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Stuffed Mexican Pizza Towers with Avocado-Jalapeno Crema

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and even if you’re not Irish, doesn’t mean you can’t partake in the festivities! Growing up in New York City, I’ve witnessed all kinds of St. patrick’s Day celebrations, and if you’re hosting a party of your own then this will be the perfect addition to your spread of delicious food! They’re my Mexican Pizza Towers with an Avocado-Jalepeno Crema.

So, it’s not really Irish, or from a region close to Ireland at all, but it IS green and awesome! Now, I’m not much of a historian, but according to some Irish legends, Saint Patrick used a green shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to pre-Christian Irish people (yes, grade school does come in handy once in a while!). That being said, even though my appetizer pizzas are Mexican, they fit right into the St. Patrick’s day theme! A great size, these pizzas are perfect for big parties where most of the guest are just grabbing bits of food here and they’re a good size to hold and eat! Loaded with smokey refried beans, spicy vegetables and a crema thats smooth, creamy and spicy all at the same time! Your guests will keep asking for more! Meat eaters won’t miss the meat, and vegetarians AND vegans will be happy! Plus, they’re super healthy and nutritious!

Tower Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large flour tortillas
  • 1 large white onion- finely diced
  • 1-2 (depending on size) red/green bell peppers- finely diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic- crushed and minced

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp (or to taste) cayenne pepper
  • coarse black pepper- few grinds (be generous)
  • salt- to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 roma tomatos- seeded and finely diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro- washed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • PAM Olive Oil Flavor
  • 1 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese (I use Sargento Brand or vegan substitute)
  • Avocado-Jalepeno Crema (RECIPE BELOW)
  • Smokey Refried Beans (RECIPE BELOW)
  • curled lemon peels- garnishing (optional)

Tools: 2-3″ round cookie cutter, non-stick pan, toaster oven

1. In a medium-sized skillet spray with a little PAM and pour olive oil and set over medium-high flame. Add cumin seeds and toast for 30 seconds or so then add onions and garlic. Saute for about 2 minutes, then add the bell peppers. Add all the seasonings, including salt and pepper. Saute for about 5-6 minutes because the vegetables should be soft and flavored well. Taste for salt and seasonings.

2. While the vegetables are cooking, use the cookie cutter to cut out round tortilla disks. 3-4 large tortillas should make about 30-32 disks.

Place on a baking sheet in a toaster oven, and toast for about 5 minutes, just until they’re slightly golden color and crispy.

3. To assemble, place a layer of crispy tortilla disks on a serving dish and pile about 1-2 tbsp of bean mixture. Spread evenly, but not too much near the edge of the disk. Top with about 1 tbsp vegetable mixture and cheese (more or less depending on how much you like!).

Place another disk on top and press down slightly- you don’t want the mixture to be oozing out! Drizzle on avocado-jalapeno crema and garnish with chopped tomatoes, cilantro and lemon peel. To add a festive and more green touch, I sliced fresh jalapenos and layered them on the serving dish- just in case anyone wants an extra spicy kick!

Makes about 16 pizza towers

Smokey Refried Beans:

  • 1 can refried beans (I used Old El Paso- make sure they’re vegetarian!)
  • 1 medium onion- finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic- crushed and minced
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp (or to taste) cayenne pepper
  • coarse black pepper- to taste
  • salt- to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • PAM Olive Oil Flavor

Tools: non-stick pan

1. In a large non-stick skillet spray with PAM and set over medium flame. Add cumin seeds and toast for about 30 seconds. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add cayenne pepper, black pepper and seasonings. Saute for another 3 minutes until soft and translucent. Add salt and combine, and then add the refried beans and reduce heat to medium-low. Make sure to combine everything well and taste for seasonings. If it seems too thick, add a little warm water. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until heated through and flavored well. Once finished, set aside.

Avocado-Jalepeno Crema:

  • 2 ripe avocados- pitted and diced
  • 2 jalapenos- finely diced (I keep the seeds, skin and all!)
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
  • salt- to taste
  • coarse black pepper- few grinds
  • 1/4 cup (a little bit less) reduced-fat sour cream (I used Breakstones brand or vegan substitute)
  • half a handful cilantro- finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (more or less) water

Tools: Blender

1. In a blender add avocados, jalapenos, cumin, salt, pepper, cilantro and sour cream. Blend on high until thick and smooth- it will be a little chunky. Blend on low and slowly drizzle in water until creamy and a bit thinner- not too thin, you want it to be the consistency of cream. Set aside.

Like Mexican? Check out these Zesty & Healthy Dishes:

Spicy Enchiladas with Smokey Corn & Roasted Pepper Sauce

10 Minute Pita Mexi-Pizza

Gourmet “Taco-Bell” Mexican Pizza

Garlic-Chili Guacamole

 

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Betty’s Simple Super Bowl Bean and Cheese Dip

In this video, Betty demonstrates how to make a Super Simple Bean and Cheese Dip. This dip is composed of refried beans, cheddar cheese soup, milk, and chopped green chiles. It is heated just to boiling, and then it’s ready to serve with chips!

Ingredients:

16-oz. can refried beans
10 ¾-oz. can condensed cheddar cheese soup
¼ cup milk
½ of a 4-oz. can chopped green chiles, undrained (You may use the full 4-oz. can, if you want the dip to be a little spicier!)
tortilla chips (I used Frito‘s Scoops)

In a medium-sized pot, combine a 16-oz. can of refried beans, a 10.75-oz. can of condensed cheddar cheese soup, ¼ cup milk, and 2 to 4 oz. chopped green chiles. Stir until combined. Heat slowly, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Transfer to a serving bowl, and serve with tortilla chips. This is a nice dip to put in a crock pot and keep warm during a party. (You may want to double the recipe if you’re taking it to a get-together. It’s great for holiday parties or sports games or just when you’re lounging on the sofa and feel like a spicy snack. I hope you enjoy this recipe! –Betty 

 

 

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