Mexican Chicken Polenta Bake

I’m eating lots of protein now that I’m working out more and doing the July 100 Push-Up Challenge (that’s 100 push-ups every other day for the month of July). It feels great and I can already tell I feel stronger in yoga. Soooooo my body needs more protein than I’ve been eating for the last few months. Chicken, eggs, tuna, fish, whey protein are now a part of my regular diet. Still haven’t wanted red meat though. My boyfriend even ate a juicy bison burger without me taking an annoying bite. (Why do we always want bites of other people’s food or is that just me??)

I was craving something mexican the other night but didn’t have corn tortillas so I made up this recipe using shredded, seasoned chicken I had stewed the day before. My friend Rebecca taught me to boil the hen with herbs and spices and then let it sit that way in the fridge overnight to soak up the flavor.

Add polenta to a pot of boiling water (1 part polenta, 2 parts water) reduce heat and let simmer on LOW for about 12-15 minutes until polenta thickens up. Transfer to a greased baking dish.

polenta

Mix chicken with cooked beans of your choice. I used a mixture of black and red beans I had in the freezer from the winter. I always prepare beans ahead of time for things like this.

black and red beans

Add salsa verde, plain greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), cumin, chili powder, or any other spices you like.

mexican chicken casserole

Top the polenta with the creamy chicken/bean mixture- Mucho protein!

chicken beans and polenta

I sliced up some summer squash from the farmer’s market and layered those on as well. You could also add peppers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, or spinach too.

squash casserole

And here’s something different- I decided I had to top with cheese. Besides feta, I have never posted a recipe with cheese I don’t think? I just don’t use it that often. I think it’s wonderful but it’s also a saturated dairy fat that can be over-consumed. I just feel cleaner since I cut cheese out of my diet. I literally had to run to the store to get some for this meal. I was in such a hurry, I wore my house slippers into the grocery and grabbed the nearest cheese I could find which happened to be organic and expensive.

Sprinkle a light layer of cheese on top and more salsa. I used red for the top, mostly for the color!

mexican casserole

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes covered.

I served with avocado and a dollop of plain greek yogurt. This keeps well for leftovers and was inexpensive to make. I think the ridiculously priced cheese was the most expensive ingredient.

chicken polenta bake

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