Sunday, March 20, 2011
Recipe: Polenta Mini Pizzas with Mushrooms & Olives
Did you miss me? I certainly missed blogging here during the past few weeks! Though I had some fabulous guest bloggers help me out in the interim, it's good to get back to work on my baby. I just have to keep reminding myself that I have to take it slowly at first.
As most of you know, I moved - rather unexpectedly - to a different apartment in my building (for those of you who really want to know all the details behind my decision, you can check out my post on my other blog). It was one of the best moves I've made in a long time, and I am quite happy settling in to a place that feels brighter, happier, and safer than where I was before.
The only sucky part was that I had a really strict deadline and almost zero help or preparation to get said move accomplished, so it was probably the most difficult move I've ever had to do. One thing's knowing that you're going to move and having time to pack and get rid of excess junk; another is having to move all that crap with you in less than a week with no boxes or sweet friends to help you (and who can blame them, considering there was hardly any notice!).
And so, in traditional form whenever stress levels get too high for me, my body shut down. Again, I won't go into the details of what I'm dealing with, but let's just say I'm in quite a bit of pain due to the neuralgia I'm experiencing, and have a few more weeks of recovery time before I'm back to normal. So as happy as I was to get everything moved in on time, my body decided that settling in was going to take a spot on the back burner because health was more important. I guess I can't disagree with it; I just wished it would let me know in advance before it freaks out in major ways.
The good news is that I'm on the mend and have slowly gained enough strength to get some work done around here. I've created a small workspace so that I can blog again, and have learned to navigate my much tinier, but way cuter new kitchen. The bad news is that I have to rein in my lofty new recipe ideas for awhile, so tonight's recipe is super simple.
But as you all know, in my world, super simple can still = super delicious.
In the spirit of my dessert shots, which pack all the sweet joy of dessert into tiny little shot glasses to minimize the guilt factor, I decided to turn my pizza craving into something equally tiny & less evil. It's not my usual made-completely-from-scratch work, but it does a great job at making a quick, tasty meal without too much effort.
Using a regular tube of prepared polenta, I simply grilled up small medallions of it in one of my trusty skillets, brushed some impromptu pizza sauce on top, added my favorite toppings, and voila! Tiny pizzas that are undoubtedly way less fattening than the delivery kind, and far less expensive. Served with a nice spinach salad, I had a great little meal for dinner tonight, and plenty of polenta leftover for more nano-pizzas or something different! Let's check out the recipe...
Polenta Mini Pizzas with Mushrooms & Olives (makes 4-6 mini pizzas; total cost per serving: $2.75)
NOTE: Mushrooms & olives just happen to be my favorite pizza toppings, so if yours differ, by all means, use whatever toppings you enjoy!
1/2 18 oz. tube prepared polenta
10-12 small black olives, sliced
5-6 small white button mushrooms, sliced
1 c shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
1 T olive oil
Salt & pepper
4 oz. tomato sauce
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried basil
1/4 t dried rosemary
1/2 t minced garlic
1/8 t salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
(Note: if you're really in a pinch, 4-6 oz. of prepared pasta or pizza sauce will work just as well!)
Prepare the "pizza sauce" by combining all ingredients in a small saucepan and cooking over medium low heat until heated through (about 4-5 minutes). Remove from heat & set aside.
Cut the polenta into 1/2" thick slices. Season both sides of each slice very lightly with salt & pepper and set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. When oil is heated through, arrange the polenta slices in the skillet and pan-fry for about 3 minutes on each side, or until slightly golden brown & crispy to the touch.
Remove the polenta from the skillet and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain the excess oil. Add about a teaspoon of sauce to each polenta slice, top with a teaspoon or so of shredded cheese, then add the olives & mushrooms. Return the mini pizzas to the skillet and cover, cooking for another 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Garnish with fresh chopped basil, serve with a nice salad, and enjoy!