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Polenta is an economical staple served as a side dish at many tables, Italian, Hispanic and more.  This is an easy and quick recipe, and by far the best I have eaten.  Leftovers are done away with too.

Easy Polenta

3 Tbsp. real butter, or non-hydrogenated margarine
5 cups plus of milk, preferably 2%
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
1 2/3 cups yellow corn meal
salt to taste

Melt the butter in a heavy, large pan, the wider the better.  Using a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup or a large glass bowl, heat four cups of milk to the boiling point in a microwave.   When hot, pour carefully into pan and turn heat to high.  Stir occasionally while assembling the other ingredients, scraping bottom to prevent scorching.

Add enough milk to the evaporated milk to make 2 cups.  Place in the large measuring cup or glass bowl.  Whisk in the corn meal, mixing until no lumps remain.  As soon as milk starts to boil, pour the corn meal slurry in little by little, stirring vigorously.   Continue to stir and scrape as mixture thickens.  When thick, turn heat to lowest setting and cover.  Cook for five or ten minutes, at least, until the rest of the meal is ready to serve.  Polenta should be stirred and scraped off the bottom every five minutes.

Variation:  Pour a can of coconut milk (not coconut water!) into the 2-cup measure and add enough evaporated milk to make 2 cups, instead of the above milk and evaporated milk mixture.  This makes a richer polenta, which is by no means low-calorie, but nutritious and delicious.

Press cooled leftovers into a shallow bowl or refrigerator container and cover to store in the fridge. Cut cold polenta into squares or wedges to serve; this can be fried, and served with a bit of butter, gravy, or maple syrup.  Or heat in the microwave.  Topped with a slice of cheese before heating, it's a delicious snack.  It's even great cold.


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