Monday, November 19, 2012
When I was in college, I had a friend named Laura. We all called her by her last name, Shoe. (Spelled much differently.) Every now and then, she'd call and want to go to Taco Bell. I generally can't stand TB, but I did like Laura, so we'd go and get Mexican Pizzas, hers always without tomatoes. And while I always said I didn't like Taco Bell, I'd inhale my late-night pizza. Mexican Pizzas and Taco Bell are now synonymous with Laura in my brain. We've been playing phone tag lately, and I realized it's been at least three years since I last saw her. Without Laura to call and invite me on a late night run, I realized it's been YEARS since I last ate at a Taco Bell. I'm a sap, and I really started to feel nostalgic for college and the good times we had.
About a week ago, I started really craving pizza. It had been a while since we made pizza at home, so I was really looking forward to it. I couldn't decide on a type of pizza. Teryaki? Hawaiian? Greek? I started thinking about all the times I wanted to make taco pizza over the summer, but we never got around to it. When I saw this pizza from Trader Joe's, I was drawn in and wanted to make it right away. It tugged at my heartstrings and brought back all those warm, fuzzy feelings I have for Laura, Taco Bell, and midnight snack runs.
This is a perfect weeknight meal. All the ingredients are things we generally have on hand, and it came together in 20 minutes. While I used some canned and convenience ingredients for this meal, homemade beans, for example, would really take this to the next level.
(Adapted from Trader Joe's)
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
15 oz. fat-free refried beans
8 corn tortillas
1 c. chunky salsa, any heat level
2 c. Mexican cheese blend
2-3 green onions, sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, cored and diced
1/4 c. black olives, pitted and sliced
Heat oven to 400* F. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef. Add onion and saute beef and onion together. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes Season with chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper, and drain off fat. Set aside.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place tortillas on baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. When ready, top 4 tortillas with refried beans, followed by a layer of the beef mixture. Top with remaining four tortillas. Bake for 5-10 minutes.
Spread salsa over the tortillas. Top with cheese, green onions, tomatoes, and olives. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and begins to bubble. Serve with your favorite toppings.