ESA Archives

Minimalist Polenta, Three Ways

Polenta, Three Ways | Big Girls Small Kitchen

When you’re on the road, how quickly do you get sick of take-out and packaged snacks? For me, it’s about 30 seconds and/or four bites into my first mediocre buffet. That’s why I came up with three variations on one awesome recipe that you can make even in a basic on-the-go kitchen. Watch the video to see what I made.

WATCH NOW: 3 Polenta Recipes So Easy You Can Make ‘Em in a Hotel Kitchen!

At Extended Stay America, every room has a kitchen (not a mini kitchen, not a hot plate, but the real thing–equipped with a pot, a pan, bowls, utensils, a cutting board, and a knife–among other essentials). Inspired by the recipes guests were whipping up in their rooms, the hotel chain created the Cooking Away from Home Recipe Contest to let traveling cooks submit their best recipes for meals you can make on the road, without access to your stocked at-home pantry. You can vote for a recipe here.

So, what makes a recipe good for cooking when you’re not at home? Most importantly for me, the recipe has to require just a few ingredients, all of which are available at regular grocery stores, preferably in single serving sizes or at the self-serve antipasti bar or bulk section. If you plan ahead, you can pack olive oil, salt, nuts, and grains–like polenta. (Milk, sardines, almonds, butter, and beer each make an appearance here in part because of their single-serving packaging.)

Since polenta is kind of a blank canvas, I thought I’d encourage you to vote in the ESA contest by cooking on camera, showing off this cinch of a recipe for soft polenta and three great toppings, all easy to make on the road and enticing after a day of travel, meetings, or sight-seeing. Read on for the full recipes!

This post is sponsored by Extended Stay America. Read more about Away from Home Cooking, vote for a contest winner here, and share using #cookwithESA. If you’re excited to have a full-size kitchen next time you travel, book your stay at Extended Stay America. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that keep Big Girls, Small Kitchen delicious!