March 23, 2013

Polenta Huevos Rancheros


Sooo...I got a new full length mirror.
I just thought I'd share.
You see, I'm not only telling you this because it's pretty & makes my room look bigger
but that little so-and-so shows me the TRUTH.
The ugly truth.
For instance: it showed me the new fine lines that have developed around my eyes that remind me yes, you ARE in your 30's, that I religiously forget to zip up my zipper & most importantly it revealed to me that my once lovable muffin top (whom I have affectionately named "Pancha") had turned into quite the jelly roll.
Stupid truthful mirror...

So faced with all this new found truth, I decided to make some changes:
First: I bought a huge tub of Retinol off Amazon that kiiiinda burns my face...I'm no dermatologist but I don't think it's supposed to do that but hey, my eyes look great. 
Second: I check my zipper every 5 minutes (it may or may not look like I'm compulsively touching my no-no's in public but meh, whatever).
 Third: I decided to get in shape & get healthy!

How am I going about this "getting healthy" business, you ask? (I know you totally did)
Well, I started doing the Insanity workout videos
(It's day 23 & I still feel like Shaun T. took a bag of nickels to my ass & legs) 
& I've changed my old eating habits to new healthier ones!
Only there's one little problem...
The old me & the new me don't always agree over our meal choices. 

The new "Insane" me says: 
"Hey, you totally love celery, protein shakes, & grapes with a side of air!"
The old me is like: 
"Who the hell invited this granola-muncher? Girrrrl, you like nachos. Keep it real."

So we compromise.
And out of that give-&-take relationship the following recipe was born :) 
Enjoy!

POLENTA HUEVOS RANCHEROS!




Ok, so let me drop a little knowledge on you
in case you don't know much about polenta & huevos rancheros:

Polenta is a finely ground cornmeal that has been boiled with water or broth & constantly stirred for 45 minutes to make a type of porridge...but ain't nobody got time for that so buy it in a pre-made tube from the supermarket. 


Huevos Rancheros seem to be in every diner & mexican restaurant in California so I grew up enjoying this delicious meal my whole life but if you have no idea what Huevos Rancheros are, here goes: 
Huevos Rancheros literally mean "Ranch Egg" or "Ranch Style Eggs".  Mexican farmers & ranch workers would typically wake up at dawn to work on their farms & eat desayuno (a light breakfast) consisting of coffee & pan dulce (sweet bread).  After working hard all morning, the workers would come back in the afternoon starving & wanting to eat again.  Using the staples many families already had in their kitchens (tortillas, beans, meat, vegetables, eggs, & cotija cheese), families began making Huevos Rancheros, a hearty mid-morning meal, to satisfy the workers' hunger until it was time for dinner.  It usually consists of refried beans, cheese, & fried eggs over a fried corn tortilla & then it's topped with salsa or some kind of delicious red sauce.
Sounds heart healthy, right? 
Since I don't work on a farm & sitting on this here computer typing burns like, 10 calories, I made some minor adjustments so that I can enjoy this delicious meal without having to chase it with a cocktail of high cholesterol & blood pressure meds.

OK, enough of that...let's eat!

Drawing from the idea of "using whatever is on hand", I cut up whatever veggies & herbs I had in the refrigerator.  I tend to use the ingredients you see below in almost everything I make, so it wasn't that hard to throw this together.  In case you are wondering what the heck I'm taking a picture of, I have labeled the ingredients so that you can tell what all that green stuff is.  I didn't include a photo of the spinach because there was A LOT of it...
but you get the hint ;)

Then I rinsed a can of black beans under cold water not because canned black beans are dirty, but it's a good way to get rid of all of that extra gooey sodium-filled sauce they package them in. 
I don't know about you but I like my food without goo.  
Set these aside to drain while you prep the polenta & cook the veggies.

Next, cut the polenta in 1" thick rounds & place them in an oven-safe pan in a single layer. Set aside. 

P.S. Don't judge my beat up pan. 
I cook....a lot. 

 In another pan, cook all the veggies & spices together until they get a little tender but not mushy.  Once they have cooked through a little (about 3-4 minutes), I add the canned tomatoes & my secret weapon: El Pato Sauce!  I don't know how to explain this sauce other than to say it tastes like tomato sauce and Tapatio had a baby.  
If you don't have this on hand, you can add jarred salsa instead.

Mix the sauce into the veggies & add the beans, cilantro, & spinach.  

Mix all of that together and pour over the polenta rounds.
  
It should look like this delicious, saucy, colorful, yummy skillet of good-for-you-ness.
And yeah, that's totally a word...

At this point, you can either put the feta cheese crumbles on top so they'll melt in the oven or you can sprinkle them on once the dish is complete. It's up to you.
While the veggies are baking, fry/scramble/poach an egg or two.  Once the veggies & polenta come out of the oven, place a little on the plate (don't worry, it doesn't have to look perfect-just taste good!), put your egg on top of the mixture & sprinkle with extra cilantro.
BOOM!


Healthy Huevos Rancheros!


Polenta Huevos Rancheros
Servings: about 6
Recipe adapted from a recipe from the Gluten-Free Goddess 

Ingredients:
  • 1-17 oz roll prepared polenta sliced into 1-2" inch rounds
  • 1-15.4 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juice (use fire-roasted w/ chiles for an extra kick!)
  • 1-8 oz can El Pato sauce (or jarred salsa. Heck, even enchilada sauce might be good. Go ahead & try it, I won't judge.)
  • 1 jalapeƱo, seeded & diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 green or red bell pepper, diced 
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/8 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika (I like smoked paprika but any kind will do)
  • 2 cups spinach, washed & roughly chopped
  • 1/8 cup cilantro...uh...chopped.
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese (or you can use cotija, parmesan, mozzarella...again, I won't judge.)
  • 6 eggs
Directions:
  • Heat the oven to 375 F.
  • Cut the polenta into rounds & place at the bottom of an oven-safe, heavy bottomed pan.  Make sure this pan is deep enough to hold all the filling!  Now if you are on a diet, you don't have to do this buuuut: I've heard that some people fry the polenta rounds a little before putting the veggie mixture on top of it.  Hey, it can't hurt so try it & let me know how it tastes!
  • In another pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add onions, jalapeƱos, bell pepper, & garlic.  Cook until onions begin to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes.  Add tomatoes & continue to cook for 1 more minute.  
  • Add El Pato sauce/salsa, spices, & canned tomatoes w/ juice & simmer 2-3 more minutes stirring to coat the veggies with the sauce.
  • Add beans, spinach, & cilantro & stir occasionally while cooking for about 1 more minute or until everything is heated through & spinach just begins to wilt.
  • Pour mixture over polenta rounds & either place directly in oven or sprinkle with cheese & then place in oven for about 20 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling hot & cheese has melted.
  • While the mixture is in the oven, make an egg!  It's really up to you how you make it, I put mine in a muffin tin sprayed with olive oil & baked it but you can fry it, scramble it, poach it, or even break them on top of the mixture before they go into the oven so they can bake on top, sunny-side-up! Get creative! 
  • Once the cheese has melted or mixture starts to simmer, remove from oven.  With a spatula, scoop up a couple slices of polenta from the bottom and place on a plate.  The veggies may stay on top or they may fall off, but that's ok. Just spoon them over the polenta rounds.  Place the egg on top of the veggies & top with more veggies & sauce, sprinkle with cilantro & ENJOY!!


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7 comments:

  1. This looks amazing Patricia!! Totally trying this soon cause obviously your mirror and mine have been sharing notes. :)

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  2. Awesome recipe. I have made this already and making it again tonight. Its a new few for my boyfriend :)

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  3. I love the photographic recipe!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you!! I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe!! Let me know if you make it & how it turns out :)

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