Sarah's Gastronomic Adventures #3: Pizza and Football

Friday, September 24, 2010
In exactly one week from today I will be in Vegas. This will be the third time since May that I will be making the almost eight hour trek through the "scenic" state of Nevada.  The last two times over the summer, the goal was to cut loose, relax a bit, and party it up.  Although the plans are virtually the same this time, there is one other motive....the UNR vs UNLV annual "battle for the cannon" football game!!!

For those of you who don't live in Nevada, this is one of the most anticipated football games of the year.  It's the Pack blue versus the Rebel red.  The winning team not only gets the glory they also get the honor of ownership of the Fremont Cannon. The location of the game switches every year, and this just so happens to be a Vegas year.  (NOTE: I will write more about this football game and the North vs South rivalry later this week.  This is after all a "food-blog" entry today)

In preparation of next week's trip I got together with my girls for dinner and planning. My best friend suggested that we do homemade pizza. I thought the idea was brilliant (and something we hadn't done before).  Dinner was at my house, and I told my friends that I would make homemade Caesar salad, and would provide the basics for pizza (the dough, sauce, and cheese).  I invited them to bring their favorite toppings to use and share. 

Homemade CAESAR Salad and Pizza
Originally I was going to make dough from scratch, but then my day got busy and I never got around to proofing the yeast and dough.  I'm also not much of a baker (I'm a fabulous cook, but baking is a science that I seem to mess up
 5 out of 10 times). I went with the easier option and bought
 dough from the frozen section of the grocery store. 

As the dough was defrosting, I prepped the toppings I had chosen
 (sauteed mushrooms, bell peppers, black olives,
 oregano, basil, fresh tomatoes, pesto). 

I then made my Caesar Salad with homemade dressing.  I forgot to take pictures of the processes (I guess I got into my "chef mode" and was busier measuring then remembering to take pictures).  I did want to mention a few things about this recipe though.  It is (again) a weight watchers adaptation. 
Usually Caesar salads are "off limits" because of their high caloric intake on the dressing.  In this recipe you're eliminating the raw eggs, using a fraction of the amount of Parmesan cheese normal recipes call for, and are substituting some of the oil normally used for water.  I also added additional veggies (tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers) to bulk up the salad. 
Yes I know those don't belong in a tradish Caesar salad but c'est la vie. 

Finished Caesar Salad, ready to serve
Once all of my girls arrived, it was PIZZA TIME!  I sprayed baking pans with non-stick cooking spray and dusted them with cornmeal.  We each took a ball of dough and began to stretch them out.  Once the dough was to our desired crust thickness, they were put on the baking sheets and baked for 10 minutes (no toppings just the dough).  Baking the dough first allowed for a less soggy crust.

Then it was time to make our personal masterpieces.  We had a huge variety of toppings!  In addition to what I provided there was artichokes, pepperoni, pineapple, alfredo sauce, chicken, bacon, and more. 

Pizzas are topped and ready for the oven!
My Pizza

Pizzas baked in a 400 degrees oven for about 15 minutes
 until the cheese was melted and bubbly. 

My YUMMY pizza!
Another pizza, made by one of the girls
Dinner was a huge success! Everyone left happy and with full bellies.
 And our Vegas planning?  All done!
 We are ready to hit the road next Thursday
and watch Nevada kick Vegas' booties!


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