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3 Easy Ways to Serve Polenta

What's polenta? It's cornmeal, and one of the most versatile foods to keep in your pantry: A precooked polenta "log" (available in grocery stores) doesn't need to be refrigerated until unwrapped, and it's a fat-free source of fiber and vitamins A and C. Polenta makes a quick, satisfying side dish (just sautè some slices and top with cheese) as well as a healthier crust for a casserole. Try these ideas, too:

Hot breakfast cereal. Dice polenta and heat with milk, stirring until creamy; add cinnamon, brown sugar, and fresh fruit or dried cranberries.

Mini-pizzas. Broil polenta slices, remove from the oven, and spread with tomato sauce. Sprinkle with diced cooked meat or sautèed veggies (or both!); top with cheese. Pop back in the oven until the cheese melts.

Lasagna. Spread pasta sauce in an oven-safe baking dish. Slice polenta into 1/4-inch rounds and layer with ricotta cheese, cooked ground beef or turkey, and shredded cheese. Add another layer of polenta slices; top with sauce and cheese. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.

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