This summer try these unique, easy-grill recipes – including grilled pizza and grilled pound cake – with friends and family.

Pizza is a crowd-pleaser, and it’s easy to turn a pizza into an appetizer by cutting it into small wedges. Buy pizza dough from your favorite pizza parlor or used a store-bought crust like Boboli. Have a pizza grilling party and ask your guests to bring their favorite toppings to share. A few flavorful ingredients work better than piling your pizza with too many toppings.

Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Braised Mushrooms

  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 c. assorted raw mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 c. thinly sliced yellow onions
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly chopped thyme
  • 4 oz. smoked cheese-provolone or mozzarella
  • 1 frozen pizza dough ball (from pizzeria or market)

Let dough rise in an oil coated bowl for six hours.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add mushrooms and cook until soft and the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat and add vinegar. Transfer to a small bowl. In the same pan, heat 2 Tbsp. oil over low heat. Add onions with a pinch of salt.

Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until onions are caramelized, 30-40 minutes. Do not raise heat and try to “fry” onions. Remove from heat and stir in thyme. Roll pizza dough on a floured surface.

Transfer pizza dough to a pizza stone or round cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Spread onions, mushrooms and cheese over rolled-out pizza dough. Pizza can be transferred to the grill grates or left on a baking stone. Place on hot grill until the edges are dark and cheese is melted. Slice and serve as appetizer.

Grilled Caesar Salad

  • 2 flat anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 12 (one-half inch thick) slices baguette
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 hearts of romaine
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese

Purée anchovies, garlic, oil, salt and pepper in a blender until smooth. Heat your grill to medium heat. Brush both sides of baguette slices with anchovy dressing and grill the bread, turning over occasionally, until toasted, one to two minutes.

Add egg and lemon juice to dressing in blender and blend until emulsified, one to two minutes. Season with salt. Cut romaine hearts in half lengthwise, then grill with cut sides down (covered only if using a gas grill) until grill marks just appear, about two minutes. Sprinkle cheese on toasted baguette and drizzle dressing over grilled salad. Serves six.

Grilled Pound Cake and Fruit

Grilling fruit and cake after an outdoor dinner makes for a quick and easy dessert. For a tropical dessert, grill pineapple and peaches to top a piece of grilled pound cake. For a Fourth of July party, spoon red and blue berries on grilled pound cake and top with whipped cream. In the fall, grilled apples topped with caramel sauce works well. There is no limit to the combinations you can come up with!

  • One purchased pound cake, sliced three-fourths of an inch thick (Sara Lee is preferred)
  • Choice of fruit
  • Whipped cream
  • 4 Tbsp. melted butter

Brush cake with melted butter and grill until toasted, about two minutes on each side. If using large pieces of fruit such as pineapple, brush them with butter as well and then grill briefly. Top cake with your fruit of choice and whipped cream.