Fun fact: I’m half Puerto Rican. I grew up on a mostly vegetarian diet, enjoying my Mother’s Spanish inspired cuisine whenever I could. Each week, she’d make a big batch of slow cooked Puerto Rican rice and beans, fried plantains, pozole and empanadas. Our food always seemed different than my friends, and I never understood why they didn’t have enchiladas at Thanksgiving until I was much older.
Dad, on the other hand, was very much into comfort food. Each Sunday, we’d sit down and enjoy a big batch of Dad’s fried chicken, sweet corn, the creamiest mashed potatoes and if we were lucky, soft rolls. Sometimes green beans were included too. Oh and cake! There was always cake or pie for dessert; usually yellow cake with rich, thick chocolate buttercream or my Grandma’s favorite creamy lemon meringue pie. Yes we loved, loved, loved our sweets.
Now that I’m older (and have my own food blog!), I find myself very appreciative to my Mother for showing me how to cook and exposing me to ethnic food at a very young age. I’m also extra thankful to Dad for allowing me to experiment with baking as a little girl.
There are many days when I wonder what it would be like to cook and bake for him now. I bet his big blue eyes would light up with delight if I made him this chicken tamale pie; I know it would remind him of Mom’s cooking that he loved so very much.
Looking back at my childhood and the chaos of it, my memories associated with cooking and baking are always positive. Maybe that’s why I’ve succeeded in this profession. It has always given me the utmost joy and comfort. That’s how I know it’s my passion.
This chicken tamale pie is another one of those recipes that has given me pure joy. I make it often during the weekdays, serving it with fresh guacamole and hot sauce. Trust me, it’s a recipe you’ll save for years to come because it’s simple to throw together, family-friendly, flavorful and comforting.
As you already know, my take on comfort foods always are a little lightened up from traditional versions because that’s just how I roll. So when Cascadian Farm approached me to work on some recipes, I knew I’d use their frozen sweet corn and make this family favorite.
The meaty corn mixture is a combination of lean ground chicken (or turkey), Cascadian Farm organic frozen sweet corn, a homemade enchilada sauce, spices, onion, garlic and a little cheesseeeeee.
The cornbread topping is made effortlessly with whole wheat pastry flour, yellow cornmeal, a little oil, honey, fresh jalapeños, almond milk and more of that sweet corn! When you’re finished mixing it up, just pour the batter over the meat mixture and bake until bubbly and golden brown. Too good you guys. TOO GOOD.
I have faith that you’ll love this recipe as much as I do. There are a few variations that I’ve included in the note section below including how to make it vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten free. Hope you LOVE!
If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment below to let me know how to you liked it. If you’re on Instagram, be sure to snap a pic and tag #ambitiouskitchen so I can check out your creations! xo.
More healthy comfort food recipes to try:
Whole Wheat Honey-Jalapeño Cornbread Chicken Tamale Pie
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 pound lean ground chicken or turkey (at least 93% lean)
- 1 cup Cascadian Farm Frozen Organic Sweet Corn
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (melted coconut oil would also be great)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup Cascadian Farm Frozen Organic Sweet Corn
- 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
- For garnish: Jalapeño slices, avocado or guacamole, cilantro, greek yogurt/sour cream, hot sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat olive oil in large cast iron skillet over medium high heat,
add onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes until translucent and tender. Next, add in the ground chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
Stir in corn, tomato sauce, garlic, chili powder, oregano and cumin. Add salt and pepper to taste then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes while you make the cornbread topping.
To make the cornbread topping: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg, honey, oil and almond milk together until well combined. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in diced jalapeños and corn.
Remove skillet from heat. Sprinkle cheese on top of meat mixture. Pour cornmeal topping over the cheese & meat mixture and spread evenly towards the edges of the skillet.
Top the batter with a few slices of jalapeños. Bake for 25-28 minutes until cornbread is slightly golden brown on the edges and filling is bubbling. Serve with guacamole, cilantro, sour cream/greek yogurt and hot sauce. Serves 6.
To make dairy free: Leave out the cheese.
To make this recipe vegan: Instead of turkey, use 1 can of black beans. You can also use a flax egg in the cornbread topping, but may need to reduce the almond milk to 1/3 cup.
To make this recipe gluten free:: Use a 1:1 gluten free all purpose flour in place of the whole wheat pastry flour.
Don't have a skillet? No worries! Just cook everything as directed, then transfer the meat mixture to an 8 or 9 inch greased baking pan.
This post is in partnership with Cascadian Farm. All recipes, text and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting AK and the brands that help make this site possible!