ADVOCATE-TESTED RECIPE

Meatball Taco Ring

Makes 16 pieces. Recipe is from Corinne Cook.

1 lb. ground beef

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided (some in meatballs and remainder for topping)

½ cup dry bread crumbs

1 (1.25-oz. pkg.) dry taco seasoning mix

¼ cup water

2 (8-oz.) tubes Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (in refrigerated section)

Toppings:

2 to 3 cups chopped lettuce or greens of your choice

1 large tomato, diced

½ cup sliced black olives

Pickled jalapeño or pepperoncini slices, as desired

½ cup chopped green onion or more if desired

Cheddar cheese

1½ cups salsa or as desired

Sour cream, optional

1. Place ground beef in medium mixing bowl. Add 1 cup shredded cheddar and dry bread crumbs.

2. In separate small bowl, mix ¼ cup water with the dry seasoning mix. Add that to the meat and cheese. Using a fork or your hands, stir meat, cheese and taco seasoning mix together.

3. Shape meat into 16 meatballs (a tad bigger than golf balls). Place meatballs, on a rack, in a shallow baking pan. I always put a little water in the bottom of the pan to prevent grease spattering. Place in preheated 400-degree oven for about 15 minutes. Turn meatballs over and continue baking another 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through and meat is no longer pink in center. Remove from oven (reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees) and allow to cool slightly while preparing dough for ring.

4. Spray a large flat cookie sheet or large (15-inch) pizza pan with nonstick spray.

5. Unwrap 1 tube crescent rolls and arrange them (making a half ring) with points facing outside rim of pan, leaving about 3-inch circle of pan showing in the center. If you visually divide the pan in half, place the first piece just above the halfway point on one side and the second piece marking the other half of the pan. Then you fit the remaining 6 rolls between those first two (making half of the circle), and the wide ends of the dough will overlap. When I did it, about 1/2-inch of the point was hanging over the side of the pan. If the pieces are misshapen or torn, they can easily be pinched together or roughly shaped back into a pyramid shape. They do not have to be perfect by any means.

6. Open the other can of rolls and repeat to make the remaining half of ring.

7. Place meatball about midway on each piece of dough. Pick up point and roll it over meatball and tuck the end under wide part of dough. Repeat to cover all meatballs.

8. Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

9. Meanwhile, prepare toppings of lettuce, tomato, olives, jalapeño slices, green onion and remaining cheese. The salsa and sour cream can be served separately.

10. When taco ring is baked, it can be carefully slid off onto a platter or cutting board. Fill center with lettuce, tomato, peppers, olives, green onion and cheese. Offer salsa and sour cream on the side.