Mexican Pot Pie and a smash hit from The Pioneer Woman

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Hey everyone! I hope the new year is finding you all well and happy.  I promise I’m really back this time, the holidays got crazy and it took me a while to recover.  I’ve started the year diving into the Food bible, the one and only Joy of Cooking, as well as raiding Pinterest, and even come up with a couple things on my own – and my husband survived!

What I’ve got this week I found in Joy, a Chicken Tamale Pie.  I’m not sure how much like a tamale it is, rather it reminded me more of a Tex-Mex pot pie.  In this case, I swapped out the olives for corn, since olives are at the top of a very short list of foods I absolutely refuse to eat. With the way this one came out, it felt like the crust to filling balance was off, so if you like olives, feel free to toss them in with the corn. I think there would also be a benefit in throwing in a drained can of black beans, and a couple diced chipotles in adobo sauce as well, but I was out of stock this time so I’ll have to keep it in mind for the next time I make it.  This makes enough to feed a family, everything comes together in a 9×13.

Chicken Tamale Pie (From The Joy of Cooking)

Warm, hearty, filling, my kind of meal!
Warm, hearty, filling, my kind of meal!
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken or turkey (or two shredded chicken breasts)
  • 3 C salsa, your choosing
  • 1/2 C pimiento-stuffed olives
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 C water
  • 1 C vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil
  • 3 C cornmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 C grated cheddar
  • 1/4 C hot water

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground chicken (or turkey) and if necessary, drain.  If you’re choosing to shred the meat instead, cook the chicken breasts, then shred, returning to the skillet.  Stir in the salsa, olives, chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon, and lower the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/3 C water and the broth to a boil, then cover and remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the baking powder, salt, oil, and cornmeal.  Stir in the broth mixture from the stove, combining well, then letting the batter stand 5 minutes before adding the eggs.  Set aside 1 1/2 C batter, and spread the rest into the bottom and sides of a greased 9 x 13″ baking dish.  Spoon in the Chicken mixture, and cover with cheese.

Into the reserved batter, pour the 1/4 C hot water.  When well mixed, spread in a thin layer over the top – don’t worry, it’s going to mix with the cheese.  Bake 40 minutes. Let stand for another 10 before cutting.

My next offering came from a Pinterest raid, but admittedly a very reliable source.  I’ve been devouring Ree Drummond’s recipes since I found her early in my marriage, and she’s yet to steer me wrong.  Everything of hers I’ve made has been a big hit at my table, and this one is no exception.  One of my favorite party foods is spinach and artichoke dip, and it’s probably a good thing I don’t know how to make it myself.

It always happens the same way, someone walks in with that magical corningware dish and a baguette, and after patiently waiting until someone breaks into it, I casually make my way across the room, and spread it on some bread.  It seems innocent enough, but inevitably I wind up parking in front of the dish, and it’s not until I realize the baguette has disappeared that someone offers me a fork for the rest of it.  Rather than accepting the flatware, I give them the standard “Don’t judge me” look, and tell myself it counts as a vegetable.  But this recipe does what I really ought to do in the first place, just add pasta.  Brilliant, isn’t it? Those charming little twists of boiled dough suddenly makes accepting the fork, well, acceptable.  Thanks for saving my butt, Ree!

Spinach Artichoke Pasta (From The Pioneer Woman)

It's just like the party dip, only with pasta in it, making it acceptable to eat with a spoon.
It’s just like the party dip, only with pasta in it, making it acceptable to eat with a spoon.
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and halved
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1 1/2 C whole milk
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 C grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 C shredded Mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 Chicken or vegetable broth
  • 6 oz. Penne, or other smallish pasta, cooked to al dente.
  • 1/4 Panko crumbs
  • Crushed red pepper to taste

Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in a large skillet.  When melted, throw in the garlic and spinach, stir until wilted.  Remove spinach and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of butter to the pot, and increase the temperature to high.  When the butter has melted, toss in the halved artichoke hearts, stirring until they brighten in color, just a few minutes.  Remove the artichokes and set aside.

Reduce the heat to low, and add the final tablespoon of butter. When melted, whisk in the flour, then slowly whisk in the milk, letting cook until it starts to thicken.  Stir in the Parmesan, shredded cheese, cayenne, salt and pepper.  If it gets too thick, add in the broth.

Gently toss in the artichokes and pasta, then fold in the spinach.  Serve with Panko and crushed red pepper on top.

Tip of the week: In place of using heavy cream in your sauces, try swapping it out for low-fat or no-fat evaporated milk.

 

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