There are certain foods associated with the Christmas season. Eggnog, fruit cake, gingerbread, and plum pudding are all iconic foods that we find during the holidays. Since I grew up all over the United States, I have been exposed to a variety of Christmas traditional foods. Each family has their own Christmas food traditions. A few years ago, my mom shared a story from when she was working in a Los Angeles Kroger warehouse at Christmas during the late 70s making fruit baskets. She and another coworker became friends and that coworker, Suzi, gave her some homemade tamales. Suzi told her that her family got together and made tamales only at Christmas. Because they are labor intensive, they were made only for holidays and special occasions. Making tamales during the Christmas holidays is a tradition for many Mexican, Mexican-Texan, and Mexican American families that has been passed down for decades. My mom realized that this was a very special gift and thoroughly enjoyed those tamales and they were one of her favorite Christmas memories years later. After hearing this I found a tamale casserole recipe. Since I grew up mostly in the Midwest, casseroles are my love language. Mom and I shared this casserole on Christmas eve for several years. Feliz Navidad!
2 lb. 90% lean ground beef
1 packet (28g) “McCormick” reduced sodium taco seasoning
¼ cup water
1 8.5-oz box “Jiffy” corn muffin mix
1 14-oz can cream style corn
1 4-oz can diced green chiles (drained)
½ cup liquid egg whites
1 10-oz can “Old El Paso” mild red enchilada sauce
¾ cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish well with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl mix the corn muffin mix, creamed corn, drained chiles, and egg whites together with a fork or whisk. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, cook the ground beef and taco seasoning in a medium skillet over medium heat until browned. Remove from the heat.
When the cornbread has cooled slightly, use a fork to poke holes in the top. Pour ½ can of enchilada sauce over the cornbread.
Top with the ground beef. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the beef. Top with the shredded cheese.
Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
This casserole freezes well. Cook the cornbread base and meat and assemble as directed through the second-to-last step. Cover well and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking as instructed.
You can also substitute shredded cooked chicken or shredded cooked pork for the ground beef. Prep and bake exactly as directed.
Serve with avocado, sour cream, lettuce and tomato, refried beans, or Mexican rice.