Ok, now that you have my real Tamale Pie recipe, I am going to share my weeknight tamale pie recipe with you. This recipe is especially helpful for working parents.  In fact, this recipe helped save my sanity many times over the years when I would arrive home from work, having already exhausted every fiber in my body, and there was still work to be done, i.e. dinner to fix, laundry, baths to oversee….you know the drill! For all the years my kids were growing up, this was my “I’m too tired to cope and basically I hate everything and everybody” go to recipe. (I’m sure, as a parent, you’ve never experienced that kind of a feeling, but if you ever do, this recipe will be just the thing to help you make it through!) And the best part, Weeknight Tamale Pie is really tasty. Everyone in your family will love it. Now granted, this is not gourmet food, and will never make the likes of Gourmet Magazine or Bon Appétit. Also, it will not win you the “best working mother or father nutritional achievement award”. But I say who cares. It contains enough good, nutritious ingredients for occasional simple dinners; plus your little darlings will love it. And truly, after an exhausting day, do you really want to spend the evening arguing with your children about broccoli or Brussels sprouts? Save those battles for days when you have even a remote chance of winning! So, on the days when it seems that everything that could have gone wrong did, remember this recipe. When you first get home from work, take a package of ground beef out of the freezer and place it in the microwave to defrost. Then change your cloths, tell your family how happy you are to see them, and that you would appreciate their patience while you prepare them a wonderful dinner. Take the meat out of the microwave, place it in a large covered pan, and pour yourself a wee dram of something delicious. Doesn’t even have to be an adult beverage, although why not? Then sit down to dinner with your family and relax. That hideous pile of laundry can wait!

  • 1 lb. extra lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped or ¼ c. dehydrated chopped onion
  • 1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning or 2 T. bulk taco seasoning (or to taste)
  • 1 (16-oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (6-oz.) can black olives, drained and halved
  • 1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • tortilla chips
  • sour cream, opt.
  • salsa, opt.

Fry ground beef in a heavy covered Dutch oven or sauce pan. Add chopped onion and cook until tender. Add tomato sauce, taco seasoning, corn, and black olives. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat as far as possible.


Remove lid and sprinkle with cheese and enough tortilla chips to hide the cheese, cover and let sit on low heat until cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Do not stir. Serve as soon as cheese is melted with additional tortilla chips, sour cream, and salsa.  Note: I serve this dish as a stand-alone dish. It may not be as well balanced a meal as it should be, but some nights I’m not as well balanced as I should be either! And do yourself a favor. Since this is a dish that contains mostly pantry ingredients, stock up on cans of tomato sauce, black olives, corn, etc. when they go on sale. And never be without ground beef in your freezer. Or tortilla chips in your pantry.