Tamales are one of my absolute favorite foods and have been since I was a little kid. However, now that I know a bit about macros, I know that they aren’t the more balanced of meals. That’s why I’ve created this simple Chicken and Green Chile Tamale skillet! You’ll get all the flavor of a tamale but in a much more nutritionally balanced way.
If you guys have been following for a while, you might remember that I have a Beef Tamale Skillet that I’ve shared from Taste of Home posted. It’s a super simple skillet recipe that comes together very quickly. I highly suggest you check it out!
Around Christmas time, my Costco always starts carrying a variety of tamales. One of my favorites to sample is the diced green chile and cheese. I just love the gooey and spicy flavor! That’s when I began to think of the skillet tamales and thought I could adjust them to include the green chiles.
One of the “problems” with the green chile and cheese tamales that you pick up from the store is that they have hardly any protein. To change all that, I decided to add to the recipe some chicken. Chicken is truly versatile and is always a great macro-friendly option to add to this dish.
If you look at the ingredients, this recipe calls for the raw weight of the chicken. That’s because it’s easiest to get the most accurate macro count when you’re starting with raw chicken. If you don’t believe me, just check out how different the entries on MyFitnessPal can be for cooked chicken! If you don’t want to start with raw chicken, any shredded chicken of your choice will work great and even save a step to this easy recipe.
The carbs from this recipe are going to come from a few sources! First up is from diced vegetables. For this recipe, you’ll need a bell pepper and an onion. Since I have kiddos, I chop mine up very finely before adding them to the skillet. I also add in some garlic for extra flavor.
Carbs are also the primary ingredient for the salsa verde and diced green chiles. However, they are pretty low in carbohydrates, and they are what give the dish its flavor. For this recipe, I used a jar of mild salsa verde (again for the kids), but you can choose to use a medium heat if you like things spicier.
The ingredient that gives this skillet a tamale vibe is corn tortillas! When combined with the rest of the ingredients in the skillet, the corn tortillas get soft, just like the masa in a tamale. I used the extra thin Mission corn tortillas, which help save some additional carbs.
The primary place where the fats come from in this recipe is from CHEESE. I opted to go with mozzarella cheese because it is super melty and also happens to be usually less fat than other cheeses. I used 84 grams (a total of 1 cup according to my package, but they can all be different!), so there is plenty of cheese in this skillet! Feel free to add more to your kids’ plate if it helps them eat it. I always do! HA!
This dish is also fairly low in fat, so feel free to add some diced avocado or sour cream to make it even more delicious!
There are a wide variety of ways that you can serve this dish.
- Skillet. Serve this skillet as is with toppings (avocado, sour cream, cilantro, etc.) or chips as desired. If you’re interested in how I turn lavash wraps into chips, I have a blog post about that here.
- Tacos. This is my kids’ favorite way to enjoy them. They spoon theirs into tortillas with fat-free refried beans and whatever toppings they’d like.
- Salad. This is my preference! I like to add a ton of volume by eating my portion over a big bed of greens or romaine.
The macros for 1 serving (5 servings total) is rounded to 6F/26C/37P and 303 calories. That is much more macro-friendly than a two or three tamales. Plus, it makes a very generous serving size. My total skillet minus the weight of the pan was 1452 g. Divided into 5 servings, each was rounded to 290 grams. Keep in mind that my skillet didn’t quite include a pound and a half of raw chicken breast, so the gram amount is not 100% accurate. If you are looking for a ballpark range, though, it will be close!
Chicken & Green Chile Tamale Skillet
- 1.5 lbs raw chicken breast (Or use cooked, shredded chicken breast of choice!)
- 1 bell pepper, diced (149 g)
- 1 onion, diced (230 g)
- 2 tsp minced garlic (10 g)
- 16 oz jar salsa verde (we used mild)
- 4 oz can diced green chiles
- 8 Mission Extra Thin Corn Tortillas, cut into strips
- 84 g shredded Mozzarella cheese (~ 1 cup, but check your bag for the serving size)
- Prepare raw chicken as desired and then shred the cooked meat. I always cook mine in a crockpot on high for 4 hours with a cup of water. However, choose the method that works for you. You could also use a rotiserrie chicken for even simpler prep!
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Then add in the diced bell peppers and onions plus the minced garlic. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired. Cook until the vegetables are as tender as you'd like.
- Add to the skillet the cooked and shredded chicken, salsa verde jar, diced green chiles, and corn tortilla strips. Stir until everything is completely combined and evenly mixed.
- Spread the chicken tamale mixture evenly in the pan. Top evenly with mozzarella cheese. Allow the cheese to melt. To assist in melting the cheese, you may want to cover your pan with a lid.
- Serve and enjoy!