Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Polenta With Spinach & Balsamic Tomatoes AND Asparagus, Strawberry Salad

That's a long title...... and a delicious combo :)

This took a little more prep using all fresh ingredients and making it all fancy looking, but it was worth it. The idea came to me as I was trying to decide what to do with a ton of spinach I needed to use and a pre-made roll of polenta. I wanted something pretty to try out the food setting on my new camera and this was the end result.

Remember that you can easily substitute things here, I use what I have on hand because I'm terrible at menu planning!

Polenta With Spinach & Balsamic Tomatoes


1 roll of pre-made polenta
2 huge bags of spinach (precise right!)
6 roma tomatoes
about a 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella
3 cloves garlic
Olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 large lemon
Spices.... I used basil, thyme, cayenne and some salt n pepper.

Put the oven on broil and grease a large cookie sheet.

Wash and dry your veggies, be extra sure the spinach is dry.

Chop your spinach.

Slice polenta into rounds about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick, season with salt and pepper. Lay on your greased pan and lightly spray the top with cooking spray. Broil on each side 6-8 minutes or until golden.

Remove and change oven to 350 Degrees F.

Dice your garlic and saute it in some olive oil over medium high heat until golden. Add your spinach (if there is any water watch out!) Cover and turn heat down to medium for about 2 minutes. - Hey?! Where'd all my spinach go? I rarely cook spinach, we love baby spinach fresh and eat lots of it. It's amazing how much it shrinks when you cook it! remove it from the burner and squeeze 1/2 lemon over it, season with salt and pepper, mix well.

Dice tomatoes and mix with 2 Tablespoons balsamic, 2 Tablespoons oil and the herbs. I used cayenne to give it a little kick and a slightly different flavor than the salad... it was kinda awesome. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Top each polenta round with some garlicky spinach and then some cheese. Put them in the oven for about 10-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and starting to turn golden.

Serve tomatoes on the side (I prefer fresh over cooked tomatoes and it keeps the "pizzas" from getting soggy while cooking). Each person can top their rounds with some tomatoes and enjoy alongside some.......

Asparagus & Strawberry Salad

Oh yum.... this was great and so easy to make! You just want to make it an hour or so ahead so the flavors mix up well. I made two versions, the only difference being one was with asparagus and one was with green beans. Both were good, the kids were more likely to eat green beans than asparagus so this way they had a choice. The asparagus was better though and got 100% of the adult votes. It soaked up the flavors wonderfully.


1 bunch asparagus (or green beans)
1 pint strawberries
2 Tablesoons honey
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
juice from 1/2 large lemon
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Blanch vegetables in boiling water for about 2 minutes and then put directly into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Dry well.

Wash and dry strawberries and slice.

Chop vegetables into large chunks... about 2 inches long.

Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

Mix vegetables and strawberries in a large bowl and pour dressing over the top. Mix well, salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for about an hour.

We really enjoyed this meal, so pretty, healthy and tasty! The only thing I'll do next time is make more!! And maybe add some roasted potatoes to the plate.

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