I am three months into this thing called motherhood and I’ve already learned a few things fast: First, that sleep deprivation takes on a whole new meaning when you’ve got a newborn; second, that I would take one smile from my daughter over a full night of sleep most any day; and third, that as a breastfeeding mom, my nutrition is just as important as it was when I was pregnant.
I really haven’t been able to find much information, however, on postpartum nutrition apart from the usual: “Eat a balance of healthy fats, proteins, fruits and vegetables.” And while that is good advice, it doesn’t really help me make specific meals that coincide with my new busier-than-ever schedule and added caloric needs due to nursing. So not only have I had to learn to be more in-tune with my body and its needs (in other words, pay attention to cravings and satisfy them in healthier forms), I’ve also had to come up with creative ways to get my nutrition in, literally, one-handed and in a short amount of time.
This recipe for a three-bean chili polenta pot pie fits the bill on all counts for dinnertime. It’s incredibly filling thanks to the beans and creamy polenta crust, and it takes about a half hour to make from start to finish. The flavors are satisfying, too, and cover a multitude of cravings whether you’re pregnant, nursing or just really hungry. You won’t even miss the meat in this pot pie, though the addition of ground beef or chopped chicken is quite tasty and adds an extra dose of protein.
While as a new (or maybe not-so-new) mom, your baby is your first priority, your own health should come in at a close second. This recipe works wonders for your postpartum nutrition and is friendly to your busy schedule, too.
Three-Bean Chili Polenta Pot Pie
Yields: 6 servings
- 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil, divided
- 1 White or Yellow Onion, chopped
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1-1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 Tbsp Cumin
- 1-½ tsp dried Coriander
- 1 tsp dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Granulated Sugar
- 1 tsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 (15-oz.) can Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 oz) can Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 oz) can White Beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 ½ cups canned Corn, drained
- 1 cup canned Diced Tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
- 2 cups Vegetable Broth
For the polenta topping:
- 3 cups Vegetable Broth or Water
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Polenta
- 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a 3 to 4-quart Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Add chopped onion and chopped bell peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes until vegetables are softened. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, dried coriander, dried oregano, sugar, cocoa powder and salt; stir and cook another 2 minutes.
Stir in beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato paste and vegetable broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat; add more salt to taste.
Transfer Dutch oven or skillet to oven and bake 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the polenta: In a medium saucepan, bring broth or water and salt to a boil. Stir in polenta. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes until polenta is thickened and cooked through. Remove from heat.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Remove Dutch oven or skillet from oven; carefully spoon and spread polenta over the top of the chili. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Bake another 15 minutes until polenta is firm and golden brown on the edges. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Stephanie is the baker/blogger/babbler behind the blog, Girl Versus Dough, where she writes about her adventures in bread baking and other tasty, unique recipes. Her approach is friendly yet inspiring, down-to-earth yet adventurous. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, Elliott, her furry child-cat, Percy and a beautiful baby girl, Avery. Keep up with her on Facebook and Twitter.