When I was a busy working mom with a small child at home, I remember how challenging it was some nights to get a delicious, healthful meal on the table. Homemade pizza and Caesar salad was, and still is, a meal that satisfied everyone in the family. I take the easy way out and don’t even make my own pizza dough….because really, who has time for that during the week? Follow my simple steps and create a fabulous Homemade Pizza Night for your family!

I preheated my outdoor grill then went inside to prepare my dough. If you don’t have a grill available you can make this pizza on a pizza stone in a 500 degree oven. I purchased the dough from my local pizzeria, but of course if you wanted to you could certainly make your own. I rolled it out on a lightly floured cutting board (spread some flour on your rolling pin as well so it doesn’t stick to the dough). Then I brushed some olive oil onto both sides of the dough with a pastry brush. I used my pizza stone to slide the dough onto the grill.

After grilling for 1-2  minutes per side, remove the dough and put on your toppings. Be as creative as possible! This time I did a classic Margherita Pizza (tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil) which is perfect for kids, and a more adventurous combination for the adults; caramelized onions, basil pesto, goat cheese, olives, and figs. Wow…that one was terrific! I put the Margherita pizza back on the grill for a couple of minutes before serving to let the cheese get hot and bubbly. Mmmmm….

My Caesar dressing is not classic, but the flavor is authentic, and basing it on prepared mayonnaise rather than raw egg relieves salmonella worries.

Flavors Caesar Salad Recipe (from my cookbook, Pamela Morgan’s Flavors):

Serves 4-6 people

1 cup mayonnaise

4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, chopped

4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 large heads romaine lettuce

1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

24 Big Chile Croutons (recipe follows)

In a food processor, combine the mayonnaise, anchovies, lemon juice, garlic, hot sauce and black pepper. Process until smooth. Adjust the seasoning. The dressing can be prepared up to 3 days ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Let the dressing come to room temperature before using.

Separate the heads of romaine, discarding any tough or browned outer leaves. Cut off the tough stems from the remaining leaves. Halve the leaves lengthwise, then cut them crosswise into 1-1/2 inch pieces. There should be about 20 cups of lettuce pieces.

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with the dressing. Add the cheese and the croutons and toss again. Divide the salad and croutons among chilled plates and serve immediately.

Big Chile Croutons:

These big croutons are crunchy and very spicy. They soak up the dressing in a particularly delicious way.

Makes 24

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon Italian red chile paste

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

24 1-inch cubes of day-old, crust-on, peasant-style bread, preferably semolina.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, chile paste, and garlic. Add the bread cubes and toss well to moisten evenly. If necessary, let the cubes stand, stirring occasionally, until all the oil is absorbed.

Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer on a jelly roll pan. Bake, turning occasionally, until the croutons are lightly but evenly browned on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes.

Use warm, or wrap airtight and store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.