Back when I was married to my baby girl’s father, we found ourselves in Florence, SC for a long weekend to attend a convention. This was MANY moons ago, in fact, I think my baby girl was probably a little more than a year old, so maybe about 15 years ago.
Her dad and I were not run of the mill restaurant goers, we always liked to find the hole in the wall places … the places only the locals knew. We would ask the people at the hotel where THEY went to eat, and most of the time we found amazing food wherever we stayed.
I can’t even remember the restaurants name to this day … however, we had an appetizer that was truly amazing. It was so good, we ended up ordering another one and forgetting about the food (we actually took most of the main course back to our hotel room).
While we were enjoying this new and tasty dish, we sat there analyzing it. Sure, we asked if we could have the recipe, however we got the standard “it’s one of our signature dishes, we are sorry, but no” answers.
Most of the time spent there was trying to figure out how they put this together … it was a dish that was creamy (we loved), hearty (we loved, after all we had two pre-teen boys and a growing girl), and bursting with flavor!
We couldn’t decide, was it Mexican? Not really. Was it Italian? Hmmm, not so much. It was a little of both, there was no denying that.
When we got home, we got to work to try to recreate this dish, and this is what we came up with. It was a hit! It’s been one of my signature dishes ever since.
Hope you enjoy!
2 blocks (8 oz each) cream cheese (full fat and room temp)
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 package taco seasoning (I use McCormick)
1 lb lean ground beef (brown and drain)
1 lb mild ground Italian sausage (brown and drain)
3 oz pepperoni
In a baking pan (9×13) spray/rub with oil just to be safe (for sticking). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
This dish is done in layers.
The cream cheese goes first, layer it on the bottom of the pan, I use my hands and smoosh … like this:
Then you layer the full can of tomato paste … like this:
Then you sprinkle on about half of the package of taco seasoning … like this:
Then you layer the Italian sausage … like this:
Then you layer about half of the cheese … like this:
Then you layer the ground beef and the other half of the taco seasoning … like this:
Then another layer of cheese … like this:
Then last comes the pepperoni … please don’t be stingy with the pepperoni (like the picture shows) … like this:
Pop it in a preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes … everything is cooked, it just needs to be heated up.
Serve with either corn chips (for those not low carbing) or, eat it like me, just straight out of the pan. ::giggle::
Please, if you try this recipe, come back and let me know how it is. Thanks!