Whole Foods Lifestyle - A Polenta Thread?

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09-20-2007, 12:50 PM
I'm going to try making polenta today. For the next few days I'll try different ways of preparing and eating it.

Do you make or eat polenta? Do you have recipes or serving suggestions?

09-20-2007, 01:21 PM
OOOH. Susan - I'm in on this polenta experiment with you.
You just gave me an idea.
I was thinking about tamales. I was thinking about tamales right when I read your post with the word "polenta" and a part of an imaginary head-lightbulb lit up.
Polenta is Italian, and Tamales are Latin American, but they have that similar flavor, and polenta is made with a lot less fat. But why should polenta be reserved for Italian flavors? I am now thinking a Mexican themed sauce over a corn-based thing that is made more like polenta than like a tamale.
I'd be happy to compare kitchen lab books with you!

09-20-2007, 01:31 PM
I made polenta last night. I baked it in the oven and then covered with an homemade italian sauce.

09-20-2007, 01:52 PM
One of my favorite super-diet meals (practically no calories) is a giant veggie ratatouille served over polenta. I don't remember exactly how I made the polenta; I think I cooked it stove-top and then let it set in a brownie pan, and maybe baked it. It's a delicious dinner.

09-21-2007, 09:52 AM
I made mine stovetop. It got very thick. Ds#2 (20 yo) stirred it for the last few minutes. I need to get a big wooden spoon and a stepstool!
I patted it into an 8x10 container. In just a few minutes of cooling it was a nice firm texture.
I fried it in a nonstick pan with a bit of olive oil. I enjoyed it plain but agree with my fella's that some sauce would be good.

09-21-2007, 10:33 AM
How do you make polenta yourself? I bought mine from Trader Joe's already prepared.

09-21-2007, 10:49 AM
I make Indian, Mexican, Thai and Italian polenta. I also have experimented with other flavor blends but the above worked well and were nutritious.

Indian: Curry spices, onions, garlic (or/and asafoetida), fresh cilantro, chickpeas

Mexican: Black beans, pinto beans, corn, green chilies, zucchini, garlic, onions, green onions, vegan cheese then I top it with salsa

Thai: Cilantro, coriander, THAI (not Indian) green or red curry spice, garlic, onions, carrots, coconut milk

Italian: White beans, garlic, onions, tomatoes, basil then I top it with marinara sauce

I add lots of other veggies and spices to the above when I have them.

09-21-2007, 11:19 AM
As with almost everything I think of these days ... I googled.

I poured cornmeal slooooowly into boiling water and stirred and stirred and stirred. There are fancier recipes but I wanted low fat. Sometime after I see how long it takes to eat this batch, I may try egg whites in it somehow and look for different cornmeals.

Like Soulblisss indicates, the possibilities are almost endless.

09-21-2007, 11:24 AM
I found something interesting...

It mentions that you can crockpot it and avoid the stirring...

Here is also a recipe for polenta using chickpea flour..


09-21-2007, 11:31 AM
In the winter when the house is cooler, I think it'd be great to make smaller batches of flavoured polenta in the oven. I often have it on for meat or sweetpotatoes or a casserole anyway.

09-21-2007, 03:54 PM
Hmmm, Nelie, I'd be skeptical of the no-stir method. I've found tha cornmeal always needs stirring. Susan, don't be afraid to add more hot water to thin it a little. It'll still firm up as it cools. My very favorite cornmeal dish is spoonbread, but it involves a lot of eggs and butter :drool: My DH will eat cooked cornmeal, thinner than for polenta, as a hot cereal. Of course, he adds molasses or maple syrup.....

09-21-2007, 05:47 PM
Looove polenta - I make it with a spicy chicken sausage tomato sauce.

09-21-2007, 06:06 PM
Looove polenta - I make it with a spicy chicken sausage tomato sauce.

See? I said it needs a sauce!!! This sounds very yummy and a great alternative to pasta.

09-21-2007, 06:17 PM
AHA! Tonight? turkey sausage, tomato stuff and polenta!

The tomato stuff? onion, garlic, peppers, yellow squash in cubes. When in doubt start with onions peppers and garlic ;)

09-21-2007, 06:35 PM
Oh I really like Polenta. I usually make mine like Cornmeal Mush. We'd slice it up, fry in a wee bit of butter or olive oil then top with maple syrup. Ok not the healthiest w/the butter and syrup but if I'd make it now I'd probably use the lite kind. I've always wanted to try it w/the marinara etc. but DH is not a Polenta fan so I hate to just make for myself. I may in the future though just make a smaller batch. Thanks for starting this thread!

09-23-2007, 10:24 PM
Thanks for the polenta site gals ~ After I saw it last week, I made Angie promise, OK I begged her...to make her chicken cacciatore over polenta. We just finished....there goes my weight again!!

09-24-2007, 12:05 AM
I have never tried polenta before. I am looking online to see what the heck it is or whats its comparison to. Is it hard to make?? I might have to make it just to see what it is.

09-24-2007, 09:34 AM
Very easy to make Amy and cheap!
Yesterday I canned homemade tomato soup. We had the leftovers for supper. I cut some little cubes and put them in my bowl first. Very good!

06-30-2008, 04:40 PM
Bump, cuz I enjoyed reading again.

06-30-2008, 06:48 PM
how funny, I tried making polenta yesterday! It actually turned out really well - I wanted to make it how I had it once in a restaurant. Shrimp over polenta in this really good limoncello and fennel sauce type thing.. but I didn't have a recipe for it nor could I find one. I ended up just doing shrimp and marinara sauce over polenta and sprinkled with manchego. I made the polenta from corn meal - poured it slowly into boiling water - was ready in like a minute! I know polenta is considered a whole grain, but it doesn't have much fiber which makes me choose whole wheat over it often.

07-02-2008, 11:21 PM
Here's a recipe I use:

3 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup polenta (Bob's Red Mill brand)
1/4 cup grated cheese
1 Tbl olive oil

Heat water, salt to boiling. Add polenta slowly while stirring constantly. Continue stirring on med low heat to 15-20 minutes. Add olive oil, mix well. Add cheese, mix well. Pour in lightly oiled pan. Let set 10 minutes.

I top with meat sauce, chili, beef stew or just eat it plain--love it.

07-04-2008, 04:21 AM
This is BluetoBlue aka Barbara's recipe. I made it a few nights ago and it was FABULOUS!! :)

Tamale Pie

* 1 lb 95% lean ground beef
* 1 cup diced onion
* 1 cup diced red pepper
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 8 oz can of tomato sauce
* 1 cup salsa
* 1 cup frozen corn (or 1/2 can cream-style corn) (I've allotted 150 calories for this ingredient which according to my notes is 6 oz of the frozen corn I get from Trader Joe's. Depending on the corn product you are using, you might need to adjust the quantity of corn you are adding accordingly.)
* 1-2 tsp ground cumin
* 1 tsp chili powder
* 1 tube pre-cooked polenta
* 1/2 cup reduced-fat cheese (I've alotted 70 calories per ounce for this ingredient--if your cheese is 80 calories per ounce, which is common for reduced-fat cheese, the end result will be around 370 calories per serving.)

Brown the ground beef in a medium-sized skillet with the onion, red pepper, and garlic. Drain fat if necessary. Add tomato sauce, salsa, corn, cumin, and chili powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until most of the liquid is cooked out.

In the meantime, thinly slice the polenta. You want to get about 36 slices out of it. If you have a wire cheese slicer, it works really well for this task.

Coat a 8 or 9-in square casserole dish (with 3-in high sides) with cooking spray. Spoon in 1/4th of the meat mixture and top with 1/3 of the polenta. Continue layering until you used all of the polenta and meat (finish with the meat mixture, so you'll have four layers of meat and 3 layers of polenta).

Cover and bake at 350 for 35 or 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with cheese and pop back in the oven until the cheese is melted.

Makes six generous servings at 265 calories each. Seriously, the first time I made it, we divided it into only four servings and neither my SO or I could finish our portions (and I tend to eat large portions). In addition to giving a really tamale feel, the polenta really bulks it up. I suspect that this would also be good with 99% lean ground turkey, which would drop the calories to 245 per serving (not that the calories really need to be any lower, it's hard to beat 265 calories for a meal).
- Barbara -

Suzanne 3FC
07-05-2008, 12:38 AM
Here's a recipe I use:

3 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup polenta (Bob's Red Mill brand)
1/4 cup grated cheese
1 Tbl olive oil

Heat water, salt to boiling. Add polenta slowly while stirring constantly. Continue stirring on med low heat to 15-20 minutes. Add olive oil, mix well. Add cheese, mix well. Pour in lightly oiled pan. Let set 10 minutes.

I top with meat sauce, chili, beef stew or just eat it plain--love it.

I use a very similar recipe, also using Bob's. Instead of 3 cups water, I use 2 cups water and 1 cup half and half. The cheese is very strong white cheddar. I don't add olive oil. But I do add 1 teaspoon of Rancho Gordo's Gay Caballero hot sauce (hot, but with fruity flavor and it makes a big difference in this dish). I spread it in the pan sprayed with cooking spray and lined in wax or parchment paper, and let it cool, then I cut in triangles and lightly brown both sides in a nonstick skillet. I spread with a touch more of the Rancho Gordo sauce before serving. It's especilly good served with slow roasted cherry tomatoes, or with a good fresh salsa and a tiny dollop of light sour cream :T

The calories are low (enough lol), and it's cheap! :lol:

Salubrious Fervor
07-05-2008, 12:43 AM
I heart polenta!

especially with rosemary and a cherry reduction...yummmmmmmmm

07-05-2008, 11:31 AM
Wow - I was thinking that I didn't like polenta, but now you gals really have me considering trying it at home. My only experience with it has been at restaurants, and it's never really impressed me.

I will definitely try that tamale pie recipe - I think DH will really like it!

07-13-2008, 05:53 AM
I always make my polenta with FF chicken broth and I always make it in the oven. Very little stirring is required, you just put it in the oven and forget about it until it is done (I do usually stir it when I take it out to check to see if it is done). Not only is this easy, but it's also very versatile in terms of cooking time. I cook it at 350 in a covered casserole dish. It usually takes about 40 min, but if the rest of my meal isn't ready yet, I just add a little more broth (or water) and stick it back in the oven. I leave it in the oven until I'm ready for it and just add more broth/water if it starts to get dry.

As for servings, I generally find that 2 tbsp dry is more than enough for me, once it is cooked up. But I like my polenta nice and creamy, so I am adding more broth/water than the package calls for, which means that my polenta may come out to more than for someone who uses the amount of liquid on the package.

Sometimes I stir in FF cream cheese once it is finished cooking. This gives it a nice creamy flavor and texture but adds only a nominal amount of calories. I use about 2 tbsp cream cream cheese to 1/2 cup dry polenta (which would work out to four servings of polenta for me).

I've added chopped sundried tomatoes to it while it is cooking and this also came out great.

I often use polenta as a bread substitute. Instead of eating burgers or sausages in a bun, I eat them over polenta, with sauteed onions and peppers. I also use it as a rice substitute in Indian dishes and as a pasta substitute in Italian dishes. Or I'll serve soup or stew over it. This week I am making a stir-fry scallop dish that I think I may try over polenta.

One of my favorite meals is to take a chicken breast and pound it flat, sprinkle it with a seasoning blend (such as jerk seasoning). then saute it. Then I saute some spinach and polenta in the same pan, and heat up a sauce (like a marinara sauce or my fav Stone Fruit Sauce (http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/showpost.php?p=2248416&postcount=18)). I top the polenta with the spinach and chicken, then add the sauce. It is a great, easy meal. An alternative is to cut a slit in the chicken and stuff it with cheese, herbs, and veggies (such as spinach or roasted red pepper) or fruit (apricots are good), then broil it and the polenta.

For breakfast, eggs baked with polenta is fabulous. Cook a single serving of polenta in an individual ramekin. Once the polenta is cooked, add an egg or two mixed with 1 tbsp milk, yogurt, or FF half and half and whatever else you want (ham, spinach, onions, mushrooms, cheese, whatever you like in your eggs). Stick it in the oven until the egg is cooked. You can break the yolk or not, whatever is your preference.

Another great recipe is Baked Cheese Polenta with Swiss Chard (http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/showpost.php?p=2263132&postcount=41).