Tonight, we had a rare treat–all of us were home for dinner on Wednesday night. Thank goodness for a “Snow Day,” although there really wasn’t much snow. Still, I’ll take it! I really love sharing meals with my family.
What was on the menu? Well, we did a bit of rearranging. Yesterday, when it really was snowy here, I made a big, ole pot of chili. It was just a day that declared, “Make chili today!” So, I did. Which meant, the pork chops and polenta would wait for another day, or week, or menu plan. 🙂
Since were were all home tonight, I knew exactly what I’d be making–Molasses Coffee Marinated Pork Chops*, Pumpkin Polenta and Sauteed Sugar Snap Peas. Well, the kids requested broccoli, which I happily obliged; sautéing with olive oil, salt/pepper and roasted pine nuts. As well, I changed from pumpkin polenta to butternut squash polenta.
So, what is polenta? Well, for this Southern girl, it’s really nothing more than “gussied up grits.” Seriously, it’s just fancy grits, if truth be told. I have seen recipes stating you can use coarsely ground corn meal, as well as grits, or even real polenta. So, I just use quick-cooking grits. Maybe it’s not the traditional way of making it, but it works for me!
I tweaked a few recipes and finally came up with my own for Butternut Squash Polenta. I used a great pasta sauce, which I found a while back at Costco. It’s “Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce.” It is so good. For some reason, this just sounded better to me, than the usual pumpkin.
As you can see from the pictures, the kids ate it up. While they don’t always give my meals “two thumbs up,” they are required to eat what they are served. However, tonight’s meal got “Kid Approval.” They even requested that I make it again soon! YEA!
(*The pork chop recipe says to grill. Since I have snow on my deck, I opted to bake. Tasted great!)
Gussied Up Grits (aka Polenta)
- 2 cups of milk
- 1 1/2 cup of water *
- 1 T of “Better Than Boullion” Chicken Base*
- 1 cup of Quick-Cooking Grits
- 3/4 -1 cup of “Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce” or canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
Put milk, water and chicken base (*Or just use canned or homemade chicken broth) into a saucepan, bring to a boil. Whisk in grits (or polenta). Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally. The mixture will become thick after about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butternut squash sauce, Parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper.