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Monday, June 11, 2012

Skinny Mexican Pizza



It's that time of year... kids home for summer, and always hungry!  My teens love Taco Bell, but I pretty much limit my Taco Bell experience to approximately two times a year.  When I do go, I've always enjoyed the Mexican Pizza there; but goodness gracious... do you know how much fat is in one of those things?! You know the one I'm talking about - Two crisp pizza shells filled with seasoned ground beef, hearty beans and then topped with pizza sauce, a three cheese blend melted to perfection, and topped with diced ripe tomatoes. (According to their website, 540 calories, 30 grams of fat.)

Well here is my answer for a stay-at-home, control-your-own-ingredients, much lower fat AND heartier version!  We are going to substitute whole wheat tortillas for the pizza shells, seasoned ground turkey for the beef, no-fat refried beans instead of the fully leaded ones, and fat free salsas for the pizza sauce.  We'll still have the cheese (my personal downfall, although you get to control the amount, and can use a reduced fat version) and the ripe diced tomatoes.. and we'll throw on some sliced black olives and thinly sliced green onions to liven things up.  

The verdict? This was hearty enough and "beefy" enough to fool my oldest who came in at lunch time from football practice.  You will NOT be able to distinguish this turkey from the normal beef!  This is a perfect, VERY filling lunch or afternoon snack for your family, that is endlessly customizable, and filled with lean protein, lots of fiber, vitamins and calcium out the wazoo!!  *Each one of these is enough to feed two hungry teens... and you can't say that for the Taco Bell version, either!

                  Watch me make these on the Video Link to cook along with me!!

 
Ingredients: (enough to feed 3 - 6 people)                
  • 6 whole wheat flour tortillas, medium sized
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • seasonings - salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano
  • 1 packet of beef flavored "flavor boost" (concentrated stock)
  • 1 pkg Taco Bell taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 can Taco Bell fat free refried beans
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • medium Taco Bell taco sauce
  • salsas of choice - Herdez red salsa and green salsa verde
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • Mexican blend grated cheese
  • 2 fresh green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • serve with - reduced fat sour cream, spicy guacamole

Step-by-step:
Brush the whole wheat tortillas with canola oil and broil in the oven about 4-5 minutes per side until puffy and golden.  They look so cool when they puff!  Very rustic.
100% whole wheat flour tortillas
Brush with canola oil
Broil on both sides several minutes until brown and puffy.
Break up and brown the ground turkey in a non-stick skillet so you won't have to add any excess oil.  Add salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and a bit of oregano to the turkey as it is browning.  Once it's cooked through, add one packet of beef flavored "flavor boost" stock, taco seasoning and water.  Let it cook until this makes a thick'ish sauce, then turn off the heat.

1 pound of ground turkey... pure lean protein!
About 1/2 tsp kosher salt
About 1 1/2  tsp black pepper
About 1 1/2  tsp cumin
About 1 tsp dried oregano
About 1 tsp chili powder
We're going to "fool" our culinary audience into thinking this is the same ground beef as we get at Taco Bell.  This concentrated beef stock will go a long ways towards dressing up our ground turkey in a cow suit!

Add 1 packet of the concentrated beef stock.
Add the packet of taco seasoning.  Since we are trying to replicate Taco Bell, I'm going to go with their seasoning products.

Add 3/4 cup water.
Here's our "beefy" ground meat.
To the refried beans, add a little chicken stock to thin it out.  We want to be able to spread it.
These fat free beans are loaded with protein and fiber.. without the fat.
Thin out the beans with a little chicken stock. Maybe half a cup.  This also pumps up the flavor.
Smooth and creamy now.
Assembly:  To the bottom tortilla, paint with red salsa, then add meat and a layer of cheese.  To the second tortilla, add beans, then flip over where the beans are on the bottom next to the cheese.  To the top of the second tortilla, paint with green salsa, add cheese, taco sauce, tomatoes, olives and green onions (or whatever you choose).
Obviously, feel free to choose your brands of choice.  But I find this brand to be fairly authentic tasting.
Add the meat to the first tortilla.  Now maybe you've noticed that my tortilla is a tiny bit browner than you'd like it.  I left one of my kids in charge of  crisping the tortillas while I went to pick up the oldest from football practice.  But you know what?  In the grand scheme of things (as my mother used to say), it's really no big deal.  It's skill building, creative thinking, time together, and a huge learning process when you let your kids help you cook. 
Add the red salsa to the beef.  - you could also paint the bottom tortilla with it.
Add some cheese.  This will help to glue it altogether.
To the under side of the top tortilla, spread a thin layer of beans.
Flip the top tortilla over so that the beans are on the bottom.
Paint the top tortilla with the salsa verde.  If you don't care for this, use the red salsa again.  Hey - this is your meal!
Add cheese to the top.  Okay, so maybe I forgot the "low fat" concept when it came time for the cheese.  I can't help myself.  But just think of all the fat we shaved off in the bottom layer of goodies!
Drizzle some taco sauce over the top.

Dress up your pizza with diced tomatoes, green onions and sliced olives.  However you think you'd like it!
Bake at 400 F until all melted or put it back under the broiler in the oven.  Seriously, is there anything better than the site of melted cheese?!
Cut into wedges with a lonnnnng knife and serve with condiments of choice.  I like spicy guacamole and some reduced fat sour cream.  Yumm!!  This is perfect for summer with a tall ice cold bottled Mexican beverage of choice - like one with a lime stuck in the top of it.

Mom and kid approved!!

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Here are some bonus recipes for you.
Oreo Cream Crunch Layer Dessert

Ritzy Cheddar Baked Chicken

One Pot Skillet Lasagna

Tomato Basil Chicken

Creamy Italian Sausage and Tortellini

Spicy Fried Cauliflower Bites
 Family Style Chicken Madeira
Stuffed Zucchini 
 
Written Directions:

Brush whole wheat tortillas with canola oil and broil in the oven about 4-5 minutes per side until puffy and golden.  Break up and brown the ground turkey in a non-stick skillet, adding salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and a bit of oregano as it is browning.  Once it's cooked through, add one packet of beef "flavor boost" stock, taco seasoning and water.  Let it cook until this makes a thick'ish sauce, then turn off the heat.  To the refried beans, add a little chicken stock to thin it out.  We want to be able to spread it.

Assembly:  To the bottom tortilla, paint with red salsa, then add meat and a layer of cheese.  To the second tortilla, add beans, then flip over where the beans are on the bottom next to the cheese.  To the top of the second tortilla, paint with green salsa, add cheese, taco sauce, tomatoes, olives and green onions (or whatever you choose).

Bake at 400 F until all melted or put it back under the broiler in the oven. Cut into wedges with a long knife and serve with condiments of choice. 


30 comments:

  1. I really like the sound of these tasty 'pizzas'!

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    Replies
    1. Kevin - please let me know if you give them a try!

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  2. Delicious! I love the use of tortillas...there is added crisp and you are right, lighter, healthier. You are a genius!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, MyFudo... I wouldn't go that far... but I do love the creative freedom of the kitchen! Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  3. I saw this this morning. I made it this evening. Delicious - thanks!

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    Replies
    1. What a wonderful note to open my blog to first thing this morning! So glad you enjoyed it!!

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  4. Dude. Skinny does not equal healthy. Get a dictionary.

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    Replies
    1. Wow. Just because you CAN post doesn't mean you should. Get some manners.

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  5. calories for this?

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, I don't have an answer for you on the calorie count as it would depend on quantities, brands used, etc. The whole point is that it can be relatively easy to make "healthier" substitutions - such as the whole wheat tortillas, lower fat cheeses & sour cream, turkey rather than beef, fat-free beans rather than fully loaded... so that your family can still enjoy the same flavorful dishes and you can feel better about them.

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  6. Thanks for posting a "healthier" version. Can't wait to try it tonight. I think my husband will like this one. Also to make it healthier you could make your own retried beans. And use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Use homemade chicken stock! And make your own taco seasoning and homemade salsa from fresh ingredients! Sounds like a lot of fun :)

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  7. Thanks for your "even more healthier" tips. I know readers will appreciate the advice. Hope it turns out well for you... was a big hit here!

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  8. I just made this recipe for my family, and it was very easy and delicious! Definitely making this again.

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  9. making this tonight!

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    Replies
    1. Hope you enjoy it as much as my family does! :)

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  10. Is each serving only 1/2 of the pizza? Because it says this will make enough to feed 6 people. And the ingredients only call for 6 tortillas but you use 2 tortillas for each pizza. That would only make 3 pizzas. So if it feeds 6 people, do everyone only get 1/2?

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    Replies
    1. In our experience here, half a pizza was PLENTY (and I'm talking about my teenagers)... as they are a lot heftier than the ones you order from the fast food place.. (we piled on the meat pretty substantially). That said, I suppose it depends on the appetites at your house. If I was feeding my preschoolers, it would go much farther. A whole one of these is definitely too much for me.

      If you are feeding a bunch of grown men, I'd say allow for one each.

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  11. How do you keep from getting the tortillas to plump up so much that they're to bubbly to finish? I used flour tortialls... is this why? Do wheat not bubble up really big?

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure, as I didn't see what yours looked like. You can see that my whole wheat ones DO puff up (after being brushed with oil and baked), but not to the point that they are "too bubby." I have also done this recipe by spraying the tortillas with butter flavored, non-stick cooking spray and browning them with long handled tongs right on my gas stove... right on the burners. In that case, I noticed that I had considerably less "puff" than my oven-prepared tortillas. You may also try omitting the oil and just setting them under the broiler in your oven 'naked' to brown. And lastly.. you could take a fork and prick them a few times like you do when baking a pie crust. I hope one of these suggestions works out for you. My kids love this recipe!

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  12. Made this tonight and it was sooooo tasty. Made my own pot of pintos and blended just enough in the ninja as a substitute for refried. My sons each wanted a whole one. I'll double the recipe the next time. Thanks for the hint of adding beef flavor to the ground turkey. Really helped the flavor.

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  13. From Marylou: This is a fantastic recipe!! So happy I found you!
    I also lived in Louisiana across the causeway lake ponchatrain near mandeville.... anyway,, the cuisine in louisiana is fabulous and I miss it so much. Have you ever heard of a recipe called "gumbolaya"? Keep up the great blog,,, love it and its so nice to meet you here!!

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    Replies
    1. Marylou... yes. In my opinion, Louisiana cuisine (and its diversity) is unrivaled! Please visit again. :)

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  14. Sounds Delish! I had not thought of using the beef flavor boost with the turkey before! My husband will be in for a surprise for dinner! :) Just found your site today and am truly enjoying it! Love the pics and recipes and especially enjoy the written directions and nerdy notes! Great job! Look forward to learning much more from you and enjoying your tasty food with my family!

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  15. Made this tonight. It was delicious. I wanted to eat the ground turkey portion without even assembling. Great mixture of spices and who would have thought to add a beef flavor boost? Yum.

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  16. I gave up on going to Taco Bell in San Diego decades ago when they chose to save cost and would NOT put sliced olives topping on their Mexican pizza. For my taste, sliced olives on Taco Bell Mexican Pizza was a key ingredient!
    Harald.

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  17. Holy wowzers, was this ever DELISH!!! I couldn't even tell this was low-fat... My hubs was shocked when I told him that the meat was turkey. Other than omitting the olives (neither of us are fans), I didn't make any changes. I used all of the brands Julie suggested and was very pleased with the outcome. I only made two pizzas, but will be using leftover meat / beans for taco night this coming week. A DEFINITE must make!

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  18. Great recipe, however my tortillas were chewy and hard to cut. I broiledthem tthe suggested time as well.

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    Replies
    1. Sarah, I'm not sure why. We didn't have that experience. But if you enjoyed the recipe, you may like it with the "already crunchy" round tostadas.
      Julie

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