An Old Favorite: Tamale Pie

When I first started Weight Watchers back in 2006, I was living alone and not cooking very much. I discovered Heather’s Recipe Site and started a fun cycle.

  1. Make Tamale pie
  2. Eat Tamale Pie for dinner and lunch for a week.
  3. Pick a new recipe.
  4. Eat that recipe for a week.
  5. Repeat.

I continued this cycle for some time, even after moving in with Adam. Needless to say, Adam got VERY sick of tamale pie. He pretty much outlawed tamale pie in our house. When he went out of town last year for 4 days, you can guess what I made for dinner that week! YUP! Tamale Pie!

It has been well over a year since my last tamale pie, and I finally convinced Adam to try it again. There were stipulations, one of those being that the lovely polenta crust needed to be thinner than the last time. I was SO EXCITED all day to make this for dinner, and told about 20 people about it!

There's a polenta crust, I swear!

There's a polenta crust, I swear!

Simply Filling® Tamale Pie


1 c yellow cornmeal
2.25 c cold water
1 cube chicken bouillon
1 lb lean ground beef (or equal amount of veggie crumbles)
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 tsp chili powder
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
Dash pepper
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 can Ro-Tel original
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed
FF or soy cheddar shreds

Preheat oven to 350*. Spray a 9 x 13″ casserole pan with Pam. Bring 2-1/4 cups water plus bouillon cube to a boil. Stir in polenta, and whisk until fairly thick and most lumps are gone (just a few minutes). Spread into bottom of casserole pan and set aside. Brown beef, onion, and green pepper. Add chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper, and mix well. Add tomato paste, Ro-Tel, corn (with juice; do not drain), and kidney beans. Spread over the cornmeal crust and top evenly with cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes at 350*.

This was seriously just as good as I remembered! I did have a side of fat free sour cream, and will be going back for seconds!

Just a quick note before I sign off for the night: I’ve been feeling really guilty that I haven’t been commenting on many of your blogs lately, especially during the day. I’m a teacher, and therefore work in a school (duh!), and we’re at the mercy of what the district thinks is appropriate content. Unfortunately, the district thinks that all WordPress and Blogger blogs are inappropriate, so therefore I can’t see them. Some of them, I can see, but then the comment forms are blocked. I can read though, because Google reader is not blocked. So please know I am reading!!!

Be sure to check out Beadie’s Blog for this week’s BSI!!

Have a fabulous evening!



Chicken Taco Soup

I have had a crazy craving for taco soup for the LONGEST time now, and I finally remembered what needed to go into it WHILE I was at the grocery store! I’d made many different taco soup recipes, and this one that I threw together was really good, and SO SIMPLE! Really, the extent of this recipe is chopping up a half an onion and opening cans. Oh, and when I say “One Can” it means the standard 15 oz. can, not the ginormous ones.

Served with sour cream, of course

Served with sour cream, of course

Mara’s Chicken Taco Soup


1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 large onion, chopped

1 small(4 oz) can chopped jalapenos

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can corn, NOT drained

2 cans low-sodium chicken broth

1 can fat free refried beans

1 can Ro-Tel or other chopped tomatoes with jalapenos

1 packet low-sodium taco seasoning

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. chili powder


In a large pot, brown the chopped onion. Add the chicken and all the cans EXCEPT the refried beans, and all seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 45 minutes. Remove the chicken and shred, then return it to the pot. Add the refried beans and stir well, and simmer until soup is thickened. Serve with sour cream and/or shredded cheese. Serves 8.

It was another night of “OH this is good!” upon taking the first bite, so I’d say this recipe was a success! At only 4 Points® a bowl, its quite a healthy choice! And Heidi, don’t worry, there’s plenty left for lunch tomorrow!

Since my friend Holly is always hassling me about not eating enough vegetables (I eat plenty, just not enough green leafies), I made some roasted brussels sprouts as an after-dinner side. I’m so glad I have a ton of sprouts left because I LOVE roasted brussels sprouts!

Roasty Sprouty Goodness!

Roasty Sprouty Goodness!

One of my other Weight Watcher buddies has a FANTASTIC blog called “Hey, What’s For Dinner Mom?” and I think you should all check it out. She has great recipes and a fun writing style you’ll all love.

Enjoy your evening!

Vegan Chili with Bulgur

Vegetarian week continues successfully with a brand new, created from scratch recipe!! I figured that INAUGURATION DAY was a great time to try a new thing!I’ve wanted chili for the longest time, and with vegetarian week came a challenge: create a delicious chili with no meat but still lots of flavor and texture.

I did it! After some research of other meatless chilis on various recipe sites, I came to a few conclusions:

  1. I am not (and probably never will be) brave enough to try TVP. It just kinda scares me.
  2. I don’t like using Boca crumbles in things that have to cook a long time since they get weird and tough.
  3. Wheatberries take altogether too much time to cook.
  4. Many meatless chilis use nothing to keep the “meat” texture in there, but since I thought it was important to keep it as close to my normal chili as possible!
  5. Adam said that if we were going to have vegetarian chili, it had better have a TON of beans in it.

I almost always go to the Mexican food aisle to get my beans, and when I was picking up the 8 (yes, 8, you read that right) cans of beans for this chili, something caught my eye. It was small. It had a blue label. Real chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I had to have them. They had to go into my chili.

Then I went on to the natural food aisle to pick up the organic small-cut bulgur wheat that I like, and ended up picking up some Odwalla bars, which I’m now obsessed with!!

Ok, I’ll stop rambling and get to the eats! Just a quick note too, I’m physically incapable of making a small pot of chili. This recipe makes approximately 6 quarts of chili, so feel free to halve the recipe!

Check out that grainy goodness!

Check out that grainy goodness!

Vegan Chili with Bulgur


1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cups bulgur wheat

4 cups water

2 large (32 oz) cans of crushed tomatoes

2 cans pinto beans, drained

2 cans dark red kidney beans, drained

2 cans light red kidney beans, drained

2 cans great northern beans, drained

3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped

2 Tbsp. reserved adobo sauce from pepper can

2 Tbsp. chili powder

2 tsp. Sriracha or other hot pepper sauce


In a LARGE pot, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook until transluscent, and the garlic is browned. Add the tomatoes, drained beans, bulgur and water. Stir well. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat to medium-low, and simmer until bulgur is done, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I did muck with the vegan integrity of this meal by putting sour cream on top…but what’s chili without sour cream?? I have to say, this was, quite possibly, the best pot of chili I’ve ever made! Ok, that wasn’t exactly modest. Whatever! It was awesome! The chipotle peppers gave it a nice smoky flavor, and the hot sauce gave it a nice kick. Since the bulgur gave it the texture and bulk that ground beef does without the calories, one of the BEST parts of this recipe is the nutrition facts. Are you ready for this? Seriously…are you sitting down? Each 2-cup serving (the recipe makes 12) has only 240 calories, 1 gram of fat and… 15 grams of fiber!!! One serving was enough for dinner!

I’ll stop rambling now… but just a reminder! My guest post on Love of Oats is tomorrow! Make sure you read and let me know what you think!

Taco-Flavored Kisses

Can you name the T.V. show this title comes from??

So today was an incredibly big day… we bought my wedding dress!!! I tried on 12 dresses, and the one we got was the 2nd one I put on. I’m totally in love with it, it’s beyond perfect! I’d post pictures, but Adam reads this blog, so we don’t want him seeing it!

Dinner was something I’d been craving for a while: taco salads!! There’s really no recipe, but here’s a picture (of which I’m quite proud, by the way) and a list of what the salad included:

WAY better than Taco Bell!

WAY better than Taco Bell!

Taco Salad

  • mixed lettuces
  • fat-free refried beans
  • 2 chopped roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 chopped avocado
  • super-lean (93%) ground beef with taco seasoning
  • low-fat Mexican style cheese (cheddar, jack, and american, I think)
  • fat free sour cream
  • good salsa

I’m really pleased with how the salads came out! This one bowl was extremely satisfying, got in about 3 veggie servings, and kept me within my Weight Watchers Points® for the day. I may treat myself to a few Andes mints for dessert… or Adam and I might go out for a treat. I could go for some frozen yogurt!

Bean Burrito Casserole

Well, there are only 4 more school days left before my glorious 10-day winter break! I’m beyond excited to sleep in, relax, spend time with family… and cook of course! When I have free time during the day, I’m able to make things that are significantly more involved than my normal everyday dinners. I don’t know what I’ll try yet, but I’m sure potato latkes will be on the menu at least once!

Since last week was unofficial “Italian” week in our house, I decided to shake things up a bit and make something Mexican-inspired. This recipe was one of the first few things I made when I started Weight Watchers and I haven’t made it in quite some time. Something sounded so delicious about it tonight, so I went out and got all the supplies! You get to see a lovely picture of the whole casserole minus one piece, as my one piece was certainly not appetizing to look at! I assure you it tastes fantastic though! This is very easily made with soy crumbles or TVP and soy or rice cheese.

There's nothing quite like rice and cheese!

There's nothing quite like rice and cheese!

Bean Burrito Casserole
8 Servings

1 lb meatless soy crumbles or lean ground beef
1/8 cup reduced-sodium taco seasoning (1/2 packet)
3/4 cup water
1 can (15 oz) yellow corn, no salt added, drained
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies (mild)
1 can (15 oz) fat free canned refried beans
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 cups fat free shredded Cheddar cheese
4 cups cooked brown rice
1 medium onion, diced


Dice onion and sauté in large skillet with soy crumbles. Add water and 1/2 packet of taco seasoning. Simmer until sauce thickens. Add canned veggies, tomato paste and beans. Spray a casserole dish and fill with veggie/bean/soy mixture. Top with 1 cup of shredded no fat cheddar cheese. Cover with cooked brown rice. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Bake covered at 350 until heated through, 20 min. Remove cover and continue baking until cheese is melted, 5 min. (Recipe from WW message boards)

On the Weight Watchers note, I’d like to direct you all to my friend Julie’s post over at Flip This Body that details some wonderful Weight Watchers fun tools and finds. Thanks Julie!

Thank you all for the encouraging words on my weight loss story post the other day… It was a little difficult to get all that out and post for so many strangers to see, but I’m really glad I did it.

Surprisingly Great Enchiladas

I’ve had a major Mexican food craving over the last few weeks, and finally decided to make something that scratched that itch. I also wanted to use the BSI (Blogger Secret Ingredient), and I was then in a pickle. Do I use the BSI or make Mexican food?

I searched a bit, and found a fantastic recipe on for:

Pumpkin Chicken Enchiladas!

I was skeptical. Pumpkin? In an enchilada? Pumpkin belongs in a pie or in oatmeal. That’s it. But I decided to be adventurous and try this recipe. It was simple enough, and since we already had chicken in the house, it was VERY inexpensive. I bought handmade tortillas, and they didn’t hold up to baking very well, so the following picture is NOT representative of taste.

Not your average enchilada...

Not your average enchilada...


8 corn tortillas

leftover chicken, shredded (maybe a pound)

roasted green chiles, chopped small

6 oz. of reduced-fat cheddar cheese


1 can of pumpkin puree (15 oz)

3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 jalapeno (remove seeds and membranes if you don’t need extra heat)

1 teaspoon chile powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoons of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1 1/2 cups of chicken stock or water


Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a blender, puree pumpkin, jalapeno, chicken stock, garlic, chile powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Place 1 cup of this sauce in the bottom of an 8 inch glass casserole dish. In a bowl, combine shredded chicken with green chiles, cilantro, and/or scallions and season with salt and pepper. Place some of the chicken mixture on each tortilla and then lay the tortilla seam side down in the casserole dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas. Top with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly.

WOW is all I can say. This did not taste at all like pumpkin, and rather tasted like a super rich enchilada sauce without the actual richness! I will make these again, and even Adam finished eating them after I told him the sauce had pumpkin. That’s a real seal of approval!