Mexican Polenta Casserole

Mexican Polenta, Bean + Cheese Casserole

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I’ve been craving Mexican and this hit the spot :mrgreen:

It was inspired by a number of recipes I have seen recently but the combo was basically what we had on hand:

  • Frozen peppers (3 cups)
  • Frozen corn (1 cup)
  • Diced tomatoes (1 can, drained)
  • Cooked navy beans (1 cup – you could use any kind of beans you like, canned or cooked from scratch)
  • Taco seasoning (a year-old packet – about a tbsp!)
  • Cumin, red pepper flakes, dried oregano and garlic powder – all to taste (about 1/2 tsp each?)
  • Polenta (2 servings, prepared)
  • 4 oz shredded Mexican cheese

Heat peppers, corn, tomatoes and beans with seasonings until hot. While veggies are cooking, boil water for polenta, add 1/2 a cup polenta and let thicken and cook for 5 minutes. Pour veggie + bean mixture into a casserole dish. Top with polenta. If you have a shallow, wide casserole dish like I did, you will have to spread it out very thin. Top with cheese. Bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes. Bottom layers will be loose, so take care when serving!

Total recipe is about 1225 kcal, 35 grams fiber and 54 grams protein – portion as you like! Makes about 3-4 servings, depending on your appetite.
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My serving was a little less than 1/3 of the recipe (about 380 kcal). I served it with a handful of steamed spinach and topped with Cholula, red pepper flakes and a spoonful of Fage.

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Check out the chez!

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 laura July 31, 2008 at 7:21 am

I made this the other night and really liked the veggies and the cheese. The polenta was rather dull. I could probably google polenta recipes for ways to make it more interesting, but thought perhaps you or your readers might have an idea. Thanks :)

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2 Kath July 31, 2008 at 7:27 am

Laura,
Perhaps add some more Mexican spices to it like cumin, taco seasoning, oregano?

Kath

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3 Ashley H January 20, 2009 at 12:47 pm

I am allergic to tomatoes but this looks so good what do you think I might be able to substitute in its place?

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4 Kath January 20, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Ashley,
Any vegetable you like.

Kath

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5 Holly January 23, 2009 at 1:08 pm

hey — “frozen peppers”? Is there a way to freeze red or gold peppers that preserves them OK for later cooking (chili, etc?)

I’m experimenting with pre-chopped jalapenos in a small jar in the freezer door to make that a little faster, but wasn’t sure you could “revive” frozen larger peppers.

Great blog — so nice to see the photos with the recipes?

Holly

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6 Kath January 23, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Holly,
Our peppers came in a bag – I didn’t freeze them myself. But I’m sure you could.

K

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7 kate April 21, 2009 at 12:00 pm

I know this post was a while back, but you cant really freeze whole peppers and revive them. If you throw them in the freezer & then defrost them they become wrinkly and filled with water! Ew! Go wtih the frozen bag idea like Kath suggests!

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8 A June 8, 2009 at 5:49 pm

to freeze your own vegetables look up blanching. You have to cook vegetables and then freeze them or the enzymes continue to break down the vegetable.

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9 haya January 17, 2010 at 7:47 am

i freeze raw peppers all the time and never have problems with enzymes breaking them down – we get tons in the end of the summer from the family farm and i wouldn’t be able to use them all up if i didn’t
i cut the peppers up into short 0.5″ wide 1.5″ long sticks, lay them on a baking sheet covered in parchment and freeze until they are solid, then i pop them into a ziploc bag and do some more. it’s easy, (free for me!) and they are fabulous to throw in soups, stews, omelets, etc.

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10 J. February 26, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Whenever bell peppers are on sale, I buy some, slice into strips and throw them in a baggie and keep them in the freezer. Just toss them in to whatever you’re cooking. I also buy a can of chipotle peppers in adobo and dump it into a freezer container. Whenever I want one or two (super hot!), I let it sit out for half an hour, pry a pepper and some sauce out, and put the container back in the freezer. Works great.

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11 Miranda March 15, 2010 at 5:49 pm

yum! i’m making this tonight but i’m using left over tamale dough instead of polenta. Thanks for posting this recipe it looks great!

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12 katie jones May 19, 2011 at 11:19 am

I just tried this and I LOVED it. Thanks for a great recipe.

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13 AKelsey May 29, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I added sharp cheddar, cilantro and lime juice to the polenta – just stir it in before you pour it into the casserole dish. I can’t stand plain polenta, so I always add cheese and herbs.

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