a little bit of this, a little bit of that

Okay.  So this is Part II of my polenta adventure.  As I shared a few days ago, I have a yummy go-to winter polenta dish.  But when it’s stonkingly hot outside, no one wants a sauce-heavy dish, no matter how delicious.  So on Friday night, I dared myself to do two things ~ use the polenta that was taunting me from its perch in the cupboard, and do so without going to the grocery store.

Silly me, we’d eaten the rest of our fresh mozzarella Thursday night, so as I dug around in our cabinets, I started to get really worried about how the meal would turn out.  Luckily, John’s a pretty laid-back audience, and after bringing me some fresh basil from the garden (we’re watering our landlord’s three-tier veggie garden for the week, and a person just can’t resist fresh herbs when they’re right there), which I figured couldn’t hurt, I set to work.

In the end, despite the, ahem, ecclectic, food choices I made, it turned out to be pretty good.

Here’s what I used:

1 pkg organic polenta

1 can stewed tomatoes

1 fresh tomato, diced

3 tbsp olive oil

garlic powder

dried basil

fresh basil

1.5 cups shrimp (tails off!) ~ make sure they’re defrosted if you use frozen

1/3 package of bacon

salt & pepper
Here’s what I did:

To start ~ I preheated the oven to 350.

1.  I cut the polenta in 1/2 inch slices, and put them in a glass pyrex casserole dish.

2.  In a large sauce pan, I poured the olive oil, and sprinkled the garlic powder, salt, pepper and dried basil.  I put it on low heat.   I added the shrimp.

3.  Then, I added the can of stewed tomatoes, and turned the heat to medium-low.

4.  Next, I added the fresh tomatoes, and the fresh basil leaves and put back on low heat.

5.  Then, I cooked the bacon in a separate pan until a little crisp-ness began on the edges, but it was still mostly chewy.  (Considering it was going to get cooked in the oven for a bit, I didn’t want to crisp it up too much and then have rock hard bacon amidst the meal).

6.  I laid the bacon strips across the polenta, and then poured the tomato, basil and shrimp mixture over everything, making sure to cover all pieces of polenta.
Bacon makes everything better, right?

7.  Finally, I baked it in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes (it was bubbling when I pulled it out).

We sprinkled a little bit of parmesan on the top (I think cheese makes everything better) and it was pretty yummy.  I know the shrimp/bacon combo is a little out of the ordinary in a dish like this, but I have to tell you, it works!

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