Jalapeño-cheddar Tamale Bites

Need an easy take-along recipe? Try these crowd-pleasing jalapeño-cheddar tamale bites.

An office party here, a gift-wrapping party there … with the holidays come lots of opportunities to make delicious food. And while you gotta love the ol’ tried-and-trues (scalloped potatoes, anyone?), sometimes it’s nice to surprise friends with something new. So we turned to our friends at Orgullosa for some fresh inspiration.

In many Latin cultures, tamales are a holiday tradition. Making them is an all-day affair, with the whole family coming together to fill cornhusks with masa dough, meat and sauce. While brave souls can try the authentic recipe, we created an easier version fit for that space between your busy day and that 7 o’clock gathering. Whichever one you choose, they’re both easy to transport and sure to be a hit at potlucks and parties!

Jalapeño-cheddar Cornbread Tamale Bites
In this recipe, sweet, fluffy cornbread joins forces with the irresistible flavor of jalapeño-cheddar cream cheese. There are a couple of shortcuts you can take – feel free to swap the cornhusks for foil cupcake liners and use store-bought bacon bits instead of making your own.

1 8.5-ounce package of corn bread mix, along with the ingredients it calls for (usually an egg and milk)
12 dried cornhusks or foil cupcake liners*
1 package cream cheese
4 jalapeños
3 scallions
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup cooked crumbled bacon (you can make it yourself or use store-bought)
Cilantro (optional)

  1. Fry bacon and cut into little pieces. (Skip this step if using store-bought)
    Tip: After frying, quickly place your cooked bacon on a Bounty paper towel to absorb any excess grease. Be sure to remove promptly before it sticks!
  2. Deseed the jalapeños and chop them into little pieces. Small dice the scallions
  3. Soak cornhusks in water until you can easily bend them. (Skip this step if using foil cupcake liners)
  4. Cut the cornhusks into 4-inch squares, and then place them in the muffin pan cups. Lightly coat with cooking spray (or just put one cupcake liner in each muffin cup)
  5. Prepare the cornbread mix. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the mix into each prepared cup
  6. Mix cream cheese with the jalapeño, scallions and cheese. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture on top of the wet cornbread mixture, and then top with bacon
  7. Bake at 400 F for 15 to 20 minutes
  8. Let cool slightly, garnish with cilantro (optional) and serve!

*No cornhusks or cupcake liners? No worries! Pour the cornbread and cream cheese mixtures straight into a greased muffin tin, and then have Cascade Platinum Pacs do the heavy lifting during cleanup. It’s specially formulated to power through crusted-on food and crumbs – no pre-wash needed.


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