Friday, February 8, 2013

Slow Cooker Tamale Pie

Here's a yummy casserole inspired by one of my favorite Mexican dishes.  Unlike it's labor-intensive namesake, this dish is simple and relatively quick to make.  And thanks to my good friends Val & Milton, there's a lot of walk away time (yup, I named my slow cookers Val & Milton... they're made by Rival and Hamilton Beach... I also named my minivan Chryssie Chrysler... forgive me, I'm corny and apparently not that inventive when it comes to naming). 

I love the ease of the slow cooker because it allows me to cook dinner during Annalyn's morning nap on my days off, but if you're schedule doesn't allow it, this can easily be made in the oven, too!  Instead of a slow cooker, layer ingredients in a large casserole dish (spray with some cooking spray first) and cook at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until cornbread is cooked through.  I could think of so many variations for this dish, too!  Try making it with ground turkey or shredded chicken instead of beef...  topping with salsa verde or enchilada sauce... mixing in some jalapenos with the cornbread mixture to give it an extra kick... the possibilities are endless!  Here's how Mama makes it:

Slow Cooker Tamale Pie


- 1 lb. ground  beef (as lean as possible)
- 2-3 T. taco seasoning (see my recipe here)
- 1/2 c. chicken stock
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup grated carrot (optional, but adds some nutrients without affecting flavor!)
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1/4 c. each black/green olives, chopped (also optional, but recommended!)
- 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
for the topping: (if using a large slow cooker, you may want to double this... I used my smaller one and it was the perfect amount)
- 1 (8.5 oz.) box cornbread mix (Jiffy suggested)
- 1/3 c. milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c. shredded cheese (low fat, if possible... I was out)
- 3/4 c. creamed style corn
optional add-ins:  jalapenos (mix into cornbread mixture), salsa verde/enchilada sauce, green pepper or poblanos (mix into meat)


1.  In a large pan or soup pot over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef until no longer pink.  Drain and return to pan.

2.  Add chopped onion and grated carrot.  Quick note about grated carrot:  This may seem like a strange addition to this dish.  It is in no way essential to the flavor or texture, in fact, you probably won't even notice it in the final dish.  What it does do is add some nutrient-packed veggies!  In this mama's opinion, why not?

give it a quick stir

3.  Add taco seasoning and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes (want to have some liquid left for the slow cooker). 

quick tip:  date the carton after opening
that way, you know how long it's still good!

4.  Add chopped olives, beans, and tomatoes.  Pour beef mixture in an even layer in bottom of the slow cooker.

stir to combine

spread in an even layer

5.  In a medium bowl, mix cornbread mix, milk, and egg until just combined.  Stir in creamed corn and shredded cheese.

6.  Spoon cornbread evenly over the top of the meat mixture, then sprinkle with a little more cheese.  Cover and slow cook on low for about 5-6 hours.  Serve alone or with a side of refried beans.

And now for Peanut's opinion...

looks like she likes it!

more, please!

Happy Mexican Food Friday!


  1. How sweet! Is she doing a "more" sign? That was the one sign that Theo really mastered. Every now and then, he will still use it when he is asking for something (with words as well), which is a little crazy.

  2. Yea, she just learned it! I've been trying to learn some ASL lately (actually hoping to take a class this spring), so I decided to teach her a few as I go. So far, she does "milk" (for any drink), "more" and sort of "all done." It's super cute and exciting how fast she's picking things up lately.