I know I’m not alone when I say that we are busy. My husband and I both work full time, and by the time we pick up our son, get home, take care of our dogs, and do the necessary diaper/clothes changes, everyone is starving. Cooking is one of my passions, but I might as well face facts: while I have the skills to make an elaborate multi-course gourmet meal, more often than not, I just don’t have time. And I am not above taking a few shortcuts to get dinner on the table. I love using our slow-cooker to get a head-start on dinner, but slow-cooker meals can get repetitive.
I recently started making tamale pie for dinner, and I find it’s quite a versatile recipe. It’s easy to make it your own…
- 2 pounds of lean beef cooked with your favorite taco seasoning
- 1 cup of sauteed peppers and onions
- 1 cup of your favorite salsa
- 1 ½ cups of shredded cheese (I like using a Mexican blend, but you could use cheddar, jack, pepper jack, or another cheese.)
- 1 cup of frozen or drained canned corn
- 2 (8.5 oz) boxes of cornbread/corn muffin mix
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup of milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 375.
- Add the cooked meat to a 9*13 pan in an even layer.
- Top the meat with the sauteed peppers and onions.
- Spoon the salsa over the top, and spread in an even layer.
- Sprinkle the cheese over the top in an even layer.
- Sprinkle the corn over the top. (I like to add the corn on top of the cheese so that it becomes part of the cornbread layer.)
- Mix the cornbread mixes with the eggs and milk in a separate bowl, then spoon over the top and carefully spread in an even layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- Optional additions: 1 can black beans, drained (mix with meat for added fiber), 2 cups raw spinach, minced (add to meat mixture while cooking), jalapenos (to taste).
As I mentioned before, this recipe is very versatile. I have used our slow-cooker to cook a tougher cut of beef, but you could easily use any type of your favorite ground meat. You could even use leftover cooked and cubed chicken, turkey, or pork, reheated with a little chicken stock and mixed with taco seasoning. I serve tamale pie with salads on the side, but you could instead add more veggies to the casserole itself. This version of the casserole uses beef and red salsa, but you could try it with pork or shredded turkey and salsa verde- and perhaps a Munster cheese.