Cheesy Chard Polenta

Cheesy Chard Polenta | A Sweet SpoonfulThey say in Seattle it rained every day in January. I was lucky enough to escape to Palm Spring for a long weekend for work, and can I just say, you forget how much you miss the sun until you’re sitting outside eating chips and guacamole and enjoying a 3pm margarita. It was good to be away.

The thing about having young kids, as all parents out there already know, is your personal desires are basically always suppressed in favor of keeping your kids alive, healthy, and happy. Let’s dig into this for a minute: rarely do I actually get to ponder what I’d like to eat for breakfast or what my body feels like it really needs. Nope, I typically eat the remains of Oliver’s frozen waffle and grab a handful of nuts on the way out the door (parents who survive off of your kid’s scraps: I SEE YOU).That’s one reason why getting away to California was so nice. Yes, it was a work trip and we had a pretty booked itinerary, actually. But I had a few days to really consider myself: what would I like for breakfast? What would I like to do with my hour before dinner? I even went out at night and didn’t worry about what time I’d get to bed. A much needed time to just be Megan.

Right now, Sam and I are struggling a bit with the juggle to get each other that time. Sam needs time to be a Sam and I need time to be a Megan, and then of course we need time to focus on each other. And man, where do people find this time?! While most days really are wonderful, I’m not surprised by the divorce statistics to be honest: this juggle ain’t easy.

So this upcoming week we’re trying something new! Every Tuesday is Sam’s night and Thursdays are my night — so this Thursday I won’t come home after work to help with dinner and bedtime. And I don’t need to think about getting home by any certain time. Maybe I’ll go to yoga and meet up with a friend for a drink. Maybe I’ll go see Little Women by myself. When the weather gets warmer, I can see myself meeting my friend Keena for walks around the lake. Or just going to a cafe and reading an actual book. And then, of course, on Sam’s nights the same holds true and I’ll handle dinner and bedtime for the kids.

Do you all do anything similar? What are the ways you carve out space and time for your partner?

And of course completely unrelated (I remember the days I’d really try to link the recipe to the narrative, but hell, who has the time?!) is this cheesy polenta with little ribbons of tender chard that I’ve been making each week. To be honest, it’s not the biggest looker of a recipe – I wouldn’t make this if someone famous were coming over for dinner. But it’s incredibly satisfying in these colder winter months. I take out a scoop before adding the greens so Oliver will actually eat it, and Frances loves it — not surprising to anyone as we have yet to meet a carb she’ll turn down.

I hope you all have a great week, peppered with a at least a few hours just to yourself.

Cheesy Chard Polenta

Cheesy Chard Polenta

  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Prep time: 10 mins
  • Cook time: 30 mins
  • Total time: 40 mins

This easy side dish features ribbons of chard but you could certainly use any hearty green you like (or leave them out altogether). Here I just used the chard leaves because they soften and incorporate into the polenta nicely. Feel free to save the ribs, chop them up and cook them in a stir fry or fold them into a crunchy salad.


1 3/4 cups water, plus more if necessary
1 cup milk
1 cup (160g) polenta
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced (about ¼ cup)
1/2 bunch Swiss chard, de-ribbed, leaves roughly chopped (about 2 cups / 75g)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water and milk to a gentle boil. Slowly add the polenta, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Decrease the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, until the polenta is nice and creamy, 25-30 minutes, stirring often to prevent clumping or sticking (if it starts clumping, add a little more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to loosen). Note that the polenta will continue to thicken as it cools.

Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Fold in the butter and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil and cook the shallot for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and chard and cook until the chard softens, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and fold the cooked chard and Parmesan into the polenta mixture. Serve warm; best served immediately.

Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat leftover on the stove top over low heat — you may need to add a little water to loosen.



  1. Kaitlin

    I SEE YOU TOO! It is indeed a struggle, and I have been trying hard to balance selfish desires with appropriate self-care. I think your nights off is huge-so wise! I have finally really embraced getting a babysitter more often. Sounds like a small thing that would be easy but I had a hard time finding someone I liked, was qualified, and that also wouldn’t break the bank. I have been saying yes to more things for my husband and I to do together and calling the sitter as much as I can. I also have a good amount of anxiety when it comes to leaving my kids and I’m working on that. Needless to say, this is a hard stage of life and I remind myself of it regularly. It won’t always be so brutal and time-consuming and messy. One day I will actually have a breakfast and lunch of my own, perhaps even one I didn’t prepare! My coffee will remain hot! It’s really the trenches right now, and I find it especially challenging because it is also the time when we have to teach our little ones how to be good people. Solidarity to you mama!!

    1. megang

      Thank you, Katie!!! Yes to babysitters! It always feels kind of tough to justify the cost of getting one and then the cost of going out, but big picture it's always worth it! And yes, it's really, really hard to find someone good that you trust. We've been lucky as we tend to pull Oliver's young teachers aside and ask if they ever babysit :) Have a great week - hopefully one with some moments to yourself :)

  2. Anna

    Polenta is a favorite in our house, maybe I'll try half with the chard mixed in one of these days. It has taken a while for us to find and make the time we need for ourselves and make sure everyone gets what they need, but like all of parenting it is a process and it is definitely worth trying to make time for yourself, your partner's self, and the two of you together without kids.

  3. Alesha

    It’s a fine line and balancing act but if you set your mind to it things work out. I have used the polenta from bobs mill and it’s fantastic. Hugs to you.! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    1. megang

      Thanks, Alesha! Hugs to you, too :)

  4. kristina

    Reading this post in August - and knowing what the next few months must've looked like for you guys, I hope you survived and are now starting to figure out how to thrive again!

    We carved out time in two ways - I dropped to 80% at work and started bike commuting (and we kept our kids in full time daycare). DH kept his Tuesday night basketball, while we took together time on my day off work without the kids (our lunch dates and matinees were amazing). DH would and could make up his work in the evenings after I went to bed or he would chill read or play video games.

    Every once and a while my work asks if I'm ready to go back to full time, and honestly I never want to!

    Now I'm off to make some polenta (hoping it's my kids day to eat carbs, not protein - as they seem to eat one one week, and the other the next...)

    1. megang

      Kristina! I honestly can't believe this somehow slipped through the cracks and I'm just seeing your sweet comment now. Feels very appropriately 2020 :) Thank you so much for reaching out. Hope you all are hanging in there this fall. Good things ahead!

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