Grilled Pizza {& Going Ovenless for a week}

It was dark outside when I took this photo - think of it as "pizza ambience"

Wow… grilled pizza is good, really GOOD. And easy, oh so EASY…. and totally QUICK, and completely PERSONALIZED and I should have been grilling pizza years ago!!  So, what led me to finally try grilling pizza? The story goes like this…

Once upon a time there was a girl, me, who started a blog, and she came across another girl named Stacy who also writes a blog, who kept posting recipes etc… that were just what I needed, seriously. It was like she was reading my mind, but not really, but kind of – like the day my pears were destined for the green waste bin and Stacy posted a mini pear crisp recipe. Fast forward to this week. Stacy asked her readers for suggestions for recipes that don’t require turning on the oven. (link coming soon) Apparently “on” for 8 minutes is completely different than “off”–details, shmetails. This baking girl is very attached to her oven; using my oven for 8 minutes is almost like not using it at all. You are reading a “baking” blog, you can relate, right? I think I should have a bumper sticker that says I ❤ my Oven!, except for the part where I’m not a bumper sticker kind of girl… Anyway, Stacy kindly pointed out my over-sight and encouraged me to try again. I took it as a personal challenge since my PG&E bill has, uh, doubled. (ouch!) I vowed to turn my oven off for a week and see if I can survive what I can do. So, you and I can both thank Stacy for this idea – Thank you Stacy!! Btw, you can also thank her for this bread recipe. You know, the one that I can’t make, because I’m not turning on my oven. Perhaps, Mr. Loaf and I are due for a little quality time. I’ll be okay, I can totally survive on grilled pizza for a week, if I have too. 😉

Summertime IS “grilling” time. I love grilling; grilling means LESS clean-up. (Grilling used to mean my husband did the cooking. *sigh) Anyway, I had already thawed pizza dough waiting on my fridge. (I don’t know what I was thinking it’s been almost 100 degrees here and baking homemade pizza requires pre-heating the oven to 500 degrees for 30 minutes plus bake time – except that, well, homemade pizza is GREAT!)… this is when I had an A-HA moment ~ GRILLED PIZZA. The idea is not original, but it’s something that I had never tried.  The visions of gooey pizza dough stuck all over my grill, 4 whining hungry kids, a grumpy husband, and wasted food were what popped in my head when I thought of grilled pizza. – I can tell you the results were very much the opposite and I have proof.

Mmmm... fresh veggies, homemade sauce & whole wheat pizza crusts

I took my previously frozen pizza dough out of the fridge, divided it into 4 pieces, and let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. While the dough was resting, I gathered the rest of the pizza making supplies.  I had some left-over Easy Homemade Pantry-Tomato Sauce in the fridge (1.it can be made during the rising time if you are making fresh pizza dough, 2.it can be frozen and then thawed the same time as the dough, or 3.it can simmer in a crockpot). Summertime is also a perfect time for an abundance of fresh veggies*, so your pizza can be really healthy.

Getting all bubbly on the grill...

After the dough finished resting, I shaped each piece into “rustic” circles (about 6 inches). I pre-heated the grill on high then, using a brush I coated the grill with olive oil-you could use a paper towel w/oil on a cold grill. (*I’m not sure I needed to do this because the whole wheat dough wasn’t sticky at all, the non-wheat dough can be sticky tho’ – so use your judgement.) I reduced the heat to medium, placed the crust on the grill, closed the cover & waited 3 minutes while the grill did it’s magic.

When the bottom is covered with toasty looking grill marks (mine took 3 minutes) remove from the grill. My dad always pre-baked his pizza crusts in the oven before adding the toppings… I had flashbacks. However, I put the sauce and the toppings on the side with the grill marks, so I could grill the other side. Just in case you are wondering, yes, the crust was hot. Ideally, you could start some “raw” crusts grilling while placing the toppings on these.

After placing the toppings, I put it back on the grill for another 3-4 minutes. It could take a little longer depending on how hot your grill is. Aside from NOT turning on the oven, the best parts were:

  • everyone got their own personal pizza
  • everyone made their own pizza (yay, me!)
  • everyone LOVED their pizza, especially my husband!!

I meant to purchase some “turkey” pepperoni and I forgot. I bought Canadian Bacon (uncured, at Costco – YUM) and I forgot to buy pineapple. But, it didn’t matter… which is another great thing about pizza, you can put anything on it. Sauce (red, white, or pesto) or no sauce. Cheese or no cheese. Meat or no meat. — I’m going to be sure that I stock my pantry & freezer with lots of pizza toppings because I think these are going to be popular around here for awhile!!

~ Happy Grilling ~

**a note about veggies – they tend to retain water (think artichoke hearts & tomatoes – even tho’ they are a fruit). A helpful tip is to use a little salt to extract the water. Place veggies in a colander, swirl with some salt and set over the sink to drain for a little while. You could do this right before you get the dough ready to rest. They should be ready by the time you need them. – Also, before adding the sauce, you can brush the top of the crust with a mixture of olive oil & crushed garlic.

 

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