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IMG_2010I haven't eaten at a Taco Bell in years, but, it's worth mentioning the first time I ate a Mexican pizza was the first time I ate at a Taco Bell -- and I liked it a lot.    My personal-sized "snack pizza" came as a pleasant surprise.  It contained refried beans, nicely-seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, a few small-diced tomatoes and red enchilada sauce -- all sandwiched between two slightly-crispy flour tortillas.  It wasn't my choice to stop at their drive-thru window on that day, but, I must admit, it indeed inspired me to make many a Mexican "snack pizza" for our three boys.

IMG_2038Mexican-style snack pizza -- Taco Bell made me to do it! 

IMG_1802After a week of cooking and blogging about New Mexico-style red chile enchilada sauce, plus two recipes for the ever-popular kid- and tailgate-tested New Mexico-style spicy ground beef, lots-of-onion and green chiles enchiladas, and, Jack cheese, black bean and sweet corn enchiladas, I have just enough of yummy "this" and "that" leftover in my refrigerator to make a really tasty "snack pizza" -- just for myself.  

That said, when it comes to IMG_1917Mexican-style flour-tortilla pizza in general, I've often make several of them (four will fit on a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking sheet lined with parchment paper). Once they're cut into wedges, I place 'em all on a big plate and serve 'em up as super-wonderful appetizers at cocktail or tailgate parties. They're also a great idea for a kids party as they all kids love getting a personal-sized pizza.

Use the following recipe as a template (a guide, a method).  Pick and choose your favorite toppings -- or use what you have leftover.  Taco Bell copycat recipes use all store-bought ingredients: ground beef seasoned with a Taco seasoning packet, a can of enchilada sauce (or a jar of salsa), refried beans and sliced black olives, and, a bag of shredded cheddar.  Don't roll your eyes -- all kids love it, and, at midnight, in secret, most adults do too. 

IMG_1705Think of it this way, anything that you would put in a quesadilla, will work in a tortilla pizza (and it doesn't have to be Mexican fare).  I just happen to have leftover homemade enchilada sauce, grated Monterey Jack jalapeño cheese, diced tomatoes and minced cilantro, plus, meat filling and cheese filling (from the enchiladas pictured above) -- it's going to be a great combination. 

For each 6"-round Mexican pizza (ingredients are in "layering order"):

1  flour tortilla

IMG_18691/4  cup refried beans

1  tablespoon enchilada sauce

1/2  cup seasoned ground beef (Note:  I'm using 1/4 cup of both of my fillings today.)

1  flour tortilla

1  tablespoon enchilada sauce

1/4  cup grated jalapeño Jack & 2 tablespoons yellow cheddar

2 tablespoons diced tomato

1  tablespoon thinly-sliced black olives (optional)

1  tablespoon minced, fresh cilantro or green scallion tops, for garnish after baking pizza

IMG_1967 IMG_1970 IMG_1974Step 1.  Spray an 8" nonstick skillet with no-stick cooking spray and place it over medium-high heat.  Place one flour tortilla in the skillet and spray the top of the tortilla too.  Cook, flipping the tortilla frequently (three-four times), until it is turning lightly-golden and puffing up in random spots across the surface, 1-1 1/2 minutes per side.  Repeat this process with second tortilla (or as many as you are making).

IMG_1965 IMG_1978 IMG_1982 IMG_1983~Step 2.  Line a pie dish (or a baking sheet for multiples) with parchment paper.  Place one (or more) tortilla on the parchment.  Spread 1/4 cup refried beans across the surface, then spread 1 tablespoon enchilada sauce atop the refried beans.  Distribute 1/2 cup filling mixture atop beans (I'm using 1/4 cup beef filling and 1/4 cup cheese filling, for a total of 1/2 cup filling).

IMG_1989 IMG_1993 IMG_1995 IMG_1997~Step 3.  Place a second tortilla atop the filling and spread 1 tablespoon enchilada sauce across the surface.  Distribute 1/4 cup jalapeño Jack cheese atop the sauce followed by 2 tablespoons yellow cheddar.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons diced tomato atop the cheese.  Bake on center rack of preheated 350° oven 8-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Remove from oven and cool for 4-5 minutes prior to garnishing with minced cilantro, slicing and serving.

Bake in 350° oven 8-10 minutes & cool 4-5 minutes:

IMG_2026Garnish w/minced cilantro, slice & eat ASAP:

IMG_2052Beefy, Cheesy, Fully-Loaded Mexican Tortilla Pizza:  Recipe yields instructions to make 1, individually-sized, 6"-round Mexican tortilla pizza/1 serving/4 small wedges per person.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; hand-held box grater; 8" nonstick skillet; 9" pie dish (for 1 pizza) or 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan (for 4 pizzas); parchment paper  

6a0120a8551282970b01a3fd151aae970bCook's Note:  Flour tortillas, along with most types of flatbread, make a delicious base for pizza.  When our garden tomatoes and basil are at their peak (which is just about two weeks from now) I make a fantastic tomato-basil pita pizza to snack upon on an almost daily basis.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)