Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I got another Christmas gift yesterday.  Well .... kind of.

Every year, I end up making too much food for the holidays.  Doesn't everyone?

I have an open house on Christmas Eve where I serve a casual menu of appetizers, cookies, and chili.  I always make a lot of chili (my crockpot was almost overflowing!), so that I have some leftover.

On Christmas morning, my sister and her family along with my parents and mother-in-law all come around for presents and muffins and fruit. I was in charge of the fruit this year, and I made a too-big fruit salad.

Lucky for me, I froze the extra fruit and chili -- not together, of course--for a later date.

That later date was yesterday.

First the fruit.  I had frozen pineapple, pear and apple chunks along with kiwi slices.  I blended up some kale and apple juice, tossed in the frozen fruit and added some rice milk.  We had a lovely green smoothie for breakfast that everyone slurped up.

Next, the chili.  I re-invisioned the cheeseburger pie of my childhood.  (Clearly, I ate quite a bit differently then.)  I topped a veggie-infused polenta with chili and cheddar-flavored Daiya vegan cheese shreds and ended up with a new dinner favorite.  We served it with slices of avocado, and you could add some plain-flavored coconut yogurt to really jazz it up.  It made for a yummy, homey one-dish supper.

I used the soup base that I wrote about on The Balanced Platter last week as the cooking medium for the polenta, but you could use broth or water or rice milk instead if you don't have any handy.

Now, the only thing I have left in my freezer from the holidays is a small container of cookies that I can toss into a lunchbox or use as an after-dinner sweet for the boys.

Chili Polenta Pie
Makes 4 servings

3 cups soup base (or broth, water or rice milk)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cornmeal
2 cups prepared chili (I used the chili recipe from Welcoming Kitchen, of course!)
1 cup cheddar-flavored Daiya vegan cheese shreds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.
Lightly oil a deep-dish pie plate (You could probably get it all to fit in a regular pie plate, but I used a deep dish one.)
Bring the soup base, olive oil and salt and pepper to a boil.
Slowly whisk in cornmeal, and reduce heat to low.
Whisk regularly, though not constantly, until polenta has thickened up so that it will only slowly return to the side of the pan when you scrape it into the middle, about 20 minutes.
Spread prepared polenta into pie plate.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Spread chili over polenta crust and top with cheese.
Bake for another 20 minutes.

Happy Cooking!

Find more tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.  

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