I wanted a tamale bake, but it was too hot to turn on the oven. So, I adapted my recipe to the slow cooker with great results. In fact, I think the slow cooker version may be even better than the oven baked casserole. It's certainly easy! The slow cooked Tamale Casserole is one of those "fix and forget" dinners that will enable you to go off and do other things while the casserole attends to itself--perfect if you're working from home or just don't want to keep too close an eye on dinner. The casserole includes meat, vegetables, and starches, so all you really need to round out the dinner is a salad. Yes, this recipe uses some convenience products and, yes, it tastes great! Your kids are likely to love it, and you will too!
Slow Cooker Tamale Casserole -- Serves 6+
1 can (14-15 ounces) of cream-style corn
1/4 cup of diced green chiles (from a can--hot or mild, you choose)
1 teaspoon of dried cumin
1 teaspoon of dried cilantro (or use 1 tablespoon of fresh or just leave it out)
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup of cheddar or Colby-Jack cheese
1 8.5-ounce box of corn muffin mix (I use a Jiffy mix)
2 cups of salsa (hot or mild)
1 14-15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of dried cilantro (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1 teaspoon of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
2-3 cups of chopped, cooked chicken (or use cooked, crumbled ground beef or even
cooked/canned black or pinto beans, if you like)
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar or Colby-Jack cheese, divided
Toppings of your choice -- fresh cilantro, green onions, tomatoes, avocados, etc..
Coat the insert of a slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray and turn the heat on to high. In a large bowl, combine the corn, egg, chiles, cumin, cilantro, milk, 1/2 cup of cheese, and the muffin mix. Stir everything well and pour the mixture into the slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker and let the mixture cook for 45-60 minutes until barely set. Then turn the heat down to low. In a large bowl, combine the salsa, tomatoes, cumin, cilantro, chili powder, and garlic powder and mix until everything is well combined. With a fork, poke holes in the cornbread base of the casserole every inch or two. Then pour the topping evenly over the base. Sprinkle on half of the cheese and cover the slow cooker again. Let the casserole cook on low for 3-5 hours or until bubbly and set. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese, cover the slow cooker until the cheese melts, and then sprinkle on the toppings you like.