It’s Not Delivery, It’s Pizza Date Night

Last summer I intended to make pizza from scratch. I’d looked up a few recipes. Watched America’s Test Kitchen. Read more recipes about grilling pizza. But I never got around to trying it out. Many know my devotion to burritos, but I also love pizza. If asked to choose between which food I could eat for the remainder of my life–until succumbing to high cholesterol and morbid obesity–I’d be torn to choose.

Pizza date night is by no means an original idea, but it still counts as an idea. If you’re looking for something fun to do with a lady friend or gentlemen suitor, I suggest a pizza party. While it won’t rival the parties of our youth that included germ-filled plastic ball pits and potentially puking before the ghost story portion of the sleepover, it will have booze. If you play your cards right you could still yammie before it’s time to turn out the lights. The only difference is your mom may not come to get you this time.

The upside to making pizza is it’s relatively easy.

The hierarchy of pizzas is (most complex to easiest):

Completely homemade

Semi-homemade (I’m coming for you Sandra Lee)

Take and bake

Frozen

Delivery

I opted for semi-homemade. Trader Joe’s had everything we needed for a pizza party. They have pre-made dough, pasta/pizza sauce, cheese, organic and non-organic veggies, meats, meat substitutes. No matter what dietary restrictions your date has, you can accommodate their nom nom needs with one store visit. We went for a straightforward, traditional pizza pie. We got two crusts: whole wheat and herb. Then loaded up on veggies and arugula. Don’t forget to pick up some cheese. We bought fresh mozzarella.

You’ll have to roll out the dough, which is relatively easy. Then it’s an assembly job. Bust out that Slap Chop you bought off an infomercial and get at it. Crust/sauce/veggies/cheese. While the pizzas baked, we tossed up a salad with the extra veggies and made a balsamic salad dressing. 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. So, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Shake it in a Tupperware then put on the salad.

Get crazy with your toppings. Whoever came up with bacon and pineapple clearly was an outside-the-pizza-box thinker.

Let me know your favorite pizza combinations in the comments.

Low and Slow – Chicken Cacciatore

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My lazy Monday involved taking the day off and a leisurely jaunt through the grocery. I grabbed split chicken breasts for 99 cents a pound, a can of crushed tomatoes and pound of white button mushrooms.

After washing the chicken boobs and peeling off the skin, toss them into your crock pot. Add the can of tomatoes. Add about half a cup of dry red wine–I’m partial to cabernet sauvignon–wash and quarter the ‘shrooms. Toss those in. Dust the mix with some herbs. I have an italian seasoning blend which is basil, oregano and probably some other random herbs. Give it a stir. Put on the lid. Turn the slow cooker to low.

I was too cheap to drop $1.50 for a green pepper but in hindsight it’s totally worth it to chop one up and get that unrivaled flavor. If you like a bit more heat from your sauce shake in some red pepper flakes. I’m curious about adding a chipotle pepper to my pasta sauces. Next time I’ll add one in and see what happens.

Take a nap. Catch up on your DVR’d programs. Text message your friends at work about the delicious feast you just put together. Put in load of laundry. Anything is possible.

If you do this first thing in the morning or even at lunch time, dinner will be ready around 5 or 6. Make some noodles and buon appetito.

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Going Ethnic – Bachelor Burgers

I love Mexican food. And by love, I mean in college I was on the two-burritos-a-day plan. I love all seven layers of 7 Layer Dip. Sometimes before a date, I’ll put a lil guac behind the ears.

While experimenting with turkey burgers, I stumbled on this current concoction. It combines flavors you’ll find in most Mexican food and produces a substantial, protein-filled burger, which is great after those strenuous sessions ogling women at the gym.

Continue reading Going Ethnic – Bachelor Burgers

Man Made Chicken Salad

Like most bachelors, I look to re-purpose food any way I can. Last night’s dinner can easily become today’s lunch without much work. As a lover of sandwiches, among other things, chicken salad is a great change up to a cold cut.

This week I bought a few fresh ingredients that I used in a couple dishes to add some new flavors to basic man-made meals. Before the current fall weather blew into Chicago, I had fired up my smokey joe grill and made some Mexican0 turkey burgers (pics and recipe forthcoming) and grilled chicken. Continue reading Man Made Chicken Salad