Gluten Free Tamale Pie


This seems like a lot of work, but it’s worth it! I used this recipe years ago and I haven’t made tamale pie since. Why not? I don’t know. I love it! I think we just got in a food rut and I forgot.

This time I’ve adapted this to gluten free from “Authentic Mexican Tamale Pie”  By Galley Wench on I didn’t change the recipe much. I omitted beer (though there are now GF options!) and searched high and low for all other ingredients to be GF.  I’ll let you know how the GF version tastes, I’m making it tomorrow with some other AWESOME gluten free framily! (No, I’m not on Sprint, but these people are too awesome to just be friends! So I stole it! :p )

It starts as a spicy Mexican chili you can serve with corn tortillas or use for the tamale filling.

Chili Filling Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef, lean
  • 1/2 lb lean pork sausage
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
  • 1 large fresh poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves (pressed)
  • *1 chipotle chile, in adobo seasoning, seeded & diced (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon ground ancho chili (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa (I use Hershey’s Dark cocoa)
  • 12 ounces beer, dark (or broth, as needed)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 1 lime, juiced

*I went with San Marcos brand chipotle peppers. The label is chipotle peppers, tomato puree, onions, vinegar, canola oil, sugar, salts, paprika, and garlic. Sounds safe?

 Tamale Dough Ingredients

  • 8 -10 dried corn husks (optional)
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 cup canned low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 3/4 cups packed coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Cilantro Cream (Just process ¼-1/2 cup cilantro, 1cup sour cream, and the juice of one lime.)
  • sour cream
  • cilantro
  • simple side salad

Chili Filling Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot brown ground beef, sausage, onion and garlic, breaking meat into small pieces. Drain of excess grease.
  3. Add poblano pepper and cook for about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, 1 cup beer/broth and one can of black beans.
  5. Add ground cumin, chili powders, chipoltes, adobe sauce, oregano, and cocoa.
  6. Bring to a boil, cover and turn down to a simmer and cook for 35 – 45 minutes, adding more beer/broth as needed (keep in mind that the mashed black beans will be added as a thickener).
  7. Drain the remaining can of beans and lightly mash.
  8. To thicken, add the crushed black beans and adjust spices and liquid as needed.

NOTE: YOU CAN PRE-COOK THIS TO THIS POINT! STOP AND CHILL!! Just start at step 9 tomorrow or the next day when you are ready!

  1. Bring to a simmer again for 5 minutes.
  2. Squeeze in juice of one lime before serving as mexican chili or using as chili filling.

 Tamale Dough Directions

  1. If using corn husk, place in zip lock bag with warm water and soak until soft, at least2 hours.
  2. Char chilies directly over gas flame or under broiler until blackened on all sides. Place in medium bowls, cover tightly with plastic. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel, seed and chop chilies, set aside.
  3. In food processor, blend Masa Harina, butter, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt until coarse meal forms.
  4. Add broth slowly blend until mixture is crumbly.
  5. Transfer masa mixture to large bowl.
  6. In food processor blend 2 1/2 cups corn, 1 cup cheese, baking powder, black pepper and 1 1/4 teaspoon salt until coarse puree forms.
  7. Stir puree and the rest of the corn into masa mixture until blended.


  1. If using corn husk; Remove from water, pat dry and line 9 x 11 shallow dish, overlapping to avoid leakage.
  2. Spray corn husk or baking dish (if not using husk).
  3. Spread half of cornmeal mixture on the husk or bottom of the dish.
  4. Spread warm chili on top of the cornmeal.
  5. Sprinkle green chilies on top of the chili.
  6. Evenly spread the remaining cornmeal mixture on top.
  7. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  8. Loosely cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove foil and return to oven and bake additional 25 minutes or until the cornmeal is firm and the chili bubbly.
  10. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
  11. Serve with garnishes.

Miserly Meal #2 Chicken Florentine

Another Miserly Meal from Jonni McCoy’s book!

As usual I traded in the tuna for canned chicken because of a family allergy but many canned meats trade out that way. For a tasty splurge you can try crab, canned salmon, or any other favorite canned flaky meat you prefer. You can also forgo the baking and just let the heat of the pasta melt the cheese for a warm rather than baked dish.

Chicken Florentine

Serves 6 at about 87¢ per serving
Use canned tuna (the original recipe) and save 20¢ per serving!


  1. 8 oz egg noodles
  2. 16 oz frozen spinach, thawed & drained
  3. 6 oz canned chicken, drained
  4. 2 cups grated cheese (called for cheddar, I used colby jack) plus,
  5. handful of cheese or Parmesan for the top.
  6. 1 t onion powder
  7. 1 t garlic powder
  8. 1/2 t pepper
  9. 1/4 t celery seed
  10. 1/4 t salt


  1. Boil the noodles according to the package and drain.
  2. Add the remainder of the ingredients to the noodles and mix well.
  3. Pour contents into an ungreased 9×13 pan.
  4. Top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese or Parmesan
  5. If you do not want edges to crisp cover with foil.
  6. Bake at 325° for 10-15 minutes until the cheese melts and center is warm.


Miserly Meals #1 Broccoli Beef

I found a book at the library titled “Miserly Meals” by Jonni McCoy. Published in 2002 the meal prices aren’t really that far pff from what she spent when writing the book. Out of 12 meals for this weeks menu, 8 are featured in her book. I hope to have fun with this, they ALL look tasty!

Mostly I have found that the savings come in with pantry items. When writing my shopping list I found that most of the recipes I wrote down main ingredients (meats) and things I run out of because we eat it so much (cheese, onions, etc) the rest were things I keep in my pantry (rice, spices, flour, etc). This is the easiest and best way to stretch your food dollar. CREATE MEALS FROM WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE ON HAND.

Occasionally I splurged (my favorite mai fun noodles instead of rice for the broccoli beef, fresh pork for the orange curry rather than leftovers, etc) but it was still a great shopping trip. About $100 for 12 dinners, kid snacks, lunch stuffs, and critter veggies…hey the guinea pigs need yummies too!

So here is the first recipe I’ll be making with/from/by Jonni…

Broccoli Beef with Maifun Noodles

Caught some thin cut eye of round on sale for $3.61 for a little over a pound… the recipe calls for only 1/2 lb!

Mai fun noodles are Japanese rice noodles. They are easily found in most stores today.. I shop at Wal-Mart! Mine were about $1.15… Just check the Asian foods aisle. I find these fun and a way to have my rice and pasta too!

Cost per serving: about 60¢ with mai fun or 45¢ with rice from the pantry. Since I got a good deal on the beef, I’m doubling the dish (not noodles) to freeze for a quick meal later. The basic 4 serving recipe follows.

Broccoli Beef

Ingredients (and my helper!):

  • 1/4 c low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T. peanut butter (whatever is your fav)
  • 1/4 t. tabasco
  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 2 tsp vinegar (I’m using rice wine vinegar from my pantry)
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1/8 t. powdered ginger (it’s strong so use carefully)
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. onion powder OR 1 c. thin-sliced onion
  • tiny pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 T oil
  • 1/2 lb beef diced, cubed, or sliced thin
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • One package Mai fun noodles or 2 cups COOKED rice


  1. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, peanut butter, tabasco, water, cornstarch, vinegar, pepper, ginger, garlic, powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper (if using either).
  2. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Prepare mai fun according to package directions before beginning stirfry.
  4. In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium high heat.
  5. Add the beef (and onion if using fresh) and cook stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the broccoli and stir for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Scrape all ingredients to the edge of the skillet or wok.
  8. Add the sauce and stir as it thickens.
  9. Stir all together to warm through.
  10. Once thickened remove from heat.
  11. Serve immediately over Mai fun or rice.