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Jan 25
142

Chicken Tamale Bake

Chicken Tamale Bake

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” It turns out that not all my Facebook fans would agree with Juliet! I was hesitant as to whether to title this dish a “casserole” because I’ve heard a lot of people shun that entire category of recipes. This confused me, because to me a casserole is just any combination of ingredients layered or mixed together and baked in a 9×13 baking dish. I decided to pose the question to my core group of readers on Facebook and though the majority were casserole lovers, several people mentioned that the word has a negative connotation either to them or someone in their immediate family. Something to do with cream of (chicken/mushroom/etc) soups, it seems. Since you won’t find any of those in this recipe, I decided to call it a bake so that all you casserole haters out there will try it! A special shout out goes out to all you Minnesota readers who suggested I call is a “hotdish” – I’ve never heard people call casseroles that before!

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Let me get this out of the way by saying I’ve never had a traditional tamale, so I have no idea if this recipe mimics authentic Latin American tamale flavors. What I do know is that it’s delicious, and that’s all that really matters, right? I absolutely loved the combination of the slightly sweet corn cake and a little bit of heat from the chiles, cayenne pepper and enchilada sauce. I know a lot of you are Bubble Up Enchilada fans, but I personally liked this dish even better and it’s just as easy to make. I think it had something to do with the corn cake smothered in enchilada sauce and covered with chicken and cheese. Yum.

Whether bake, casserole or hotdish, however you’d like to refer to this recipe, I know it will not disappoint. You may even want to call it a casserole. Try it. It may just change your mind about them!

Cornbread layer
It’s this easy! (see full directions below) Stir together the first 8 ingredients (minus some cheese) and pour into dish. Bake. Poke holes.
Chicken Tamale Bake Ingredients
 Spread the ingredients above on top of the corn cake.

Chicken Tamale Bake Pre-Baked

Bake again and eat!

Print

Chicken Tamale Bake

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese blend, divided (I used Weight Watchers brand)
1/3 cup skim milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 (14.75 oz) can of cream-style corn
1 (8.5 oz) box of corn muffin mix
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles, drained
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce
2 cups cooked shredded chicken breast

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly mist a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together ¼ cup of the Mexican cheese, the milk, egg, cumin, pepper, corn, muffin mix and green chiles in a bowl until combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes until the layer is set (an inserted toothpick should come out clean).
  3. Using a fork, liberally poke holes all over the surface of the corn cake layer. Pour the enchilada sauce over the top and spread across the surface of the corn cake. Sprinkle the shredded chicken evenly across the top and follow with the remaining ¾ cup shredded cheese. Return the dish to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before cutting into servings.

Weight Watchers Freestyle SmartPoints:
8 per serving (SP calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com), a serving was 9 SP on the previous program

Weight Watchers Points Plus:
7 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)

Nutrition Information:
254 calories, 29 g carbs, 8 g sugars, 8 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 17 g protein, 1 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)

very slightly adapted from Cooking Light

Chicken Tamale Bake

142 comments on “Chicken Tamale Bake”

  1. I seriously can’t wait to try this!!!

  2. I’m making this tomorrow. How did you do the chicken? There’s no oil in the recipe and I don’t want to add any extra points so I’m wondering how you prepared yours. Thanks!

  3. OMG I must try this soon!!! Looks amazing!!!

  4. Oh, I am SOOOOO making this this weekend! I think I have nearly all the ingredients! Thank you!

    And I think I like casseroles…at least I think I look. *LOL* But I understand the prejudice. I think casserole equals butter+sourcream+cheese+soupcan which equals FAT and LOTS OF CALORIES. 🙂

    This looks awesome and delicious, and I have eaten tamales (though not homemade tamales). 🙂

    • Awesome, let me know what you think! It’s so weird, I guess I just never grew up thinking of casseroles that way! I don’t think my mom made the kind everyone else pictures.

  5. OH migoodness! Saw this (I think via another recipe post on Pinterest) this morning, decided I would make it for dinner tonight – it just came out of the oven and IT. IS. DELICIOUS! I used fullfat cheese, mainly because it’s what we had – and @WendyG: for anything that requires shredded chicken I keep a bag of flash-frozen chicken in the freezer – pop however many pieces in the oven (no need to thaw) and in 20-25 minutes you have cooked chicken, no added fat.

    I loved it with the chicken but I supposed you could use shredded pork for a more “authentic” tamale flavor. Just dunno what that’d do for the WW points. Anyway! Thanks Emily – great recipe, and super happy to have found your blog – several more I think I wanna try 🙂

    • I am so happy you loved it!! Great tip for cooking the chicken, if Wendy or anyone else catches that. I’m happy you found my blog too, let me know what you try next!

  6. Made this tonight and love love loved it! I thought the bubble up enchiladas was your best recipes, but this wins.

    I used a green enchilada sauce and it really had a great kick to it! I will try it with the red enchilada sauce next time!

    Thank you so much. I’ve been making your recipes 3-4 nights a week!

  7. I had to read this post to my sixteen year old son. When I got to the part about you never hearing a casserole called a hotdish before his eyes about bugged out of his head. lol Yes, we’re from Minnesota!

    • Haha! It was so funny when I posted on Facebook because two people recommended “hotdish” and they were both from Minnesota. It must be confined to your state! I like it though, maybe I’ll have to call my next casserole a hotdish. 🙂

  8. i made this last night. we LOVED it. so good. I used chicken short cuts because I had them and we didn’t want them to go bad. SO GOOD.

    Also – i’ve never heard of ‘hot dish’ either.

  9. Ummm…all you have to say is “casserole” and I will automatically be sucked in.

    One pot meal that I can leave in the oven while doing other things? Sold!

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  10. I added some of the enchilada sauce to the shredded chicken. Sounds yummy.

  11. So excited to try this next week! I’m a sucker for anything with cornbread 😉

  12. Okay, I made it last night and it was DELICIOUS! It’s like having a layer of corn casserole with chicken-sauce-cheese on top. YUM! So yummy.

    I “slightly adapted” it by adding another 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder to the cornbread to give it even more kick. It didn’t harm it. 🙂

    And even if it’s “slightly adapted” from Cooking Light, I’m so glad you posted it. I never get too far in the Cooking Light website–it’s great to have the WW conversions to show me that I can have it. A lot of the Cooking Light recipes don’t feel that light. 🙂 Plus your introductions that tell how hard it was…or how well it was liked by your family…that’s irreplaceable!

    This is my favorite recipe of the new year. Great job!

  13. Thank you! I really appreciate this comment. Sometimes I make up my own recipes, sometimes I heavily adapt them from other sites and sometimes I only change one or two things, but I try to do a good job of always crediting my sources appropriately. 🙂

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! I think if I make it again I’ll try out your ‘slight adaptation’ as well :).

  14. Thanks for an awesome recipe! I made it tonight and the hubs and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Your blog has made me realize that I can enjoy lighter versions of great food keep up the great work 🙂

  15. According to my husband, “the best recipe I have made so far.” And….also one of the easiest. This will be going in my monthly rotation for sure!

    Thanks for sharing!

  16. Made this last night for dinner. Substituted med. green enchilada sauce for the red and frozen corn for the cream style corn. It was fantastic! Will definately be making again. I was thinking you could also make this into an appetizer using mini muffin tins. Could also swap out the enchilada sauce for buffalo sauce to appeal to other tastes!

  17. I just started reading ur blog of recipes ..and can’t wait to try them ! I will def try this one this week. I am mexican and we have had make/eaten tamales and are they work to make. This looks simple and healthy 🙂

  18. Yummy! Made this for dinner last night, and then took the leftovers to work for lunch. I used a bigger can of enchilada sauce than called for… oops! But it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. Just a little extra juicy!

  19. Ingredients bought, and I may make this tomorrow!
    I like that most of it can be stored in the pantry, and be ready when I am, in case I don’t get to it tomorrow.
    I have frozen shredded rotisserie chicken ready to be thawed.
    I wonder how it would be with added sauteed mushrooms and/or red pepper to increase the veggies?

  20. I’ve got this in the oven right now! Can’t wait to eat 🙂
    Smells so good!

  21. Made this tonight… as always, delish!!

  22. Made this today & really enjoyed it…The word casserole does not hold any negative connotations for me at all. It actually makes me happy because I assume it’ll be a one point wonder & be less time consuming, this dish fit into that category, will definitely make it again. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  23. I cooked this tonight and it was delicious. I used green enchilada sauce instead since it’s my favorite! I love your recipes, they never disappoint!

  24. I made this tonight. It was great! It was easy, and I don’t even like to cook!
    My sister loved it too! I would make it again!
    I made it as directed, except that instead of using cumin and cayenne, I substituted 1 tsp of Penzey’s Adobo seasoning, which has cumin and cayenne pepper already in it.
    I served it with spring salad greens, mixed with sliced grape tomatoes, sliced pickled okra, and sliced avocado.
    It was a really nice meal!
    Thanks Emily!

  25. Hi there!

    I was wondering what the spicy level is for this? I love all things spicy, but my husband has a sensitive stomach.

    Thanks! 🙂

  26. i discovered it the day you posted it, and it has become one of our go-to recipes in a short period of time! i felt the need to share it with all my friends, it’s SO good. i was making it last night after a late night at work, so i was exhausted and starving. forgot to add the egg, and thought the recipe called for a can of black beans based on my previous recollection (i think i was confusing elements with the bubble up enchilada). realized after i opened the can of beans they were required, so i threw um on anyway. and forgetting the egg, and adding the black beans, didn’t change much, still tasted equally delicious!!! plus according to the recipe builder, it somehow lowered it 1 point, to 6 points a serving. it’s so good, i wish i brought more for leftovers today for lunch! your recipes are all so great, i swear your site is keeping my fiance and i eating healthy and well. thank you!!

    • I’m so glad it’s been such a hit for you! I love black beans, so that sounds delicious to me too! Thanks for all your nice words. I’m happy you and your fiance are enjoying the recipes!

  27. I have this in the oven right now and it smells delicious!!! I can’t wait to try it. Thank you for the recipes your website is a lifsaver!!! 🙂

  28. This is delicious! I made it last night when we had friends over, and we all loved it. I wished there were more leftovers! Will definitely make it again. I mixed about 2/3 cup black beans in with the shredded chicken, because I adore beans. Super yum. 🙂

  29. I made this yesterday and it was very yummy. The base reminds me of my favorite paula deen receipe (corn casserole) that I take to pot lucks. My husband ate two servings and thought it was very good. We have really been enjoying your recipes these last few weeks and I plan on working on some of the pizzas this weekend!

  30. My family loved this!! I used tyson canned chicken breast, 98% fat free, and shredded it with a fork…worked great!

  31. This was absolutely delicious and filling! I had it last night with steamed broccoli and it was an extremely satisfying meal : ) Thank you!

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. I made this again tonight for dinner. I am on weight watchers, and meals like this are so appreciated. I love this recipe!!! 🙂

  34. I made this tonight & we all loved it. My teenage son & I are doing WW together so it’s so great to find a site that has food we actually want to eat! Thank you!!!!

    • Thanks, Tara! I’m glad you and your son both loved this. It’s great that you have a WW buddy – you can keep each other motivated! Let me know what else you try 🙂

  35. Had this for dinner tonight, it’s a keeper! My husband loved it, and never guessed it was WW friendly!

  36. This was soooo good!! Both my fiancé and I just loved this, we are doing WW together and your recipes really help make the journey easy. This recipe is definitely going into the keeper file 🙂

    • Thanks, Stephanie! It’s so great that you two are doing WW together – it must be nice to have a buddy! I’m really glad you are finding my recipes to be helpful. Good luck on your weight loss journey! 🙂

  37. just made this-SO delicious! thanks for all the great recipes!

  38. I made this last night…it is sooo good! My hubby and I loved it! Thanks for all the great recipes…you are making my WW journey so much more delicious! 🙂

  39. This could be the best thing I have made or ate ALL year. Great find for me and my family, thank you for sharing. we loved it.

    Colin
    Kansas City, MO

  40. This is really, really good! I cut it into 8 servings. I ate one of them. I froze the other 7 in individual ziploc freezer bags. Then when I needed something to take to work for lunch, I got one out of the freezer, let it thaw until lunch time, then heated it in the microwave at 50% power for about 3′. It still tasted great, and so, so much better tasting and better for you than icky frozen diet dinners. Now I’ve finished all my freezer portions and need to make another batch!!!

  41. This one is fantastic Emily!!! I too had not had a tamale while I lived in Buffalo, but now that I’m in Los Angeles, tamales are everywhere. Quite frankly, I usually find them a bit bland – but your version is a breath of fresh air. I think its the sweetness in the corn bread mix that makes the big difference for me.
    This also works great the next day for lunches!!

    • So happy you liked this one, Phyllis! I will have to try an authentic tamale sometime and see what they’re like. I like a sweet and savory mix as well. Thanks for the comment!

  42. Emily,
    I was wondering about how many ounces of chicken breast you used to get 2 cups of shredded chicken?

    Thanks!

    Sabrina

  43. Can you tell me what brand of cornbread mix you used?

  44. I have to say …this is AMAZINGLY good! We’re having left-over Chicken Tamale Bake tonight …I can hardly wait! (…jumping UP and down!)

  45. Just made this for dinner tonight. Husband loved it and it will definitely become part of the regular rotation.

    Being a Southern California native, I had to up the Mexican-ness of this dish a bit. I sliced up poblano chilis and spread them on top and swapped out the shredded cheese for queso fresco. I made a suiza sauce instead of the enchilada sauce.

    Next time I might try doing just a masa base instead of corn bread. If it works we may have fixed the world’s most labor-intensive food- the tamale.

  46. Love this recipe…we keep it on our weekly menu and always have enough ingredients in the house for 2 casseroles! I did change it up a bit though…my husband doesn’t care much for chicken. We use lean ground beef instead and it is still amazing!

  47. What a wonderful meal, I make it all the time. My husband loves it and I have told everyone that I know about your site! Keep up the great work. Love that you also include WW points as well. Thank you so much!

  48. I’m in the midst of making this now. Can’t wait! So far everything I’ve made from Emily Bites has been awesome. These healthier versions of recipes allow me to eat how I like to without making my boyfriend feel like I’m forcing my “rabbit food” upon him.

  49. Dang girl! Home run. Made this today for my lunches for the week. I accidentally cut into 6 servings (so they are now 9p+ per), but I still think it’s pretty decent for such a decadent meal. I left out the green chiles because I’m not a fan of peppers. I used the mild ChiChi’s brand enchilada sauce and it still had quite a bit of kick! I really, really like it. 🙂 Thanks!!

  50. 15 minutes left on the oven!! So excited to try this out!

  51. Another AWESOME recipe! I’m pretty much obsessed with your blog! Thank you so much for all of the awesome ww recipes!

  52. Amazing!!!! My hubby loved it!

  53. Amazing!!!! My hubby loved it!

  54. I made this last night and it was SO good! My husband absolutely loved it and he is a picky eater. Because there are 2 of us, I split the recipe into 2 smaller pans and we ate the entire pan! I froze the other pan for a later meal. I topped mine with cheddar and Monterey jack cheese. Fantastic! Thanks for the recipe!

  55. I made this tonight. Scrumptous! We all loved this casserole. A keeper.
    Only thing different I did is—-I thought I had enchilada sauce, but only had green chili sauce. Still turned out yummy!

    matsugirl

  56. This dish is so amazing. I make it early in the week and bring it for lunch because it is so easy and very delicious. My coworkers are now asking for the recipe. Thank You, this is a staple in my house. I currently have the slow cooker buffalo chicken in the crockpot and I plan on making the spinach lasagna rolls later tonight. Keep the great recipes coming! They are fabulous! 🙂

  57. Emily, I just found your site last week and it’s been amazing! I’ve been on Weight Watchers for 8 months now and desperately needed some new recipes to shake it up a little bit. You’re a lifesaver!

    I made this dish last night and it was really good! I’m a Southern California native, so I can confirm it doesn’t taste anything like a tamale.. but who cares! The sweetness of the corn cake was really nice with the enchilada sauce. My family was a big fan and I’ll definitely make it again.

    Thanks again!

  58. This is another winner!
    I have made it twice since finding the recipe and I would make it again tomorrow. Its so easy and so good. We fight over the leftovers and I have yet to win. I am going to double it next time so I know I wont miss out.

  59. Made this for my family and my 4 boys asked why I only made one pan! They were disappointed there were no leftovers for them the next day. Thanks Emily for another great recipe.

  60. I am making this tonight, omitted the cheese in the muffin mix and am going to use 1 cup on the top. Also I am adding black beans, for more fiber

  61. WOW. This was absoultey DELICIOUS!! Definitely one of my faves.

  62. I took this to our potluck at church tonight it was a big hit. Thank you for the recipe.

  63. This was fabulous! We loved it!

  64. I love this its easy to make and taste delicious. I would even make just the corn bread to eat.

  65. I made this a couple nights ago and it was delicious! It was pretty quick and easy to make too! I’m definitely going to make this again!

  66. Made this last night but I overcooked the chicken and used cannellini beans and a can of turkey chili (no beans) as a substitute. Desperate times call for desperate measures!!! It was a HUGE hit!!!! So for vegetarians, it would be great w black beans! Maybe even ff refried? Perfect recipe, loved it!!!! Thank you!!!

  67. Made this last night for supper after working all day. It was supper easy and YUMMY! My sister ate with us and normally doesn’t like healthy meals, but she loved it. My husband also loved it, he said we definitely have to keep this on the menu and he isn’t a huge chicken fan. It is also very filling! Thanks for sharing your recipes!

  68. One of the best recipes I’ve ever made! This comes together super quick. I made this for a friend and her family after she had surgery and her husband commented “it’s like crack, it’s so addicting”. I’ve made this for adults, kids, potlucks, etc and I’ve never had anyone not love it and ask for the recipe.

  69. I made this for our supper tonight. Actually this is the second time I have made this and there are no leftovers! We are not big fans of chicken, so this casserole makes it easy for us to eat chicken. Thanks Emily!

  70. We had this tonight and it was soooooo good. Thank goodness there are leftovers for me AND non WW hubby to take some to work tomorrow. The portion size is huge, and the dish is savory and satisfying. I used the breast from a Costco rotisserie chicken and everything else was exactly the same as the recipe. Like the contributor before me, I do not like chicken at all, so to find a chicken recipe that is so yummy I want to go back for seconds… Well it’s a keeper. That sweet corn cake base is awesome enough by itself (as dessert maybe with a Yonanas ice cream or fresh strawberries on top). And it couldn’t be easier to throw together. I will make this again and again thanks Em!

  71. Sorry, this may totally be user error, but I can’t find the place where it says how many servings. Am I crazy? Sorry!! 🙂

    • The number of servings is right underneath the recipe title in the recipe section of the post 🙂

  72. Me again – I found it! I don’t know if it’s my settings or something, but with the new layout, the coloring is off and it doesn’t show the servings unless I double click on it and it bolds the letters. Sorry for the fire drill! 🙂

    • Oh, that’s weird..it looks normal on both of my computers and I haven’t heard that from anyone else. Maybe it is your settings? Either way, glad you found it.

  73. How many ounces is two cups worth of chicken?

  74. I made this for the first time on Sunday for work lunches this week and it was SO easy and delicious. I cooked the chicken the night before in my slow cooker (I doubled the amount of chicken and used half for your cheesy chicken and broccoli casserole which is also a hit). I cut it into six servings instead of eight to make it a bit more substantial but still less than 350 calories (I don’t count points). The smaller portion would’ve been perfect with a salad or veggie on the side, I’m just too lazy to prep two things for lunch in my work kitchen! I will definitely make this again soon, even after I eat it for lunch all week. Thanks again for your creative and delicious recipes that make eating healthy easy and fun.

  75. OMG! This was SO good! I even forgot to add the egg, and it was still great. Thank you for the recipe! I love your blog, and I cook recipes from it 3-4 times a week. Thanks!

  76. This recipe is 9 SP on the new plan FYI (8SP if you leave out the cheese). Can’t wait to try it!

  77. I was wondering what I could make that is different than how I usually cook boneless skinless chicken breasts. Well here it is, I am cooking this tonight.

  78. Well, I cooked this dish, like I said I was going to. I added more chicken and cheese to it. It is so good.

  79. Tried this last night and it was a hit! My son and his friends enjoyed it as well. I prepared it according to the instructions and made the shredded chicken in the slow cooker using the link provided above. Very easy and tasty! I served it with a dollop of light sour cream and some chopped green onions. Will definitely make this again.

    Love your site, thank you for all the weight watchers friendly recipes!!

  80. Thank you so much for this recipe. My family loves this one (including my picky eating 3 year old)! I’ve been making it on the weekends for dinner and taking the leftovers to work during the week. I love to add shredded lettuce with mine and a dollop of light sour cream.

  81. This recipe is soooo yummy. I couldn’t stop at one serving the 1st night. I ate 2 servings. I was glad I had extra points so I could.

    THANK YOU for all your wonderful recipes

  82. I loved this! I used green enchilada sauce instead of red and it was great. Tasted great warmed up the next day, too.

  83. I just wanted you to know it’s 6 years later and this delicious casserole is STILL on regular rotation in my house. Thank you for such an easy, fast & delicious meal!

  84. I have been making this dish for years. This was the one WW dish I could make while I was alone on WW and my famjily wouldn’t complain. I had to adapt it 2 years ago to use gluten free corn bead mix – still just as yummy.

    Now my whole family has just joined WW and guess what is for dinner tomorrow night??? Can’t wait to have it!

  85. Making this right now-very excited to try it!

    If you still haven’t had a tamale—do it!! It’s a Christmas tradition in AZ. I am trying this with green enchilada sauce to make it like a green corn tamale. Thanks for all the amazing recipes.

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