Taco Bell Mexican Pizza


Last week I decided that I wanted a Mexican Pizza from Taco Bell.  So I googled recipes and gave it a shot.  I combined the basic ideas of the various recipes I found and added my own twist.

I think it turned out really good.  And, it was surprisingly simple.  3 out of 4 people who ate them thought they tasted just like Taco Bell.  The fourth thought it tasted really good, but thought the meat was a little different than Taco Bell  (psssht.  Whatever!).

Anyway, this is my version of the Taco Bell Mexican Pizza.  It's delicious.  Try it.  Because I said so.

What I used:
2 packages of 6 -7" FLOUR tortillas
16 Ounces Taco Bell Brand Refried Beans
1 Lb. Ground Beef
1.25 Ounces (1 Package) Taco Bell Chipotle Taco Seasoning Mix
1 Large Tomato, diced
1 Bunch of Green Onions, thinly sliced
2.25 Ounces Sliced Black Olives
8 Ounces Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
16 Ounces Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
16 Ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
16 Ounces Enchilada Sauce

What I did:
1.  Cooked the beef thoroughly, making sure to crumble it up into very small pieces as it was cooking.

2.  Added the taco seasoning mix to the beef, following directions.

3.  Preheated the oven to 400.

4.  Put a skillet on the stove on medium heat.  After the skillet had heated up a bit, added about 4 tablespoons of Crisco.  Melted the Crisco.

    Hint:  You want just enough melted Crisco to cover the bottom of the skillet -- you don't want
      to completely submerge the tortilla in Crisco.

5.  Cooked each flour tortilla in the skillet until each side was golden brown (about 30 - 45 seconds per side).  After each tortilla cooked, I transferred it to a plate covered in paper towels to drain off the grease.

     Hint:  If air bubbles form in the tortillas while you are cooking them, pierce
      the bubbles so your tortilla remains fairly flat.

6.  Warmed the refried beans in the microwave.

7.  Assembled the pizzas in the following order:
  • One cooked tortilla.
  • Spread 3-4 Tablespoons of refried beans on top of the tortilla
  • Sprinkled 2-3 Tablespoons of seasoned ground beef on top of the refried beans.
  • Topped with another cooked tortilla.
  • Spread 1-2 Tablespoons of enchilada sauce on top of the top tortilla.
  • Sprinkled about 2 Tablespoons of each cheese on top of the enchilada sauce.
  • Sprinkled diced tomatoes, green onions, and black olives on top of the cheese.
8.  Placed each pizza on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Placed the cookie sheet in the oven and baked it for 3-4 minutes, or until the cheeses were thoroughly melted.

9.  Removed pizzas from the oven and cut into four smaller pizza slices.

I served these with a side of Mexican rice and condiments such as sour cream and picante sauces. 

This made a TON of food.  I got 7 pizzas out of this recipe and I found them to be quite filling.  I was able to eat a serving of rice and 1 slice (1/4 of each pizza) before I got full, so be prepared.



Fruit Pizza


I love this dessert.  It's great for the summer time when all the fruit is luscious and in season.  The "sauce" is made of cream cheese, which gives it just a bit of tang.  You can customize it with whatever fruit meets your fancy (or whatever happens to be in season).  Then, you just cut it up into slices like a pizza!  It's easy to make and easy to eat.  Plus, it has fruit on top, so it's got to be healthy, right?

I do have a confession to make before we get any further.  Sometimes, I don't make everything from scratch.  *GASP*  This is one of those times.  The crust of this pizza is just like one massive sugar cookie.  I didn't have time to make sugar cookie dough from scratch, so I used a Krusteaz mix.  They were ah.maz.ing.  Seriously, I'm considering not making sugar cookies from scratch this Christmas.  But, don't tell anybody . . .

Here's what I used:
1 Batch of Krusteaz Sugar Cookie Mix
1 Package of Cream Cheese, softened
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
Various Fruit, cleaned and sliced

Here's what I did: 
1.  Made the Krusteaz Sugar Cookie Mix as directed.  Placed in a large round pan and baked as directed. 

     *Hint:  Obviously, the folks who wrote the instructions for making the cookie mix didn't 
      anticipate that you would be making one massive sugar cookie.  So bake as directed,
      except as to the time directed.  You're going to have to keep an eye on the cookie
      and take it out when it's golden brown.*

2.  After the crust is baked, set it to side to cool.

3.  Mix the cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Set it to the side.

4.  Clean and cut up your fruit toppings.  Put each type of fruit in a separate bowl for topping the pizza.

5.  Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the filling.

6.  Top the pizza with your fruit toppings.

7.  Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

8.  Cut into pizza slices.



Chicken Pillows


First, a couple of items of business:
     1.   I know I've been slow to post lately and haven't been posting as much as usual -- I'm sorry.  I've been really busy with the normal things like work, volunteering, social activities, etc., plus, I've been in the process of buying a house.  I close this week, so hopefully things will slow down and I'll be able to post more regularly. 

     2.   Can somebody please come up with a better name for this recipe? Puuuhhllleeeaaassseee???  I completely understand that there is nothing appetizing about the name of this recipe.  Honestly, I only made them because my mom wanted me to.  In the end, I'm glad I did.  They ended up tasting great.  But, that name . . .

Anyhow, this recipe is one that I modified from another one of my mom's cookbooks.  The cookbook is called 101 Things to do With a Dutch OvenThe recipe is on page 54 of my mom's version of the cookbook.  If you haven't figured it out by the name of the book -- this is a recipe for a dutch oven.  I modified the recipe slightly and cooked it in the regular oven and everything came out great. 

I found this recipe to be relatively easy to make and quite filling.  I served it with some veggies and called it a meal!

Here's what I used:
2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Bunch of Green Onions
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
2 Can of Crescent Rolls

Here's what I did:
1.  Seasoned and diced the chicken.  Preheated oven to 350 degrees. 

2.  Cooked the chicken in a pan until browned on outside and thoroughly cooked.
     Hint:  The next time I make this recipe, I'll use shredded chicken as I think
     it fits these little chicken pockets more easily that diced chicken, but the
     diced chicken did work out fine.

3.  Set chicken to the side to cool

4.  Finely sliced the green onions.

5.  Mixed the green onions with the cream cheese.

6.  Added the cooled chicken to the cream cheese mixture.

7.  Opened the cans of crescent rolls and divided the dough into 16 triangles.

8.  Placed one scoop of the cream cheese mixture in the middle of each crescent roll triangle.

9.  Rolled up each crescent roll like a jelly roll (beginning with the widest end).

10.  Ensured that all seams were tightly sealed on each pillow. 

11.   Placed the pillows on a cookie sheet, with as many seams down (against the cookie sheet) as possible.

12.  Baked for about 12 minutes.  Remove them from the oven when the crescent roll is golden brown and flaky.

     The next time I make this recipe, I am going to try it with a Mexican flare.  I'll used diced chilies and such.  If it turns out well, I post the recipe on here (of course!).



Blueberry Cheesecake Pie


I was browsing through my mom's cookbooks a while ago because I was in a bit of a recipe funk.  I was looking for something fruity and relatively light as it's still summerI found this recipe in a Better Homes and Gardens' New Cook Book (irony:  It's not new.  It's older than me).  In the cookbook, it's called Blueberry Strata Pie and it's on page 241 of my mom's version of the book.  I ended up deviating from the recipe quite a bit, so I'm not sure I can say it's my version of Blueberry Strata Pie; I think it's more like the Blueberry Strata Pie was my inspiration for this pie.  Anyhow, it turned out great.  It was light and refreshing and fruity, exactly what I was looking for.  I'll definitely be browsing through my mom's old cookbooks more often!

Here's what I used:
21 ounces of Blueberry Pie Filling
8 3/4 ounces Crushed Pineapple
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 Cup + 3 tablespoons Sugar
1 tablespoon Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
Whipped Cream

Here's what I did:
1.  Drained the Crushed Pineapple, setting the pineapple juice to the side.

2.  Blended the Cream Cheese, 3 tablespoons Sugar, 1 tablespoon Milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. 

3.  Stirred the crushed pineapple into the cream cheese mixture.  Mixed well.

4.  Spread the cream cheese mixture over the Graham Cracker Crust. 

5.  Refrigerated the cream cheese and graham cracker crust while finishing the rest of the pie.

6.  Combined the cornstarch and pineapple juice.

7.  Cooked the cornstarch and pineapple juice on medium heat until it thickened.

8.  Once it thickened, removed it from the heat and added the Blueberry Pie Filling and Lemon Juice, stirring until well combined.

9.  Set the pie filling mixture to the side to cool completely.

10.  Once the pie filling was completely cool, I spread it over the cream cheese mixture in the pie crust.

11.  Refrigerated until completely cool.

12.  Top each piece with a dollop of Whipped Cream immediately before serving.