Cheap Recipe: Mexican Monkey Bread Pizza

4 Aug
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here.
Mexican Monkey Bread Pizza.

Mexican Monkey Bread Pizza.

This dish is super versatile in terms of a shopping list.

See what's fresh at your local discount supermarket.

See what's fresh at your local discount supermarket.

Whatever toppings are available at your local discount grocery will work. I found black olives and green chiles at mine, but you can just as easily use black beans, jalapenos, lettuce, sliced cherry tomatoes, or a variety of other fresh or canned veggies. Keep your eyes open at the store, and something inspired is bound to present itself! This also kind of keeps the recipe fresh and different each time, particularly because discount grocery stores often don’t have the same things each time you shop. And considering the main part of this dish is created from cheap canned biscuits (I gave 39 cents for mine at ALDI!), you have a little wiggle room to experiment with the other ingredients.

So long, onion half. May you live to die another day...

So long, onion half. May you live to die another day...

First, dice a green pepper and small onion; saute in butter/margarine over medium heat. (I wound up using only half of my onion because the generic salsa I bought looked kind of onion-heavy to begin with). Just eyeball your ingredients and use more of what you like and less of what you don’t. Again, there’s a lot of freedom with this dish!

Once pepper and onion (or whatever fresh ingredients you’ve elected to use) begin to tenderize in the skillet, drain any excess butter and add either 1/2 lb. ground beef, turkey, or TVP. (I used TVP. To learn how to prepare TVP, click here.) Season if you like. (I used garlic powder and cayenne pepper.) Increase heat to medium high and stir meat-veggie blend until browned. OR, if you are preparing this as a side dish or party dish rather than an entree, you can actually skip the entire stovetop cooking portion of this recipe and begin at the biscuit stage.
Looks like beef. Smells like beef. Browns like beef.

Looks like beef. Smells like beef. Browns like beef.

I eventually fleshed out this recipe with meat and fresh veggies because I live with Hubby, who will not eat anything that does not contain meat (or at least what he THINKS is meat!) because there’s “nothing to CHEW on…” But, by all means, if your family is not that picky and you’d like to save some time, just skip straight to the biscuit stage below!

Once the meat mixture is browned, remove from heat and drain if necessary. Let it cool a little bit while you complete the next step so that it won’t be too hot to touch in a couple of minutes when you dress the pizza. Next, peel open a can of cheap biscuits (I use buttermilk rather than flaky variety for this recipe…they tend to get less soggy) and separate the individual biscuits.
Using sharp kitchen scissors, hold a raw biscuit over an 8″x8″ glass dish and cut each round biscuit into 6-10
A snip here, a snip there...

A snip here, a snip there...

small wedges. This will allow the pizza’s “crust” to separate easily like monkey bread once it’s cooked while still supporting the slice of pizza in the meantime.

Once all biscuits have been snipped into small pieces, pour 1/2 cup salsa over the wedges and toss lightly with fingertips. It will look like there’s not much crust
Go on. Play with your food.

Go on. Play with your food.

there and you may be tempted to use a second can of biscuits, but don’t. First of all, the biscuit dough is going to expand in every direction and fill in all the gaps. Secondly, too much biscuit dough will mean soggy, uncooked dough in the middle with charred outside edges. It’s best to be a minimalist here. Just spread out the wedges to lightly cover most of the bottom of the pan, and trust the oven to do the rest of the work.

Use enough meat mixture to make a thin, even coat over the dough.

Use enough meat mixture to make a thin, even coat over the dough.

By now, your saucepan mixture (if you’re using any) should be cool enough to spoon over the top of the bread dough. You can even toss this a little if the meat/veggie seems a bit too thick. Don’t be afraid to
Remember to freeze any leftover filling for later culinary projects.

Remember to freeze any leftover filling for later culinary projects.

only use some of the mixture (like I did) because you can always freeze the remainder and have a wonderful, ready-made base for stuffed mushrooms or spaghetti sauce down the road.

Sprinkle 1 cup shredded cheese and remaining toppings over the casserole dish and bake uncovered at 400 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes. Watch for the first signs of browning and don’t be afraid to finger-test the center for appropriate sponginess. Mine was ready to come out at exactly 18 minutes, but this will vary depending on brand of biscuits, size of wedges, etc. Remove from oven, allow to cool about 10 minutes, and slice into squares. Eat with a fork or tear wedges apart like traditional monkey bread. It’s great for parties or eating in front of the TV. Enjoy!
Oh, yeeeaaaahhh.

Oh, yeeeaaaahhh.

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