December 2002    Vol. 1   No. 12

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We really like fresh corn tamales, but it is a lot of work to fill and wrap all the tamales separately.   Instead of wrapping the tamales individually, I have layered the corn filling on top of the corn husks and baked it in a casserole dish, then cooked the soy sausage and cactus separately and spread this over the baked casserole.  This is considered a “rich” dish because of the soy products used.  It is always a big favorite with guests.  I have made this for large groups with wonderful results (everyone wants the recipe!).  Just multiply the recipe according to the number of guests you want to serve and prepare in batches.  This may be prepared ahead up until the baking time and kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  Add about 10 minutes to the baking time if baking directly from the refrigerator.  The sausage topping (reheat in microwave) & the salsa may also be made ahead of time.

Preparation Time:  45 minutes
Cooking Time:  1 hour
Resting Time:  10 minutes
Servings:  4-6

Corn Filling:
10 to 12
ears fresh corn on the cob, in husks
½ cup masa flour for tamales
¼ cup vegetable broth
1  4 ounce can chopped green chilies
1 ½ cups shredded soy or rice cheddar or jack cheese
¼ teaspoon salt

Sausage Topping:
½ pound soy Mexican sausage (see hints)
¼ cup canned nopalitos (see hints)
Assorted salsas

Cut off stem end, through the husk, of each ear of corn and discard.  Carefully pull off the husks without tearing and save the largest ones.  Pull off silk and small pieces of husks and discard.  Rinse ears well.  Holding ears upright, cut off kernels with a sharp knife.  You need 5 cups of kernels.  Discard cobs.

Place the corn in a food processor.  Add the masa flour and broth.  Process until corn is fairly smooth.  Scrape into bowl.  Add chilies, cheese and salt.  Mix well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take a shallow 3 ½ quart casserole dish and place the reserved corn husks, concave side down, in the bottom of the dish, overlapping each other and letting the ends stick up over the sides of the dish.  Place some of the corn filling mixture on the husks as you go to hold them in place.  Place the remaining corn mixture in the casserole and smooth out the top.  Fold end of the husks over the filling, then layer some of the remaining husks over the top of the corn filling so that it is completely covered.  Cover casserole dish with foil.  Bake for 60 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.

To serve, remove foil and top husks.  Spoon sausage/cactus topping over the corn filling.  Serve with salsa on the side.

Sausage Topping:
Crumble the sausage into a medium non-stick frying pan.  Cook and stir until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add nopalitos and cook and stir for another minute, until hot.


There are many varieties of Mexican soy sausage in your local natural food store.  Some have more fat than others, check the labels carefully.  Or add some Mexican seasonings to plain soy meat, a variety of these seasoning mixtures may also be found in your natural food store.  Nopalitos are cactus strips, usually sold in glass jars in the Mexican section of the supermarket or in specialty markets.  This topping may be omitted, if desired, and just serve the tamale pie plain, with assorted salsas.    Our favorite recipe for fresh salsa is found in the Quick & Easy Cookbook. 

RECIPE CONTRIBUTION (Received by e-mail)

My name is Caroline Christensen.  I am 11 years old and I started McDougalling when I was 2.  I went to Costa Rica with you 3 years ago.  My hobby is cooking healthy recipes.  My mom is teaching me and I use your recipes too.  This is my spaghetti sauce recipe.  Everyone likes it and it is easy.

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 T Italian seasoning
1/2 c. canned and drained mushrooms
1/4 c.  frozen mixed diced onions and peppers
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. pepper
pinch red pepper

Optional: some chopped black and green olives or chopped artichokes packed in water.

Put the ingredients all in a pan and cook for about 10 minutes. Serve it over noodles.

My grandmother just gave me a new recipe from your clinic.  It is for pumpkin muffins.  It is really tasty.  My friends can't even tell that it is a healthy recipe.

Caroline Christensen


This is an update on the pumpkin muffin recipe from last month.  I have made these muffins many times in the past month, using different ingredients.  Try them with applesauce instead of the pumpkin puree and with other dried fruits instead of raisins.  Dried cranberries are very good and so are currents.  The nuts may be omitted, or try using some oil free granola instead of the nuts. 


Preparation Time:  30 minutes
Cooking Time:  10 minutes
Servings:  4

7  ounces uncooked rice noodles (see hints)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup natural peanut butter, creamy
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1-2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce (see hints)
¼  teaspoon sesame oil (optional-see hints)
3 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 cup mung beans sprouts
1 cup shredded carrots
 3 ½ ounces baked seasoned tofu, thinly sliced
chopped cilantro
chopped peanuts

Prepare noodles according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine the honey, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar chili-garlic sauce and the sesame oil in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.  Set aside.  Place the broth in a non-stick frying pan with the onions, garlic and ginger.  Cook, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes.  Add the sauce, mix well and heat through.  Pour over the rice noodles and toss well to mix.  Add the bean sprouts, carrots and tofu and toss again to mix.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Let each person add chopped cilantro and/or chopped peanuts, if desired.

Hints:  Rice noodles are sold in natural food stores and in the Asian section of some supermarkets.  This is also where you will find the rice vinegar and the chili garlic sauce.  The rice noodles I like to use are made by Thai Kitchen.  They are made from rice, water and salt and are sold in 7 ounce packages.  The chili-garlic sauce is made by Huy Fong Foods.  It is quite spicy, so you may need to adjust the amount used according to your tastes.  I use a small amount of sesame oil in this recipe for the unique taste it adds to foods.  It may be omitted, if desired.  This dish keeps well in the refrigerator and may also be served cold.  This is great to fix on those busy evenings when everyone is eating at different times because it tastes best at room temperature.  This may also be made using wheat pasta instead of the rice noodles.  You will need about 10-12 ounces of uncooked wheat pasta.  Cook pasta according to package directions, then proceed as above.

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