Friday, August 19, 2011

Grilled Pizza

 It is super hot right now (90's) in the Sacramento area, and the last thing I want to do is turn my oven on. "But Mom, how are we going to have Pizza? We LOVE Pizza." If anybody asks my kids what their favorite meal is, Pizza and ice cream will be their answer. So when I heard of Grilled Pizza, I was very excited to try it out. My first thought when I heard of putting pizza on the grill was "Isn't it going to stick to the grill and be a super gooey mess?" If anyone else is having those same fears, try out the recipe below. You will have great results! I was pleasantly surprised how very simple the process was, and I didn't have to turn my oven on. Big bonus.
How long it takes, depends on if you are making your own pizza dough or not. Also, if you want an even shorter prep time, make sure you chop up all the toppings ahead of time, and have your sauce and cheese ready. 
Here's my daughter kneading the dough.
 Once again this meal was a family affair. Check out this little song Hannah sang while kneading the pizza dough. 

**Most of the tips and tricks to grilled pizza I found on the Simply Recipes blog. Check out the original recipe here.

 Pizza Recipe 
Serves: 6-8 Prep: 30 minutes-2 hours  Cooking Time: 6 minutes

Pizza Dough

Either use store-bought pizza dough or check out a few homemade versions. 


 Either use a store-bought marinara or pesto, Home-made Marinara or a homemade Pesto.


Make sure your toppings are prepped and ready to go (ie. veggies and meat chopped, cheese grated or sliced). I put everything on a baking pan and that really helped having it all in one place.

Some of my favorites: 
~Pesto with Monterrey Jack cheese, fresh mozzarella and sliced tomatoes on top (pictured).
~Marinara with a little BBQ sauce mixed in, smokey Gouda cheese, garlic, pineapple and chicken sausage.   


 1. Make or buy your Dough. Set your grill to medium heat (should be about 500*F). Spray the grill with a grill cooking spray.
2. On a floured surface press with your fingers and flatten with the palms of your hands to shape the dough into a 12" circle or oval. Don't worry about making a crust or rim, the sauce and toppings stay on just fine. I used the bottom of a floured rimmed baking pan or cookie sheet, because then I was able to transfer the dough to the grill easier. You can also use a flat cookie sheet or pizza peel.

3. Once the grill is hot, slide the pizza dough on to the grill, close the lid and wait for 2-3 minutes. Open it up again, and see if the pizza dough has bubbles on it. That's how you will know if it's done or not. Also, it will have dark grill marks on the bottom.
 4. If it has bubbles on it, slide it with a spatula on to the baking sheet and have your toppings ready to put on the pizza right away. Add your sauce. If using pesto, brush it on. If using marinara, only use 1 ladle full. Less is better in this case.

5. Sprinkle your cheese lightly on top.
6. Add the toppings including fresh mozzarella if using.
7. Carefully slide pizza back on the grill, close the lid and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
8. Slide back on to the floured baking sheet with a spatula when done. Serve hot and immediately. YUM!

Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~Chop toppings ahead of time. Keep in fridge until time of use. 
~Grate cheese ahead of time and keep in fridge until time of use. 
~Make homemade dough ahead of time and keep in fridge until ready to use. Dough can keep in fridge until up to 24 hours.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Use dried tomatoes instead of fresh.
~Sprinkle some smoked cheeses like gouda on top instead of mozzarella or monterrey jack.   
~Try marinated artichokes as a topping with fresh basil sprinkled on.
~Instead of coating the back of a baking pan with flour try corn meal. 

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