Divas on a Dime: What’s delicious, easy to make and cheap?

Let’s talk about polenta! Polenta is a versatile staple made from ground corn that can serve as an appetizer, side or main dish, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It can be seasoned sweet or savory. Serve soft, like mashed potatoes, or cool and slice into pieces. It can even be baked crisp into fries!

Also, polenta is great to serve to a crowd because polenta is inexpensive, can be made dairy free, is vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. (Only corn allergies need apply!)


Time: 20 minutes Yield: 4 generous servings

If you’ve never tried polenta, this is the recipe to make. It’s AMAZING.

Polenta fit for company but so easy you’ll make it any day of the week.

What You’ll Need:

2 cups water

2 cups milk

½ teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups cornmeal

1 tablespoon butter

4 oz. cream cheese – cut into pieces

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Here’s How:

In a large saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Add salt and reduce heat to LOW. Add the cornmeal in a steady slow stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Keep stirring on low heat until thickened. Be careful, because it can bubble and splash! Switch to a wooden spoon and add the butter, cream cheese, and parmesan. Keep stirring. You can tell it’s done when it pulls away from the sides of the pot. THAT’S IT!!! Serve immediately. Or make the recipe below.



Time: 30 minutes Yield: 4 servings

What You’ll Need:

One recipe Creamy Parmesan Polenta – above

1 tablespoon each; butter and olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic – minced

16 oz. mushrooms – sliced

3 Roma tomatoes

4 oz. mozzarella cheese

Here’s How:

Prepare polenta as directed above and pour onto a sheet pan, spread evenly to about ½ inch thick, and cool until firm enough to slice.

Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan heat 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil. Sauté 1 teaspoon minced garlic until fragrant. Add 16 oz. of mushrooms and sauté until golden. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and set aside. Slice 16 thin rounds of tomato and slice mozzarella into 8 thin slices.

Slice the polenta into 8 squares approximately 4” by 4” or use a small bowl to cut rounds. You will have leftover pieces. Sorry, you’ll have to eat them later. Place slices on a baking sheet and top with mushrooms, tomato and mozzarella.

Place under the broiler until cheese is melted. Stack two polenta slices as shown in photo. Top with fresh herbs if desired.

Polenta can be served plain or gussied up with toppings. What else can you add to polenta, you ask? More butter, cream, toasted nuts, honey, maple syrup, jams or preserves, poached eggs, fresh herbs, cinnamon, brown sugar, caramelized onions, sour cream, salsa, any kind of cheese, beef ragu, pulled pork, bacon crumbles or diced ham.

You can pay for premade polenta in a roll – but please don’t! It’s so easy to make yourself, it’ll taste better at a fraction of the cost.

Frugal Food contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at divasonadimedotcom