Monday, September 7, 2009

Polenta and Broccoli with Chicken-less Strips

Here is my shot at using the Chicken-less strips from Trader Joe's for the first time. (Click here for my beef-less strip recipe.) My instinct was to sauté them with broccoli using a Italian-inspired sauce. Luckily, I happened to have a tube of polenta (also from TJ's) which was pre-prepared. 30 minutes later I had a yummy meal that I couldn't stop eating. It got the seal of approval from the super-picky boyfriend too.

Trader Joe's Chicken-less strips
Olive Oil
Tapatio Sauce
Red Chile Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare two pans. If possible, one of them should be non-stick. Spray or cover both pans with Olive Oil. First slice open the plastic containing the polenta. Make 1/4 inch slices after peeling away plastic. Turn on heat for the non-stick pan. In the meantime, chop tomatoes. Check the non-stick pan to see if the oil has heated. If so, then place as many slices of polenta that will fit onto the pan. While polenta is frying, chop broccoli if necessary. Normally, I buy the already chopped broccoli - it's a great time-saver.

Once the polenta turns brown on one side, you may flip it with a spatula. As long as you've oiled the pan enough, it takes a lot to burn them, so don't worry about it too much. Go back to the regular stick pan that you oiled and start heating that one too. Tomatoes should go in after the pan has heated. Meanwhile watch your polenta. Flip and flip. Once they're completely done you can retire each slice onto a plate and then start adding more. They keep really well and can be re-heated without losing a lot of flavor so it's good to cook the entire tube.

By now the regular pan with the tomatoes should be ready for the broccoli, then chicken strips. Add about 4 Tbsp of Tapatio, 1 Tbsp of red chile pepper and salt and pepper to taste. The dish can get salty pretty quickly so taste it before adding more salt. Stir and cover. Turn to low heat. Check after a few minutes. Make sure that the broccoli has cooked all the way through before turning off heat. You want it to be soft yet crunchy.

Periodically check on your polenta during the entire cooking process. There's a little mult-tasking involved in this dish, but I guarantee it's easy and definitely worth it. Once all of the polenta is pan-fried go ahead and place a couple pieces of polenta and a spoonful of the broccoli mix next to it. The way to eat this dish is to use the polenta as if you would bread. Spoon some broccoli onto the slices and take a bite! Great for breakfast or brunch! Mmm.

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