Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mexican Pizza

For as long as I can remember, my favorite thing to order at Taco Bell has been the Mexican pizza. I used to get it without beans, but lately I've started liking beans a little more--the flavor is fine; it's the texture that I have trouble with. Either way, going to Taco Bell is not the best dinner option calorie-wise. Their Mexican pizza comes in at 540 calories, which isn't too bad, but let's face it, no one orders just one thing at Taco Bell. If I can make it at home though, I can't be tempted to add, let's say, an enchirito and a meximelt, or any of their other tasty tastiness. Plus, making it home alleviates my main problem with the Mexican pizza: nonuniformity. Maybe it's just me, but I always end up with a smear of refried beans on one half, a small blob of meat right in the middle, and nothing on the other third or so of the pizza. When I make it myself, I can assemble it however I want, and Justin doesn't have to hear me complain.

Instead of regular tortillas, I used shells for taco salads that you bake at home. They're made by Azteca, and I found them right by the rest of the refrigerated tortillas. Alternatively, you could fry a couple tortillas yourself, or you could brush some soft tortillas with oil and bake them until crispy. That's basically what the Azteca ones were. They also come with the stand to be able to make them bowl-shaped for actual taco salads, but I just threw those away. To save on calories, I only used a tortilla for the bottom of the pizza, instead of the two layers Taco Bell uses.

I used canned refried beans, though you could make your own if you're so inclined. For the cheese, I used a finely-shredded pizza blend made with cheddar and mozzarella. I prefer finely-shredded cheese, sometimes referred to as "fancy," but Justin likes the thicker kind. I usually win out.

For the leftovers tomorrow night, I'll probably throw some diced red onion on top of my pizza, too. I didn't think to do it tonight because it's not "traditionally" (Can you even use that word with something made by Taco Bell?) on there, but I love onions with Mexican food. Tonight, I also tossed some canned, diced tomatoes on top, but it isn't really necessary since it already has tomato sauce on it. Also, remember that less is more when it comes to the tomato sauce; if you put too much, your tortilla will get soggy., and nobody likes a soggy tortilla.


4 bake-at-home taco salad shells
1 lb ground beef
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chipotle chile powder* (more or less to taste)
1/4 c water
16 oz can refried beans
1 1/3 c shredded cheese
8 oz can tomato sauce
Pinch of sugar

*If you don't have or can't find chipotle chile powder, substitute ground red pepper or any other ground chile of your choice.


Bake taco salad shells flat on a sheet pan according to package directions.

Brown ground beef in a skillet, chopping continuously with a spatula or the edge of a spoon to create fine crumbles. Drain, and return to pan. Stir in cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chipotle chile powder, and water, and heat through. Season with salt to taste.

Heat tomato sauce on medium-low. Stir in a pinch of sugar; salt to taste. Heat refried beans.

To assemble, spread refried beans on baked shell, followed by a layer of beef. Top with tomato sauce and cheese.

Servings: 4

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