A Crock-pot has been a part of my cooking life since the ‘70s. Two years ago when we moved into our RV and it’s tiny kitchen, I took the big six-quart crock-pot along because I thought I would take it to my oldest daughter.  I didn’t think I would need to use it any more since I was now home all day. Boy, was I wrong! It seems like I’m using it now more ever.

Now I have the time to experiment and play around with various recipes. But I still want the luxury of being able to start dinner and then go off and do something else. I also have a problem with the oven in my RV kitchen. I can’t light it. My husband can if he gets down on his knees, contorts his body and tongue at just the right angle. Needless to say, I don’t use the oven often. So I’ve learned to bake in my crock-pot.  

This Tamale Pie recipe is one I’ve been playing around with. I like it because I can try different ingredients and seasonings in it and still not goof it up. It also combines a bread with the slow cooking tenderness we expect from our crock-pots. So here’s my latest Tamale Pie. (It tastes better than it looks in this picture.)


Put together in a skillet and cook until browned:


  • 1 pound of ground meat (ground  beef or ground turkey or a combination)
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 t. garlic powder

    Put the browned meat into a crock-pot (at least a 4 quart one). Then add these ingredients right into the crock-pot and stir together:

    • 1 c. chopped onion
    • 1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
    • 1 can (15 oz.) red beans or pinto beans, drained (or 2 c. of your own cooked beans, drained)
    • 1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes and peppers (like Rotel)
    • 1 can chopped hot peppers (you can use 4 oz or 7 oz, according to your taste)
    • 1/4 to 1/2 c. tomato juice (you want just the right amount of juice but not be runny) 

    On top of the meat and bean mixture you are going to add the tamale “shell”. To do that you will need to mix together in a separate bowl:

    • 1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix
    • 1/2 c. milk
    • 2 T. melted butter
    • 1/2 c. to 3/4 c. Monterey Jack cheese,  shredded (Cheddar works good too)

      When you have the cornbread  mixture together, carefully spoon it over the top of the meat and bean mixture that is already in the crock-pot. Don’t stir it. Also don’t spread it all the way to the edge. Keep it about a half an inch from the crock-pot all the way around.

      Turn the crock-pot to low and let it do it’s thing for five to seven hours, depending on how hot your crock-pot is. Don’t take the lid off unless you want to slow down the process. Check it after six hours. When a toothpick comes clean from the middle of the cornbread, it’s done. It should also have a nice brownish crispiness around the edges.  This is like eating thick chili with cheesy cornbread.  Hope you enjoy.