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Monday, October 26, 2015


With cold weather approaching (rather quickly if you ask me) comfort food starts making a comeback into our family meals.  Comfort food usually means calorie laden and rather heavy.  Over the week-end I tried to play around with a little bit comfort and a little bit healthy and created this flavorful Caprese Polenta Bake.  We grilled some steaks and served this bake with an Arugula & White Bean Salad w/ Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe to be posted soon).  You get the comfort from the creamy, cheesy polenta and the healthy from the fresh grape tomatoes and basil. This was my last ditch effort to create a little something "fall" with the last flavors of summer. It turned out perfect, made my kitchen smell wonderful and got a lot of "OH's and AH's" when it was taken out of the oven!!!

-  4 cups Chicken Broth (32 oz.)
-  3 cups water (can add extra to thin out polenta if needed)
-  1 tsp. Pasta Sprinkle Seasoning (can use a mixture of dried basil & oregano)
-  2 cups Dell'Alpe Instant Polenta
-  2 tsp. tomato paste
-  1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
-  1/8 tsp. salt
-  fresh ground black pepper and crushed red pepper to taste
-  2 cups shredded mozzarella (divided)
-  1/2 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
-  2 TB. fresh basil
-  1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-  sprinkle of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In large saucepan bring chicken broth, water and spices to a boil   Once boiling add polenta.  Turn
     heat down to medium and continuously stir with a wooden spoon.
3.   Add tomato paste and parmesan cheese. Stir until smooth.
4.   Spray 8x8 baking dish with Pam.
5.   Scoop half of the polenta mixture into dish and spread evenly.
6.  Add 1 cup shredded mozzarella to the top of polenta.
7.   Top with remaining polenta mixture.
8.   Sprinkle top with remaining cup of shredded mozzarella.
9.   Place halved tomatoes, cut side up, to the top of the cheese.
10. Add chopped basil to top of
11. Drizzle top with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
12. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

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