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Think beyond burgers for Father's Day cookout

How about a pizza pie?


Something I've never been able to figure out: On Mother's Day, moms get breakfast in bed. On Father's Day, dads are expected to head to the grill to cook for themselves.

Not sure why.

Maybe while dads can help the kids make scrambled eggs and French toast, moms aren't as eager to let their kids play with fire. But maybe there is a way for mom and kids to make dad a meal - complete with the grill - but in a safer matter.


Yep, pizza. Grilling infuses pizza with a wonderful smoky flavor and a crisp, chewy crust.

"While professional chefs have been grilling pizza for a while now, it's only in the past few years that everyday backyard cooks have started to master the technique," said food writer Gretchen McKay. "It's pretty easy, once you get the hang of it, and no more time-consuming than grilling a steak or chicken, if you prepare the dough beforehand. Plus, think of all the money you'll save on takeout."

But you need to know a few basics before you get started. McKay offers these suggestions:

First, your toppings need to be precooked because the pizza won't be on the grill long enough to cook them there. Second, it's important to start with clean, well-oiled grates. The dough will stick to any charred bits of food left on the grates. If you use a stone, preheat it with the grill or it could crack.

Always start with a preheated grill - pizza dough is best when it's cooked quickly at a very high temperature (around 650 degrees, if your grill goes that high). Also, it's smart to have your sauce, cheese and other toppings cut, diced, shredded or otherwise at the ready. Since the crust will cook much quicker than the toppings, cook your meats and vegetables beforehand so all they really have to do is warm up.

After the pizza's properly dressed, it'll take another two to three minutes for the cheese to melt and toppings to cook through on indirect heat. Close the lid and resist the temptation to peek - every time you open the grill, McKay says, you'll lose precious heat, and your family will have to wait that much longer to eat.

One of the best things about pizza - grilled or otherwise - is that you can top it with whatever you want. So let's start with the basic recipes.

Grilled Pizza

1 pizza crust dough, recipe follows, or use store-bought dough

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup pizza sauce, recipe follows, or use store-bought sauce

2 to 4 ounces mozzarella cheese

Toppings (your choice)

Prepare grill for direct heat. Preheat to medium hot. Lightly coat back of a baking sheet with nonstick spray or oil. Have toppings prepared and available.

On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Brush both sides with the olive oil and place on prepared back of baking sheet.

To transfer the dough to the grill, hold the baking sheet at an angle. Grab top edge of the dough and quickly invert it onto the grill (don't worry if it is not a circle). Cook until bottom is golden, about 2 to 3 minutes, making sure the bottom does not burn. Flip the crust over with tongs and quickly add the sauce, cheese and toppings. Cover the grill and cook until the dough is cooked, the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Makes 2 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Bon App tit

Basic pizza Dough

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup warm water, around 110 degrees F

Pinch granulated sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating bowl

2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided

In a large bowl, mix yeast, water and sugar, and stir well to combine. Set aside until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the salt, olive oil and 1-1/4 cups of the flour, and mix well to thoroughly combine. Add another 1 and 1/4 cups flour and mix well with your hands, working to incorporate the flour little by little. The dough should be slightly sticky to the touch.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, adding additional flour as necessary to form a smooth and elastic dough that is not sticky. Transfer to a lightly oiled 2- or 3-quart bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Divide dough into 2 equal portions and form into balls. Use immediately or wrap individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day.

Makes 2 pizzas (4 servings).

Recipe adapted from: Emeril Lagasse, via Food Network

Easy pizza Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, smashed

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 teaspoon oregano

Pinch crushed red pepper

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add oil. When hot, stir in onions and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic clove and cook 30 seconds. Stir in tomato sauce, oregano, red pepper and cheese. Simmer until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.

Makes enough sauce for 2 pizzas.

Recipe from: Daniel Neman

Additional recipes available at

Terri Hahn of Osceola has worked in food media for more than 30 years and has won numerous state and national awards .

Think beyond burgers for Father's Day cookout

How about a pizza pie?

Make it a meal: toss the extra black beans, diced tomato and some avocado with prewashed salad greens and cilantro-lime vinaigrette and dinner is on the table in no time.

Smoky Corn + Black Bean Pizza

Preparation time: less than 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 to 30 minutes

1 plum tomato, diced

1 cup canned black beans, rinsed

1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)

2 tablespoons cornmeal

1 pound prepared whole-wheat pizza dough

1/3 cup barbecue sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella, preferably smoked mozzarella

Preheat grill to medium.

Combine tomato, beans and corn in a medium bowl. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a large baking sheet. Stretch the dough into about a 12-inch circle and lay it on top of the cornmeal, coating the entire underside of the dough.

Transfer the crust from the baking sheet to the grill. Close the lid and cook until the crust is puffed and lightly browned on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes.

Using a large spatula, flip the crust. Spread barbecue sauce on it and quickly sprinkle with the tomato mixture and cheese. Close the lid; grill until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the crust is browned, 4 to 5 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe from: Dairy Council of California


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