Monday, May 3, 2010

Tamales in a Hurry

No time for homemade tamales? Don't want to spend the money to go out to get some at the Mexican restaurant of your choice? Here's your fix. Chicken Tamale Casserole. Now, I have had homemade tamales before. A friend's grandmother was making them when we were in high school. Those were the best ever. No restaurant has ever come close. Therefore, I am a tamale snob. Now this recipe isn't quite as good as JR's grandma's tamales, but it's close. It was so good that I might have to try it again with a pound of ground beef. This was also extremely quick! 15 minutes in the oven, then top, then basically heat the chicken and melt the cheese. Done. This is one of those that I would be tempted to violate my self-imposed ban on cooking on activity nights for. It's that quick. Serve it up with some Spanish rice and refried beans (both under 20 minutes and incredibly cheap) and you're good to go!

If you don't have cooked shredded chicken in the house, then I recommend starting this project over the weekend by purchasing a whole chicken. Boil the chicken and make stock. Debone chicken, separating white and dark meat. Use the dark meat and stock for soup, white meat for this recipe. See previous post for instructions on making the soup and stock.

So......without further adieu.......

Chicken Tamale Casserole

1 c. (4 oz.) preshredded Mexican blend cheese
1/3 c. fat free milk (I used 2%)
1/4 c. egg substitute (I used 1 egg)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4 oz) can cream style corn
1 (8.5 oz) package of corn muffin mix
1 4 oz. can chopped green chiles, drained (I couldn't figure out how to drain them)
Cooking spray
1 can enchilada sauce
2 c. shredded cooked chicken breast (I used turkey since it's what I had)
1/2 c. fat free sour cream (I skipped this altogether since most of us don't like sour cream)

Preheat oven to 400. Combine 1/4 c. cheese and next 7 ingredients, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 9x13 baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until set. Poke liberally with a fork and pour enchilada sauce over the top. Top with chicken and cheese. Bake another 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces and serve with a Tbsp. of sour cream on top.

Recipe from Cooking Light magazine, Nov. 2008 edition.

Now, I was stupid. Yes, I will admit it. I didn't read the recipe all the way through before starting. I saw 1 cup of cheese and dumped it all in the bowl and starting adding ingredients. It wasn't until it was in the oven that I realized that I had screwed up. It wasn't a problem this time. :D

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