Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Easy Taco Pizza

I know, I know...  we all need to lose weight but it was Superbowl weekend.  I wanted to make something yummy to eat during the game (yadda yadda yadda).  I didn't want Buffalo Chicken Wings or anything of that sort, so I ferreted out a recipe on one of those online recipe sites.  Probably, www.allrecipes.com or something like it.  It is a recipe for Easy Taco Pizza.  After reading the recipe, I decided to make my own taco seasoning for a myriad of reasons.  The first and most important reason was that I hadn't bought any taco seasoning at the grocery store.  I also figured it was more economical to make my own seasoning from what I had in the house rather than buying a packet.  So, there you have it.  A combination of laziness, lack of forethought and cheapness motivated me to make the taco seasoning myself.  Wait... I had another more altruistic reason that turned out to be completely bogus.  I thought that all taco seasoning packets had MSG in them.  I am against MSG for health reasons.  I'm sure I eat enough of it in prepared foods without adding it to foods I make myself.  In this case, I found out that I was wrong.  It seems that now McCormick is advertising that their seasoning mixes do not contain MSG! Are they doing this just for me?  I doubt it, but it is nice to know they care.  Anyway, this recipe is a nice mix of two favorite dishes into one delicious meal.

Easy Taco Pizza
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 20 min

1 pound lean ground beef
1 packet of taco seasoning mix
1 can (4-ounces) diced green chilies
1 store bought pizza crust
1 can refried beans
1 ½  cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced

1.       Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2.       Prepare ground beef according to seasoning packet directions. Be sure to drain excess fat after browning meat. Once the taco meat is prepared, stir in the chilies and set aside if still working on the other steps below.
3.       While the meat is cooking, smear the pizza crust with the refried beans.  Spread evenly across the crust leaving a ring of crust (unless you prefer to dress to the edge of the pizza).
4.       Once taco meat is done, pour it over the crust and spread evenly. Top with cheddar and green onions.
5.       Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Allow pizza to rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

Taco Seasoning
Prep Time: 1 Minute
Servings: 10

"This is a mixture of spices that approximates what you would buy in a package of taco seasoning. Depending on how spicy you and your family like your dishes, use as little or as much as you want."


1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper


In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container.


The Creative Cook

Monday, February 6, 2012

Honey Mustard Glazed Apples with Pork

I did something very out of character for me.  In fact, it was out of character for both me and my husband.  We went grocery shopping together. I can't remember the last time we did that.  It was probably over 20 years ago when we were dating or when we were first married.  No matter.  We did pretty well.  No fights or anything.  Just that my hubby saw a recipe that he tore off one of those pads in the produce section of the grocery store.  He decided that I should make it for dinner one day.  He went off and picked up some pork chops and I gathered the other necessary ingredients.  After reading the recipe more closely at home, I realized that it was telling me to use a grill.  Well, that is something else I do rarely.  I do own a grill but using it is quite another matter.  It may even be out of propane.  I can't be sure if we ever refilled it.  I just decided that I would use a stove top grill instead.  For the rub, I used a recipe for the Dove Chocolate Discoveries cocoa rub I bought from a friend who is a rep for Dove.  The chocolate and spices gave the meat a great flavor.  Try it if you can. If not, just use one of the McCormick rubs that you can buy at the grocery store.  I had never heard of Junami apples before but they are really delicious.  A bit pricey but very yummy.  

Honey Mustard Glazed Apples with Pork
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
4 boneless pork chops (about 4 ounces each)
4 Junami apples, peeled, cored and sliced ¼ inch thick
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Spice rub for pork*
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon honey
½ cup dried cranberries, if desired

Season pork chops with spice rub and let stand at room temperature while preparing apples.

Melt butter in a 10-inch skillet over low heat.  Add apple slices and sprinkle with lemon juice.  Cook apples 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and fork tender.  Stir in the cranberries.

Combine the honey and mustard in a small bowl.  Stir into the fruit and continue cooking over low heat until the fruit is glazed.

Meanwhile, prepare the grill.  Cook pork over medium high heat 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until cooked through.  Serve with glazed apples. 

*I used Dove Cocoa Rub for these pork chops.   See below.



1 tablespoon mixed peppercorns (red, black, white)
1 tablespoon whole coriander
4-1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
4 tablespoons DOVE CHOCOLATE DISCOVERIES Cocoa Powder
4 tablespoons sea salt – finely ground

Over medium heat in a small saucepan, toast the peppercorns and coriander seeds for a few minutes until they begin to crackle and pop.  Remove from heat and grind to a fine powder in a spice mill or grinder.  Mix the ground pepper and coriander with remaining spices, cocoa powder and salt.  Rub onto pork, beef or chicken. 


The Creative Cook