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Monday’s dinner was supposed to be Polenta With Chunky Chicken and Chorizo Chili from 2-4-6-8 Great Meals (p. 181). I set out all the ingredients, including an opened bottle of Yuengling Light, and began chopping peppers and onions as the ground chicken started to cook. I opened a cabinet to get a storage container and ka-BOOM! A jar of honey fell from the top shelf and knocked the beer bottle to the floor, splashing all over the tile and cabinet doors.

What surprised me the most was that I didn’t overreact – I actually laughed, drank the remainder of the beer (and opened a new one for the chili), wiped the floor, and kept going. I think back to past kitchen mishaps – dropping an entire pot of rice and beans on the floor, spilling various spice jars, etc. At the time I wanted to cry. Haven’t we all had those moments?

I was curious as to what polenta and chili would taste like, and the answer is a very interesting combination of chunky and smooth. The polenta is spooned into the bottom of the bowl and the chili (and its light sauce of beer and tomato sauce) rests on top. The recipe called for chorizo in the chili, but I’m not a fan of its spicy, gritty flavor, so I left it out. I added a little sour cream on top to cool it all down.

Polenta is one of my new favorite ingredients to use – cooking it with chicken stock instead of water enhances the flavor and makes it taste like you’ve been cooking it all day. This meal had polenta mixed with scallions, butter, and thyme, and I’ve made it also with butter, parmesan cheese, and a little half-and-half. A few of Rachael Ray’s recipes call for polenta cakes in a twist on traditional lasagna – I think that will be my next attempt.

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