I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m short. Real short. Like pushing five foot short. I get mistaken for a kid or teenager pretty frequently, get carded anywhere I go, and I’ve even had a stranger repeatedly call me a “little person” and think it was hilarious. Normally it doesn’t bother me at all and 99 percent of the time I don’t even realize just how little I am, but every once in a while someone will do or say something and I’m like, really? I swear, sometimes I feel like people are seeing a leprechaun or unicorn for the first time and can’t believe I actually exist.

This morning was the one percent of the time that I was really annoyed at my vertically challenged self. What should have been a lovely trip to the bagel shop, turned into a screaming match between myself and the guy taking orders since I wasn’t tall enough for my voice to carry over the counter that was towering above my head.

It went a little something like this:

Guy: “What can I get you?”
Me: (in a normal-sweet-cheery voice) “Everything thin with reduced-fat cream cheese please”
Guy: “Huh?”
Me: (in a louder-sweet-cheery voice) “Everything thin with reduce-fat cream cheese”
Guy: “What?!”
Me: (in an even louder-little annoyed voice) “EVERYTHING THIN WITH REDUCED-FAT CREAM CHEESE”
Guy: “WHAT?!”
Me: (in a screaming-on my tippy toes-annoyed-grumpy voice) “EVERYTHING THIN WITH REDUCED-FAT CREAM CHEESE”
Guy: “Oh, ok a whole wheat bagel with reduced-fat cream cheese”
Me: (in a screaming-on my tippy toes-annoyed-grumpy-as close to the counter as I can get voice) “NO EVERYTHING THIN!!!”
Guy: “Whole-wheat thin?”
Me: (in a screaming-on my tippy toes-annoyed-grumpy-as close to the counter as I can get-I’m giving up after this one voice) “NO EVERYTHING”
Guy: (looking relieved) “Ok, an everything bagel thin with reduced-fat cream cheese?”
Me: (also looking relieved) “AHH YES!”

By the end of this back and forth banter, everyone in the whole shop was staring at the little girl with the beet red face, barking at the poor guy taking her order. Needless to say, I grabbed my bagel and hightailed it out of there as fast as I could.

What does this story have to do with Baked Polenta Lasagna? Absolutely nothing, except for the fact that eating it at home sure beats a trip to the bagel shop.

Baked Polenta "Lasagna"
Serves: 4
  • 1 ½ cups quick cooking polenta
  • 3⅓ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 8 tablespoons pesto store-bought or homemade
  • 1 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Marinara Sauce:
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 4 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Bring 3⅓ cups water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in polenta. Add parsley and cook another five minutes, whisking constantly. Pour polenta on a large rimmed baking sheet and spread until it’s in an even sheet that’s about ¼ -1/2 inch thick.
  3. Let the mixture cool in the fridge until set, about 30 minutes. (Can be up to the day before) Once the mixture has set place in the oven and bake until it begins to crisp up, about 25 minutes.
  4. Assembly: Turn the oven on broil.
  5. After the polenta has baked, cut it into 8 equal portions. Using the same baking sheet, place one piece of polenta down and top with two tablespoons of pesto, top pesto with another piece of polenta. Spoon ½ cup of marinara on the top layer of polenta and then top with ¼ cup of mozzarella and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Repeat with remaining “lasagnas”.
  6. Place the baking sheet under the broiler until cheese is bubbly and brown, about five minutes. Watch carefully!
  7. Marinara sauce: Place all ingredients in a medium sized saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes

Baked Polenta Lasagna

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