Furlough Food Recipe

Polenta is easy to make, inexpensive and comes packaged dry. It has common characteristics with grits and is very versatile. My favorite restaurant polenta dish is from Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City, and I just recently decided to try preparing a polenta dish myself. This dish started with a box of Colavita Polenta, but feel free to use your favorite brand.

You will need:
1 Box Polenta Cornmeal
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 jar sliced button mushrooms
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro, fresh or dried.

Boil some water. The ratio for preparing polenta is 2:1, water to polenta. I used two cups of water to prepare 1 cup of polenta.
Pour water into a saucepan, when the water reaches a boil, pour in the polenta. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste, and use a whisk to smooth it all out. From the time you pour in the polenta, it will be less than five minutes for the polenta to be cooked. Turn off the flame.

Add your extra ingredients. Mine are mushrooms and parmesan, but you should pick what you like. I added a quarter cup of sliced button mushrooms (from a jar) and a quarter cup of grated parmesan cheese. Blend these ingredients and then pour the mixture into a baking dish. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Now you have the basic component of your meal. You can keep this in your fridge for at least a week, so make this on a Sunday and then use as needed throughout the week.

The last steps:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take a half inch slice of polenta from the baking dish and bake for 5-6 minutes. This will remove some of the moisture from the polenta slice. Remove from oven, brush on some olive oil and fry or grill for about three minutes. Sprinkle on some cilantro. Enjoy! Makes a great side dish to soup, especially if paired with guacamole.

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