Challenging Myself in the Taste Cooks Club

As I have mentioned before, I am hosting the Cooks Club Challenge on the Taste Forums at the moment. One of the 3 recipes I chose to challenge everyone with was my M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies, which I made some Christmas versions of last week in an attempt not only to get into the spirit of Christmas, but the spirit of my own challenge as well. Another of my chosen recipes is the Mediterranean Lamb Pizza that I made last year (& have made several times since), because it is tasty and also within the Christmas theme that I chose for my challenge as it has red, green & white. But in doing my own challenge I decided to do something a little different, choosing to make one of the alternate options listed with this recipe in the November 2007 issue of Australian Good Taste magazine instead of the original.

The version with a Mexican twist was every bit as tasty as the Mediterranean one, having that typical Mexican combination of a little heat and some soothing avocado to go with it. I made this 2 nights in a row because there are only 3 of us and there was enough mince mixture to get 6 pizzas out of it (even though the recipe states it makes 4). The first night I used the sundried tomato pesto it suggested, but I found that it was very salty, especially when combined with the taco seasoning mix in the mince, so on the second night I used basil pesto and found it to be much nicer… and it didn’t detract from the Mexican flavourings… As well as topping it with avocado as suggested, I also put a dollop of sour cream (to further aide in the soothing factor) and a scattering of chopped spring onions (mostly because we had some leftover and they make a nice garnish)… This is such a wonderful recipe, I really want to try the other 2 alternate flavours as well… and really, it is a very versatile recipe (being pizza after all), so really the sky is the limit! I usually don’t like crispy or thin pizza bases, but somehow the convenience and individual portions of the pita bread bases win me over every time…

Mexican Beef & Bean Pizza Serves 6

Mexican Beef & Bean Pizza

Preheat oven to 200C & spray a couple of baking trays with olive oil spray. Heat 2tsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and cook 300g lean beef mince, stirring to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add 1 large red capsicum, cut into small dice & cook for 2 minutes. Add a 35g sachet taco seasoning and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add 1 x 125g can kidney beans, rinsed and drained and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

Place 6 small pita bread rounds on baking trays, spread with 6Tbsp basil pesto (or sundried tomato pesto) and top with mince mixture. Sprinkle with tasty cheese (around 100g in total) and cook in oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and bases get crisp. Top each pizza with a dollop of sour cream and some avocado & chopped spring onions.

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