Christmas Tamales

Tis the season…. I thought I’d share a recipe for “tamales” that we would make for special occasions in prison. All of  the ingredients are non perishable and bought from the commissary.


  • 2- large bag of nacho cheese tortilla chips
  • 6- packs of nacho squeeze cheese
  • 3- packs of roast beef
  • 1- jar of jalapenos
  • Hot sauce to taste


  • Stinger- to heat water
  • Styrofoam cooler
  • Saran wrap (must buy from kitchen staff)
  • clean pair of shoe laces



  1. Gently open one end of the chip bag to let air out. Take a soda bottle and roll over the top of bag to crush the nacho chips inside. This will grind the chips into a fine corn grain. Repeat with second bag.
  2. Heat a cup of water to a slow boil with your stinger.
  3. slowly add the boiled water and one squeeze cheese to one bag of chips and gently knead the mixture from the outside of bag.  Do not make mixture too watery. It should be consistency of a moist dough.
  4. Once you have a firm but moist mixture, gently press flat inside the bag. This is the bottom layer of your tamales.
  5. repeat for second bag of chips and set aside.
  6. Heat all the plastic meat packs and cheese.
  7. Open these packs and mix all meat packs , 2 squeeze cheese, jalapenos and hot sauce together. This is your tamale filling and can be varied to your taste.
  8. spread meat mixture over bottom layer of chip mixture inside the bag. You are essentially using the chip bag as a casserole dish.
  9. Spread second chip mixture over the top of meat mixture. This takes skill as you want it to be flat and and meat mixture sealed within corn mixture.
  10. slide this finished tamale chip bag into the  empty chip bag.
  11. Wrap the entire thing in saran wrap. Use as much as you can hustle.
  12. Thread two shoelaces 2″ down from top of cooler. You are making a resting place to steam tamales above boiling water.
  13. Fill styrofoam cooler half way with hot water and add stinger to heat. This can take an hour or more to get the water hot.
  14. Place tamales on top of shoelaces above boiling water and seal with cooler lid.
  15. Continue to heat as long as possible, it was like waiting on turkey at Thanksgiving. Wake up early and get it started.
  16. Remove, unwrap except one chip bag. Slice bag open down the middle. This is your serving tray. Cut into tamale shape size and serve.


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