Chicken Tamale Pie From Scratch

Having a new kitchen is a lot of fun, but it can also be a little bit of a pain. You know how there are certain items that you just always have in your pantry? Yeah, chances are if you moved across country, and stored you kitchen stuff for over a month, you don’t have those items. This is especially true of condiments. I try and remember the basics when I go to the grocery, but it’s difficult to remember everything that you might like to have on your table at some point. That’s what happened to me as I went to put some delicious Cholula hot sauce on the table to go with this Chicken Tamale Pie. I was shocked to open my refrigerator and NOT find what is usually a staple in my house. Not to worry though, it turns out the Tamale Pie didn’t even need it!

We absolutely loved the flavor that was packed into this dish. It really did remind me of the tamales that I came to love in San Diego. I especially liked the texture of the crust, which was tender and moist, acting like a sponge for the enchilada sauce, but still just a bit crispy around the edges.

Now, I wanted to make each portion from scratch, so it took a little more time than most people want to spend on a weeknight. But, you could easily take some short cuts (like pre-cooked/shredded chicken or canned enchilada sauce) and turn this into a weeknight meal. Also, the enchilada sauce makes more than you will need, so you can throw it in the freezer for next time!


Here are some more delicious Mexican Inspired Dishes!

Mexican Lasagna
Barbacoa Beef for Burrito Bowls
Baked Rolled Tacos (Baked Taquitos)
Quinoa Mexican Soup

Mexican Lasagna

I have never understood how people could not like beans. Even as a kid, when my friends would turn their nose up to chili and baked beans I would think, “More for me!” Now that I am adult, I appreciate them even more. Not only are they tasty, they are also perfect for rounding out the proteins in a meatless meal. Even Jesse, who is a meat and potatoes kind of boy, enjoys many of the dishes I make with beans. Sometimes he doesn’t even notice the meat is missing.

This lasagna was another great example of how a meatless meal can be every bit as satisfying and delicious as a meat-full meal. I’ve made this several times now and each time think that I can’t wait to make it again. And, I feel like I say this a lot, but it can also be pretty adaptable to your personal tastes. Sometimes I want it on the spicier side, so I add jalapeno rings and extra cayenne pepper. Other times I want it smokier so I add more cumin (and maybe a pinch of smoked paprika!). Either way, I’m pretty sure you’ll love it!




Barbacoa Beef for Burrito Bowls

I love parties, I love to cook, I love to make cakes, and I love to entertain, so when one of our friends had a birthday recently, it only felt right to throw a party for her! I knew right away that I wanted to make some kind of Western foods. Something new and different for the birthday girl. Thinking about how much she likes spicy food, Mexican food came to mind. I’ve been absolutely CRAVING Chipotle recently, so I’m not surprised that’s where my mind went. 🙂

With Chipotle on the brain, I came up with party menu plan. Being a little nervous about how my guests react to Mexican food, I thought a buffet style meal would be a safe way to go. That way everyone could take as little or as much of each food as they wanted, and everyone could build their own burrito bowls. I am happy to say the party was a success and the guests devoured the food!

For the bowls I made cilantro-lime rice, black beans, barbacoa beef, and pico de gallo. And because no bowl would be complete without it, I also had freshly grated cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Keep an eye out because next week I’ll be sharing the cake that I made for the party! It’s a pretty one!





The family that worked for in San Diego had a dog, but not just a dog, a really cool dog. He knew all sorts of fun tricks and was generally really well behaved. Since we never had a dog when I was growing up, he was really the first dog that I got to spend an extended and consistent amount of time with. We got to be great friends and he really opened my eyes to the “dog world”.

Our favorite times together were when I would sing to him. (OK, his favorite times were actually probably more like when I would take him for a walk or feed him. But my favorite times were when I would sing.) His name was Max and one of the songs I would sing to him went a little like this, “Maxito Bombito from Max-ico. Likes to eat Max-a-roni and cheese and sometimes Max-ican.” Original lyrics, huh? Anyway, I couldn’t help but giggle when I was making this side dish. Totally reminded me of him. 🙂

Along with making me giggle, this corn was just the side dish I was looking for when making Enchilada Casserole. It’s light but still flavorful and ridiculously easy. I also love the pops of color it adds to the meal. And as it turns, it’s also really good when scooped up on a chip and eaten like salsa.  If you’re in a rut and looking for a new side dish to add to your rotation, give this a try!