Because that's normal, right? Champagne and Mexican food, I mean. No? Just us? Well, that seems reasonable. To be fair, it got started with the engagement. Brian proposed around 11:30 in the morning. He had bought two bottles of champagne. The next logical celebratory meal was lunch, but all we had was leftover Mexican. And so a weird, weird tradition was born: Mexican food and champagne. We never can seem to do anything in the normal, regular way.
But regardless of what beverage you choose, I have two AMAZING recipes for you. We make both of them very frequently. We even made them for Mama P one night when we went to the beach with her this May, and she LOVED them (and she's picky!). These are super-delicious, easy, and easily convertible - you can add or leave out ingredients as you please, with very little effect on the finished product. And we all know customizable meals are a big favorite of mine.
The two recipes? Easy Mexican pizza (think Taco Bell, only not sketchy) and garlicky pinto beans. Like I said, big favorites, both of them. And wonderful for a lazy Friday night after a LONG week of work.
Let's start with the Mexican pizza. To begin, pour yourself a wine glass full of Champagne (we like Korbel, purchased from Costco because it's cheap, but that's just us).
Next, find a gigantic, awkward Labrador to lie down in THE most inconvenient place in the center of the kitchen so you trip over her or step on her every time you turn around to get an ingredient or kitchen tool.
Just kidding. That's optional. Unless you're me. Then that's pretty much just a given.
All set? Next, brown one pound of ground turkey, unless you're one of those people who just insists on actually having ground beef (but we've found we can't tell a difference).
Once the ground turkey is browned, add a little water and one tablespoon of this homemade taco seasoning - all the flavor, none of the sodium. And it uses ingredients we already have on hand. LOVE.
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease an aluminum pan (we use a giant one, but that's just because B has a bunch of them in his apartment. I don't know why). Put a tortilla in the pan. Spread a thin layer of refried beans on the tortilla. Add a thin layer of the ground turkey mixture. Put another tortilla on top, and bake for 10 minutes.
While the base of the pizza is in the oven, start work on the beans. Slice up six (yes, SIX) cloves of garlic. Saute in two tablespoons of olive oil for a minute or two. Once the garlic is soft and fragrant, add two 15-ounce cans of pinto beans (drained and rinsed VERY well!), one-half cup water, one-half teaspoon oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer until the water has reduced and the beans are heated through. Sprinkle sliced green onions on top. Okay. Those are done.
And bonus - these are gluten free! AND delicious!
By this point, the base of the pizzas are probably done. Take them out of the oven (carefully!). Spread a thin layer of your salsa of choice on top. Layer on cheese, olives (if you like them - I LOVE them), chopped tomatoes, and green onions. Put back in the oven for 5-7 minutes until the cheese is melted and everything is all warm and gooey and delicious.
These are our pizzas, ready for the final baking.
That's it! Pretty easy, huh? And you can customize the pizzas to your heart's content - leave off the olives if you're one of those weird people who doesn't like olives, add green peppers or onions, put some guac on top...the options are endless. And the leftover pintos can be reheated and put on top of some tortilla chips with some queso for quick and easy nachos. Or you can put the beans and leftover ground beef in a tortilla for a burrito. Really, Mexican food rocks - there is so much to do with it! So play around to your heart's content and enjoy these recipes. You can check out the original recipes for the pinto beans and the Mexican pizzas here, or you can see them below with my modifications/suggestions. Ole!
Easy Mexican Pizzas
1 pound ground turkey (the original recipe calls for 1/2 pound, but we always find uses for the extra)
1 packet taco seasoning (or one tablespoon of the mixture above)
1 15-ounce can refried beans
4 9-inch flour tortillas
1/2 cup salsa
2 cups Mexican cheese blend
Scallions to taste
Sliced black olives to taste
Chopped tomatoes to taste
Preheat oven to 350.
Brown the ground beef. Add the seasoning with a little water until fully mixed.
Grease two aluminum pie pans and place one tortilla in each pan.
Add a thin layer each of refried beans and the ground turkey mixture.
Top with the remaining tortillas and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Top with salsa, cheese, scallions, olives and tomatoes (or your toppings of choice).
Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 5-7 minutes.
Slice and serve - and enjoy!
Garlicky Pinto Beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced (yes, you really need that many)
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, rinsed well (you definitely want to get that weird syrup off)
1/2 C water
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Sliced scallions (green onions) to taste
Over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add garlic. Saute until fragrant and soft.
Add beans, water, oregano, salt and pepper.
Saute over medium-low heat until water evaporates.
Add scallions and serve.