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I'm Kendra, and I'm here to help you be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don't. Welcome to your people.

Trashy Tamales: As Ugly As They Are Delicious

Trashy Tamales: As Ugly As They Are Delicious

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You might watch something knowing that it is the opposite of real, i.e. The Bachelor. The relationships don't last, those aren't real dates, and none of them have their own teeth and/or boobs. And that's just the guys! ::knee slap::

But just because something isn't entirely rooted in reality doesn't mean we can't enjoy it. For example, take these tamales. I call them (generous air quotes) tamales, but they are an embarrassment to the Mexican people who created the actual thing. However, they're ridiculously delicious and easy to create. I'll take trashy tamales if "delicious" and "easy" are in the description despite the shame I bring to an entire culture.

P.S. Do you notice how ugly these are? Look beneath the sour cream and pop of cilantro green. Yeeeah. Have low expectations on the aesthetics, people. Questionable at best. But still shamefully delicious. Spicy, creamy, filling, and customizable to get rid of all the almost-rotten bits and pieces in your fridge. It's super lazy, totally genius because of how easy it is, and it's a great pantry meal you can make any night of the week. Let's do this.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • a good pinch of salt
  • 8 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend, Monterrey Jack, or cheddar
  • 10 oz enchilada sauce (Ortega is your best regular-store brand. Old El Paso is from the devil.)
  • 3 cups already cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
  • sauteed onions, peppers, zucchini, squash, fresh corn, or black beans (optional)
  • lettuce, tomato, avocado, sour cream, lime, and/or cilantro to garnish (all optional but any are a game changer)

HOW YOU MAKE THEM

It's pretty much dump and stir. You got this!

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix together the Jiffy, creamed corn, eggs, milk, spices, and about 2/3 of the cheese. You can even mix it in the 9x13 baking dish you'll bake this in. No one cares. Just check the corners to make sure everything is mixed well. Just saved you some dirty dishes.
  3. Bake it for 20 minutes until the top is just set. It can have a tiny jiggle when you pull it out, but the entire top should look cooked, not wet. 
  4. While that's baking, gather whatever extras you want - the chicken, beans, vegetables, anything. Whatever you use needs to be already cooked/sauteed and seasoned, i.e. it should taste good by itself. So saute up those vegetable nubs or simmer those black beans in a touch of water, salt, and cumin. Whatever you want.
  5. Pull the pan out of the oven, and poke a few holes in the baked Jiffy mix with a fork. Pour half of the enchilada sauce over top, put all of the chicken and vegetables on top of that, pour the remaining sauce over that, and finally top it with the rest of the cheese. Get that? Sauce, chicken and veg, sauce, cheese. 
  6. Put it back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. 
  7. Serve it with any and all of the toppings mentioned above. Set up it up like a plate of restaurant enchiladas with shredded lettuce, tomato, and a dollop of sour cream and guacamole (my favorite way). And may I highly suggest lime and cilantro. They elevate it from trashy to... well, just a little less trashy.

Enjoy every bite. Because this mess is ugly but DELICIOUS.

What do you enjoy eating that's not anything to look at but still tastes like a million bucks?

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