"Taco Bell" Mexican Pizza

I've said before that I love cheese--as a result, all foods made with said cheese are near and dear to my heart. Thus, I have always had a dangerous love affair with the Taco Bell Mexican pizza. And I'm not joking on the dangerous part: I've had food poisoning at least twice from Taco Bell alone, and I know my waist line gives me dirty looks as soon as it sees the bell on the bag. But I have a cheese addiction, and the Mexican pizza keeps me from tweaking.

So, as a compromise one night, I decided I would at least attempt to make my own pizza (and maybe cut down my chances of getting the food poisoning again :p). It turned out really well and was MUCH more filling than Taco Bell's version--my husband even said he liked the taste of this one better, but as he could take or leave Taco Bell, I'm not sure that will convince you other Bell lovers out there that this is worth a go. But the lack of food poisoning should--so try it any way.

-Flour tortillas (props if you make these yourself--I used store bought)
-Quart of veggie oil for frying
-1 pd. of lean ground beef
-1 packet of taco seasoning (I found a taco bell one--score!)
-1 can refried beans
-1 jar salsa (also found a taco bell one)
-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 
-1 bunch green onions

First, you need your flour tortillas crispy. Heat the veggie oil in a large skillet over medium heat. You will know the oil is ready when you stick a wooden spoon into the middle of the oil and bubbles rise up around it (or if you have a thermometer). (Disclaimer: I don't really believe I need to say this, and this is rather tongue-in-cheek, but as I married a lawyer, I will: do not use your fingers or any other body part to ascertain that the oil is hot. It will burn you, and then you will won't get to eat the Mexican pizza. And you'll have hospital bills. So use the spoon.)

When the oil is ready, carefully place a tortilla in the oil. It will begin to puff up, so carefully puncture any bubbles in the tortilla with your spoon, fry until the tortilla is crisp, and then remove and place on a plate covered with paper towels (to absorb the extra oil). Repeat this process until all tortillas are cooked.

Next, get your ground beef ready. Cook the ground beef in a skillet until it evenly browned, then drain off any residual fat. Mix your taco seasoning with water according to package directions and add to your ground beef in the skillet (note: if you are trying to cut back on your sodium, look for a low-sodium mix or do not add the full packet of seasoning to your ground beef...or add your own spices that do not contain salt for best low-sodium results). Simmer over low-heat until all water is absorbed and the beef is evenly coated with the seasoning.

Chop the bunch of green onions, shred your cheddar cheese, and turn the broiler on in your oven. The rest is all assembly!

On top of one of the crispy tortillas, place the following:
-a layer of the refried beans
-a layer of the ground beef
-a second tortilla
-a thin layer of salsa
-a generous sprinkling of cheddar cheese
-a sprinkling of green onions

Place all assembled pizzas onto a baking sheet. Finally, place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted, and serve! 

The beauty of this recipe is that you can even add other veggies, change the meat (say you'd prefer a ground turkey Mexican pizza for health/diet reasons), alter the cheeses, or make any other changes you want to fit your needs. Of course--I like the original best, and I hope you enjoy!

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