Carma Craft

My mother-in-law, Carma Willardsen Nuttall, was a genuine American treasure. I remember her with great fondness. I have filched a few of her recipes like this one and a chicken-and-rice casserole.

Tamale Pie Casserole

This is a hybride eschewing canned milk and cream of mushroom soup from this recipe and also her enchilada casserole recipe. Unless you put jalapeños into this in place of the diced green chiles, this isn't really spicy at all.


In order to bake this in a Pyrex® 13" × 9" dish and serve 8-10 people, I doubled the original recipe.


2½ cups corn meal
24 oz canned milk (substitute oat or almond milk)
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 lb ground beef
28 oz green (or red) chili sauce for enchiladas
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups fine-diced onion
½ cup diced bell pepper, any color
2 cans diced green chiles
1 pkg frozen corn
1 can sliced olives
14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 cups grated cheddar or Montery Jack cheese


For crust: Combine ingredients in a large sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until thick. Set aside 1 cup covered. Spread remaining mixture on bottom and sides of a well greased 13" × 9" oven dish. Bake in preheated oven at 425° for 10 minutes.

For filling: Brown meat and clarify onion and bell pepper. Lower heat and add green chiles, corn, olives, tomatoes. Stir in chili powder, salt and black pepper.

Assembly: Slop filling over crust layering in cheese. Cover with set-aside crust dough. Cover with foil and back in oven for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven, spread more cheese on top and return to oven briefly to melt (or even brown cheese slightly). Serve with dollups of sour cream, guacamole, and/or salsa.

Chicken-and-rice Casserole