Thursday, March 31, 2016

One Dish Chicken Tamales

Somewhere along the way I realized I don't really like cooking.  Baking, yes.  But getting supper on the table (almost) every night, not a huge fan of it.  Maybe it's because we HAVE to eat supper.  It's non-negotiable.  But most of my baking is optional.  We'll definitely eat the cookies, but it's like not we'll starve without them, you know?  The non-necessity of baking makes it fun for me. 

Because of that we tend towards pretty easy suppers.  If something has a long list of ingredients (even if they are mostly spices!) and many steps, chances are pretty good I'm not going to make it.  I want good, reasonably healthy food for minimal effort.  And yet, I also insist on making almost as much from scratch as I can which doesn't always jive well with my "minimal effort".  I know I complicate things for myself sometimes.  Take this recipe.  I use a boxed muffin mix but cook the chicken in the crockpot, grate my own cheese, and make my own enchilada sauce.  Every time I make this I think "I should really look up a homemade corn muffin mix" but I have yet to do so and we make this about once a month.  Every time I also think "I should just buy canned sauce" because for some reason I dread making the sauce even though it's super easy.  

But the beauty of this is that you can buy a lot of components ready to go which really makes it an easy dish for supper.  I have bought enchilada sauce and it's worked just as well as the homemade stuff.  You could buy a rotisserie chicken but, I personally find it easier to throw some frozen chicken in the crock pot than try to get all that chicken off the bones.  I prefer my meat deboned; the less I have to look at it in it's original form the better.  BUT the point is, this can be an easy meal and even with some of the complications I make for myself I can still have it in the oven in under 10 minutes when it's time to assemble.  That's my kind of meal.

One Dish Chicken Tamales
yield: about 8 servings (we can make this last 3 meals)
- 1 package (8½ oz) corn muffin mix
- 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, somewhat thawed
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 8oz shredded cheese (we use cheddar, because that's what we use for almost everything)
- 1 can (10oz) enchilada sauce OR use 1/2 this recipe (and freeze the rest for next time!)
- 3 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I highly recomend cooking in the crockpot, only takes a few hours and practically no hands on time)

1) Heat oven to 400°.  Spray a 13x9 baking dish with oil (or cooking spray).
2) In a large bowl, combine the muffin mix, corn, eggs, milk, chili powder, cumin, and one cup of the cheese.  Stir.  Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.
3) Remove from the oven and pierce with a knife in at least 12 places.  Pour enchilada sauce over the top and spread evenly.  Scatter chicken and remaining cheese on top of the sauce.  Bake for another 20 minutes.
4) Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. 

My 10 minute assembly notes:
The day before or morning of making this I throw a few chicken breast in the crockpot and cook on low for a few hours.  They will shred very easily.  I make the enchilada sauce when I'm getting lunch around and refrigerate until suppertime.  I grate the cheese ahead of time.  Then it's basically just quick assembling and in the oven!

Source: adapted from Family Circle magazine

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