2 cup corn meal, 1.5 cups vegetable stock, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and three tablespoons parmesan cheese.  I didn’t halve the parmesan cheese.  That would be stupid.

And then the other great discovery of the night was Trader Joe’s bruschetta:

Chris wasn’t with me at the grocery store this weekend, and let’s just say there were a few impulse buys. Maybe more than a few.  This was one of them, and it’s a keeper.  I had a couple tastes straight from the jar, even.  Then I mixed about 1/2 cup with a bag of baby spinach and put it over the fish, which was just baked for about ten minutes or so.

I can’t wait to use the rest of the bag of polenta.  Anyone want to hook me up with a recipe?

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Oh man. I made these cookies tonight, and there is no turning back. Thank god I had the foresight to cut the recipe down. I essentially made a fourth of it, and ended up with three small cookies and three teeny tiny cookies. I also only used half maple syrup and half honey, because I’m cheap and maple syrup, unfortunately, is not.

THEY ARE SO GOOD. And also relatively healthy, I mean the only ingredients are the maple syrup/honey, oats, cocoa powder and peanut butter. We’ve got whole grains, antioxidants, protein, and healthy fats! Who the hell knew that these things could combine and create such magic? Not me, or I’d have been mixing these babies up every day. And that, actually, is the problem here – now that I know that I can do this, and even, really, create single servings, all hope is lost. I may never live another day without eating one of these cookies.

Here they are:

That one on the left? Chris took a bite out of it before I could get there with the camera. We ate all six, by the way. I ate the three very small ones and he had the three slightly larger ones. I also licked the bowl pretty vigorously, so I think we’re about even.

Before cookies, we had dinner, of course. We’re not totally out of control. We had polenta, which I bought in a roll from Trader Joe’s. I’m actually a little scared of making polenta on my own because the one time I did, it was a total disaster. I grilled it with some shrimp that were marinated in some olive oil, garlic and lime juice:

No grill marks, I know. That’s because the smoke detector was going off and Chris was fanning it and things were starting to get out of control so I just ended it. They were hot, just not as crispy as I would’ve liked. I am now forbidden, by the way, to use the grill pan, so if you’re looking for grill marks, you’ll have to visit a different blog.

With it, I tried out the kale chips that everyone has been talking about:

I really liked them – I just used salt and a little olive oil spray. Chris hated them, so I ended up eating way too many. Like all of them. Way more than this. It was a lot of kale.

Also, earlier I had some grapes:

And a Clif Z-bar:

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