Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pizza Pizza - Go!

I broke one of my personal dining rules by eating the same thing for lunch and dinner - Pizza and spinach salad in this case. Both were very different studies of the same concept.'

Lunch was provided by my office cafeteria. I wanted the "healthy option" from the grill - a whole wheat spicy chicken quesadilla with carrots. As the line was too long, and I was on a tightly mandated 46-minute lunch break from my management training, I defaulted to what was hot and grab&go - the sliced pizza and pre-mixed salad bar.

The slice was a 1lb honking mass of thick cornmeal dusted dough covered in cheese, a decent tasting sauce and greasy pepperoni (according to Sodexho, each slice is worth 400 calories, but I don't buy it). I tried to balance it out with the house spinach salad which consists of slightly wilted baby spinach leaves, thin sliced red onion, mandararin oranges, glopped with a raspberry vinaigrette. Uff!

Contrast that with my take on this idea at dinner. We started with a small refrigerated deli pizza from Trader Joe's that was heavenly. The crust was perfectly crisp on the edges, but flakey and tender on the inside. It was topped with pesto, sliced roma tomatos and fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese. The check-out dude at TJ's warned me that these were so good, he would eat them two at a time. Luckily, I only bought one which my BF and I shared. We paired the pizza with my standard (need a salad, and need it now!) spinach salad. Here's how I make it:

Basic Spinach Salad:
1) Dump a bag of triple washed baby spinach into a bowl (wash all you want, if it's got e-coli you can't do a thing about it)
2) Sprinkle 2 generous pinches of coarse kosher salt over the leaves
3) Drizzle lightly with good extra virgin olive oil (about 3 seconds worth of drizzle)
4) Splash with some aged balsamic vinegar (Trader Joe's again has a nice 10-year for only $3)
5) Fresh Grind some black pepper on top to taste
6) Toss and serve

Dinner was done in 10 minutes, which gave us time to get out to the Minneapolis Auto Show, where we could smell the leather and continue my multi-year effort to buy a new car. Will it be a Beemer, Land Rover or another Infiniti? Either way, I may have to cut back on my grocery/restaurant budget given my taste in vehicles.

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