A Cozy Fall Night: Pizza & the most delicious salad EVER!

The other night, Frank and I were talking about our senior year of college and our post-college days (ahhh, to reminisce!), when Friday nights were all about going out, drinking heavily, and feeling horrible the next morning. The transition from playing soccer every day and weekend for three and a half years to having weekends completely free was exciting and overwhelming. Plus the fact that I was 21, it felt like an entirely different college experience for me. Once I was done school, I started working the 9 to 5 grind (aka living for the weekend) and that meant Friday night was our time to unwind, drink more, spend the money we just made, and go out to see our friends (especially those who were still in school)…the fun continued!

Well, growing up has been quite the whirlwind and though we’re both back in the academic worlds, we’ve really started to cherish our Friday nights at home cozied up in our pi’s, enjoying a beverage or two (not 5 or 6), and the best part, making dinner together! This isn’t to say we don’t go out and enjoy drinks with our friends, but now that we’ve learned to be a little more money and calorie conscious (plus we need our sleep) it’s been a refreshing change of pace and we truly do love it. Plus, our school work seems like a mountain by the time we get to Friday afternoons, so Saturday’s are our most productive days between Frank’s work and studies and my time writing papers and studying while sitting in coffee shops (like I am now typing up this post, enjoying a matcha green tea at Water’s Edge Cafe in Pawtuxet Village, RI–so cute!).

So, here we are.

Reminiscing about college makes me miss SO much about the amazing experience I had. There were ups, there were downs, and everything in between. Looking back, I realize how fortunate I was to be able to play the sport I loved while getting a great education and meeting some of the greatest people who I’m lucky enough to call my friends, family and fiancé. I still get home sick and miss my family, but I know that I’m in a good place and the time I do get to spend with my family and friends when they come to visit and when I go home is truly special and unforgettable. Wow, went on a bit of a tangent there…thanks for listening!

Onto the FOOD…

The reason for this post was really to give you a recipe, which is what this blog is all about, so let’s get to it! This is literally the most simple pizza and salad recipe from this past Friday. (Warning: This is not a healthy dinner, we splurged and it felt GREAT!).

Meal inspiration: Frank and I were talking on Thursday night, of course while watching the Food Network, about what we should make for dinner on Friday (see, all I think about is food). Pizza was the first thing that came to mind which we haven’t made in a looooong time. So the decision was made!

I was feeling like margherita pizza topped with strips of proscuitto. Fresh melted chunks of mozzarella, ribbons of bright green basil, and a simple fire roasted tomato sauce topped with decadent proscuitto. That’s all I wanted and Frank was right on board. So, we made it happen and took some short cuts to make it an easy to make Friday night dinner. Frank then suggested we make a mock version of one of our favorite salads from The Pizza Place in Westerly, RI. The recipe looks like this:

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Not the most healthy salad, but literally so good. Instead of the pasta or bacon, we kept it simple and it tasted just like the real deal.

Gorgonzola Chicken Salad

Ingredients

1/2 bag of butter lettuce mix (the butter lettuce was extra creamy with a  little hint of radicchio-love this combo!)

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced into half moons

1 whole avocado, diced

8 boneless, skinless chicken strips

5 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Dice the chicken strips and season with salt and pepper.

2. In a medium sauce pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and then add the chicken.

3. While the chicken starts to cook season it with your favorite spices. Frank used:

4. Once the chicken is cooked, set aside to slightly cool.

5. In a salad bowl, add the lettuce, red onion and avocado.

6. Then add the gorgonzola cheese and chicken. Stir it up so the warm chicken melts a little bit of the cheese and gets nicely combined with the veggies.

7. Drizzle the salad with the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

8. Enjoy!

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Margherita Pizza

Ingredients

1 Pillsbury pizza crust (We wanted to buy their whole wheat crust but the store only had the classic crust so we bought the regular one. Feel free to purchase any type of your favorite pizza crust or make your own. For us, we were looking for quick and efficient, so purchasing a pre-made crust was the way to go!)

1 jar of fire-roasted tomato sauce (Fire roasted was a nice change. It was smokey yet still had a nice bite to it. Again, purchasing the sauce instead of making it from scratch was easier on our time and clean-up)

One package of fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into slices

1/4 cup of fresh basil, rinsed and chopped into ribbons

3 oz. of proscuitto, ripped into smaller pieces

Directions

1. Follow the Pillsbury instructions to pre-bake the crust.

2. Remove pre-baked crust from the oven and top with desired amount of tomato sauce, slices of mozzarella and basil.

3. Bake the pizza with toppings following the instructions.

4. Let cool then top with fresh proscuitto (I really don’t like cooked proscuitto but if you prefer cooked, feel free to add it before you cook it!)

5. Slice and enjoy (Suggestion: Pour yourself a glass of red wine, put your pi’s on, throw on a Friday night movie, light a candle, relax and enjoy!!)

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We capped the night off with a second glass of red wine and an episode of Law & Order: SVU (Totally our guilty pleasure right now). Hope you had a great weekend!

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