What do you do when you have a few bags of homemade tamales lurking around the freezer and your grand-daughters 1st birthday party is a “Fiesta” theme?
You create an Easy Tamale Casserole! Beef , Chicken, or Pork Tamales smothered in a scrumptious easy homemade enchilada sauce, cheese, fresh chopped cilantro and green onion. Topped off with a hearty sprinkle of Cotija cheese!
Yep, our little “Rae” of sunshine turned one this month! (I swear I blinked and this happened! Also…you had to know I was going to post a cute picture of her right?!!! It’s in the Grandma by-laws.)
(Photo Credit:Katie Warby)
Back to our regular scheduled program…
I was asked to bring the salsa and to make the taquito’s. I’m a typical Mom. I felt like I needed to do more. I thought about what I had on hand and came up with this delicious new casserole! I’m so excited to share this dish with y’all!
This casserole starts by whipping up a quick batch of this wonderful enchilada sauce! You are going to be shocked how easy this sauce is to make. I always thought it was a big major process until my friend Gail showed me the light! I give her all the credit for this delicious sauce!
In a large skillet mix together 4 Tablespoons of vegetable oil, 4 Tablespoons of flour, and 3 Tablespoons of your favorite chili powder. (Everyone has a favorite right? lol)
Continue whisking over medium heat until slightly thick. I love the beautiful deep rich color of this sauce!
Add four cups of beef broth. You can use chicken broth…I just happen to love the depth of flavor from the beef broth. Use what ya have on hand. Either will be wonderful.
Add the spices and stir until well combined. The oregano likes to be stubborn and do the back stroke on top of the sauce….don’t you worry about that. As the sauce thickens…they’ll sink like the Titanic!(Que the theme music! If you look close you can see Leonardo hanging on to a leaf for dear life!)
Add one 6 oz. can of tomato sauce. Whisk away my friends.
Continue stirring over low heat until sauce thickens. Allow to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to allow spices to incorporate and give depth to the sauce.
Set sauce aside.
If you don’t have bags of homemade tamales lurking in your freezer…that’s okay! You can use Tamales from the grocery store. If you’re lucky…you may even have a local lady that makes homemade tamales. It’s completely up to you what type of tamales you use.
Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Remove the Corn Husk! This is really important…unless you have teeth like a T-Rex!
Lay the tamales across the pan, filling the pan. Don’t worry about how pretty it looks. It’s gonna get covered up…so what we can’t be see we don’t worry about. (That’s why MuMu’s and Tunic tops were created! Can I get an “Amen”!… I suddenly want a Dole Whip and to hang out at the Tiki Shack at Disneyland!)
Time to smother these Tamales!
Cover them liberally with that amazing enchilada sauce. One of the great things about this recipe…the Corn Masa soaks up all that luscious enchilada sauce like my winter dry hands do when lotion skims their surface!
Now if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making this incredible enchilada sauce…I won’t hold it against you. You can use canned sauce.
Let’s keep smothering this dish! Load it up with grated cheese!
Sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro and green onions!
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place casserole in oven on center of middle rack. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until cheese melts and the sauce is bubbling!
You can skip this next step…but I HIGHLY recommend it. Crumble up 1/4 cup of Cotija cheese and sprinkle all over the top of the casserole.
Cotija Cheese is Named after the town of Cotija, Michoacán where it originated, Cotija cheese has a strong, salty flavor and is mostly used as a topping or mixed into sauces.
I absolutely love the flavor of this cheese. It adds an extra punch of flavor to this dish!
When you serve this dish…don’t worry about keeping the Tamales intact! That’s why I made a casserole…it serves easily by the spoonful!
I almost made myself sick on this casserole. (Almost…but I’m no quiter!)
Look at all the ingredients melding together on that fork! That my friends…is South of the Border happiness! Ya wanna know what else? This dish just gets better the next day! Sigh! (I’m hangry now!)
Such a quick simple dish. If you love tamales you’ll love this recipe. Remember you can use substitutions for the tamales. Beef, Chicken, or Pork. Store bought or homemade. You can use canned enchilada sauce or my homemade recipe.
Customize this to fit into your schedule and likes! If you love tamales…you’ll love this recipe!
I should warn you…once you start eating this delicious meal…you’re gonna need that MuMu!
Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you love this dish…you may also enjoy my recipe for Easy Ground Beef Enchiladas.
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