Fast Food Friday – Chicken and Polenta

I try to cook dinner for my family every night – although sometimes I have had a long and stressful day at work and I opt to pick up a pizza or something easy. But I have found that there are a lot of great recipe options out there for fast meals, that take not much longer than it would take to pick up take out, and are far more satisfying (plus, we use leftovers for lunch and that helps out the budget). 

I thought I’d share with you one of my fast meals each Friday, to give you something that you can think about for any upcoming weeknight meals. 

This recipe is so basic, I don’t even know that I should call it a recipe. It’s more like a change-up to what you would normally make. 

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A few nights ago, we had chicken tenders as a quick and easy (and zero effort) meal – and we all know that a reheated chicken tender isn’t the most appetizing meal choice. I’ve found that these types of things can be great inspiration to whip up something tasty, especially because there is so little cooking involved. I like to use leftover chicken – whether tender, rotisserie, fried, whatever – to make flavorful paninis. I like mine with caramelized onions and lots of cheese… but sometimes, I like to change things up. 

One of my pantry staples is polenta. I find it to be the perfect thing to have on hand when you want to have something a little out of the ordinary, but fast and tasty. 

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I start by slicing the polenta… 

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and then frying it in a little olive oil on a hot griddle. 

Meanwhile, I chopped up the leftover chicken and divided it to make two different combinations. 

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To the first bowl, I added cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, and a touch of mayo. To the second, I mixed in prepared pesto. 

I topped the fried polenta circles with the mixture, and topped all of them with mozzarella cheese. I plan to broil these in the toaster oven to melt the cheese. 

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These take very little effort, and seem like something “fancier” than a boring grilled cheese sandwich. 

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Start to finish, it takes less than ten minutes. To round out a dinner, they can go with nearly any veggie you have on hand. And they are perfect if you have people coming over last minute and you need to stretch your ingredients. 

Best of all… 

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They are kid approved! Perfect for lunch after a hard morning of bike riding and nerf gun shooting. 

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