Monday, January 27, 2014

Grocery Tips | Stock Up and Save with Canned Goods

Last week I did a post for ShopRite's Potluck Blog to promote and support their semi-annual Can Can Sale. If you live in the mid-Atlantic region, you're probably familiar with the event, but even if you live outside this area, I shared some helpful tips for utilizing canned foods in recipes.

Take a minute to check out my post and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chicken Tamale Casserole

A lot of people make new year's resolutions about their physical health (losing weight, quitting smoking, running a marathon, etc.). I'm concerned about my physical health, too, but last year I was very successful in sticking with my resolutions because they were about my state of mind. I resolved to be more organized, less stressed by everyday problems and to ask for help when I needed it. And guess what? It worked!

Meal planning is a major part of organization and health. I don't cook perfectly healthy meals every day, but I know that I'm probably better off (both physically and financially) eating homemade meals instead of fast food and restaurant food. One of the biggest challenges to meal planning is building up a decent pantry and recipe collection, especially for weeknights. I want meals that aren't too stressful to cook after work, but that taste good enough to make me commit to preparing them.

I found this chicken tamale pie casserole on Pinterest from Cooking Light. I was intrigued by the fact that it looked pretty simple and claimed to approximate the flavors of one of my favorite Mexican dishes.

Well, this casserole was great! It only took about 15 minutes of hands-on time to prepare and the result was as good as the tamales I've ordered in local Mexican restaurants, but much easier to prepare. The sweet corn cake layer is soft and slightly spicy and the chicken topping has just enough cheese to taste, but not enough to make the dish uncomfortably heavy. It smells great, it tastes great and the leftovers were delicious for lunch on the following day.

Try this recipe as as an alternative to taco night or a pan of enchiladas. It has a nice flavor payoff for some pretty common ingredients.

Chicken Tamale Casserole
adapted from Cooking Light
serves 4-5

1 (8.5 ounce) box corn muffin mix
1 (12 ounce) can creamed corn
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles (check the Latino section of your grocery store)
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken tossed in 1 tablespoon taco or southwestern seasoning
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a pre-shredded Mexican blend)
cilantro and diced red onion, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine first six ingredients (through milk) in a bowl. Stir until just blended. Spray a 13-9 inch baking dish with non-stick spray and pour mixture into the dish.

Bake for 15 minutes or until set and barely light brown.

Remove cornbread mixture from oven, poke holes all over with a fork. Pour enchilada sauce over the top. Top with shredded chicken and cheese.

Return to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through.

Remove from oven and top with cilantro and red onion, if desired.

Serve hot. The leftovers are great, too.

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