Grilled Pineapple, Ham and Arugula Pizza

This pizza is the perfect use for leftover ham, and if you smoke your ham it is even better. The combination of salty ham with caramelized pineapple from the grill and spicy arugula is a new take on this Hawaiian classic. Grilling the thin pizza dough creates a crispy crust that is similar to a flatbread.

This is a great pizza to serve family or friends on a spring or summer patio night. For a real island experience while entertaining, welcome guests with an Aloha and a Mai Tai.

Ingredients:
½ fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 2 large pieces
1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough ball, about the size of a grapefruit
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 cup leftover ham, diced
¼ cup ricotta cheese
⅔ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups arugula

Directions:

  1. Prepare the grill for medium-high, indirect heat. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off and for a charcoal grill, place coals on one side and use the coal free side.
  2. Brush pineapple with half of the olive oil on all sides. Grill directly over burner or charcoal until light brown grill marks appear, about 4 or 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill and dice after pineapple is cool enough to handle.
  3. Roll or stretch (I do a combination) the pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter.
  4. Place crust on the grill over indirect heat (a pizza peel comes handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom of the crust.
  5. Remove crust from grill. Top cooked side of crust with remaining olive oil, spreading evenly. Add ham and pineapple in an even layer. Add dollops of ricotta and sprinkle shredded mozzarella.
  6. Return pizza to the grill and cook for about five minutes, until mozzarella cheese has melted and bottom of crust has light brown grill marks. Remove from grill, top with arugula, slice into 8 wedges and serve.

Butternut Squash Grilled Pizza with Blue Cheese and Bacon

I am one of those pumpkin-crazed people who embraces all things, from lattes to ravioli and lip balm to candles. Fall squash is also one of my favorite things to cook with and I enjoy it throughout the winter. I particularly love sweet and creamy butternut squash, which is the star of my grilled pizza. A touch of maple syrup enhances the sweetness of mashed butternut squash, which is smothered on top of the crust and topped with sharp blue cheese, crispy bacon and toasted pecans. Round out the meal with a salad, like spinach with apples or roasted beets.

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 teaspoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough ball (about the size of a grapefruit)
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
⅓ cup blue cheese crumbles
5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a small baking sheet, place squash halves flesh side up. Place 1 teaspoon of butter in the hollow of each squash. Roast until flesh is tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to touch. This step can be done several hours earlier or the day before.
  2. Scoop inside flesh of squash from skin and place in a food processor or blender. Add maple syrup and puree until velvety smooth, without any lumps.
  3. Roll and stretch pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter. Prepare the grill for medium-high, indirect heat. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off and for a charcoal grill, place coals on one side and use the coal free side.
  4. Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel is handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom. Remove crust from the grill and place on a workable surface.
  5. Spread a thick layer of butternut squash on top of the cooked side of the crust. Top with mozzarella, blue cheese, bacon and pecans. Return pizza to the grill and continue cooking for about five minutes, until cheese has melted and light grill marks appear on the bottom of the crust. Remove from the grill, slice into 8 wedges and serve.

BOURBON MAPLE PORK TENDERLOIN WITH GOAT CHEESE MASHED POTATOES

The aroma of grilled meat lofting in the air makes me hungry, even if I’ve already had a meal. Add a little bourbon, maple syrup and Dijon mustard in the mix, and the smell of your pork tenderloin on the grill may even bring your neighbors over for dinner. Paired with creamy goat cheese mashed potatoes, this recipe is simple enough for a throw-together meal and impressive enough to serve when entertaining. Doubling the recipe will give you more to pass around if you are serving a crowd. Add some grilled broccoli to round out this delicious meal and serve with your favorite bourbon of course.

Bourbon Maple Pork Tenderloin Ingredients:
1 whole pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons country Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

Goat Cheese Mashed Potato Ingredients:
1 pound potatoes (about 2½ cups), diced and unpeeled
water
½ tablespoon butter
½ cup skim milk
4 ounces goat cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place pork on a large plate or platter and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, bourbon, mustard and rosemary. Reserve half of the glaze in a clean bowl and brush the pork with the other half of the glaze.
  2. Grill the pork tenderloin for 17 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally and brushing with the remaining glaze, until pork reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Place pork on a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil. Let the tenderloin rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to low heat. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender. Drain water and return to the stove over low heat. Add skim milk, butter, salt and pepper and mash with a potato masher while butter melts. Add goat cheese and use a hand-held mixer to whip potatoes on high until smooth and creamy.

SUMMER VEGGIE AND STEAK KEBABS

Summertime meals should be easy, delicious and fun to make. Nothing says fun like food on a stick, and the aroma of grilled kebabs will make everyone thrilled to eat their veggies. Light on the meat and heavy on the vegetables, my Summer Veggie and Steak Kebabs are a great way to use seasonal produce. Substitute the squash and tomatoes for zucchini and bell peppers or use all to add even more color your plate. Serve with whole grain rolls and a simple salad for a quick and well-rounded meal. Cheers to outdoor cooking and making simple meals with fresh produce.

Marinade Ingredients:
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Kebab Ingredients:
1 pound sirloin steak
2 medium zucchini or summer squash (or one of each)
1 small red onion
1 cup cherry tomatoes

Directions:

  1. If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 30 to 60 minutes before assembling to prevent charring.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Cut the steak, squash and onion into bite-size pieces. Thread steak and veggies through skewers and set aside on a large platter or baking sheet. Brush the marinade evenly on the kebabs and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature.
  4. Prepare a grill to medium-high heat. Place the kebabs on the grill and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare.

Servings: 4

Sausage, Apple and Spinach Grilled Pizza

Fall is in the air and on my plate! Fresh picked apples bring the taste of the season to this grilled pizza. For a vegetarian version, simply omit the sausage and top with toasted pecans or walnuts for a crunchy protein after removing from the grill.

If there are pick-your-own apple orchards near your home, I recommend stopping by for fresh, local apples. Visiting orchards and farms are great ways to educate the children in your life about where our food comes from, and this recipe is a kid-friendly one that you could make together after harvesting your produce.

Ingredients:
½ pound ground sausage
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 medium apple, cored and diced
1 bunch spinach, trimmed and chopped (about 4 cups)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 homemade or store bought pizza dough ball (about the size of a grapefruit)
2 tablespoons cornmeal
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned and no longer pink. Drain fat from skillet and return to the stove. Add onion and apple to the sausage and cook until tender and lightly browned. Add spinach and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Roll and stretch pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter.
  3. Prepare the grill for medium-high, indirect heat. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off and for a charcoal grill, place coals on one side and use the coal free side.
  4. Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel comes handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom.
  5. Remove crust from grill. Top cooked side of crust with sausage, apple and spinach mixture. Add shredded mozzarella evenly over pizza toppings.
  6. Return pizza to the grill and cook for about five minutes, until cheese has melted and bottom of crust has light brown grill marks. Remove from grill, slice into 8 wedges and serve.

Note: When I make homemade pizza crust, I often double the recipe and freeze to have on hand for fast weeknight meals like this one.

Servings: 4