For Mexican Cravings: Lightened Up Turkey Tamale Casserole

My 5 year old is quite the picky eater. However, if there is something covered in cheese he will at least try it. I was excited to try out this lightened up recipe since we are big Mexican fans in this house! With the help of the dietitian, I changed a few things in the recipe. Instead of chicken or beef, I decided on turkey. The recipe calls for quite a bit of cheese so I decided to make a switch to fat free cheddar cheese. This recipe makes a ton so it’s a great thing to make on a Sunday night so you will have leftovers for lunch for the week. Pair this dish with a yummy salad or your family’s favorite vegetable. Enjoy!

Tamale Casserole (Original Recipe, sourced here)

  • 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (Jiffy works great)
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce
  • 1 pound ground chicken (turkey or beef work just as well)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh chopped cilantro or parsley, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Combine the cheeses in a small bowl. In a large bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the combined cheese, the milk, egg, cumin, red pepper, corn, muffin mix, and the green chiles. Stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes or until just set. While the cornbread is baking, cook your ground chicken in a skillet over medium heat until cooked completely through. Drain, if necessary, and salt and pepper the chicken. Remove the cornbread from the oven and pierce all over with a fork. Pour the enchilada sauce over the corn bread. Top with the chicken and remaining cheese. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro or parsley and serve. (Original source.)

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A Touro Dietitian’s Perspective

I think we should make this an every now and then type of meal. Try to use less cheese, of course, and add more chicken for the fullness component. The Jiffy cornbread is by no means considered healthy, however, this is a pretty large dish and if you serve smaller portions, I think it will be acceptable. Consider it a side item and pair it up with a great salad or any vegetable that the family would enjoy.

Healthy Makeover

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Mary is a caffeine addicted boy mom to Noah, Liam and Luke. This “stay at home” mom can typically been found cruising in her minivan, jamming to Beyonce with a Starbucks in hand on her way to carpool or after school activities. Mary has been married to her high school sweetheart since 2007. She is a founder of Delivering Hope NOLA and the Vanessa Wolff Scholarship Fund at her Alma Mater. Mary is passionate in the local preemie community and has been heavily involved with the March of Dimes since her sons Liam and Luke were born premature.

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