Budget-friendly Mexican Pizza recipe

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Personalize your pizza with different veggies, condiments, and cheeses. And don't just limit yourself to pizza- make a stromboli or calzone with the pizza dough and add your favorite fillings for something different. The sky's the limit! Try my version of Mexican pizza for a fiesta in your mouth!

Mexican Pizza

1 tube Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough (regular or thin crust)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

6 ounces Mexican chorizo sausage*, crumbled

1 bell pepper (any color), seeds removed and sliced

1/2 onion, sliced

1 cup taco sauce

1 can Ro*tel, drained (I used the chunky kind)

1/4 cup jarred, sliced jalapenos, chopped (more or less, depending on your tolerae for heat)

3/4 cup Mexican blend chredded cheese

3/4 cup pepperjack cheese, grated

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Unroll pizza dough and spread out onto a greased, 11"x13" baking sheet pan, and poke the dough all over with a fork (prevents bubbles).

2. Add olive oil to a small pan over medium-low heat and add red pepper flakes and oregano, cook 2-3 minutes, remove from heat. Brush the pizza dough with three-quarters of the olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a saute pan over medium heat, add chorizo and cook for a few minutes, breaking up the sausage. Add bell pepper and onion and cook until just soft and chorizo is fully cooked. Set aside.

4. Brush edges of partially baked pizza crust with the reserved one-quarter of olive oil mixture. Spread taco sauce over the dough and top with chorizo, bell pepper, onions, Ro*tel, and jalapenos. Sprinkle cheeses evenly over crust.

5. Place pizza back in the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted.

6. Sprinkle cilantro over the pizza, slice and serve.

*Tip: Mexican chorizo is fresh, uncured sausage with various spices; it can be found at some grocery stores or at Mexican grocery stores. It can be easily replaced by any fresh sausage of your choice, i.e.: Italian, hot, etc. (not breakfast sausage).

Money seems to get tighter and tighter these days, so why spend 15 bucks on delivery pizza? One of my favorite pre-made products in the grocery store is Pillsbury's refrigerated pizza dough. For around $2.50, you can pick up a tube of it and get creative by adding your favorite toppings. You can even find one-serving size cans of pizza sauce in the pasta aisle, so it saves you from having to buy a huge jar of sauce. Why not skip the marinara sauce altogether and do a white pizza or use up that barbecue sauce in your fridge place of it? The Mexican pizza I made (recipe below) cost about $9 to make (not including things I already had on hand, i.e.: olive oil, herbs, etc.) and could serve four people, so this is definitely a recession-friendly meal.

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