Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Taco Pizza

A recipe from my husband... Taco Pizza.  We've been making this recipe for years but I keep tweaking it.  It's one of my husband's favorite meals and it's actually a vegetarian dish... which is hilarious to anyone who knows my husband because he's quite the carnivore.  My husband said when he was a kid, he loved to go to "Happy Joe's Pizza" and get a taco pizza.  It would come smothered with shredded ice berg lettuce and sliced fresh tomato and he tells me how he used to remove and throw away all the tomatoes. Now he likes the tomatoes.  Here is our version...

It doesn't look like much... crust, sauce, diced red onion, and grated cheese... but wait... there's more.

Crushed corn tortilla chips for crunch.  This time we used Tostitos brand blue corn chips... great!

A few teaspoons of warm and creamy refried beans (from a can).  My husband does not eat the pizza with beans... so the beans are optional but I think they add a LOT!

Here's where it gets really good.  Shredded lettuce and lots of fresh diced tomatoes... add a little salt and black pepper if desired.

And if you want to get even fancier, drizzle on a little sour cream.  I use low-fat plain yogurt.  I added a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground black pepper after I snapped this photo.

You can make this meal with your own favorite crust recipe, your own favorite taco sauce, and you can add your other favorite taco toppings... ground, seasoned hamburger, black olives, jalapeno slices.  Whatever you like.  The recipe below is very flexible.  It's more of an idea than a precise recipe.

I have used home made pizza dough but I have also used pre-baked pizza crust such as Mama Mary's, which I think are very good (if you are using a pre-baked crust, follow the cooking instructions on the package).

Taco Pizza

1/2 recipe pizza crust - See RECIPE below or use your favorite store bought crust
about 1 cup taco sauce (we use Ortega brand mild taco sauce)
1/2 to 3/4 cup red onion (small dice) - yellow onion works too
1 to 1 1/2 cups grated cheese (cheddar, colby jack, Mexican blend)
canned refried beans, warmed in microwave
shredded lettuce
diced tomatoes
sour cream or plain yogurt
optional toppings: black olives, sliced jalapenos, radishes

I yammered on and on about making great homemade pizza at home in a recent post about pizza; click HERE to see that post.  I will be more brief this time around. I measure nothing when I throw this together.  It's all about the ingredients, your preferences, and technique for using a pizza stone.
Ready to make this Taco Pizza? Let's go!
  1. Move your oven rack to the highest position available.
  2. Place your pizza stone in the oven on the top rack.
  3. Preheat your oven and pizza stone to 485 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Assemble all of your ingredients and have them ready; you want to work rather quickly once the dough hits the hot, hot, hot pizza stone.
  5. On a cutting board, sheet pan, or clean counter top, roll your crust out into a sort of round shape about the size of your pizza stone. Use a little a little flour on your work surface and rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking. You can also put a little cornmeal under the dough.
  6. Once your pizza stone and oven are preheated to 485 degrees, put your smokin' hot pizza stone on the counter top every hot pad you own to protect your counter top. Carefully put the dough on the pizza stone... shape the dough a little if you need to but it pretty much starts to cook the second you put the dough on the stone so you don't have a lot of time to mess with it. Top the dough with taco sauce, grated cheese, and diced onion. Quickly and carefully get this pie in the oven.
  7. Bake 10 to 13 minutes, depending on how well done you like your pizza. I like it crisp on the bottom and the cheese browned on the top. Start checking after 10 minutes. Things can change quickly in 1 minute when the oven is this hot. I usually turn the pizza 180 degrees since the back of my oven is hotter than the front of the oven.
  8. Slide pizza carefully off of the pizza stone and onto a cutting board or sheet pan; slice into 8 slices.  Top as desired with taco fixings. Enjoy!
Bread Machine Pizza Crust (makes 2 large, thin pizza crusts)
1 cup warm water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons yeast (I use Fleishman's bread machine yeast; keep in in the fridge)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Place ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. I put the yeast on top of the flour and I put the salt, yeast, sugar, and oil, in the corners. Set to "dough" setting and start (according to your bread machine's instructions. My dough cycle takes 1 1/2 hours.  Let the dough rest for about 20 to 30 minutes before rolling out.  If dough is refrigerated, let it come to room temperature before rolling (sit out for 1 to 2 hours to come to room temperature).

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