Queenie Cooks: Taco Pizza Rolls

By Terry Harris

I admit it.  I am crazy about tacos and taco salads.  In fact, one of my favorite “adventures” in recent years involved tacos… sort of. I was at an airshow enjoying a tour of one of those amazing C5 airplanes – the one so big they transport other planes inside – when the soldier who was showing me around mentioned that he often made treats for the hundreds of guys they would pack into the plane for long trips overseas.  During the tour I soon learned that while everything else in that plane was enormous, the “cooking facilities” were miniscule.

After I told him that I was a bit of a foodie he gave me a company cookbook “with a taco recipe in it” for Trash Bag Taco Salads. The first two “ingredients” were three heads of lettuce and three pounds of hamburger.  It turned out that to feed the large groups something they would love but that did not have to be cooked last-minute, they would put together 50 taco salads at a time, and the only thing big enough to hold all the ingredients at once and remain light enough for tossing everything was – what else?  A big, black trash bag! I have always wanted to make that, and have not yet, but if you are interested, write to me at smilinatyanow@aol.com and I’ll share!

But today, I am going to share another taco-related recipe that I later stumbled across for Taco Pizza Rolls.  It’s a bit unorthodox, but Tacos? Pizza?  Ready to eat in thirty minutes? What’s not to love?

I ran out and got the ground beef, taco seasoning, cheese, and after a little bit of searching, scored the ready-made pizza dough they recommended in in the section where they have the biscuits and crescent rolls in those “exploding” cans. Well, I frankly did not know that canned rolls of pizza dough existed before, and I have never been a big fan of canned biscuits, but I decided to give this recipe a try.

As promised, they only took about 30 minutes to make, and they are actually pretty good.  The dough is soft, so I recommend preparing your pan and your ground beef/taco meat before taking it out of the refrigerator.  And you will need a very sharp, serrated knife to cut the rolls into bites. Otherwise, it really is a breeze to make these.  Just roll out the ready-made dough, sprinkle the taco meat and cheese over it, roll it all into a long “log” which you cut it into rounds and bake. 

And I have to say that the concept is a good one, as these really are a lot less messy to serve than regular tacos.  For little kids or for an informal party, they would be perfect for that reason alone.  And honestly, once I got over the “but… the dough is canned” part, I discovered that they are actually very tasty.  I experimented with various options, and my favorites were sour cream and salsa, though they were also delicious with the traditional lettuce and tomato toppings, and I think they would be particularly good with guacamole. 

Did I make any changes after the first run?  Don’t I always?  For starters, I used half again the amount of taco meat called for and doubled the seasoning – which is reflected in the “range” given in the recipe here.  I also doubled the cheese, but I am more of a “thin crust” kind of person anyway, as I like to emphasize the toppings.

Getting back to the crust, as I said, I know most people love refrigerator crescent rolls. But if I am having anything with the word “pizza” in it I expect a certain taste and consistency that these rolls don’t quite have.  They are good – especially if you like the crescent rolls or refrigerator biscuits and sweet rolls – just not all that reminiscent of pizza to me. So, if you are a purist and you have a favorite pizza crust recipe, you might want to consider using that instead.  Of course, then you would also have to plan on their taking considerably longer to make, so it’s a trade-off.

All that having been said, if you are looking for a good, quick, and easy-to-make treat for an informal get- together – anything from a pajama party to gathering to watch football or basketball games on tv – these would be hard to beat!

Oh, I almost forgot there is a bonus!  I was afraid that these only would be good just out of the oven, but I discovered that if I stuck a cold one in the microwave for 8 seconds it tasted fresh-made! So, you certainly could make these ahead for heating up at the last minute – always a plus.  Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Taco Pizza Rolls

½ - 1 pound of ground beef

1 can of Pillsbury Refrigerated Classic Pizza Crust

1 packet taco seasoning mix

1/3 Cup water

1 – 2 Cups of shredded Mexican cheese blend

Favorite Taco Toppings like shredded lettuce, diced tomato, sour cream, guacamole, salsa

Cook the beef until no longer pink, then add the taco seasoning and water. Mix well.

Preheat oven to 400 and lightly spray baking sheet with non-stick spray.

Unroll pizza dough and flatten into a rectangle. Spread the taco meat over the dough in an even layer and cover with cheese.

Tightly but carefully roll dough the long way so that it looks like a spiral from the side.

With a sharp, serrated knife, cut roll into 3/4” thick slices.

Arrange rolls on cookie sheet and bake 8- 12 minutes, or until golden-brown.

Add favorite toppings and serve.