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December 5, 2014

CROCKPOT Chicken Tamales with Cheese

Child-Tested and Not Too Spicy

Although it's well-worth it for the holidays, tamale-making can be time and labor intensive. Since this recipe calls for pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, you can cut the preparation time in half by omitting the garlic and
the onions.

Adapted by the mother of young children for a classroom project, the flavor
is quite mild. Stephanie says,
"I was pretty sure when I began this project that tamales would work in the crockpot, but wanted to wait until closer to the holidays so I could tie them together with one of my favorite children's books, Too Many Tamales, by Gary Soto.
They did work, and I brought them to my daughter's class yesterday to share. So these have been kid-tested not only by my own two, but by
18 second-graders. They liked them."
Related: DIY VIDEO | Mexican Pork Tamales ~ 6 Easy Steps  

  • 1 (3-1/2 lb) deli rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
  • 1 (6 oz) package dried corn husks 
  • 4 cups masa harina
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/3 cups lard  
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 

  1. Remove chicken meat from the bones, and combine with the onion, garlic, chilies, cumin, salt, and corn in a 4 or 6.5 quart crockpot. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 6. If you want to save a lot of time, simply omit the onion and garlic. Combine the chicken with the chiles, cumin, salt, and drained corn in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Soften the corn husks by soaking them in very hot water until pliable.
  3. To make the dough, combine the masa harina, broth, baking powder, salt and lard in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-to-high speed until the ingredients are well-combined and the dough is the consistency of soft cookie dough. To check the dough, drop a little ball of it into a glass of water. If it doesn't float, then continue to beat the dough until it does.
  4. Take a large golf-ball size piece of masa dough, and spread it into a wet corn husk. The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Add some chicken filling, and some shredded cheese. Fold the corn husk over to join the edges of the masa. Fold all corn husk edges into the center. Place the tamales into the bottom of an empty crockpot, seam side down. (If you are making appetizers, split the husks in half lengthwise, and use a smaller amount of masa and filling. Tie both ends with string, as shown in the top illustration.) 
  5. Repeat again and again until all the tamales are made (approx. 2 hours). If you find that your corn husks are unraveling, tear off a long pieces of husk to tie around the middle of each one.
  6. When the crockpot is full, put on the lid and cook tamales on high for 4-6 hours. Use one tamale as a tester, unwrapping it every 45 minutes after the 4-hour mark. (The tamales on the edges will cook a little faster.) Once your tester tamale looks and tastes good, take the lid off and unplug the crockpot. Let the tamales set for about 15 minutes before serving. Unwrap and garnish with fresh fresh pico de gallo and/or sour cream.

Source: Adapted from Stephanie O'Dea

Photos: TheresaCarleSanders, NateGray & larryjh1234 (Flickr)

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December 1, 2014

DIY Recipe | EASY Chocolate-Filled Croissants

French "Pain au Chocolate" with Step-by-Step Photos

If you've tasted the simple pleasures of coffee and croissants first thing in the morning, then you know that the French know how to live well. Wouldn't you love to start your day with a bit of chocolate too?

This straightforward recipe incorporates delicious sweet chocolate tucked inside an authentic flaky croissant. You can purchase pre-made croissant dough, or you can prepare it ahead from scratch. The rest is simple. Bon Appetit!

1/2 recipe croissant dough, thawed
but still cold
20 chocolate baking sticks
1 egg, beaten and strained (thinned with
1 tsp water)


Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper.

Lightly flour your work surface. Roll out the dough to create a rectangle about
19" x 9".  Trim to a 17 ½" x 8" rectangle. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, then cut each half into five 4" x 3 ½" rectangles.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Next, follow the steps below ...

1. Place one piece of chocolate on the dough, 1/2" from the bottom, and roll.

2. Place a second piece of chocolate on the dough next to the first. 
Brush the dough with egg wash, then roll it all the way up.

3. Repeat the process and then brush all rolls with the egg wash. 
Place rolls on a baking sheet, evenly spaced. Cover and let stand 
about 2 hours to proof.

4. Brush again with the egg wash, and bake croissants at 350 degree F 
for 30 to 45 minutes. When they are a rich golden brown, 
remove from the oven. Cool completely on a cooling rack.

5. If desired, decorate croissants with chocolate syrup, powdered sugar, 
or sliced almonds.

Source: Adapted from The Cooking of Joy

Photos: joyosity (1), BrianPDX (2), joyosity (3-6) roboppy (7) (Flickr)

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