If Halloween night at your house is anything like it is at mine, there ain't no sitting down to supper once it gets dark outside. Cuz that's when all the ghosts, ghouls, and goblins come a-knockin' on your front door looking for Trick-Or-Treat candy! So this year, I decided that instead of a full suppertime meal which would constantly be interrupted by little sugar-seeking gremlins, I'd fix a 'snacker pan,' one that holds a simple casserole that can be scooped out on corn chips and eaten on the run. Tamales sounded like the way to go, so here's my Halloween night vittles. You might want to make a pan for your house.

4 cups corn chips, coarsely crumbled
4 dozen hot tamales, either commercial or home-made (with gravy)
2 cans no-bean chili (15 ounce size)
1 pound cheese, Cheddar and Monterey Jack mixture, divided
2 cups sweet onions, medium diced
2 small bell peppers, medium diced
4 cans whole kernel corn, both white and yellow (15 ounce size)
1 small can black olives, sliced (3.8 ounce size)
1 small can chilies, finely diced (4 ounce size)
2 cans pinto beans with can liquid (15 ounce size)
2 cans black beans with can liquid (15 ounce size)
3 tablespoons water
1 small container sour cream (16 ounce size)
2 cups guacamole
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
1 family-size bag Scoops corn chips

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees (one of the oven racks should be positioned dead center in the oven).

While the oven is coming up to temp, unwrap the tamales and set them aside temporarily. Then, in a large disposable aluminum pan, begin working on the 'first layer' of the dish. It goes like this:

1 Half of the crumbled corn chips, then
2 Half of the unwrapped tamales and gravy, then
3 The first can of chili, then
4 One-third of the cheese mixture, then
5 Half of the onions and half of the bell peppers, then
6 One can each of the white and yellow corn , drained, then
7 Half the can of black olives, then
8 Half the can of chilies, then
9 One can each pinto and black beans, with liquid. R

Now simply repeat the layering process in order until all of the ingredients are used.

When everything is in the casserole pan, top off the dish with a final layer of cheese and chips. Then sprinkle the water evenly over the top.

All that's left now is to bake the 'snacker,' uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until the pan is all bubbly and browned. When you're ready to eat, serve the casserole as a nutritious family dip, using Frito Scoops.

You'll find it's easy to 'snack' until you get pretty full.

And you never once had to interrupt being available to run back and forth to the front door to feed the neighborhood kids their 'Trick-Or-Treat'candy.

Happy Halloween!!!


Chef's Notes:

Canned tamales will work in this recipe, but the commercially frozen or the homemade kind are better. Whenever I make this recipe for my family and friends, I like to use Pete Giovenco's Custom Gourmet Tamales and Gravy. 504-461-5368. Just make certain that everything you add to the casserole is uniformly and evenly distributed across the entire casserole.