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The Big Book of One-Pot Dinners by Betty Crocker is a treasure chest of ideas for quick and satisfying dinners. Sometimes, we just don’t have the time to create multiple dishes: a main course, a salad, a side or two. Sometimes, we just want to put all the “stuff” together in one container, turn on the heat, and pretty soon be at the table enjoying a really good meal. A comfort food meal. Big Book is designed for just you on just those days. For a full review of the book, please follow this link.

I was in just one of those “one-pot” states of mind last week. I found the recipe below for a one-pot tamale pie and went to work. One of the great benefits of the recipes in Big Book is their flexibility. This is not baking, where deviations from the recipe may lead to disaster. Here, you can follow the recipe with exacting diligence. Or you can experiment.

I experimented. I’m not an olive fan, so I left the olives out. But I do like peppers, so I added two of the small cans of Hatch green chiles. And if this is to be a tamale pie, where are the refried beans? I added a can of those, too. And I sauteed a cup of onions and added those in.

I made one other change: a full teaspoon of chipotle flakes, flakes not powder. It turns out to have been very potent chipotle material so the result was the hottest dish I ever made. Forget the Pepsi. You needed a beer or a margarita when you make that change.

This is a very substantial recipe, one that solves your need for an easy night in the kitchen. But still a night when you want your plate full of flavor. You get a lot of tamale pie here, so you are bound to have leftovers. Just wrap them up in foil and you are even more ready for the next “one-pot” night in your life.

There are hundreds of ideas in Big Book, spanning a range of cooking techniques and world-wide cuisines. You are certain to find recipes there that bring pleasure and an easier night in the kitchen.

Tamale Pot Pie

Yield: 6 servings


  • 1 pound lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1 box (9 ounces) frozen whole kernel corn, thawed, drained
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (2 ¼ ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 2 tablespoons Original Bisquick mix
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Original Bisquick mix
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg


Heat oven to 400°F. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain.

Stir in corn, tomatoes, olives, 2 tablespoons Bisquick mix, the chili powder, cumin and salt. Heat to boiling, stirring frequently. Boil and stir 1 minute. Keep warm over low heat.

In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients until blended. Pour beef mixture into ungreased 9-inch square pan. Spread cornmeal mixture over beef mixture.

Bake about 25 minutes or until crust is light brown

Source: Big Book of One-Pot Dinners by Betty Crocker, 2015

Photo Information: Canon T2i, 18-55mm Macro Lens, f/4.5, 1/50th second, ISO-320