5 Minute Prep

When my grandma decided that she wanted to host the family Memorial Day dinner, she went through a series of menu dilemmas. First, she wanted to do a Mexican theme with a taco bar, rice, cornbread; the works. Then, she thought maybe it would be fun to make a paella and have sangria. After that, she considered making lasagnas and doing Italian. Luckily, my great aunt saved her from her menu planning confusion when she said, “Lasagna? Who wants lasagna on Memorial Day? I want a hot dog!” So hot dogs it was. Along with skirt steaks, brats (chicken and veal) and barbecue chicken.

As a fun side dish, my mom thought it would be a nice change to make Polenta Fries to go along with the oven-baked potatoes. My family loves polenta because it’s so versatile; we’d made these once before and they were such a big hit, we decided to make them again. It’s really the simplest recipe ever with only five minutes of prep work!

I got a few nice shots of these skinny cornmeal beauties before they went into the oven, but they disappeared so quickly during dinner, I never got an “after” shot. You’ll just have to make them and see for yourself. What I love about these “fries” is that they get nice and crunchy on the outside, but the inside stays soft and mushy. All we add is a little salt and pepper, but I’m sure you could get creative with other spices if you like.

Polenta Fries


2 packages polenta in log form
Non-stick spray
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut polenta into sticks about 1/4-inch wide and a 1/4-inch thick. Spray baking sheet(s) with a non-stick spray and scatter polenta sticks around pan – use two if too crowded. Salt and pepper polenta to taste. Heat in 400 degree oven for 1 hour, turning about half way through. Polenta is done when the outside is crispy and the inside it mushy. Serve hot.

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