And Now For Something Completely Different…

While education is a fascinating topic that definitely deserves more attention, it can get a bit depressing after a few posts. So, for something completely different: the first of the cooking posts.

Before graduate school, I had many hobbies. I would read approximately 30 novels a year; I would watch 4-6 movies a week with my family and friends; I was in extra-curricular organizations ranging from service fraternities to chess clubs. But now with teaching and grading and doing my own homework and trying to contribute something new to my field (aka working on my thesis), etc., I have almost zero time. I have found that a great way to relax while still “accomplishing” something is by cooking.

With all of us thanking God it’s Friday, I thought of sharing one of my favorite new weekend traditions. Every Sunday afternoon, my boyfriend and I meet up at my place. I cook him a pizza–frequently one of the two below, but we actually do vary things quite a bit–and we sit on my couch with the pizza, some red wine, and a BBC murder-mystery. It’s “our time” to unwind, relax, and spend time with each other before the week starts up again.

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Pizza #1: Spinach and Artichoke

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I have not yet met a person who does not like spinach-artichoke dip. I love it so much, I thought I’d experiment with putting it on a pizza. And the result is heavenly. Amazingly enough, this pizza has ZERO grease, so it’s probably healthier than the restaurant dip.

Final note before recipe: I have noticed that this is not as tasty with whole wheat pizza dough…sorry, health-nuts. I also have not experimented (yet!) with making my own dough. Currently I get my dough from this place whose name rhymes with ” Wader Moe’s.” It costs 99 cents for a roll of dough, too, so it’s definitely budget-friendly.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ball of pizza dough
  • Some canned artichoke hearts–coarsely chopped.
  • Some fresh spinach
  • Some kind of “mellow” cheese, like a fresh mozzarella or even the “cheap, shredded” stuff you can get at any supermarket
  • Flour for dusting and rolling out the dough
  • Cooking spray for the pan

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to the 375-400 degree range.
  2. Roll out the dough and spray your pizza pan
  3. Place rolled-out dough on pan. Layer ingredients as follows: spinach, artichokes, cheese.
  4. Cook for at least 20 minutes (maybe a little more, depending on your oven).

TA-DA!!!

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Pizza #2: “Everything’s Better with Bacon.”

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I have learned there are a lot of cool things about living in a college town. One of my favorite things about my college town is the weekly university meat-sale. Our college has an extensive agriculture program, and one of the courses we offer covers fascinating topics like “How to cut meat to USDA standards.” Of course, the “problem” is that these classes output excess amounts of meat–and not the “typical” grocery-store cuts either! So, every Friday afternoon the university has a meat sale, with all proceeds going back to the departments-in-question. This meat is certainly affordable, and it’s also very high-quality–no hormones (in fact, the meat is not “blood red” at all), and many of the local restaurants call in-advance to reserve their cuts. Last, almost all of the meat is locally-raised (some of the critters spent their whole lives on campus), and so it’s a win-win situation.

So, enough about the fabulous meat sale–let’s get to the fabulous pizza with meat on it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ball of pizza dough (I actually prefer the whole wheat dough on this one)
  • 1 apple of sweeter variety, sliced fairly thin
  • Some fresh spinach
  • Approximately half a dozen strips of bacon (and you know where I get mine). Do NOT pre-cook the bacon. Cut into bit-sized pieces.
  • Gorgonzola, or a similarly strong bleu cheese, crumbled or sliced
  • Flour for rolling out the pizza
  • Cooking spray for the pan

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to the 375-400 degree range.
  2. Roll out the dough and spray your pizza pan
  3. Place rolled-out dough on pan. Layer ingredients as follows: spinach, apple, bacon, cheese.
  4. Cook for at least 20 minutes (maybe a little more, depending on your oven).

And now for some before and after shots:

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