Breakfast Polenta

Kids get very accustomed to the foods we normally serve them for breakfast every morning. So whenever I break out of my usual routine and try something new, I always pause wondering if my guys will like it or send me back for what they're used to. Occasionally, I play around with recipes just to see how my little ones will react and that's where the idea for this sweet polenta recipe came from. Normally, I make polenta savory with Parmesan cheese for lunch or dinner, but I wanted to see how a sweet version for breakfast would go over. Polenta is such an unusual change of pace for breakfast in my house that even I was shocked at my kids' reaction -- they were delighted. Even my 22 month old, Chloe, kept asking for more.

See what your gang thinks. It's a simple and inexpensive recipe that you can prepare ahead of time and keep in the fridge so all you have to do in the morning is give them a quick sauté and serve with your favorite topping. It's an easy and inexpensive breakfast that may be new, but I'm guessing your family will love it!

[amd-recipeseo-recipe:142]

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Breakfast Polenta (Serves 6-8)

Prep Time: 40 mins Cook Time: 10 mins

egg free

nut free

gluten free

Ingredients

  • 7 Cups Water
  • 1 13 oz Box Instant Polenta
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
  • 3 Tbsp Butter, plus more for sauteing

Preparation

1. Line a sheet tray with foil and coat with cooking spray.
2. Bring 7 cups of water and salt to a boil.
3. Add polenta in a slow stream while whisking continuously to avoid lumps.
4. Turn heat to low and continue to stir with a wooden spoon until polenta thickens, 5-8 minutes (you may add more boiling water as needed to keep the polenta a smooth consistency).
5. Turn the heat off and add brown sugar, spices and butter and stir to combine.
6. Pour onto a sheet tray and spread polenta out with the back of a spoon to cover the tray evenly and cool.
7. Refrigerate the polenta for 30 minutes or covered for up to 2 days.
8. Remove the sheet tray from the refrigerator and use cookie cutters to stamp out fun shapes (this is the time to get your kids involved and let them be creative).**
9. Heat 1 tbsp of butter in a sauté pan over medium heat and cook the polenta shapes for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden.
10. Serve (you can also serve these cold).
* Once sauteed, the polenta can stay refrigerated for up to a week.
**Shapes can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Accompaniments

maple syrup, honey, raspberr-wee sauce

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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. My passion is creating simple, healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

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36 comments

  • Meghna

    I have never had polenta before. This sounds interesting. Can't wait to try it. It's great to hear that it can be frozen, too! Great change-up from pancakes/french toast.

    leave a comment

    • Meghna

      These are totally delish! I only wish I had understood that polenta and cornmeal are one in the same. I have a 5 lb bag of cornmeal in the pantry, and yet, went out in search of polenta!! The type I found was a pre-cooked organic polenta in a \"sausage\" tubing kinda looking thing. You were supposed to heat it, adding water, in the microwave to make soft polenta, but I avoided the microwave and did it stove-top. Only problem was no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get all the lumps out, so mine was a bit luumpy, but delicious non-the-less!

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  • Karin

    Is instant polenta the same as cornmeal? I've never had polenta before but I have cornmeal in my cupboard.

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    • Catherine

      Yes it is. You can use cornmeal but may take a little longer if its not instant polenta.

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  • Anna

    This is what we in the South call \"fried grits\" -- though non-Southerners are more comfortable when they're called an Italian name. My mama used to make fried grits from the leftovers (intentional, of course), served with butter and maple syrup. Yum!

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  • Sara

    I love the foods that can be frozen, my father is moving in soon and I will not have time to cook so I am trying to make things now ahead of time. So bring on the food that can be frozen. :-)

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  • Lia

    Ok so is polenta grits? I just wondered I think this will be great for my kids to have before school in the morning :)

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    • Catherine

      http://www.yumsugar.com/Polenta-vs-Grits-91774 :)

      leave a comment

  • Irina

    I never thought of a sweet version, it sounds interesting. It reminds me of my favorite polenta treat as a child: pour milk over plain cooked polenta and grab a spoon!
    Everyone in my family loves polenta. But not everyone in the family is comfortable with boiling water pots, stirring, watching for the smooth consistency, etc. So we also make polenta in the microwave! We use four cups of water for each cup of coarse cornmeal and cook it in small (3 to 5 mins) intervals, stirring in between, until it is done. This way even the less daring cooks can enjoy their favorite when Mom is not at home.

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  • Aimee Chickenville

    I LOVE this idea. We are always looking for something interesting to go with our fresh eggs. I'm so gonna try this because they love polenta or grits cooked with cheese. And we've had rice pudding (done like oatmeal) for breakfast. This will be a new one on them, but it reminds me of a dish I had at the American Indian Museum in DC.

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  • Chelsea

    I love polenta. I saw a recipe recently for \"french toast polenta\". Basically, you make the polenta as you normally would, cut it into shapes, and then dunk it in the usual egg/milk mix and fry it. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but I think it would be delicious.

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  • Charise

    I love polenta. never thought about it for the morning though. I don't know if we can share hints here (as this is my first time posting) but you can make polenta fries in the oven as well. make the polenta pour into a cookie sheet and let cool in the ice box. then cut into fry shape/sizes and spray tops lightly with olive oil. bake at 450 about 10 minutes in you take them out and flip them and spray the other side with oil. and bake till crispy. time and temp may vary depending on where you live and your oven.

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  • Karin

    Oh the lumps!! I tried very hard to follow your instructions to a 'T' to avoid lumps but it didn't work.
    I just made a batch for tomorrow's breakfast. I'm hoping that the lumps wont be too much of a disaster when I finish up tomorrow morning!

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    • Karin

      Well, I'm happy to say that the lumps didn't stop my family from devouring their breakfasts and asking for seconds.
      This recipe was a success and will definitely be added to my repertoire!!

      leave a comment

  • MJ

    I can't find any Polenta

    leave a comment

    • Rebecca

      hope you found it! but if you didnt, I found mine in the baking isle next to flour, & bread crumbs. I only found \"Bob's Red Mill\" brand and they call it Corn Grits. Hope this helps!

      leave a comment

  • Skl

    OK
    So can Iuse instant grits? And would the proportions still be the same?

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  • Shawna

    I followed the directions, poured it very slowly and whicked the heck out of it, but still ended up with lumps galore. Are there any tricks to getting the lumps out? I'm hoping it still ends up tasting ok.

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    • Catherine

      You have to slowly pour the polenta in while whisking. This will eliminate lumps :)

      leave a comment

  • Shawna

    Well, for some reason it didn't turn out at all. After it was refrigerated it was still mush. I tried to go ahead and cook it in a pan anyway thinking it might firm up, but it just got mushier. Any ideas on what I could have done wrong? I was so looking forward to this.

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    • Catherine

      Did you use instant polenta? When polenta cools, it usually solidifies.

      leave a comment

    • Meredith

      You need to cook the polenta until it is hard to whisk and very stiff, it may not have been cooked long enough.

      leave a comment

  • Mrs.M

    I loved this, always love something different for breakfast. My kids weren't super excited about it, but did eat some. I'll probably try again another time.

    leave a comment

  • Heather

    I couldn't find instant polenta, had to use the stuff that takes 30 minutes to cook, but it was worth it. My 2 year old devoured them for breakfast this morning and was pretty delighted that his breakfast was shaped like hippos and frogs!!! Thanks so much for the recipe, I have the rest of the shapes in the freezer. I love the recipes that let me make batches I can freeze!

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  • Kimberlee

    i bought polenta from trader joes in a tube. how can i use it to make this recipe? i've been dying ot try it out, but didn't look closely at the ingredients before heading to the store! :(

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    • Andrea

      I believe for this recipe you'll need the instant polenta because you have to add the other ingredients when still in liquid form. I've been making it every weekend since Catherine posted the recipe and my kids love it ... and me and my husband too!
      Hope this helps :)

      leave a comment

  • Ashley

    I have three different sizes of sheet trays. What dimensions are you using for this recipe?

    leave a comment

  • Brandan WH

    I didn't cut these into shapes but served it \"as is\" and this was delicious! My daughter is a pretty good eater anyways, but I think this put us all over the top! Your recipes are saving me from boredom. Thanks a bunch!

    leave a comment

  • Polenta Week: Hurricane Corn Eating The Week

    [...] Breakfast polenta, from Weelicioius (here) [...]

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  • India Newz

    <strong>India Newz...</strong>

    [...]Breakfast Polenta | Weelicious ™ - Fast, Easy &amp; Fresh Homemade Home Made Baby Food Babyfood Recipes, Toddler Food and recipes for the entire family![...]...

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  • Cucee Sprouts

    How cute are these? :) Definitely have to try your recipe. Here is my recipe with pictures http://cuceesprouts.com/2012/04/blueberry-almond-breakfast-polenta/

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  • Mary

    I too couldn't get rid of the lumps hoping that my dear daughter will demolish it tomorrow am, as it's my turn to get up!

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    • Catherine

      Make sure to add the polenta slowly, sort of like you're sprinkling it into the pot and whisk the entire time!

      leave a comment

  • Mary

    Oh dear disaster they are very runny in the middle and not looking like the picture at all maybe I didn't fry them long enough will try again later

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  • Erinmw

    I had my other half help me pour the polenta and he was useless! I told him SLOW and steady but he just threw it in the pot while I whisked and shrieked \"slower.....SLOWER! Lol..... So we have lumps but I'm sure our son won't mind. Thank you for the recipie I am soo looking forward to breakfast now!

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  • Katie M

    We called this corn meal mush when we were kids. Recipe was on the corn meal box. We made it in a loaf pan. Not a very appetizing name but yummy none the less.

    leave a comment