Polenta and Vegetable Bake

Since I bought two rolls of polenta, I want to use them but I want to do something, I know we will like, with them.  Since, we are vegetable aficionados, I knew vegetables of some kind, had to be involved.  Eating Well comes through time and again with good, solid, healthy recipes so that is where I turned for an idea.  With a name like, “Polenta and Vegetable Bake”, I couldn’t go wrong. 

If you have not made polenta or bought the rolls, I suggest you give them a try.  They are versatile and I have a feeling, as I am more comfortable cooking with polenta, my imagination is going to be the drive that determines the recipes.

Polenta and Vegetable Bake (adapted from Eating Well)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 small zucchini, finely diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce, preferably lower-sodium
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or oregano or cilantro
  • 4 slices prepared polenta
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese, divided

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degree F. Coat a round baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes.  Stir marinara sauce into the vegetables and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in basil or oregano or cilantro.
  3. Place vegetables in a single layer in the prepared baking dish.
  4. Top with polenta and cover with cheese and more sauce, if necessary
  5. . Bake until bubbling and the cheese has just melted, 12 to 15 minutes.

This is linked to Real Food Wednesdays     Whole Food Wednesdays          Gluten-free Wednesday    We Are That Family     Allergy Free Wednesdays    Cast Party Wednesday     Momnivore’s Dilemma        Frugal Follies     Allergy Free Wednesday     Creative Juice     Pennywise Platter    Breakfast Ideas Monday

Eggplant Polenta Parmesan

This is the story of a lonely eggplant and 6 unhappy polenta slices who both wanted to meet a new friend.  They came to me to find out if I could help.  Each had a long story to tell about how they ended up so sad and lonely and yes, each has had a difficult life.

Ellie the Eggplant was not favored by the “Vegetable Eaters” who wanted carrots, corn, broccoli, squash and peas.  They walked by Ellie without even a glance.  Ellie sat in the store, hoping someone would come along before she went bad and take her to a real home.  She hated the cold aisles in the food store, lined up with food that called people and people came.  She watched the cauliflower depart followed by the zucchini and onions. She waved goodbye to her friends and put on a smile so they would not know, just how sad she was.

As she sat on her shelf, the polenta found itself in a home, a home where they enjoyed eating polenta with cheese but did not have any good ideas how else to make her into a meal.  She dreamed of finding a friend and working herself through the digestive system with the new-found friend.  Casey, her owner looked for recipes and actually  had a lot of them written on pieces of paper that were piling up.  Casey really did like polenta but was very busy and just could not find time to decide which recipe she should cook.  So the six slices, sat in the cold refrigerator wanting to catch up with their brothers who already had found friends to move on with.

Casey was shopping and saw Ellie sitting in a bin, looking longingly at the customers who ignored Ellie.  Casey saw tears rolling down her purple skin and took pity on Ellie.  She placed Ellie in her basket with two zucchini, one butternut squash, a bag of onions and some beautiful red tomatoes.  The eggplant thought to herself, one of these is going to become my friend.

Unfortunately, that evening, Casey did not use either the polenta nor the eggplant but each were happy to visit in the refrigerator and life was calm and happy.  The next day, excitement reigned.  The eggplant was removed from the refrigerator and was peeled and sliced.  Ellie was happy but she wanted her new friend there, also.  She begged Casey who went along with her and concocted a recipe where the polenta and eggplant could stay together.  There was rejoicing in the house.

Eggplant Polenta Parmesan

Ingredients

1 eggplant

6 slices of polenta

1 small onion, sliced thin

1/2 jar of Marinara sauce

1/4 cup Parmesan

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Season according to you likes.  I did not think it needed any.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a large skillet with oil and turn heat on to medium.

Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch pieces and place in skillet.

Cook each side until slightly browned and partially cooked.

While eggplant is cooking, slice onions and polenta.  Polenta should be 1/4 inch thickness.

Remove eggplant and put on paper towels to drain.  Mine almost had no oil.

Add onions to skillet and cook for 4 minutes or until translucent.  Remove and place in a separate pile with the eggplant.

Brown polenta lightly on both sides, adding another spray of olive oil to skillet first.

Using a 19 inch baking pan, pour 3/4 cup of marinara sauce into baking pan, to cover bottom.  Place polenta slices to cover the bottom.    Place an eggplant slice on top of each piece of polenta.  Top with sliced onions and Mozzarella.

Pour remaining sauce over top of casserole and sprinkle Parmesan on the very top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 2o minutes until thoroughly heated and cheese melted.

Take a bite and be happy.

This is linked to Friday Food         Foodie Friday