Trivia question: What is the most overpriced item on Taco Bell’s menu?
Answer: Their Mexican Pizza, of course.
It also happens to be, perhaps, my favorite item on their menu (with the Beef Mexi-Melt). You do remember where I explained that I ate Tex-Mex breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout my third trimester with Muffin, right?
I wasn’t kidding.
It’s not that I was craving it (at least, any more than normal). It was that I was pregnant, and I wanted to encourage my son’s taste buds to like Tex-Mex in the womb. And I was having a normal (non-pregnancy) craving that my pregnancy left me free to indulge.
My bouts of pregnancy insomnia were spent (to Josh’s irritation) banging pots and pans around at 2 and 3 in the morning in order to make a nacho bake or enchilada casserole that I just had to get done before morning.
I didn’t need to eat it or anything. (There were probably taco leftovers in the fridge. I just needed to cook it to ensure that we would be able to have Tex-Mex the next night and for leftovers.)
Has anyone noticed how, umm, skimpy the Mexican Pizzas have become in the last few years? When I found the recipe for them at Life in the Lofthouse, I decided to load them up to make them a meal on their own.
In other words, if I’m going to eat one, let it be worth the calorie splurge.
As you can see from the picture above, I may have gone a bit overboard. Just a bit. Possibly.
I had trouble finishing a whole one. I considered it a successful experiment at that point.
One thing that I would really stress that isn’t mentioned in the original post: Poke a few holes in your tortillas with a fork in order to keep them from blowing up like balloons. Trust me. Balloon tortillas make the process a bit problematic.
This is best completed with an assembly line process, getting the whole family involved. It becomes way too complicated if you use one person to do it all.
Adapted from Life in the Lofthouse
1 pound ground meat (I think we used turkey)
1 packet taco seasoning (or homemade) If you use store-bought, try to find a lower sodium one.
1/2 cup water
8 fajita-size/small flour tortillas
1 (15-16 ounce) can refried beans, warmed (or homemade) If canned, you may want to loosen the beans with a bit of water. (Think the consistency of Taco Bell’s Pintos and Cheese.)
1 (15-16 ounce) can enchilada sauce (If you have a great homemade one, leave me a line below–which will go to my e-mail–so that I can try it out.)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (I would probably use regular Monterey jack for Muffin next time.)
1 tomato, diced
2 green onions, diced
1 small can sliced ripe olives
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. “Dock” the flour tortillas in several places with a fork. Spray both sides of each tortilla with non-stick spray. Place four tortillas each on a half sheet pan.
Place in the oven and bake five minutes. Turn carefully while in the oven and bake another five minutes. The goal is golden and crispy.
Remove from the oven and stack carefully on a paper towel.
Meanwhile, make the taco meat by browning the ground meat in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in taco seasoning and water. Bring mixture to a boil and then simmer 10 minutes.
The building process:
Place one tortilla on the (hopefully cooled) sheet pan. Spread a thin layer of refried beans on the tortilla. Top with 1/4 of the meat mixture. Place another tortilla on top of the meat. Spread 3 tablespoons of enchilada sauce on top of the tortilla. Sprinkle with both of the cheeses. Add a few slices of green onion, tomato, and olives.
Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Bake ten minutes until cheese and sauce is bubbly. Let sit a few minutes before cutting and serving. By the way (I am not receiving any compensation for this), if you have one of those red Xyliss pizza cutters that Alton Brown used to use on Good Eats, use that. If you don’t, get one. It makes the cutting process of these pizzas (relatively) mess free.
These were Muffin, Muffin’s Mama, and Muffin’s Dada (Josh) Approved.