Jan 22, 2010

Chicken Tamale Casserole

So lately I’ve been sick. Really sick. So sick that I haven’t had an appetite. And that, my friends, is something serious.

See, I’m the kind of person who eats before and after roller coasters, knowing full well the consequences. And the kind of person who continues hand-to-mouth maneuvers up to 30 minutes after I become full. So if my appetite suddenly goes missing, you can be sure that something scared it away.

This time, it was a dizzy/weak/overly-medicated daze that plagued me for about a week and a half, with the added perk not being able to breath out of my left nostril, even though I blew through about 300 tissues a day.

I know this is probably not the most palatable intro to a recipe. But it’s the sole reason I strove to find a simple meal with no lengthy preparation, stacks of dirty dishes or hard-to-find ingredients. Just something my hubby could shop for and I could throw together.
And here it is, by far one of the simplest things I’ve made since I started this project. It’s a casserole, after all. But the thing about this casserole is that there aren’t any crushed cornflakes or French fried onions or cans of Campbell’s cream of cheating soup. Not that I couldn’t go for a big batch of buttery corn flake-crusted cheesy potatoes. But I was drawn to this recipe’s unique tamale-inspired ingredients and the fact that it's one of the most sought after Cooking Light recipes. (182 reviews on myrecipes.com!)

So, earlier in the day, I baked a pan of chicken breasts, shredded them and set them aside. A fair warning: shredding chicken takes a little time. You literally have to pull bits and pieces away from the chicken over and over. And over.

Of course, I personally tried to do this while balancing the phone between my shoulder and chin so I could complain about my cold to my mom. And I made a double batch so we could have chicken salad for lunches. And, I may be exaggerating just a little. But still. It had me doubting homemade pulled pork in the near future.


When we were ready to eat, I mixed all the ingredients for the cornbread, including green chiles, creamed corn, cheese, cumin and red pepper, and baked it.

A few minutes later, I pierced the cornbread with a fork, poured on the enchilada sauce and topped with chicken and cheese, which I have to admit, I was a little generous with. You gotta get your protein, right? A few more minutes in the oven and it was golden and bubbling.





It was great to be able to dress up a casserole with things like sour cream and fresh cilantro. Helped it not look like the beige slop most casseroles turn into. A little side salad and we were ready to eat.


Overall, it was pretty good, especially for being so simple. But while the topping was delish, the chile cornbread was a little too sweet and mushy for my liking. Maybe I didn’t bake it long enough.  If I make this again, I may try to alter it a bit. Wait…I don’t know how to alter recipes. Who do I think I am?! Anyone out there know how to de-sweeten cornbread mix and keep it from getting too soft? Maybe less fork stabbing? (I did take off a little steam on the poor thing.)

My husband, on the other hand, loved it. I mean, he really loved it. That’s why I almost hate to even write about the taste, because like I said, I had no appetite. Filet Mignon was as good as raw eggs to me. Literally, I craved nothing but these cheap, cracker-thin frozen pizzas from Kroger. And I couldn’t even taste those.

I wanted to try some of the leftovers a couple days later when my love for food returned, but alas, my husband had scarfed down the rest of the pan. I should have let him write the review. But, I guess the fact that he ate the entire thing says enough in itself. So let’s just take his word for it.


Chicken Tamale Casserole
Risë Minton, Cooking Light, November 2008
Yield: 8 servings

1  cup  (4 ounces) pre-shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/3  cup  fat-free milk
1/4  cup  egg substitute
1  teaspoon  ground cumin
1/8  teaspoon  ground red pepper
1  (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1  (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Martha White)
1  (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
Cooking spray
1  (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce (such as Old El Paso)
2  cups  shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2  cup  fat-free sour cream

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 354 (36% from fat), Fat: 14.1g (sat 7.1g,mono 3.3g,poly 1.2g), Protein: 18.9g, Carbohydrate: 36.3g, Fiber: 2.5g, Cholesterol: 58mg, Iron:1.7mg, Sodium: 620mg, Calcium:179mg.


Angelia Sims said...

I am feeling your pain on the nose blowing, whistling, wheezing and hacking. But GEE, I NEVER lost my appetite! That's some serious stuff!

This looks delish to me and easy and I love casseroles because it's hard for me to screw them up. :-) Thank you! Feel better soon!

The Cookie Girl said...

EwwW Honey! I feel ya. I was sick about all week with no appetite but this dish definately gives me one. :) I will be trying this next week for a weeknight meal. Thanks a bunch for the recipe.

Marshmallow Circus said...

We are just getting over colds here. We like eating spicy food since our palate is dulled. Good recipe!

heidi @ wonder woman wannabe said...

You're so right - a little sour cream always adds just the right amount of zing to any casserole!

Hope you'll be feeling better to really enjoy the fruits of your cooking labor soon!

Happy SITS Sharefest!

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

What a great recipe to die for!
and your photos are really great!
I 'm eating and eating and..now I am hungry.
I'm so glad you came by from SITS, so I had the chance to see your lovely blog. I love blogs about recipes!!

Heather said...

this is gonna sound ridiculous but i have just recently tried tamales for the first time. crazy i know, but i loved em! your recipe looks delicious, i will definitely be trying it. thanks for the sweet comments, hope youre feel better : )
ps. had to redo my comment. too many spelling errors for my liking

Kathryn said...

Thanks so much for commenting!! :)
That is so great that you are taking the Financial class too! It seems like a lot of churches are doing it nowadays! Yes, it really is amazing, and I am so excited to see where it is going to take us! We also both have student loans so I understand about wanting to quickly be done with them!

I'm glad you found my blog too, I am already a follower of this blog, because I have recipe blog too. yeah, anytime you want to chat about the class let me know! :) Our is Wed. nights and this wed. will be our third!

Dee Andrews said...

Thanks for stopping by Travel and Travails. Now that I see you're a cook, I suppose you could relate to me finding the turkey head in the bag on Thanksgiving morning, http://travelandtravails.com/recipes/turkey-head.

Your chicken tamale casserole picture looks fabulous; I think I know what we're having for dinner tonight.

Can't wait to dive into other recipes here.

Kmama said...

Mmm. That sounds fabulous!!

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Kathy said...

I've been eying this recipe on myrecipes for sometime. Thanks for sharing your experience!! Great blog, btw!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to try this very soon! These are simple ideas but maybe trying a different brand of corn muffin mix. I've always found the Jiffy to be not sweet enough for my taste and have to add sugar so maybe it'll be fine for you! And I bet less holes would make it less soggy...or just not using the whole can of enchilada sauce. I'll let you know how it turns out when we try it and I'll keep those in mind! :)

Suzanne said...

Hi there! I found your blog through a comment of yours on MyRecipes.com about Spinach Calzones :) You have a great writing style and I am loving all of the Cooking Light recipes! A suggestion for the sogginess-- I make casserole that uses corn bread mix but it calls for the corn bread to be dolloped on top and then spread out, rather than being underneath all of the other ingredients. That might help you with the sogginess of it. Good job on your blog :) Here's a link to mine -

Me, Myself and Pie said...

Thanks Suzanne! That's a great tip. My hubby loved that recipe, so I may try your suggestion when I make it again.

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