Try grilled pizzas at your party

As summer comes to a close, many folks begin to get the cover out to put their grill to rest for the chilly months. However, football season is the perfect reason to keep your grill hot and ready for your favorite game-day mainstay.

Everyone enjoys a tailgate burger, hot dog or BBQ chicken, but have you ever considered throwing a pizza on the grill?

My brother Ian, who my dad often calls “Guido,” came to visit one evening with his fiancee Sarah. My brother adores anything meat-related and if you top anything with cheese, his Italian appetite jumps for joy.

I decided that he would be my guinea pig for my tailgate pizza adventure. We grilled the dough first and then piled on various meats, cheeses and Italian herbs.

The final masterpiece had just the right amount of smoky char and a stunning Sicilian flavor.

This pizza is simply delicious. You can top your pies with anything you like, ranging from grilled vegetables and feta to buffalo chicken and blue cheese.

Once you start serving grilled pizza at your sports parties, you may never have an empty house for game day again.

Guido Grilled Pizzas

Serves: 6

Total time: 30 minutes

1 pound whole wheat pizza dough

Flour for dusting and rolling, about 1-2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to season

1 1/4 cups tomato basil spaghetti sauce

1 cup Italian blend or mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

36 slices turkey pepperoni, cut in half

1/2 pound cooked turkey or chicken sausage, crumbled or chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

Preheat grill to medium heat. Cut the pizza dough into 6 portions and roll each out into a personal pizza-size, about 6-by-6 inches.

Lay out the rolled dough on a large baking sheet or platter. Brush the first side of dough rounds evenly with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil (about 1/4 teaspoon each) and season with salt and pepper.

Lay the oiled side facing down on the grill and cook until the dough begins to bubble and can be easily moved with tongs, about 2 minutes. Watch it closely, as it can burn quickly if your grill is too hot. You may have to do this in two batches. Brush the uncooked side with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Flip the dough over to cook the other side. Remove from grill and lower grill heat to medium-low.

To build each pizza, spread the tomato sauce and top with Italian cheese, parmesan, a handful of sausage and 12 pepperoni halves. Sprinkle each with 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Repeat for the remaining 5 pizzas. Carefully return the pizzas back to the grill and cook until the cheese is fully melted, about 3-4 minutes longer. Serve hot.

Nutritional information: calories, 415; total fat, 16.8 grams; saturated fat, 6 grams; cholesterol, 52.6 milligrams; sodium, 1,364.7 milligrams; carbohydrates, 44.5 grams; dietary fiber, 3.1 grams; sugar, 7.3 grams; protein, 22.7 grams.

Lauren Kudlawiec lives with her husband, Bryan, in Ebensburg and teaches at Penn Cambria High School. She took second place in “The Great American Cookbook Competition” on “Rachael Ray”?this year and is currently writing her first cookbook about healthy and affordable cooking. She also demonstrates recipes on WTAJ’s “Central PA?Live” every Wednesday.