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~ "Yes Virginia, there is a thing called a Taco Ring!" (One of my "I can't believe I'm posting this posts".) ~

IMG_8838"Count me in, I'll give it a try."  That's what I said on Facebook last week.  It's what I agreed to do, and I'm doing it.  I'm making a taco ring today.  Here's how it came down:  One of my hungry guy foodie friends, Jaqmes, posted a photo with a link to a recipe for a taco ring.  Cocktail-connoisseur friend, Jill, said she'd made it and it was quite good, especially when washed down with a six-pack of Corona.  For a moment, I thought Jill's cheese slid off her cracker and landed in the deep-end of her pilsner.  The thread continued.  Kendra, who's is loving learning to bake bread, and pastry-chef Teresa chimed in too.  In the end, at Jill's behest, we agreed that perhaps we should all forget our food-savvy pre-conceived notions for one afternoon and make a taco ring -- and post our experiences on Facebook.  After all, we are all in this food world together!

IMG_8676With my ingredients list in hand, my trip to and through the Weis market was stealth.  I went mid-morning to avoid the crowds, made eye contact with no one, and, kept my packet of taco seasoning mix strategically hidden underneath a small box of tomatoes.  This wasn't my first rodeo -- I've used Pillsbury crescent rolls before.  Debit card in hand I made it through the express checkout without incident.  I arrived home, removed my babushka, screwed the real license plate back on my car, mixed myself a cocktail and 0509betty04Reddi'd myself  to rock and roll.

Note:  I've added a few things to this recipe because I am food savvy and do have pre-conceived notions. They are each marked with an asterisk (*).  Feel free to omit them. 

2  8-ounce tubes crescent rolls

1 1/2  pounds lean ground beef

1/2  pound sweet sausage*

1  cup diced yellow onion*

IMG_83261/2  cup creamy refried beans*

1-ounce packet taco seasoning 

2  tablespoons ground cumin*

3/4-1 cup shredded cheddar

no-stick cooking spray

iceberg lettuce, grape tomatoes, black olives, additional cheddar, Wish-Bone Lite-Italian dressing

~ Step 1.  Place the ground meat, sausage and diced onion in a 3 1/2-quart chef's pan.  Over medium-high heat, saute until meats are IMG_8345cooked through, stirring almost IMG_8338constantly, using a spatula to break them up into small pieces as they cook, about 10 minutes.

~ Step 2.  Tilt the pan on an angle. Using a small ladle, remove and discard all of the fat and liquid from the bottom of the pan.

IMG_8359 IMG_8347~ Step 3. Stir in the taco seasoning and cumin, followed by the refried beans. The beans hold the meats together, and, I stirred 2 tablespoons of water into 1/2 cup of beans to make them extra creamy.

IMG_8368Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 1 hour.

IMG_8685~ Step 4.  The recipe instructs to line a pizza pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil with no-stick cooking spray.  

Note:  I own a couple of fancy schmancy 11 1/2" French porcelain trays (oven/broiler fridge/freezer safe), so, I'm skipping the foil and just spraying one of them with cooking spray.

IMG_8691 IMG_8694 IMG_8697~ Step 5.  It's finally time for a geography lesson: North, East, South and West.  Open the first tube of crescent rolls, unroll them, and, use a sharp knife to separate them so there are no ragged edges.  Place four pieces of dough on the pan, as pictured, at points N, E, S and W.  Place four more on the pan, at points NE, SE, SW and NW. Open the second tube and place the next eight at all points in between.

IMG_8703 IMG_8715 IMG_8718~ Step 6.  Using a 2" ice-cream scoop as a measure, place 8 scoops of firmly-packed meat mixture on the widest part of every other piece of dough.  Trade in your scoop for an ordinary tablespoon and fill in the open spaces with all of the remaining meat mixture.  Once you see how it's done, it's oh so easy!

IMG_8742~ Step 7.  Sprinkle 3/4-1 cup of grated cheese over the meat, picking up any stray pieces that fall onto the pan.  One at a time, lift the pointed pieces of dough over the top, and tuck them underneath the center.  Using the palm of your hand and a light touch, apply a bit of pressure across the top of the ring to make sure the dough, the cheese and meat are all "kind of" adhered together.

Tip from Mel:  When lifting and wrapping the pointed ends, start with the top eight (the ones that came out of the second tube).  Next wrap the middle NE, SE, SW and NW four, and, lastly wrap the bottom N, E, S and W four.  This will make for a neater, prettier presentation!  

Here's the big picture, all ready for the oven: 

IMG_8744~ Step 8.  Bake on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven 25-30 minutes.  Dough will be golden brown, cheese will be melted and meat will be bubbly.  Remove from oven and place pan on a cooling rack to cool 30-60 minutes prior to serving warm or at room temperature.

Here's the big picture, just out of the oven:

IMG_8768And here is a closeup of the big picture:

IMG_8789~ Step 9.  Place a shallow bowl in the center of the ring -- or don't.  The rest of this appetizer recipe is arbitrary:  fill the center with your favorite concoction of Tex-Mex  salad ingredients or salsa, or a dip like guacamole, and, don't forget the beer, lot's of beer because:

Taco ring rocks -- & so does my fun group of foodie FB friends!!!

IMG_8822"Yes Virginia, there is a thing called a Taco Ring!":  Recipe yields 16 appetizer-sized slices or 8 servings, or, 4.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides & lid; spatula; small ladle; standard-sized 11 1/2" pizza pan; aluminum foil; 2" ice-cream scoop; tablespoon

PICT2701Cook's Note:  I told you this wasn't my first rodeo.  I grew up loving these now retro appetizers.  You can find ~ The "I Can't Believe I'm Posting this Recipe" Post: Cocktail Pigs in a Blanket (Pillsbury Crescent Dogs) ~ in Categories 1, 2, 20 & 26.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)


You are so damn impressive!

We sure are (in this food world together), and I know that to be true because you are a really, REALLY, impressive cook yourself. It takes one to know one who is not afraid to have some fun once in a while!

Love, love, love that your took the taco ring plunge! You're right, we are all in this food world together :)

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