I like Taco Bell, but do not frequent it very often. And when I do, I usually pick up the 7 layer Burrito and that's it. I hardly bothered with trying new tastes, an occasional chalupa (?) maybe.
That said, I do like Mexican food but I am not too keen on going out to eat, why? because it makes me suspicious. Huh? It has familiar ingredients. Yes, but what if lard is used in anything? Years ago, I read a post by a blogger ( her blog is private now) who mentioned the free use of lard as a cooking medium. I could not digest that and now I am more comfortable eating at Indian restaurants and trying some recipes (non Indian), that I like, at home.
My friend, Sonali, taught me this recipe ( among others, which will soon be featured on AC@H- I think I will call it the Sonali Trilogy!!).
Her son, though 2 years older than my boy, is a good companion to little S, playing, teaching and occasionally grumbling. The kids and the Mom's get along well!
Now Sonali is a working woman and on her weekly off days, she is bustling about in her kitchen making all the things her son enjoys eating and we all benefit from that ;)
One such weekly off day, she made Mexican Pizza and invited me over. As a result, the first recipe of the year comes to you, from Sonali's kitchen and reproduced in mine and over to you!
There are a couple of variations to the original recipe (Taco Bell) and still more made in my kitchen.
This 'pizza' is very filling and a one dish meal.
The ingredient list is a bit long, involving getting a lot from the stores, but the end product is so worth it!
Arm yourself with :
Tortillas ( Flour Tortillas recommended, but for healthier version, choose wheat, be prepared for change in taste) I used 6 inch
1 can Refried Beans ( my friend Vandana, tells me that most refried beans are made with bacon, so make sure if you are a vegetarian, to select a 100% vegetarian can of refried beans, read the label / ingredient list, carefully).
Taco Sauce ( I got Taco Bell brand, available at most grocery stores)
Mexican Blend Cheese
Chopped Bell Pepper
Chopped Green Onions / Scallions (green and white )
Cilantro to garnish
I empty the refried beans in a non stick sauce pan and gently re-heat them. I also added some chili flakes and cumin and garlic powder, adding any spices is purely optional.
Pre heat the oven to 400 deg. F.
There are 2 ways you can go about making this pizza.
This involves deep frying the Tortillas in oil (prick the tortilla using a fork or else it will puff up, like a puri)
Drain the tortillas on tissue paper (2 tortillas to a pizza)
Take one tortilla, Spoon about 1/3 cup ( or less) of the refried beans evenly on top. If you are using Salsa, spread 1 tbsp of it over the beans.
Place the second tortilla over the first.
Spread some Taco Sauce over the second tortilla.
Top with shredded cheese, and the chopped vegetables.
Place the assembled pizza on a baking tray and place inside the oven and bake for about 8-10 minutes until the cheese has melted
Cut, using a pizza cutter and serve immediately.
Spray the Tortillas with oil, on both sides and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the tortilla has golden spots on it and the edges are crispy golden brown.
Remove from the oven and follow the procedure as mentioned in ASSEMBLY
Deep fried Tortillas are super crunchy and tasty, as most deep fried things are. I prefer the baked version with minimal oil. The tortillas crisp up beautifully in the oven and make it a relatively guilt free indulgence.
These are best eaten as soon as they are made. The refried beans make the tortillas soggy, if kept longer. But in case you do have some left overs, try toasting them in a toaster oven for a few minutes and serve.
I used 6 inch Flour Tortillas and found one pizza quite filling.
Additional toppings suggestions : Avocado slices/ cubes and sour cream.
I'd like to try whole wheat Tortillas next time.If you try WW Tortillas, do drop me a comment and let me know how you like 'em.