Polenta Tamale Pie WWPP 8

The holidays are upon us and life just seems to be getting more hectic. Are you like me, short on time, have too many things on the to do list and yet need nourishment and prefer a home cooked meal to eating out? Then check out this quick & easy recipe that allows you to have dinner on the table from beginning to end in no time! I had high hopes for this recipe that was inspired by a Cooking Light recipe but let me tell you it was even better than I expected. Even if you aren’t pressed for time this recipe is a winner. It can be assembled earlier in the day and then refrigerated until evening. Just heat and eat. In the original recipe the ground beef was cooked in the microwave but I have never cooked meat in the microwave. I thought the recipe could use the addition of chopped onion and garlic so I used a skillet to brown the meat with my additions.

The ingredients are simple, ground beef, black beans, purchased polenta in a tube, chopped onion, enchilada sauce, ground cumin and reduced fat cheddar cheese. It starts on the stove and finishes in – get this – the microwave oven! Trust me, it works beautifully. If you don’t own a microwave oven you could heat it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.

This dish has plenty of good things to enjoy. Gooey cheese melted over the top of  a well seasoned ground beef and black bean enchilada filling which is layered over a bed of polenta cubes. Leftovers if you have any, reheat beautifully. This is going to become one of your favorite go to recipes when you need something hearty and don’t have a lot of time. A deep dish pie plate was used and the recipe filled it up. The servings are huge. Love it! You could garnish it with some Avocado Cream, chopped green onions, sour cream and freshly chopped cilantro. Feel free to use ground turkey in place of ground beef, add black olives is you wish. It’s a great basic recipe that would adapt to plenty of variations. Next I’m going to work on an Italian version using turkey Italian sausage, peppers, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce. Yum!

Polenta in a tube is sold at most grocery stores, Trader Joe’s, Cost Plus Imports, Whole Foods and health food stores.

It comes plain or flavored. It’s ready to use, just open the package and slice it into rounds. For this recipe I used a tube of plain polenta.

Polenta Tamale Pie

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce (Trader Joe’s is my favorite but any brand will do)
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup reduced fat cheese, shredded

In a large skillet over medium heat combine ground beef, onion and minced garlic, cook until ground beef is completely cooked. Drain if needed. Add enchilada sauce, salsa,ground cumin and drained black beans. Cook until mixture is hot, about 5 minutes.

While meat mixture is heating, cut the tube of polenta into slices, then cube each slice. Spray a 9 inch deep dish pie plate with non stick spray. Fill pie plate with cubed polenta. Spoon enchilada filling over polenta. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 6 minutes on high or until  heated through. Top with shredded cheese and serve. You could put it back in the microwave for a minute to melt the cheese if you wish.

Yield: 6 Servings

Nutritional Information

Per serving; 341.9 Calories, 12g Fat, 60mg Cholesterol, 775.7mg Sodium, 317.2mg Potassium, 30.3g Carbs, 4.6g Fiber, 26.6g Protein  WWPP 8

Recipe inspired by a Cooking Light Tamale Pie recipe.

Nutmeg Notes

How is it the day before Thanksgiving already? I went to Sam’s club and the grocery store yesterday to get my fresh vegetables and a few other items. Even at 7:30 am Sam’s club was busy! I can only imagine what it was like later in the day. Today will be spent prepping for tomorrows feast. Katy is coming over to help and she is going to bake the pumpkin pie while I make the cranberry chutney. It’s going to smell wonderful in here. 🙂 Tonight hubby Tom will brine the turkey and we will get up early tomorrow to set about cooking the bird and all the side dishes.

We have much to be thankful for this year, the gift of family, friendships and love top the list.

Wishing  you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving day filled with love, laughter and good times.


Add Your Thoughts

Do you ever buy ready made polenta in a tube?

Where will you be spending Thanksgiving this year?

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  1. Jody - Fit at 55 says:

    What a great recipe! I am not a beef person but hubby is! 😉

    Your holiday is going to be wonderful Tami & I can’t wait to see the pics you post of it! 🙂 We are going out so I will live vicariously thru others pics!

    I know your surgery is getting closer & closer. I hope you are not in too much pain with all this holiday stuff to do!!!!! Have a wonderful one!

    1. Tami says:

      We got a couple things made today and that takes the pressure off tomorrow. Going out to eat solves a lot of issues and I’d be happy to let someone else do the dishes! I’m sure you will have a wonderful day.

      Surgery is just two weeks away. I’m anxious and nervous all at the same time. I’m trying to limit the time on my feet but that is easier said than done. I just have to deal with it!

      Wishing you a wonderful holiday!


  2. Biz says:

    I am going to brine our turkey tonight too – I checked it yesterday and it seems to be thawed – winning!

    Glad you will have Katy’s help – Hannah is spending Thanksgiving with her boyfriend’s family this year, so I will miss her helpful hands and cleaning skills!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

    1. Tami says:

      This will be the first time we have brined the turkey but we brined a chicken recently and it was so moist! I know you will miss Hannah’s presence as well as her help! I can’t wait to see what you make for the holiday meal. I’ve been thinking about your pumpkin scones and want to make the but haven’t had the time to get to them yet.

      Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!


  3. Lori says:

    I like polenta, but don’t have it that often. Not sure why that is LOL.

    We are going down to my sisters per usual. We all bring dishes and play games. It’s fun!

    1. Tami says:

      Lori I have an easy microwave recipe for polenta that is ready in no time and is much cheaper than buying the ready made tubes of polenta. Sounds like you have a wonderful day planned, Enjoy!

  4. Margie says:

    Happy thanksgiving! Loved your thanksging recipes. Enjoy your day.

    1. Tami says:

      You are welcome Margie! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Happy cooking!

  5. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    Now that I think of it, I don’t believe I’ve bought polenta in any form.

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, Tami!

  6. Roz@weightingfor50 says:

    Hi Tami. BIG Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!! Thank you for this, and all your wonderful recipes you share with us all year.

  7. Tish says:

    This is a keeper. I looked up the cranberry chutney recipe, too. Now I’ve just got to get thru this session of 17DD, and I can try them out! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Tami says:

      I hope you enjoy the easy casserole as much as we do! I have already made it twice! Oh and the cranberry chutney is to die for.

  8. Renee@Mykitchenadventures says:

    Oh wow…love this. Love the quickness of it, which will come in handy in the upcoming weeks! Happy belated Thanksgiving Tami! I hope you had a wonderful one!

    1. Tami says:

      This is one of those recipes that is super easy but oh so good! It will be so handy in the coming weeks!

  9. Michele R says:

    Tami –

    We made this tonight — it was SO easy — and good! I made homemade polenta for the recipe! instead of using store bought. We’ve made several of your recipes. My husband noted that your recipes were always delicious and that he enjoyed them. He told me to put this one on the “keeper” list. Hope your new year is going well!

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