For the past few years, we have put together a big gift basket for the staff to enjoy, no matter what hour or shift they might be on duty. Store-bought pretzels, popcorn, crackers and chips rounded out a basket of homemade sweets, packaged all up with a pretty bow on top. We heard from the team multiple times how much they always enjoy the snacks (especially the overnight guys!).
This year, I was pulling together group gift ideas for both the building and my new team at work, and decided that in lieu of the snack attack, I would make a big meal for everyone in both groups to enjoy. I chose a casserole favorite of mine that I first posted about here way back in '09. Since then, I have tweaked the recipe and have learned that it is a super easy recipe to double, triple or more. The team at work could have theirs with an easy Mexi-salad, while we delivered the other one to the condo staff with a few bags of tortilla chips and salsa. Whether they snack on it for brunch, lunch, dinner or "fourth meal," I hope that they enjoy it :)
Here is my amended recipe. After making it again for this holiday round, I have amended it one last time, adding in some additional enchilada sauce to the top to help keep things moist -- this is especially clutch if you are making the recipe in bulk, since each dish will need to be reheated.
I think and hope that you will agree, this is a great weeknight comfort (light!) food that doesn't take long to make! Nom Nom Nom and Ho Ho Ho!!
Chicken Tamale Casserole
Amended from Cooking Light, November 2008
- 1 1/2 cups shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
- 1/3 cup skim milk
- 1/4 cup egg substitute
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
- 1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Martha White)
- 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
- Cooking spray
- 2 (10-ounce) cans red enchilada sauce (such as Old El Paso), your choice of spice level (Medium is great)
- 2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
- 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
- Taco sauce (optional)
Combine 1/2 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until set.
Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour one can of enchilada sauce over top. Mix chicken with second can of sauce, and pour mixture over cornbread layer. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream and taco sauce, if desired.
Tips from Katherine: If making in large scale, it's easiest to shred the chicken in a food processor. Also, if you are making this to take over for a new mom, you may want to drop down the spice factor by reducing the chiles and red pepper and choosing Mild flavor sauce. Or do what I did and accidentally make it with Medium sauce, and cause slight nursing trauma for that mom's new baby. Whoops ;)