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No Polenta in the ‘Verse Can Stop Me December 30, 2012

Posted by starshipexercise in MIgraine, Recipes and Food.
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Like most people, I like to think about recipes I want to try while watching Firefly marathons on the Science channel. Indeed, I experienced a flash of brilliance during the last one. In one particularly violent episode, there’s this line Kaylee says which River later repeats: “No power in the ‘verse can stop me.” Now, I love Firefly as much as the next nerd, but I don’t usually take it as guidance or inspiration for life.*

But this one time, I heard that line and thought of polenta. My brain works best in alliteration mode, apparently.

I have been wanting to try making polenta for a couple of years, actually, but the good stuff is always full of way too much dairy. Oh, all that lovely cow product makes the polenta taste good, but with that much dairy and fat, there’s no portion in the ‘verse small enough to stop me from getting a migraine, a stomachache, and a muffin top. Yeah, I’ve been a little intimidated by polenta. I admit it.

But with Kaylee and River backing me up, I figured it was worth a shot.

So I spent hours searching for polenta recipes online, and found absolutely nothing that I wanted to try. Then the invoice from my next CSA order came with a very simple recipe for baked polenta, which doesn’t actually call for very much dairy. I figured I could tolerate the small amounts of butter and cheese in the recipe so I gave it a whirl and it turned out very well:

Very Well Baked Polenta

Servings: 6

1 cup medium grind corn meal
3 cups water
2 tbsp butter (I use organic hippie butter that doesn’t have carageenan in it – read your labels!)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus a little extra to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Mix all ingredients together, and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and stir, sprinkle cheese on top, replace in oven for 10 more minutes. Allow to sit for at least 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Calories 139.6
Total Fat 5.4 g
Cholesterol 13.7 mg
Sodium 173.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 18.2 g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Protein 3.8 g

Weight Watcher’s Points Plus Value**: 4

Now, that’s not bad in terms of nutritional value. And as for taste, I served it at a dinner party and the consensus was…yummy!

If you are a normal person, stop reading here. But if you’re watching your cholesterol, or you’re just a crazy-health-nut-bitch like me, we can do better.

Skinny Baked Polenta

Servings: 6

1 cup medium grind corn meal
3 cups water
2 tbsp chicken broth (I use home made, you can use whatever. It’s ok, I won’t judge you.)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 Laughing Cow Light cheese wedges
2 1/2 tbsp parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Put Laughing Cow cheese and broth in a teeny tiny bowl*** and nuke just long enough that you can mix them together into a slurry that resembles a corn starch slurry. Mix together water, corn meal, cheese slurry, salt, and 1 tbsp of the parmesan cheese. Bake for 5o minutes. Stir, and sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let it rest for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Calories 117.7
Total Fat 1.4 g
Cholesterol 3.2 mg
Sodium 168.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 21.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Protein 3.8 g

Weight Watcher’s Points Plus Value: 2

So far I’m the only one who’s tasted it, but it’s damn good, if I do say so myself.

Happy New Year, Bitches!

* According to my dear husband, I am a “nerd with a U,” which I think means I’m an old school nerd. I can’t work the stereo, and frankly have no interest in video games, but I read science fiction voraciously and as a young child ran interesting experiments involving the hardwood floor, carpet, silly putty, crayons, baby powder and heat (not necessarily in that order)…just to see what would happen. I preferred to think of myself as an alchemist rather than sociopath. Whatever, I digress.

** All WW PPV are according to the recipe builder app, and assume my sometimes admittedly wonky attempts at measuring are accurate. I didn’t plug the nutritional info into the points calculator to see if it matches the recipe builder, I’m just much too lazy for that.

*** My dear husband, who is a foot taller than me, likes to remind me in his best Gilda Radner voice that I am a little, teeny, tiny, itty, bitty, little, tiny wife. I suppose it’s appropriate that I use teeny tiny bowls. It’s always something.

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