Growing up in America, I was used to box macaroni, frozen pizza, and all manner of premade things. They were cheap and easy, and considering the limits of my college dorm room, practical. But being in PC, those things either don’t exist, or are too expensive for a PCV’s budget.
To illustrate this point, I tell you what it took to put a recent dinner on the table. I was rather ambitious, so it’s not always so much work. But if I want to make “fancy” things, it takes a lot of work and a lot of patience.
This week, I got some carrots, spinach (swiss chard), and lettuce from the school garden. As the spinach goes bad quickly, I knew I needed to use it. But I didn’t feel like another stirfry or spinach ommlette, so I got creative. I had recently found a pizza dough recipe that looked simply enough, so I decided I would make some spinach-alfredo pizza with a salad on the side.
I started with the salad. I knew I didn’t have any dressing, so I surfed the internet and found a promising recipe for Italian dressing. I made that first because I wanted to let it sit a bit so the flavors would blend well. I then set out to make the pizza dough, and while it was rising, I quickly did up some dishes because my pan was dirty.
As my dishes were drying, I grabbed my knife and cutting board and chopped up the tomato, green pepper, lettuce, and carrots, then grated some cheese. I also chopped up some spinach and onion because I wanted to saute it a bit before putting it on the pizza.
I popped a piece of bread into the oven to toast, because I obviously had no croutons. At that time, I turned on the spinach so it would cook a bit while I was having my salad. After that was done, I tore it up and sat down to eat my salad. It was delicious! I WILL be making this dressing again, even once I’m back in the states! So easy and far cheaper than bottled dressing.
After my salad, I set the spinach and onions aside, chopped up the veggies for the pizza, and grabbed my now-clean saucepan to make the white sauce. I’ve only done it once before, but it is insanely easy. However, before I could make it, I had to mix up some milk because I use powdered milk. I mixed up the white sauce, and set it to simmer. As it simmered and thickened, I grabbed my Nalgene, floured my table, and rolled out my pizza dough (yes, with my Nalgene. I don’t have a clothespin). It rolled out beautifully, and fit onto my cookie sheet quite nicely. Then I grabbed my now-finished white sauce and spread it on the pizza, tossed on the veggies (tomatoes, onion, spinach, green pepper) and grated some cheese on top. Then I popped it in the oven and waited anxiously.
Everything ended up being delightfully delicious! My salad dressing, croutons, pizza dough, spinach, white sauce, and pizza. A lot of work, but I have a lot of time on my hands, so it pays off. And it’s not often I eat this well!