Tag Archives: fast weeknight dinners

Polenta: Mexican Style! (Recipe of Sorts)

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook listens to the crowd in planning menus. And TPCs Junior have spoken–polenta for the people! Apparently, if a casual counting of likes, reactions, and genial nods are indicators, you, the viewing public, also like polenta recipes.

Mexican Style Polenta (vegetarian!)

Mexican Style Polenta (vegetarian!)

Here’s this week’s offering, Polenta: Mexican Style!

1 shelf-stable package of Trader Joe’s polenta (feel free to make your own, or sub your favorite brand), cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
1 Tablespoon butter/olive oil combo, in any ratio
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 can diced no-salt tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon cumin
a pinch of oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 package Trader Joe’s soy chorizo (or the real stuff, or another kind of soy chorizo)
1 avocado, diced
shredded cheese for topping
sour cream for topping

1. Heat the butter/oil in a large skillet over a strong medium heat. When hot, add the polenta and fry both sides well, at least 8 minutes per.

2. Meanwhile, open, drain, and rinse the black beans. In a small saucepan, heat a dash of olive oil over a low medium heat and saute the onions until soft. Add the garlic and saute until you smell it, about 30 seconds, then add cumin and oregano. Add black beans and tomatoes, stir. Lower the heat and simmer until flavors meld, which I find happens right when the polenta is done because I’m hungry.

Soy Chorizo from Trader Joe's: Not bad actually, but on the spicy side.

Soy Chorizo from Trader Joe’s: Not bad actually, but on the spicy side.

3. Meanwhile, yes, there’s a lot of meanwhiling going on, saute the chorizo (remove the casing!) over medium heat in a dash of olive oil.

Saute the chorizo (soy chorizo in this case, don't be afraid).

Saute the chorizo (soy chorizo in this case, don’t be afraid).

4. Assemble by placing at least 2 rounds of polenta, a dollop of beans, chorizo, cheese, and sour cream on the plate. Dig in.

Deconstructed Mexican-Style Polenta, or Polenta Face (courtesy of the Eldest)

Deconstructed Mexican-Style Polenta, or Polenta Face (courtesy of the Eldest)

I suppose that was actually a recipe. Enjoy, it was my favorite iteration to date. Not quite the masa cakes of Brooklyn Star, but I’ll get there yet. I suspect I need to find a way to make my own polenta cakes, or masa cakes, but the shelf-stable one is so very easy and in demand.

Have you tried polenta yet? What’s your flavor? Post a comment below, the crickets will thank you.

Send your corn meal, witty rejoinders, and favorite cereals to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up next, it’s Weekly Menus or Wait, Where’s November?

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Weekly Menus, Memorial Day Weekend Edition

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook wishes you a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Here’s hoping you’re getting to take some time off and be outside somewhere. Preferably with watermelon. Without it, I don’t think one can fully celebrate. But I am deeply Southern that way.

Watermelon is key to celebrating Memorial Day. As important as the white shoes rule.

Watermelon is key to celebrating Memorial Day. As important as the white shoes rule.

I digress, as usual. This week, I’m actually in my own kitchen, cooking. Wow, what a concept! However, I have several upcoming guest blog posts. I have been out eating other people’s food, and talking to anyone and everyone about food. I know, it’s not an easy task, but someone must do it. I am here for you.

Rainbow Jell-O in order! Not mine, but I plan to tell you all about it.

Rainbow Jell-O in order! Not mine, but I plan to tell you all about it.

Worry not, at least one guest post will be dedicated to bacon. Bacon on bacon. I shall say no more for now, but I hope that guest poster is reading this and making a bacon lattice as we speak.

On to the Weekly Menus for this week:

Weekly Menus: 5/27/2012

Weekly Menus: 5/27/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 5/27/2012

The Four-Square Grocery List: 5/27/2012

My CSA from Brinkley Farms:

1 dozen eggs
1 pk pork chops
1 bundle rainbow carrots
1 lb cucumbers
1 qt. yukon gold potatoes
2 lbs zucchini

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Chicken, veggie, TJ’s brown rice medley, and fruit
We’re having guests, I’m craving comfort food, and half the people present could eat their weight in fruit. Thus the detailed listing.

Monday: Dine Out!
We’re eating out a couple of times in order to cover requests made by each of the Juniors. This is what compromise looks like in a foodie family.

Chinese Tapas, the phrase coined by the Eldest as she calmly ordered half the appetizers.

Chinese Tapas, the phrase coined by the Eldest as she calmly ordered half the appetizers.

Tuesday: Leftovers!
Because I will die under the weight of them if I don’t serve them regularly.

Wednesday: Ham and Cheese Sammies with Sweet Potato Chips
This is a recipe TPC’s Mom made growing up, and she fed it to my kids last week. Now they’re hooked, and we’re blogging it.

Thursday: Beans and Rice, Mexican Style
I’m overrun with tortillas, and I am pro any reason to eat avocado.

Friday: Beef and Bok Choy
I just like the sounds of it. This will be experimental in an attempt to convince the Jrs to eat both.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Though I may advocate for staying home and eating leftovers, or a salad. Road food is killing me softly.

Send kitchen challenges, kind words, and charming anecdotes to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up Wednesday, Peach Blueberry Crisp Bars Recipe. It’s like a crisp, in bar form.

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