Monday, April 20, 2015

Taco Pizza

With all the tex mex food we eat around here, you'd think that I would have made taco pizza, right? I've made burritos, chimichangas, fajitas, tacos, and enchiladas. I've even made homemade Churros. But never a taco pizza. 

What's even more incredulous about the fact that I have never made a taco pizza is that the Taco Pizza is probably my husbands favorite pizza. You know those pizza buffets?  Well he makes sure to always order a taco pizza for the buffet so he's sure to get it.  Yet, I've never made him one. 

Well, thanks to Heathers blog, It's Yummy to My Tummy, I found a taco pizza to make.  I found several recipes I'd love to make for the Secret Recipe Club but as soon as I saw the taco pizza, I was hooked. 

Heathers blog is chock full of wonderful recipes. We seem to have started blogging for similar reasons.  She says that she just likes to share recipes with friends and is often asked, "What is the recipe?" I used to get that all the time! This has been a great way to share recipes that I love with friends!  

One of my favorite parts of her recipe was the crust. I've made crust before and it wasn't TOO different but this crust was the best. It came together super easily and the texture out of the oven was perfect!  That's the part I've been disappointed with crusts, the texture.  It's always too crispy or not crispy enough. This was perfect! I actually made the crust again and made pizza again the next day for lunch for the kids.  Even they loved the crust.  This is for sure my go-to crust from now on. 

The taco pizza sauce really was amazing too. It is a combination of pizza sauce, taco sauce and refried beans.  It really is good.  Heather made her meat sauce a bit different than I did.  She did the traditional beef with taco season packet and water.  I make my taco meat using ground turkey, a couple tablespoons of taco seasoning, salsa and refried beans. I don't measure, I just add enough to make it look good. The kids don't even know they are eating beans in the taco meat.  You can use whatever taco meat recipe that you use.  I sometimes add some chipotle seasoning for a different taste.  

This pizza was amazing.  The crust was perfectly crunchy.  The sauce with the meat and oooey gooey cheese was amazing and the Doritos on top just made it perfect.  It looks messy but it really wasn't.  My husband has already requested it again. I'm sure it won't be too long before I make it again!

Taco Pizza

Taco Pizza Sauce:
  • 2/3 cup of taco sauce
  • 2/3 cup of pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup of refried beans
Taco Meat: (**see note below for alternate method)
  • 1 package of taco meat seasoning (about 1/4 cup taco seasoning) 
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 lb. of ground beef or ground turkey

  • 1 1/2 cups or so of taco blend cheese or mozzarella cheese
  • Pizza Crust (see below for recipe, or a pre-made crust) 
  • Toppings: 
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Chopped tomato (or could use salsa)
  • Doritos or similar taco chips, broken up
  • Optional toppings:
  • Sour cream
  • Sliced black olives
  • Diced onions
Prepare crust per recipe below or use a pre-made crust. Brown ground beef, drain fat if needed. Then add in water and taco meat seasoning and simmer for a few minutes.

Prepare taco pizza sauce by mixing together taco sauce, pizza sauce, and refried beans. Mix until smooth. 

Preheat your crust for 5 minutes at 425 if you haven't already. Top pizza crust with sauce. Add some of the taco meat, sprinkle with the taco blend cheese and layer with more taco meat. 

Place in a preheated 425-450 degree oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and brown. Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes. Then add your desired toppings of shredded lettuce, broken up Doritos chips, and chopped tomatoes.

Pizza dough/Crust recipe
1 package of dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups flour 

Dissolve yeast in warm water, sugar, salt, and flour. Add in 1 tbsp olive oil to mix dough until smooth. Roll into a ball and cover for about 15-20 minutes. Next divide the ball into two sections and roll out or spread onto a greased cookie sheet or pizza pan. I used a pan with a silpat liner.  Preheat the crust for 5 minutes before adding toppings.

**Alternate method for making taco meat: 
1 lb. ground turkey or beef
2 tbsp. taco seasoning
about 1 cup salsa
about 1/2 cup refried beans

Cook meat and add the rest and stir. I don't really measure here, I just throw it together until it looks good.  You can play around with flavors by using different salsas or you can add some chipotle seasoning.  

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lemon Squares

First of all, I must apologize for only having one, not-so-great picture of these lemon squares. I remember making them and my kids just super eager to dig in and I told them to cut some and take a picture.  I thought I'd get back to them to take some more pictures.  Well, clearly that didn't happen. They didn't last long at all.  

I couldn't not post this recipe just because the picture isn't too great.  The shortbread crust is buttery and perfect and the filling is sweet and lemony.  They were amazing bars and I know that I'll make them again. Hopefully I'll remember to take better pictures. 


Lemon Squares

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar

4 large eggs
5 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. grated lemon zest
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Mix the flour and powdered sugar in a bowl and add the melted butter. Mix until dough forms. Press the mixture firmly into a 9 x 13 in. pan lined with parchment paper. Bake the crust for 25 minutes. 

Make the filling: While the crust is baking, combine the eggs, lemon juice and zest until smooth.  Add the granulated sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.  Beat until smooth.  Pour the mixture over the baked crust.  Bake for 20 minutes more. 

Remove the pan from oven and let cool completely. Sprinkle the top with a bit of powdered sugar. Cut into squares and enjoy.  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pizza Stuffed Pasta Shells

It's hard to find something to make for dinner that everyone will eat.  There always seems to be one person in the house who will decide to make their own food because they don't like what I made.  Whatever, their choice, right?  

The two things that every one agrees on is pizza and pasta.  Most the time, I can't go wrong with one of those. Well, every night can't be pizza or pasta. (gosh, wouldn't that be nice!)  So here is a dish that combines the two.

I don't remember where I got the recipe, I didn't write it down. I'm bad like that. I usually just use recipes as guidelines anyways. I know that the original recipe put the pizza sauce on TOP of everything but I put it in the filling.  I thought it was a mistake and would make the filling to goopy. Not at all! I think it would have been too goopy and more like a casserole.  This way they were easier to eat individually and the filling was perfect.  

The filling is adaptable to your tastes.  Feel free to add some italian sausage or mushrooms or any other pizza toppings.  

These Pizza Stuffed Shells were awesome.  Everyone loved them and I only wish that I made more as they would have made delicious leftovers. 

Pizza Stuffed Shells

15 - 18 jumbo shells
1/2 lb. ground turkey (or beef)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 tsp. oregano
4 oz. pepperoni, chopped 
1 green pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 cup pizza sauce (I used spaghetti sauce)
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Cook shells according to package directions.  Drain and set aside to cool. I like to spray with a bit of cooking spray so they won't stick together. 

Brown the ground turkey, onion and garlic.  Drain any fat. 

Add the pepperoni, green pepper, oregano and tomato. Cook about 3 or 4 minutes or until green pepper is slightly softened.  Add the pizza sauce and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and stir until heated. 

Fill each shell with the pepperoni mixture and place in baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover with foil and bake about 20 minutes.  Remove foil and sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella cheese.  Return to oven until cheese is melted and bubbly. 

**The original recipe called to put the pizza sauce on TOP of the noodles rather than to put it in the mixture. I put it in the mixture and enjoyed it that way but if you'd like, you can omit it from adding to the pepperoni mixture and put it on top of the noodles and then sprinkle with cheese.  

Friday, April 10, 2015

Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies

My baby wanted cookies.  My 12 year old baby. He then went online and found a recipe and proceeded to make cookies. By himself. It was awesome.  

I don't particularly like making cookies. I prefer throwing something in a pan and baking it. Making batch after batch of cookies isn't my thing. 

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when he volunteered to do it all.  He made the batter, scooped tray after tray of batter on the pan and put them in and out of the oven. He even cleaned up. Sorta. I was seriously impressed. 

They tasted amazing too. They were crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. My favorite. With him around, I may never have to make a cookie again!

Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies

1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
3 tbsp. butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350.

In a bowl sift together the flour and baking powder, set aside.

Put the butter and chocolate chips in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat  until melted and smooth. Set aside.

Mix eggs, sugar and vanilla in large bowl.

With electric beater, beat the mixture for about 10 minutes or until pale and creamy.

Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture.

Stir in the melted chocolate followed by the butterscotch chips.  Let stand for about 10 minutes.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes until dry and slightly cracked.

Cool on trays.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Lentil Rice Tacos

I still like to eat vegetarian meals. I'm just not a big meat eater and I like beans. And lentils. There is nothing like keeping a bin full of tex mex lentils in the fridge to eat throughout the week. I like to put a little guacamole and then top with tomatoes and red onions.  Then I'll lightly spray corn tortillas with cooking spray and toast them on the stove until they are slightly puffy and crispy. Perfect.  Everyone in the family likes to top theirs differently of course.  

How do you like to top your tacos?

 Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos Recipe

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 4 cup water
  • 1-2 tbsp. chili powder (depending on your preference)
  • pinch – 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (depending on your preference)
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • black pepper, as desired

Begin by soaking your lentils.  Place the 1 cup lentils in a large bowl, cover with cool water and allow them to sit overnight.  In the morning, drain the water and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine the  onion, minced garlic, up to 2 tbsp. chili powder, a pinch of red pepper flakes, paprika and salt in the bottom of your crock pot.  I doubled the recipe so I used a big crock pot.  Add black pepper, as desired. 
To the crockpot, add the water and tomato sauce (you could use taco sauce here, if you want).  Stir in the lentils and the brown rice.
Cover, and cook on high for 4 hours.  I recommend 4 hours on high because the rice tends to get gummy and mushy if cooked on low, and the lentils might not get done.  So, 4 hours on high, covered.  You might wish to stir occasionally, but that is not necessary. 

Use as the base filling for your taco.  Fill a soft or hard shell, and top with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, salsa, sour cream and/or black beans!