Breakfast, brunch, etc.

Tamale Casserole

I have never been a big fan of casseroles.  I guess because most of the ones I had were blah, tasteless and quite frankly, looked disgusting.  Many that I had encountered should have been labeled, “Casserole Surprise” or “Leftover Surprise”.  They had everything but the kitchen sink.

This casserole is one that my mama use to make when I was growing up, it had some basic, simple ingredients so I spiced it up with some different ingredients and spices and also chose to use a leaner meat and add some extra protein with beans.

Aside from the great flavor in this casserole, it is prepped and cooked all in the same pan.  If you don’t have an ovenproof pan, you can transfer to a casserole dish to bake. It starts with ground turkey that I brown and crumble.  You could substitute any ground meat that you have on hand. To that, onion and garlic are added.  Spices are added like chili powder, cumin and oregano.  Once the ground turkey mixture is fragrant from the aromatics and spices, I add in diced tomatoes and chilies.  You can substitute canned petite diced tomatoes for fresh, you can also used canned diced green chilies. Another option would be 2 cans of diced tomatoes and chilies all in one can, such as Rotel.  Corn, black beans, cilantro, cornmeal with baking powder are all added and mixed well.  This mixture is patted down flat and then goes into the oven to bake.  While the turkey is cooked through, this step allows the cornmeal to absorb the liquids and expand and become more like the texture of steamed masa throughout the casserole.

The casserole comes out of the oven and shredded cheese is added to the top.  I prefer a pepper Jack cheese but if you want a milder flavor, Jack can be substituted.  The casserole is returned to the hot oven, to allow the cheese to melt.

To serve, simply spoon out onto serving plates and dig in.

You can serve with additional toppings like sliced jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole or salsa.

This casserole can be made ahead of time, covered and placed into the fridge until you are ready to bake it.



Tamale Casserole
Serves 8
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
  1. 1 lb. ground turkey, 93% lean
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 tsp. sea salt
  5. 3 tablespoons chili powder
  6. 1 tsp. ground cumin
  7. 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  8. 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  9. 2 cups tomatoes, diced with juices
  10. 1/2 cup green chilies, diced
  11. 1-1/2 cups whole kernel corn
  12. 1-1/2 cups black beans
  13. 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  14. 1 cup yellow cornmeal mixed with 2 tsp. baking powder
  15. 1/2 cup jack or pepper Jack cheese, shredded
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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large oven proof pot or dutch oven, add ground beef and brown over medium-high heat, breaking into pieces as it cooks.
  3. Add onion and cook until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Then add garlic, stir and cook one minute.
  4. Add salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper, stir well.
  5. Add tomatoes and their juices, green chilies, corn, black beans and cilantro, mix well.
  6. Mix in the cornmeal that has been mixed with baking powder to the pot, stir well that everything is thoroughly mixed. Pat down top with back of spoon to make level.
  7. Place in preheated oven and bake 35 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, turn off oven.
  9. Sprinkle top with cheese, place casserole back in oven and allow cheese to melt, 2 or so minutes.
  10. Remove and serve by spooning onto serving plates.
274 cal
9 g
19 g
33 g
Healthy Southern Cooking

Biscuits & Gravies

Yes, you read that right . . . gravies! Plural, because we are going to do two different gravies.

The first gravy is a staple in the South, sausage gravy.  Here in the South sausage gravy is a standard in most households. It is served not only at breakfast time but lunch and supper too.  Sausage gravy is great on mashed potatoes, fried chicken, chicken fried steak and of course, biscuits.  If you are like me, I can eat sausage gravy on its own.

Sausage gravy starts out with, you guessed it, sausage!  You want a good quality breakfast sausage, like the ones that come in the big roll that you slice into patties. The problem with most of the pork sausage at the grocery store is that they are high in fat. Ah, so you think the logical substitute, turkey sausage but the problem with most turkey sausage is they are lacking the fat that you will need to make the gravy.  Another problem is that many manufacturers of turkey sausage sell them precooked and you need it raw. What do you do? Simple, make your own.  I know it sounds too complicated but it is really no more complicated than browning ground beef with seasoning. Continue reading “Biscuits & Gravies”

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Ahhh pancakes!  Makes me think of weekend breakfast when I was growing up.  My mama would make up a big batch of pancakes and she had sausage or bacon to go with it.  Although pancakes come in all sorts of flavors, as do the syrups, I’ve always been partial of simple buttermilk pancakes and maple syrup.  

Pancakes go by a variety of names in America; griddlecakes, flapjacks, hotcakes and their counterparts in other countries such as crepes, blintzes and Dutch baby.  They come in all shapes and sizes, some are stacked, filled, rolled and are found throughout the world.  Some are sweet while others savory and can be served for any type of meal. Continue reading “Whole Wheat Pancakes”

Whole Wheat Waffles

Waffles date back to Medieval times but instead of the grid waffle pattern we are accustom to now they depicted religious symbols.  Nowadays waffles come in all shapes and sizes and nearly every country has their own version of a waffle.  You can find them already made in the freezer section ready to pop in the toaster.  Nearly any restaurant that serves breakfast has waffles on the menu.  Many hotel chains that offer free breakfast have a waffle iron for you to make your own.  Recently there has been a big trend in utilizing the waffle iron to do cornbread, eggs, hash browns and a lot of other delicious foods. 

I wanted to create a healthier waffle with whole wheat goodness and lower the fat by cutting the buttermilk and oil without compromising the taste. I used whole wheat flour, sea salt and baking powder that is then in turn mixed with a little agave nectar, egg, warm buttermilk and unsweetened applesauce.  If you wanted to make it dairy free you can certainly substitute the buttermilk with soy or almond milk and add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Continue reading “Whole Wheat Waffles”

Banana Nut Bread

What smells better than the fragrance of banana nut bread baking in the oven?  That sweet delicious aroma penetrates every room of the house.  Banana bread was created in the United States and gained popularity in the 1930s with the increasing use of baking soda and baking powder.

Banana bread is great for breakfast, brunch, dessert or just as a snack.  It is a very versatile recipe that you can add other ingredients to. I add walnuts to make banana nut bread but you could add any nut of your choosing.  You can add other ingredients such as oats, raisins, peanut butter, chocolate, etc., the possibilities are endless. Continue reading “Banana Nut Bread”