Mexican Black Bean Pizza

Remember Taco Bell pizzas?  Anyone who has ever had a love of fast food knows Taco Bell pizzas.  There was something so good about them.  Maybe it was the flour tortilla crust, all crunchy and munchy.  What was not so good about them?  How truly bad they are for your body.  Probably not such a big deal when I was in my 20’s.  Certainly an issue now that I’m in my 40’s.  From the perspective of my thighs, if nothing else.  And, I’d like to keep my kids as far away from fast food as I can.  It’s such a horrible habit to get into and such a difficult one to break.  Try this lighter, healthier version and I promise, you’ll forget about your Taco Bell days!


1 ¼ cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
¼ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 Tbs olive oil
8 (6″) flour tortillas
1 small onion chopped (or buy the pre-chopped from the produce section)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
½ cup salsa, mild or spicy
*Optional – 2 oz canned chopped mild green chiles
*Optional – You can add about ½ a cup of any meats you may prefer, pulled pork, chorizo (casing removed), shredded chicken, etc.


Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix half the Cheddar cheese with the Monterey Jack in a bowl and set aside.
Brush a baking sheet with 1 Tbs olive oil (or line with parchment paper) and arrange tortillas in a single layer.  Using a fork, puncture each tortilla a few times.  Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese evenly over 4 of the tortillas, then cover each with a remaining tortilla.  Bake 5-6 minutes or until browned slightly.

While tortillas bake, heating 1 Tbs olive oil in a skillet and cook onions until browned.  Add beans and partially mash with a potato masher or the back of a fork.

Remove tortilla pizzas from the oven and top each with bean mixture.  Top with salsa, green chiles (if using), meat (if using), and cheese mixture.  Return to oven and back until cheese melts, about 10-20 minutes.  Serve with sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, avacado.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes; Cook time: 25 minutes

Mexican Pizza

*Derived from Bush’s Beans

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Pancetta Lemon-Garlic Chicken Thighs with ‘Rice Pilaf’

Spanish chorizo and Mexican chorizo are totally different, but each have their place and bring their own flavor (and I’m sorry Friends, soyrizo does not count. It, too, has its place, but not here). I know you are asking why I am talking about chorizo. It’s because this recipe originally called for Spanish chorizo. I wasn’t worried, I had bought it before. I could even picture exactly where I had seen it in the store (deli section, by the way). So of course, feeling all chorizo full of myself, I waited until the last minute. I know that you know what comes next. No Chorizo!! Imagine the sound from The Shining and the knife going through the shower curtain. I can’t even try to duplicate it here. But that is what I heard through my head. What to do, what go do. Oh, look! Pancetta! It will give me the salt I need and the fat. I’ll be missing the spice, but I can work around that. This is the result.  PS – I got to use my rice cooker again!  Swoon!


4 Tbs butter
1/4 cup cut spaghetti (such as Barilla)
1 cup rice
3 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs olive oil
4 oz chopped pancetta (I buy the little prechopped package in the deli section)
8 Chicken thighs (I used boneless skinless, it what I had on hand)
4 small onions, quartered
2 small lemons sliced about 1/2″ thick
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


For Rice:  In rice cooker melt 3 Tbs butter.  Add spaghetti and toast for 3 minutes.  Stir in rice to coat.  Add 2 cups chicken stock, stir to combine.  Cover and let it do its t hing.

For chicken: In a large deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat 1 Tbs olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add pancetta and cook, turning, until browned.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper-towel lined plate.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook over medium-high heat turning once, until browned (about 15 minutes).  Transfer to a plate.  Add remaining 1 Tbs olive oil to skillet.  Add onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing frequently, for 2 minutes.  Add the lemons, garlic, and paprika.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 2  minutes.  Add wine and cook, scraping up browned bits from the pan.  Stir in remaining 1 cup chicken stock.  Return chick and pancetta to skillet, cover and lower heat and simmer for about 5  minutes.

Transfer solid ingredients to platter.  Reduce sauce for a minute over high heat, then stir in the remaining 1 Tbs butter and parsley.  Serve chicken over rice pilaf, pour sauce over both.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Blanc de Blancs
Chenin Blanc
Pinot Gris/ Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 6 large portions
Total time: 45 minutes




*Derived from 30 Minute Meals