Spicy Tamale Casserole


My mom gave my my first ever cookbook, Joy of Cooking. This was a long time ago. Way before I started cooking. Way before I even knew how to toast bread without burning it. (Side note: Funnily enough, I actually prefer burnt toast now… I guess I just grew accustom to it!). The other day I decided to go through a bunch of old recipes that I had placed amongst the pages of that first cookbook. Apparently, every time I came across a recipe that looked good – vegetarian or not – I’d print it out or write it down and add it to that book. There were A LOT. I guess experimenting with food was always in the cards for me. That said, I think I got a little too creative at times. People say your eyes can be too big for your stomach. Well I think my creativity over reaches my personal reality. I hardly think I will ever kill and roast a pig but if you want a recipe for it, I may be able to fish it out of the trash.

I came across the inspiration for this recipe amongst them, though. The original recipe came from Cooking Light. I’m glad I did. Next time I’m going to try a vegetarian version but this one went over well with Vin. He went back for thirds!! I’m going to take that as a good sign. 🙂

Salsa Chicken Tamale Casserole

1½ cups cornmeal 
1 egg
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/3 cup almond milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided (2/3 and 1/3 cup)
1 cup pre cooked and shredded salsa chicken
1 small can green enchilada sauce of your choice
¼ cup homemade salsa
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Maybe prep some fresh tomatoes, onion, cilantro, guacamole, sour cream, etc for a garnish 🙂

Preheat the oven to 400°

Mix together the cornmeal, egg, butter, milk, 2/3 cup of cheese, roughly half of the salsa and crushed red chilis and place it into a lightly greased baking pan 

Bake for 15 minutes and then take it out let it cool and set for a few minutes

Top with the shredded chicken, enchilada sauce and the rest of the shredded cheese before returning it to the oven for another 15-20 minutes. If you leave it in for too long it will start to dry out so check on it every so often to see if the cheese is bubbly or if the sauce has set yet. Either is a sign that it’s probably good to go! Top it with the rest of the salsa and, if you’re smart, follow the extra instructions below. 🙂

I can’t lie. I added another little sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top along with a sprinkle of crumbled cotija cheese plus the fresh tomatoes, onion and cilantro that I previously mentioned.




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