Friday, February 25, 2011

When the moon hits the sky...

Good morning!

HAPPY FRIDAY!! Or, as my friend Ashley & I text each other on Fridays: "We made it!!"

I am super excited because tonight, the boy & I are going to Geja's Cafe, a fondue restaurant, for Restaurant Week!

For those of you who are not familiar with "Restaurant Week," this is something put on by the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, featuring promotions at a bunch of the city's nicer/trendy restaurants that would normally be pretty pricey.

During Restaurant Week, these restaurants set up a "fixed menu," usually 3 courses, that they make available at a very good price -- about $35ish per person!

I was really excited that we were able to get a reservation at Geja's.  It is definitely a date place -- very romantic. The decor kind of reminds me of wine cellar!

Last time we were there we got a card for a free bottle of wine up to $50! We were seated next to a group of loud wasted people making a scene.  (Hey...what is this, Kilroys?! I did NOT see pepperoni stuffed breadsticks on the menu, and they are definitely NOT playing Bon Jovi!) The manager felt bad and insisted that we come back for another try and enjoy a bottle on the house.

Truthfully, we weren't really bothered by them (it was pretty entertaining), but I am my grandma's granddaughter & I NEVER turn down a coupon!

We typically go out to eat one night on the weekend, then make food at home the other, to save some $$.

I wanted to share with you all my go-to weekend dinner, a homemade, healthy-ish, PIZZA! It is cheap, easy, and it will leave you wanting more.

So its pretty simple...

1) First things first -- preheat that oven to 450 degrees. 

You will need the following ingredients: 

For the Crust: 1 Boboli Wheat Pizza Crust (the whiter the bread, the sooner you're dead!)

For the Sauce: You can either A) buy the pre-made pizza sauce at the grocery store, which is pretty yummy, or B) make your own sauce! This really enhances the enjoyment :)

To make your own sauce: Mix all of the below in a medium size bowl & spread on top of your crust. WARNING: You will most likely not need to use the whole mixture....because that's a little too saucy!

1, 6-oz can of tomato paste
1, 8-oz can of tomato sauce
1 to 2 tsp. Oregano (just the dried stuff from your spice cabinet is fine!)
1 to 2 tsp. Basil (again, get in that cabinet!)
Garlic Powder (give it a good sprinkle)
Salt & Pepper to taste!

For the Toppings: After you've put down your sauce, you can add toppings of your choice, whether it be veggies, meats, or a combo! Our personal favorites are sausage & pepperoni, and since I try to keep it "healthy-ish," I use turkey pepperoni & turkey sausage. You will not taste the difference!

If you're using turkey sausage, you have to check out this little number: Jennie-O HOT Italian Turkey Sausage.

What I do for the pizza is take 2 to 3 sausages, cut them out of their casing (I know this sounds gross, but just trust me, it's really quick and easy, like pulling off a band aid!), put them in a skillet, and brown them up! You can kind of "grind" up the sausage as you cook, and then sprinkle the cooked sausage on top of your pizza (usually I put the pepperoni down first, and sprinkle the sausage on top).

And favorite part...CHEESE!!!!!! In my past life, I was definitely a mouse. A cute one.

For the Cheese: 1 Bag (normal sized, use as much as you want, I'd estimate I use a little over 1/2 of the bag) Shredded Mozzarella Cheese -- you can use low-fat/no- fat if you want, but this is something I prefer to splurge on because I think the real deal is worth it! My current cheese-of-choice is the Kraft Mozzarella with "a touch" of Philadelphia Cheese. You have got to give this one a try -- it is so creamy & it really makes the pizza! 

Sprinkle the cheese over the top of your toppings.

What to do next? Pop that bad boy in the oven for about 6 to 8 minutes.  I recommend putting the pizza directly on the oven rack (aka no cookie sheet/fancy pizza pan). This gets you the crispiest crust!

NOT SO FAST! Let it cool down a little...then slice, serve, and enjoy :)

You can even enjoy your pizza while sipping on a glass of my all-time favorite "budget-friendly" wine: Menage a Trois, California Red Table Wine. It's a blend, and it's delicious! I used to only like white, but this is the wine that turned me on to reds. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Stay tuned for a review from tonight's dinner!

Hope you all have a happy & healthy day! :)




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