Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Super Easy Tamale Casserole


Cinque de Mayo! While I'm not sure if anyone around here celebrates it, or even knows what it means, it gives an excuse to make some tasty mexican food - or at least Mexican inspired.

I must admit, until I lived in Southern California, I didn't celebrate it. Then I made the huge mistake of going to a Mexican restaurant on Cinque de Mayo....wow, everyone was there eating and drinking. They didn't know why either, other than it was a reason to go out.

Now, while I steer clear of the mexican restaurants on May 5, I do like to celebrate a little with a Mexican inspired dish. Since I have already made tamales, I thought I would give another option - one that could easily be prepared on a Wednesday night.

I have been using this dish for quite a while in various forms. It's quick, easy, and tastes good. So, if you are looking for a change of pace on a weeknight, give this a try. The version I'm posting here is vegetarian (it does contain milk and and "cheese"), but you can easily add any cooked meat. I just didn't feel like it.

I also used corn flour rather than corn meal. Honestly, I don't like corn bread that much unless I whirl the corn meal in the blender a bit to give it a smoother texture. Enter corn meal (masa)! I could not find less than a 5 lb bag while shopping for my tamale making, so I have been substituting it when I can to use the rest of the 5 lb bag.

Another note on the recipe: I used velvetta cheese in this recipe. I had some. I was actually going to put it in the Mac and cheese, but forgot. That's really the only reason I used it. Normally I put in either 1 cup chicken broth, jack cheese, or cojita. Any of these work.

Tamale Casserole

1 can pinto beans, drained
3 cups mixed vegetables (I used a bag of frozen vegetables)
1 can diced green chiles
1/2 jalapeno, cut in small dice
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups Velvetta
1/2 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. cayenne
1 t. black pepper
1 t. salt

Mix all these ingredients together and spread into a 13x9x2 pan. Preheat oven to 350 and make the topping.

Tamale topping

1 cup corn flour or corn meal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 t. salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except ap flour until very well blended. Add flour and stir until just moistened.

Pour over your vegetable mixture and bake 45min to 1 hour until top is golden brown. Serve hot with your choice of condiments.

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