Savory mushroom ragout with creamy herbed polenta

Savory mushroom ragout with creamy herbed polenta

Michael and I enjoyed this delicious mushroom ragout for dinner tonight, and immediately decided to add it to our dinner rotation. The mixture of different mushrooms is savory and delicious — and pairs well with the creamy herbed polenta. I first saw a picture of this recipe on Dinner: A Love Story, and when Michael pointed out the same picture, I knew we would have to give it a try.

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Garden-fresh polenta pizza with homemade pesto

Garden-fresh polenta pizza with homemade pesto

Michael went to the farmer’s market at the University of Minnesota this past week, and picked up some fresh veggies for our kitchen. While we didn’t have anything specific in mind to make, we figured we could cook something delicious with them. While browsing the internets, Michael found a polenta pizza recipe that looked good–but we didn’t have the ingredients it called for. So we made our own, substituting homemade pesto and grilled veggies as pizza toppings.

This polenta pizza recipe is chock-full of fresh garden veggies, and was as delicious as we had hoped. While it’s not difficult to make, it does take a bit of time, as the polenta crust needs to chill in the fridge before the pizza can be assembled.

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Steamy ham and cheese grits

Steamy ham and cheese grits

What can we say about grits other than, “they’re pretty ‘grit’ “? Many moons ago, before this long and cold winter came and overstayed its welcome (it’s still here!), Jane and I were reading recipes online and somehow got on the topic of grits. “What are these crazy ‘grit’ things, and how do they taste?”, we wondered. Being the “good northerners” that we were, we proceeded to mock them and spread nasty rumors about how we’ve heard that they’re something like oatmeal. Boy, were we ever wrong.

Grits, my friends, are an amazing and versatile dish made from crushed, dried corn kernels that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They can also be mixed with cheese, meat, and vegetables to contend as a main dish in their own right, guaranteed to stick to your ribs and provide you with that good ole “southern comfort” feeling. After making and eating grits, we repented of our ignorant northerner ways, and invited grits into our home as a family recipe. Since that time, we have begun to experiment by using grits as a base for amazing main dishes, such as this recipe here.

To make our delicious steamy ham and cheese grits, you will need the list of ingredients below, an 8″x4″ meatloaf pan (nonstick works best), and an oven preheated to 350 degrees. You may find that an 8″x4″ pan does not make nearly enough of these delicious grits (we never have leftovers with this size). In that case, you can double the recipe for an 8″x8″ pan (this also fits well in a 9″x9″), or triple the recipe for a 9″x13″ pan of these steamy grits.

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Tomato sausage polenta

Tomato sausage polenta

My mom found this recipe in one of her Taste of Home cooking magazines several years ago, and it’s been one of my favorites ever since. It combines a cornbread-like polenta with a simple tomato-sausage sauce, which is topped with cheese and baked to perfection.

As my mom could tell you, I often request this dish when I’m visiting my parents’ house. Last week, I decided to try my own hand at making this delicious polenta. And, believe me, it was DELICIOUS. Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list — it does take around an hour to make, but it’s still an easy weeknight recipe.

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