Beef and Polenta Casserole

Beef and Polenta Casserole

The other night I made this dish (another one from Cooking Light magazine): Beef and Polenta Casserole (use Quorn beef instead for vegetarians). I’ve never had polenta before (honestly, I wasn’t even sure what polenta was) but it turned out well and the leftovers were even better. I’ve since found out that polenta is made from boiled yellow or white cornmeal and is pretty tasty stuff.

Beef and Polenta Casserole

2 medium zucchini/courgettes
1 (17-ounce) tube of basil and garlic-flavoured polenta (a tube of polenta sounds very very wrong, but it is good)
1 pound ground sirloin or Quorn beef if going vegetarian
1 (24 ounce) jar fire-roasted tomato-garlic pasta sauce (such as Classico)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (although I used more, so pepper to taste)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat 4-cheese Italian blend cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; cut diagonally crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Cut polenta crosswise into 8 slices; coat both sides of each slice with cooking spray (I used olive oil instead)

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add polenta slices; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Arrange the polenta slices in an 11×7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray (again, I just used a little extra virgin olive oil).

4. Reheat pan over medium-high heat. Add beef to pan. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring to crumble; remove from pan, and drain, if necessary. Add zucchini to pan; saute 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Add beef, pasta sauce, and pepper; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Spoon beef mixture over polenta; sprinkle with cheese.

5. Bake at 375 for 18 minutes or until bubbly and cheese melts.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

Calories: 266; Fat: 7.6g; Protein: 24g; Carb: 24.7g; Fiber: 3.3g

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