CookSimple Tamale Pie

I bet like a lot of people, I ate my fair share of Hamburger Helper when I was a kid. Actually, I still love Cheeseburger Macaroni, especially if it is covered in ketchup.

But after being diagnosed with Celiac disease, the traditional Hamburger Helper is WAY off limits. While making some of those meals from scratch isn't terribly hard, sometimes it is really nice to have everything in one box, and be able to make a quick meal.

CookSimple tries to do exactly that, without having long ingredient names that you can't pronounce, and trying to make sure your dinner is as healthy as possible.

I have tried CookSimple meals in the past, and quite honestly, I wasn't impressed. In the companies defense, I wrote them that one of the particular meals was way too spicy for my taste, and they sent me another one of their dinners to try for free. I thought that was pretty generous and great customer service.

When I received their Tamale Pie dinner in my Taste Guru box, I wasn't sure what to think. I wasn't really sure that I wanted to try another one, after my past experiences.

But then I had a night that I didn't have a lot of time to prep dinner, and even less time to eat it. Out came the CookSimple box, as well as a pound of locally raised beef.

The back of the CookSimple box is really interesting. It's a basic flow chart of how to prepare the meal, listing the steps in which the ingredients are added- complete with pictures. That may seem odd to people, but I live in Flint, Michigan. The functional illiteracy rate in this city is VERY high. It would make my bibliophile friends heartbroken, really. Plus, we live in a country, that while the official language is English, we honestly know that there are parts of the country in which it isn't the main language spoken in the home. So to make a long story short, it's neat to see that CookSimple thinks outside the box.

And they even multi-task by having measurement markings on the spice package so you can measure your water without having to get out another measuring cup.

I was a little surprised that the cornbread part of the recipe called for 1/3 of a cup of honey. I was really tempted to decrease it, but I wanted (for once) to follow the directions directly as was stated. The back of the box suggested adding some corn to the cornmeal batter, which I did, as I had a little bit left in a package. 

It really cooked up beautifully, and I let it set for a while before eating it, allowing the filling and bread to set up. (There is one cup of cheese in the meat mixture, which I figured would benefit from cooling.) 

The moment of truth was in the tasting. It was so good! Quite honestly, it was a busy Wednesday night (in which I'm generally at church for 4 hours) so he got to it before I did, and he mentioned he was really pleased with it. My husband sliced it into eight pieces, and the box gave the calorie count for 5 servings. One piece wasn't enough, so we each had a quarter of the dish, which probably put it closer to 500 calories. There is quite a bit of cornbread, and I think if I had this again, I would use more meat (and maybe some fresh veggies sauted with it) and cook it in a larger 9 x13 pan. (The box calls for a 8x8 square pan.) 

A picture of the tamale pie on its side, so you can see the meat filling layer.
Loaded wth great spices and black beans! 

So get a box and have a slice of a great meal! I look forward to having their products at the Lansing Gluten Free Fair for the first time as well. (I hope they make Tamale Pie!)