Monday, October 1, 2012

Anita's Gluten Free Tamale Pie

When my husband Stanton was growing up, he spent a lot of time with his grandparents, Stan + Anita. They were, in a sense, like parents to him + his sister. Whenever he talks about his grandmother, Anita, he usually references her amazing cooking + the way his Grandfather always doted on her.

He recalls fun times they spent together over their summer vacations, his special relationship with them both, and how it shaped him into the man he is now.

Anita, at age 93, is still as sharp as a knife + I swear to you all, she has more energy than I do! When we see her for visits from Las Vegas, she's usually found in front of Chloe dancing + singing.
(I learned quickly who Stanton got that from!)

She's spunky + I love it! And Gram just adores our Little C + loves her with all her heart. 

Every time I'm around her I just think to myself -- Anita is the kind of Gram we ALL wish we had growing up. I know I certainly do.

And even though Gram makes a lot of fantastic dishes -- there is one that Stanton is always asking for. Funny enough, it's also the first dish he taught ME how to make (aside from Gram's Cheddar Olive Bread) + one so I'm happy to share with all of you today.

It's called, "Tamale Pie".

The best way to describe it?
It's like a mexican lasagna that's ridiculously delicious!

The Recipe That Keeps Going...
As time passed, Stanton's mom began making Tamale Pie, then his sister, then Stanton + now...well, me! :) It's been passed down for a good reason -- I'll say that much! And it's our "go to" dish on nights when I don't feel like cooking (sort of like our Gluten Free Nachos) or frankly, when we're just craving it...because it's that good!

Over time, I've put my own little twist on it + made a few swaps here and there to convert it into a Gluten Free friendly dish. (mostly because of the taco seasoning)

I usually pair this recipe with Jon's Should-Be-Famous Mexican Rice, which I shared last week. That rice is good with or without this. It's just good with everything. :)

This is a recipe near + dear to us and we sure hope you enjoy it!

So, without further ado...let's get cookin'!


Prep Time...
To make the Tamale Pie, start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.

Next, finely dice 1/2 onion + drain your can of Kidney beans.

You'll also need about 2 cups of cheese for this recipe. I shred my own cheese at this point in the prepping -- and I tend to use whatever I've got in my fridge. Use any kind of cheese you'd like.

Cooking Time...
Now that your prep is done -- it's time to get cookin'!

In a medium sauce pan, cook up 1 pound of ground beef (you can use ground turkey too, if you wish).

Once that's complete -- drain the fat.

A Little Tip...
I drain the fat by tipping the pan + placing a handful of paper towels where all the fat drains to. Using my spoon, I then soak up all the fat with the paper towels.

It beats hanging it over a sink any day!

Now that the fat has been drained -- it's time to add the diced onions. Cook them for about another 3-4 minutes or until they become tender.

Flavor Time...
Have I told you how much I like Mrs. Dash? It comes in all sorts of flavors + it makes my life so much easier when I want to add flavor to different dishes.

For this dish, I used the Fiesta Lime flavored Mrs. Dash. This basically would replace any "taco seasoning" packet that you used to buy prior to being Gluten Free. This Mrs. Dash is the same thing with the same great taste!

Add in about 1/2 of the entire bottle of the Mrs. Dash. I know, it seems like a lot...but it's not. You need a lot of flavor -- just like you would if you were making tacos.

You'll also add in about 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons of salt at this time. You may want to start small + just see how much salt you prefer. I tend to like things pretty salty. Taste it before you continue!

Now, add about 1/4 cup of water (just like when you'd use those other evil gluten taco seasoning packets I referred to earlier.) + bring it to a boil. Stiring frequently.

Once everything is incorporated, you can add in the kidney beans.

I also add in the 1/2 cup of salsa at this time. I use whatever I've got in my fridge, which is of course, is Gluten Free.

Once added -- mix throughly + you're all set!

Assembly Time...
Line the bottom of an 8 x 11 cooking dish with 8 tortillas (4 in a row) like so:

Add in your cooked meat medley + top with half of the cheese.

Top the dish with another 8 tortillas + the rest of the cheese on top.

A Little Tip...
In the picture shown above -- the recipe has been doubled (hence why you see a second layer of tortillas in the middle). I did this: (1) because I like this recipe so much and (2) It's nice to have leftovers the next day. You can always do the same if you think my reasons are pretty ingenious. ;)

Baking Time...
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Slice up like you would a lasagna + serve!

Happy GF Eating + Happy Family Recipe Sharing! 
I hope you all have a fantastic week ahead!
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