Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mexican Polenta Casserole

I do love cooking.  Step into the kitchen, get ingredients out and play.  Then pray and hope that your creation passes the picky pallets of your loved ones when they sit down to eat.

But tonight?  I amazed myself yet again.

Behold – My rendition of Mexican Polenta Casserole 

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Mexican Polenta Casserole

This makes enough to fill 2 (TWO) 9x13 casserole dishes

Casserole ingredients

1 tbsp cooking oil of choice (tonight I used EVOO)
½ - 1 Onion, diced
1 Bell Pepper, diced
8 oz mushrooms, diced
8 oz ground seitan (I used Upton’s Naturals, Italian Seitan)

1 25 oz can Black Beans, well rinsed & drained
1 25 oz can Pinto Beans, well rinsed & drained
1 15 oz can Tomato Sauce
1 6 oz can Tomato Paste
1 14.5 oz can Petite Diced Tomatoes
8 oz (1 cup) mixed frozen veggies (I had corn, carrots, peas)
8 oz (1 cup) frozen corn
¼ - ½ cup salsa (I used about ¼)
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Ground Pepper
1 tsp Chili powder
2 cups Daiya Cheese or other vegan cheese of your choice (I used a mix of Cheddar, Mozzarella and Pepper Jack Daiya)

Polenta ingredients (this is for a single batch, you will need to make two or double the batch)

4 cups liquid – This can be all water or you can mix it with any variation of water and broth
1 cup Cornmeal
3 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
½ tsp Garlic Powder
1-2 tbsp Vegan margarine
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

Make the Polenta first as it needs time to setup. For this dish you will need to make either a double batch or make two separate batches

Polenta Directions

In a small soup pot, bring liquid to a slow simmer. In a bowl, mix Cornmeal, Nutritional Yeast & Garlic Powder together. Stir in the Cornmeal mix into the liquid. Cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the Polenta from sticking to the bottom of the pot. I suggest using a whisk during this part as it keeps the lumps to a minimum.

Lightly press into a 9x13 greased casserole dish and set aside while the casserole mix is being prepared

Casserole

Preheat the oven to 350 deg (I have a convection and 350 deg is perfect).

Using med heat, heat up a skillet and add the oil. Add the onions and let them cook for 2-5 min. Next add the bell peppers and mushrooms and cook for another 3 min. Next add in the ground seitan and cook on med to low heat until seitan is fully cooked, about 3-5 min.

In a large pot, add the remaining casserole ingredients. Mix together and heat on med. Once mixture starts to bubble, add the skillet mixture and mix altogether.

Casserole Dish preparation

Take 2 cups of the casserole mix and spread it over the Polenta. Next add a light layer of cheese. Add a 1 ½ cup casserole mix over the cheese (do best you can to cover but there should be enough to cover the cheese)

Cover the casserole dishes with foil and bake for 35 min.

Take foil off and add cheese to the top of casserole, do not add foil back on. Bake for an additional 10-15 min, until cheese has melted.

Eat and enjoy.

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This is one after picture.  Currently there is only one dish left and even it has a chunk out of it.  So a big winner!