Cheesy Polenta

Polenta is a Northern Italian dish. The main ingredient is corn meal. It doesn’t matter if it is fine or course.  Before American corn was brought over to Europe, they used Barley.

A great read is found at How to Make Polenta – The real rules

At Chefsville, there are times we want to introduce people to new concepts using basic cooking techniques. This is one of those recipes because polenta is a great platform and offers the cook a great opportunity for creative variations.

This simple recipe has been done by thousands of kids in the DFW area, and almost everyone loved it. This is also a great recipe if kids have texture acceptance problems. By focusing on the taste we have found that kids begin to become familiar and less sensitive to the texture.

Polenta can be put into a mold (circular or rectangular) and then cooled. Once cooled, cut into your favorite shapes. Then pan fry using a non-stick skillet and some olive oil until polenta pieces are brown. Turn over and cook the other side until brown.

Top with your favorite tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Be creative. Polenta, either soft or fried or baked (400 degree F – 30 minutes) will be a delight. Top with your favorite stew or sloppy joe or sweet-n-sour meatballs or baked vegetables. I’m getting hungry. This warm and comforting dish will become one of your family favorites.

Cheesy Polenta

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (plus extra for seasoning)
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal or polenta
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup whole milk (at room temperature)
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, 1 stick)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or chives or thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy pot.
  2. Add the salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, 12 to 17 minutes.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat.
  5. Add the cheese, milk, butter, and parsley.
  6. Stir until the butter and cheese have melted.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Transfer the polenta to a bowl and serve.

Tools Necessary-

  • Medium sized pot
  • Measuring Cups
  • Serving Bowl
  • Wooden Spoon or spatula
  • Whisk
Main Dish, Side
Italian, Vegetarian

baklava rolls

Baklava Rolls

Baklava Rolls

  • 1 cup finely ground walnuts (pulsed in a food processor)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 12 sheets phyllo dough; thawed
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter; melted


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon rose water
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Combine walnuts, panko breadcrumbs, sugar, cinnamon and clove in a mixing bowl and stir to evenly combine.
  3. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on a large cutting board and lightly brush with melted butter. Lay another sheet of phyllo on top and lightly brush the second sheet with melted butter.
  4. In a straight line, sprinkle 1/6 walnut mixture parallel and 2 inches from the bottom of phyllo. Fold bottom over mixture and roll all the way to the end. Brush top of phyllo with butter to seal the roll. Gently scrunch both ends into center of roll, trim approximately 1 inch from both ends and place in a greased 9X6 inch baking dish. Brush top with butter.
  5. Repeat with the remaining phyllo creating 6 rolls total. Brush all rolls once more with butter.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Meanwhile prepare the syrup. Combine all ingredients for syrup in a sauce pot over high heat except for the rose water which will be added after the mixture cools. Stir together and bring to a boil. Let boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest.
  8. Remove rolls from oven and cut each into 3 pieces. Strain syrup over rolls and allow to soak for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
  9. Gently remove baklava from baking dish and arrange on a large serving platter. Best at room temperature.

Equipment needed-

  • Food Processor
  • Sauce Pan
  • 9×6 baking sheet
  • 2 Mixing bowls
  • Spatula
  • Pastry Brush
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
Appetizer, Dessert
Middle Eastern, Vegetarian

Eggplant Rolls

Aubergine (Eggplant) Rolls

Aubergine (Eggplant) Rolls

Honestly cheese stuffed vegetables cooked in tomato sauce is so good. If you are looking for an alternative to Lasagna, Pizza and Chicken Parmesan try this dish. This is a very common dish in Europe and used eggplant.

Add basil and garlic to make this taste exciting.

  • 1 cup all purpose-flour (white)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter (room temperature for greasing wax paper)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (shaved)

Eggplant wrapping

  • 2 1/2 pounds aubergine (around 3 or 4)
  • 1/4 cup Kosher salt


  • 1.5 kg ricotta cheese
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 lemons, zested (zest chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • 3 cups tomato sauce

Layer before rolling

  • 12 sun-dried tomatoes (diced and reconstituted)
  • 25 arugula (leaves, whole)
  1. Slice the aubergine 2mm or 1/10th inch thick lengthways, place on a sheet pan then sprinkle with kosher salt. Leave for 45 minutes to allow the excess water to leak from the aubergine. Rinse under running water and damp with kitchen paper towel until dry.
  2. Dust slices with white flour and sauté in olive oil on medium heat each slice of aubergine until golden brown. Reserve.
  3. In a large bowl mix ricotta, egg yolks, shredded Parmesan, salt and pepper. Put the ricotta mix in a piping bag.
  4. Place the eggplant slices on a table. Pipe the ricotta mix over each slice, topping each with the sun-dried tomatoes and 3-4 leaves of arugula.
  5. Roll the eggplant around the ricotta and place on an oven tray covered with buttered wax paper.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 10 minutes. This is a great time to heat tomato sauce over low heat.
  7. Spoon some tomato sauce onto each of 8 plates, place an aubergine roll on each and finish with Parmesan shavings.

Tools Necessary-

  • Sheet pan or cookie sheet
  • Kitchen paper towels
  • Cutting Board
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Medium bowl
  • Spatula
  • Adult Supervision
Main Dish
Italian, Vegetarian