Fired Up For Grilled Pizza

Making pizza at home typically involves blasting your oven as high as it will go—which, in the thick of summer, can be a tough sell. And while homemade pizza is a fun project, it’s even more fun to take the process outside to the grill for some trial, error, and ultimately, triumph. Grilling (one of my favorite cooking methods) and pizza (one of my favorite foods) have something in common—they both give you a chance to tinker with the process.


Think about it: Grilling—especially with charcoal or hardwood—is an exercise in responsiveness. It involves figuring out where the hot and cool spots are; controlling the air intake to regulate the temperature; moving food around depending on whether it needs a shock of super high heat or a chunk of time cooking low and slow.

And pizza, well—how long are you fermenting the dough? How long should you rest it before cooking? Should you sear it in a hot cast-iron before transferring to the oven or just place it right on a pizza stone on the oven floor?

Testing, tweaking, adapting—that’s the joy of cooking right there. So on a long, lovely summer evening when you’d rather be anywhere but in a kitchen with the oven cranked to 550°F, bring your dough and toppings outside and start tinkering.

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Here are a few tips to get you started:

Two Zones are Essential

When you build your fire, whether with gas or charcoal, create two zones for direct and indirect heat. If using gas, light the grill to high on one side and low on the other. If using charcoal, light the coals and when they burn down, bank the coals on one side of the grill.

Twice is Nice – For Grilled Pizza Dough

Cook the dough in two steps. First, sear the dough for between 30 and 60 seconds on each side over direct heat. Next, remove the seared dough from the heat, scatter on the toppings, and return the pizza to cook, covered, over indirect heat—using the grill more like an oven than a stovetop. Par-cooking the dough gives you a more sturdy base for toppings; finishing over indirect heat allows time for the ingredients to heat through and the cheese to melt—without scorching the pie.

Similarly, since the cooking time is so short for a grilled pizza, many toppings should be cooked ahead. You can use the grill for this, too. Char some eggplant or red onion on the grates, or heat a skillet over the coals (or gas) and cook some crumbled sausage or spiced ground beef.

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Less is More

Almost anything can top a pizza, but the key is to hold back on the volume of toppings—too many and the dough will get soggy.

I like to go for three toppings, max—including the base of pesto, ricotta, or a very judicious swipe of marinara. To keep moisture at a minimum, use vacuum-packed mozzarella rather than the water-packed kind, and sauté (on the grill!) any hearty greens you plan to use.

Grilled Pizza is All About Contradictions: More is More

You can make your own dough or use store-bought; either way, smaller rounds of dough are easier to manage on the grates. A one-pound ball of dough, for example, can get made into two small pies—all the better for amping up the variety of toppings.

Amplify the Flavor

A grilled pizza’s biggest flavor is the smoky char of the grill against the dough—so toppings should be similarly bold, or offer distinct contrast. For example, some bitter broccoli rabe and spicy pork sausage would stand up well; a smear of chevre topped with thinly sliced ripe melon and a tangle of lemony arugula and mint would be a delightful contrast.

Outdoor pizza night is best when it’s a bit of a rolling feast. Have snacks and drinks on hand, a big salad ready to be tossed, and just slice and eat the pies as they come off the grill —under the sky, as opposed to in a muggy kitchen.

7 Ways To Upgrade Your Grilling Skills

Cooking outdoors is an excellent skills way to soak up the sunshine while making delicious meals for the whole family. If you’ve had your fill of grilled burgers and hot dogs, we’ve compiled some tips to upgrade your grilling skills.


From a simple plan to smoking meat at home, to working your way up to grilling centerpiece-worthy roasts, this list offers seven novel ways to use your grill. Master these tips, and you’ll never grow bored of a grilled meal again.

1. Get smoking (no fancy equipment necessary)

If you’ve ever enjoyed a masterfully smoked cut of meat, you know the huge difference smoke can make to your barbecue exploits. And while many people believe it requires fancy equipment (like expensive smokers) to achieve that flavor, you can actually smoke meat with little more than a charcoal grill and some wood chips.

Simply arrange a 50/50 mix of wood chips and coals under half of the grill, place your hunk of meat on the indirect heat (cooler) side of the grill, and close the lid. You may also want to use a drip pan. Follow your preferred recipe and cook your cut for the correct length of time. Here’s a guide to smoking meat at home for more information.

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2. Learn to reverse-sear

We’re taught to sear our cuts of meat—like steak—on the grill first, to lock in the juices. There’s nothing really wrong with that approach. It definitely gets the job done. The one pitfall of searing first? Sometimes, it leads to overcooking our meat. If you’d like to upgrade your skills, try learning the reverse-sear.

Reverse-searing is exactly what it sounds like. Start by cooking your meat to your desired doneness on the indirect heat (cooler) side of the grill. Cook until a meat thermometer reads your desired temperature. Then, add fresh coals to the direct heat side of the grill. Once the grill is screaming hot, sear your meat quickly. Let the meat rest. That’s it!

This can also be done quite easily on gas grills by setting different temperature zones.

3. Upgrade to full roasts on the grill

Burgers, hot dogs, steaks. We’ve all made these on our grills. But if you’re looking to upgrade your skills, opt for a centerpiece-worthy roast. Made completely on the grill.

If that sounds intimidating, don’t worry. When it comes to grilling a roast—whether it’s pork butt, brisket, or even a whole chicken—the biggest change is the amount of time the cut spends on the grill. It will spend more time on indirect heat than you may be used to, but it’s not hard or inaccessible, at all.

Find your favorite recipe—maybe our sirloin cap with peppers and onions—and get grilling.

4. Try fruit tree wood chips

If you’ve tried smoking meat on your grill, there’s a good chance you used either hickory or mesquite wood chips. Those are wonderful for achieving sweet and smoky flavor profiles, but there are a number of chips from fruit trees and beyond worth experimenting with.

You could try applewood, which is mild and sweet, and pairs wonderfully with lighter cuts, like chicken or fish. Or, there’s cherry, pecan, and peach wood chips. Here’s a breakdown of their flavor profiles:

  • Cherry wood: Mellow, sweet, tart (pairs well with most anything)
  • Pecan wood: Mellow and nutty (try beef, poultry, lamb)
  • Peach wood: Sweet and fruity (try poultry or fish)

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5. Dry your steaks overnight

You’ve heard that you should let your steaks come to room temperature before grilling, and we all know they need a good rest after cooking. But, there’s one step that can help you achieve the juiciest steaks ever: Let them dry overnight.

This method is called dry brining, and requires you to salt your steaks and leave them uncovered in the fridge overnight. Make sure there’s nothing funky, with a strong odor, in the fridge. You don’t want that flavoring your meat.

By dry brining, you tenderize the steak, as well as dry the surface to achieve a perfect crust while searing. It’s a simple step that will totally upgrade your steak grilling skills.

6. Make dessert on the grill

The grill is not the place most people think to make dessert, and that’s a shame. Hot grills can deliver beautiful caramelization to hearty pieces of fruit, and leave slices of shortcake nice and toasty. Try our grilled peach shortcake and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

More than that, it’s an excellent option for skillet desserts. Load your cast iron skillet with the ingredients for a berry cobbler, and use the grill as you might use an oven by closing the lid. Perfection.

7. Add herbs to the coals

Here’s a novel use for herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage: Throw them in with the coals in your charcoal grill. As they burn, they’ll impart your steaks, chicken, and more with a herbal smokey flavor that’s to die for.

First, soak your herbs. Then add them to the coals—even soaked—they’ll burn off fairly quickly, so you’ll want to keep the grill closed while they flavor the meat.

5 Tips For Cooking Outdoors With Kids

Today, we’d like to introduce you to the idea of an outdoor cooking camp—for your kids! In this guide, we’ve compiled tips to successfully foster confidence and creativity in your little ones, all while soaking in some vitamin D.


This guide works for cooking at a campsite or just grilling in the backyard. You can find ways to cook outdoors with kids, no matter the equipment you have at the ready. Here are just a few reasons why you’d want to get your kids cooking outside.

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Why cook with kids outdoors:

Cooking outdoors teaches self-sufficiency

It probably goes without saying, but learning how to cook is an essential life skill. It’s important to involve the kids in the kitchen (or camp kitchen!) from an early age. Plus, it’s the gift that gives back. The more your kids learn to cook on their own, the less that burden falls on you.

Cooking outdoors teaches confidence and provides a sense of accomplishment

Beyond self-sufficiency, learning to cook is an educational activity that boosts children’s confidence. The more adept they grow with, say, knife skills, or following a recipe, the more accomplished they feel.

Cooking outdoors encourages creativity

If cooking (especially outdoors) isn’t an outlet for creativity, what is? Let your kids come up with the recipes they’d like to cook outside and let them customize them to their heart’s content. This is also a great tool to ensure they’ll actually want to eat what they cook.

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Cooking outdoors can be an amazing bonding opportunity

Did you grow up with memories of cooking with your family? If you did, you know how cooking can bring families together. If you didn’t, now is the time to make those memories with your kids!

1. Plan ahead

When cooking with kids, planning for all the necessary steps and potential hiccups keeps everything running smoothly. It’s already a handful to supervise and guide kids through all the steps of an outdoor recipe, let’s not add to the chaos with no preparation.

This is especially true if you’re camping or otherwise cooking away from home, and you’ve forgotten a tool or ingredient. To avoid this, make a checklist of everything you’ll need, from equipment to ingredients. You can read more about recipes and equipment options below.

2. Prep ahead (and let the kids help)

On the same note, it’s helpful to prep any ingredients that you can ahead of time. Making fruit kabobs? Avoid the potential for outdoor pests and chop the fruit while you’re still indoors, then store it in airtight containers until you’re ready to skewer it.

The same goes for meat that may need marinating or seasoning, or batters and doughs you need to mix. This way, you can focus on the actual cooking outdoors. Just because you’ve moved indoors for prep, doesn’t mean the kids can’t help. It’s still a part of the whole experience, so let them help every step that they can. Even little ones can help with mixing batters or seasoning meat.

3. Keep recipes kid-friendly

Chances are, if you’re cooking outside with your kids, you’re not looking to make a Michelin-level meal. (But hey, if that’s you, kudos!)

Instead, you’re probably focused on teaching your kids self-sufficiency and trying to whip up a simple, crowd-pleasing meal. For this, kid-friendly recipes are best. Opt for recipes that allow for lots of customization, with plenty of opportunities for kids to get hands-on with the cooking. Think simple recipes like burgers or grilled veggies.

Check out some of our suggestions below.

  • The Simple, 3-Ingredient Burger
  • Grilled Pizza (endless opportunities for customization)
  • Smoky Citrus Grilled Chicken Thighs
  • Campfire Nachos
  • Grilled Veggies with Aged Balsamic
  • Grilled Fruit Kabobs

4. Campfire? Grill? Figure out your cooking approach

Are you camping, or in your backyard? Do you have a portable grill, or are you working strictly with campfires? These are the questions that’ll determine your family’s cooking approach.

Outdoor cooking options have come a long way—you can, if you have the inclination—transport a whole kitchen outdoors if you’d like. Or, you can keep it simple with some coals in a fire pit. Either way, you’re teaching your little chefs life skills and bonding at the same time.

Here are some equipment options for cooking outdoors with your kids. Work with what you’ve got!

  • Old fashioned campfire (in a fire pit)
  • Coals in a fire pit (use tools like skewers, rotisserie, cast iron skillet, or a Dutch oven)
  • Charcoal grill
  • Gas grill
  • Portable BBQ or flat top
  • Camp stove
  • Pizza oven
  • Smoker

5. Don’t stress about mess

If there’s one idea we could leave you with for cooking with kids, it’s this: Let go of perfection. That’s not the point of outdoor cooking camp. Instead, your kids are taking major steps toward self-sufficiency, you’re creating beautiful family memories, everyone is soaking in some vitamin D, and you all get a delicious meal out of it.

So, if there’s a bit of a mess, have everyone pitch in to clean it up, and get on with your day. Don’t stress about it in the midst of cooking.

8 In-season Foods To Grill This Summer

Do you try to eat in-season? There are a lot of great reasons to opt for seasonal fruits and veggies. They’re tastier, more nutritious, and better for the environment. They’re also a good bit more affordable, and more likely to be sourced locally—because they don’t have to be imported from afar.


Here are some of the fruits and veggies that are in-season in much of the United States this summer:

Today, we’ve compiled a list of recipes that feature some of this bountiful in-season produce. They’re bright, summery, and delicious. We hope they inspire you to cook up some seasonal fare in your own kitchen!

1. Grilled Sockeye Salmon with Peppadew Butter, Asparagus, and Charred Tomatoes

Is there anything more summery than a delicious piece of grilled fish and in-season veggies? This grilled sockeye salmon with Peppadew butter, asparagus, and charred tomatoes is the perfect example.

You’ll find vibrant peppers and juicy tomatoes in season right about now, so showcase them in this light and delicious meal. The Peppadew pepper lends incredible flavor to a compound butter that you’ll want to douse everything with, while the tomatoes burst with flavor thanks to their charring on the grill.

This summery combo works well with just-a-little sweet salmon and earthy asparagus.

2. Grilled Greek Marinated Chicken Breast with Peach and Endive Salad

Channel Mediterranean vibes with this grilled Greek marinated chicken breast with peach and endive salad recipe, which uses in-season peaches, corn, and lettuce to build a crisp accompanying salad.

To make your Greek-inspired chicken breasts, keep it simple with a premade Greek vinaigrette. Marinate your chicken in the vinaigrette overnight to lock in amazing flavor.

While the chicken grills, take the opportunity to grill some in-season corn. The char contrasts beautifully with the natural sweetness of corn. You’ll use that corn in the accompanying salad, which also features in-season peaches and endive lettuce.

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3. Grilled Veggies with Aged Balsamic

There isn’t a simpler, more delicious way to use up in-season produce than with this grilled veggies with aged balsamic recipe.

You can opt for virtually any assortment from the produce you have on hand—the char of the grill with a kiss of aged balsamic, goes well with everything. This recipe opts for a blend of onion, asparagus, portobello mushrooms, corn, Japanese eggplants, and an assortment of peppers.

Add a little bit of salt, pepper, and oil, and you’ve got a complete seasonal side dish.

4. Ginger-Soy Ranch Steaks with Cucumber and Herbs

Cucumbers are an uber-refreshing, in-season veggie, so put them to good use in this ginger-soy ranch steaks with cucumber and herbs recipe.

Ranch steaks are marinated in a flavorful blend of garlic, fresh ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, and lime juice and zest. This Asian-inspired marinade keeps the hearty steaks fresh and light, and perfect for accompanying a bright cucumber-radish salad.

To make that salad, you’ll combine in-season cucumbers and radishes with scallion greens, and fresh herbs including mint, cilantro, and basil. The dressing is simple because all the other flavors shine: Just drizzle on a bit of olive oil, salt, and lime juice.

5. Grilled Peach Shortcake

We did. This grilled peach shortcake deserves a place in your summer cooking adventures.

With this recipe, you’ll get sweet, caramelized grilled peaches; tall, buttery biscuits; and thick, decadent whipped cream. You might never return to the strawberry version again.

Peaches are a summer mainstay, along with their stone fruit cousins nectarines and plums. You could totally opt for those stone fruits in this recipe too, or even a blend of all three. Work with what you have on hand.

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6. Sirloin Cap with Peppers and Onions

Here’s an intensely flavorful, seasonal meal you can make on the grill: sirloin cap with peppers and onions.

If you’ve never tried making a roast like sirloin cap (also known as picanha or coulotte) on the grill, now is the time. A bold, blended marinade gives this roast its distinctive flavor, thanks to ingredients like garlic, onion, Fresno chile, beer, citrus juices, and more.

Joining the roast is a bevy of in-season peppers and onions, which you’ll prepare with a skillet directly on the grill. Make sure to use one that withstands high heat.

7. Just Peachy! BBQ Chicken Thighs

In-season peaches don’t just have to be for dessert (though we love that grilled peach shortcake). Try them in this Just Peachy! BBQ chicken thighs recipe, too.

A key element of this recipe is the BBQ sauce from scratch. You could opt for something in a bottle, but you might be surprised by how simple it is to whip up the stuff at home. You’ll need ingredients like onion, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, tamari, and more. That, and a small skillet.

From there, you’ll grill your peaches, and roll your chicken thighs in the sauce and grill, too. This recipe is delicious served atop a base of leafy greens, with some balsamic vinaigrette.

8. Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Grilled Tomatoes

Fresh summer tomatoes are at their peak in juiciness, so it only makes sense you’d want to grill them. These bacon-wrapped stuffed grilled tomatoes are a great start.

That name may be a mouthful, but the ingredients list is simple. You’ll just need tomatoes (flat-bottomed ones work best, so try beefsteak or heirloom), fresh mozzarella, bacon, basil, balsamic glaze, and a bit of salt and pepper. That’s it!

Toddler-friendly Meals The Whole Family

Kids are notoriously picky eaters, but that doesn’t even begin to describe some toddler. If your little one lives on a steady diet of chicken nuggets and pizza, we get it. On this list, we’ve compiled recipes for little palates that will break them of the nugget habit, and you’ll still get to eat delicious, nutritious meals to boot.


Here are some of the toddler-friendly recipes on deck:

  • A simple, 3-ingredient cheeseburger
  • Baked chicken tenders (better than the drive-thru!)
  • Bacon cheeseburger meatballs
  • Easy taco meat
  • Individual, customizable mini frittatas

You’ll find these and several more tasty and nutritious options that the whole family will love below.

1. The 3-Ingredient Burger

Burgers are a family favorite, and the simple flavor profile in this 3-ingredient burger recipe ensures little palates will love it too.

All you need to whip these burgers up is some ground beef, garlic powder, paprika, and a liberal application of salt. Of course, we recommend topping your burger with some melty American or cheddar cheese, if you’d like.

Keeping the burger simple means everyone in the family can customize their burger with toppings. So dad can pile on the jalapenos, while little ones can slather theirs in ketchup.

2. Quick and Easy Baked Chicken Tenders

These quick and easy baked chicken tenders are a weeknight saver, and they taste just as juicy and delicious as the drive-thru options. They’re a good bit more nutritious, too.

It’s the simple spice blend that makes these chicken tenders shine. To make it, combine garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a bowl. Toss your chicken tenders to coat, and then bake them for 20 minutes or so. That’s it!

3. Gluten-Free Skillet Cornbread with Breakfast Sausage

Sweet and comforting cornbread is a childhood fave, but this gluten-free skillet cornbread with breakfast sausage recipe ups the ante with some succulent breakfast sausage.

Your kids will love this all-in-one breakfast, made with cornmeal, gluten-free flour, brown sugar, eggs, and more. The sage in the crumbled breakfast sausage adds just enough salty and savory notes to make this cornbread addictive. So, your kids will love it, but we think you might too.

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4. Paleo Salmon Cakes

Salmon can be a hard sell for little palates. While it’s quite nutritious, it can also can taste, well, a little too fishy. Make it more appealing with these kid-friendly paleo salmon cakes.

Turning fresh sockeye salmon filets into crispy cakes makes them easy to pick up for little hands. Ingredients like bell peppers, paleo breadcrumbs, mayo, Dijon, and more add plenty of flavor, while pan-searing the cakes gives them a pleasing texture.

It’s a great way to introduce toddlers to salmon.

5. Bacon Cheeseburger Meatballs

Not only will your toddler love the flavor of these bacon cheeseburger meatballs, but they’ll also love how fun they are to eat.

To make your cheeseburger meatballs, you’ll combine ground beef, crisp bacon, shredded cheddar, ketchup, breadcrumbs, and more. These meatballs get slathered with a delicious, tangy sauce made from mayo, ketchup, and pickles.

You serve these meatballs on a toothpick, but if you’re worried about little ones poking themselves, sub in a pretzel stick instead!

6. Simple Taco Meat

Taco nights are another crowd-pleasing option for the whole family. Use this simple taco meat as a base that even picky toddlers will love.

To make your taco meat, brown some ground beef with cumin, garlic, chili powder, a pinch of cayenne, and some salt and pepper. You can tone down the heat by omitting that pinch of cayenne.

Once again, tacos are a great option for families because of the opportunity for customization. Let your toddler pile on the cheese, while mom goes heavy on the guac.

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7. Breakfast Sausage

If your toddler is anything like mine, he or she loves breakfast sausage. Seriously, my son can devour several links or patties in one sitting.

You’ll find that making breakfast sausage from scratch is incredibly easy. Simply combine ground pork, ground sage, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Form into links, patties, or crumbles and cook away.

Of course, this sausage pairs amazingly with kid favorites like scrambled eggs and toast.

8. Individual Frittatas

If you haven’t figured it out yet, meals that allow for personalization are the best way to feed picky and refined palates alike. These individual frittatas provide the perfect opportunity.

Let your little one add in their favorite egg pairings, like cheese, bacon, and cherry tomatoes. Meanwhile, you can load yours up with all the broccoli and mushrooms you like. Muffin tins mean each mini frittata keeps to itself in the oven.

9. Honey Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Any recipe that includes a “bacon blanket” will please a crowd, it doesn’t matter their age. So, it’s no surprise that kids love this honey bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin recipe.

It may sound flavor-packed, and it is, but it’s also so easy to make. You’ll roll your pork tenderloin in a bed of spices like chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Then, use parchment paper to help “blanket” your pork tenderloin in bacon. Bake away.

Learning To Cook With Kids

In the last installment of “Learning to Cook with Kids,” chef and culinary educator Cleo Bell revealed some of her best practices for cooking with kids. Her big takeaway: Set a tone of respect and trust in the kitchen and kids will rise to the occasion. She also broke down the best types of recipes for young cooks to follow. Her approach is to introduce kids to a broad array of ingredients and techniques—the wider the range of foods, she says, the more foods they’re likely to try.Learning

Not only does cooking help instill curiosity by getting kids to figure out what they enjoy eating, but they also can build a sense of pride in their growing self-reliance—especially when they learn to cook foods that might usually be prepared for them. If a child loves chocolate chip cookies, for example, they might love them more when they learn to make their own.

Read on for some further recipe ideas for teaching your kids to cook.

Basics are Best

If there were a basic repertoire for young cooks, it would definitely start with chocolate chip cookies. “Anything baking-related,” says Bell, “and kids get excited.” Classic for a reason, chocolate chippers also introduce kids to a few key steps that they’ll then remember for other baking projects, such as cracking eggs, creaming butter and sugar together, and measuring dry and wet ingredients separately.

Pancakes or waffles could be next—and though the steps are similar to cookies, mixing a waffle batter requires a different technique (gently folding so that gluten doesn’t get overdeveloped) that can then be translated to crepes and muffins as skills advance.

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Teach Technique

Bell is a fan of teaching kids to cook eggs lots of different ways. “Kids love learning to crack eggs,” she says. (I can attest to this.) Between scrambled, sunny-side-up, hard-boiled, fried, or in an omelet or frittata, there’s no shortage of techniques to master when it comes to eggs. Bell favors frittatas, she says, because they offer a chance to sneak in some vegetables.

The day my older son made his first grilled cheese sandwich was a big day—he was so pleased with his ability to get the cheese melted and gooey while the outside got golden and crisp. Because grilled cheese ingredients are easy to come by, and the sandwich itself never gets old, it’s a good one for kids to master early on.

Burgers and meatballs give young cooks another chance to flex their budding chops. The techniques are simple, but it’s fun for kids to shape and season the meat; when they cook and assemble an entire burger, they’re often amazed at the thing they created.

As their confidence increases, let kids dive into more involved recipes, like strawberry shortcake —the biscuits require a special touch that takes some learning. If kids don’t get it right at first, no worries. Learning to cook is a perfect way to adopt a growth mindset—just because the first round of biscuits didn’t turn out right, doesn’t mean you’re a bad biscuit baker. Just try again.

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The recent focaccia garden trend, where bakers decorate a sheet of dough with artfully arranged vegetables, is another project kids love, says Bell: Tactile, creative, and tasty—with a lesson about yeasted dough for good measure.

Chef Cal Peternell conceived his 2014 cookbook 12 Recipes as a handbook for his son who was going off to college.

He wanted his kid to have all of the basics all in one place, so he could cook for himself as he grew into his independence. Basics like vinaigrette for salads and roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes and roasted chicken, are alldishes that kids can learn now, and cook for a lifetime.

Time-Saving Cooking Hacks

It seems to happen every night: You get through a long day of work, and the last thing you want to do is cook dinner. But you don’t have to order gut-busting delivery just to save time. Instead, use these simple kitchen time-savers that all take about a minute to do.


With these simple kitchen hacks, you’ll save calories and fat as well as time. That means you’ll have a little wiggle room to squeeze in a workout, spend time with your family, or just catch up on your favorite Netflix show. And while these hacks are all about time-saving, you can get even more brilliant tricks for smart swaps and waist-friendly culinary secrets with these 32 Kitchen Hacks for Healthy Eating!

Read the full recipe before cooking

This seems so simple, but sometimes we get in such a rush to cook that we forget to read the recipe before starting. Keep a time-consuming step from blindsiding you by reading through the whole recipe before you start. That way, you’ll be prepared for any daunting step before you get to it. Want to really be prepared? Use this read-ahead time to assemble your ingredients in prep bowls so you won’t be digging through your spice cabinet at the last second.

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Crush garlic with the side of a kitchen knife

Skip the painstaking process of peeling garlic cloves. Simply place the clove under the flat side of a wide knife blade and crush it with the heel of your hand. If you’re making a paste, chop the garlic after smashing it and then smash it again with your hand or the knife until it’s the consistency you want.

Grate Parmesan cheese at room temperature

Ask any chef, and they’ll tell you to keep Parmesan cheese at room temperature at all times. There’s a good reason: Warm Parmesan grates much, much faster than cold cheese. If you’d rather keep your block refrigerated, that’s absolutely fine—just bring it to room temperature before cooking.

Boil water in an electric kettle

Boiling water can take upwards of 10 minutes, but it takes only a minute or so in an electric kettle. Genius!

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Wear gloves when working with meat

Working with meats can be a total time suck because you risk cross-contamination—and serious illness—if you handle other ingredients right after prepping the meat. Washing your hands multiple times increases the cooking time considerably, so only prep meat when you’re wearing gloves—and then take them off for the rest of the cooking process.

Use the float test to check egg freshness

Can’t remember when you bought those eggs? Don’t fret; eggs are typically good well past their expiration dates. But you can always do the “float test” to check their freshness before you ruin dinner—and other food—by adding spoiled eggs. It’s simple: Just put an egg in a bowl of water. If they float, they’re bad; if they sink and lay horizontally, they’re good to go.

Build a meal strategy

Don’t decide what you’re having for dinner right before you start cooking. Instead, make a master meal plan for the week ahead on Sundays and then write out the ingredients you’ll need for each. It makes for easier shopping—and you only have to refer to your plan before starting the dinner-making process.

The Butcherbox 4Th Of July Menu

The Fourth of July is the perfect holiday to showcase the best of summer cooking, from meaty grilled masterpieces to beautiful stone fruits—or maybe both!


We’ve compiled a Fourth of July menu, from which you can mix and match to make your ideal summer food spread. We’ve got everything covered, including appetizers to munch on while you grill, char-kissed mains, bright side dishes, and even a dessert you can make on the grill.

On this menu, you’ll find celebratory recipes like:

  • Baked wings with tangy yogurt dip
  • Greek bison burgers
  • Peachy BBQ chicken thighs
  • Potato salad with grilled bacon and herbs
  • Grilled peach shortcake
  • And more!

We hope your holiday is filled with family, great food, and a healthy dose of vitamin D. Happy Fourth of July!


Deviled Egg Trio

Deviled eggs are an enduring appetizer, for good reason. But this deviled egg trio goes above and beyond with new flavors, including avocado, bacon, and smoked salmon.

If you haven’t made deviled eggs before, the classic recipe calls for hard-boiled eggs, cut in half with the yolks separated. Add to your yolk mixture some mayonnaise, dry mustard, and salt, then fill your egg white halves with the mixture.

Now, if you want to mix things up, try experimenting with mashed avocado in place of mayo, or adding crispy bacon or smoked salmon. Yum.

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Easy Baked Wings with Tangy Yogurt Dip

Spicy, crispy, and tangy: These easy baked wings with tangy yogurt dip may be the best chicken wings you’ve ever had. You’ll want them on your Fourth of July spread.

These easy baked wings are a good bit healthier than their fried counterparts, but every bit as flavor-packed. They’re gluten-free, to boot.

It’s the spicy rub that makes these chicken wings shine, complete with paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne. Don’t forget about the glistening melted butter that helps them to crisp up.

Finally, the tangy yogurt sauce comes together with a bit of Greek yogurt, reserved dry rub, sour cream, a bit more cayenne, and a few more key ingredients.

Bacon Guacamole

Looking for a Fourth of July appetizer that takes barely any effort at all? Try this bacon guacamole.

This recipe is just your basic guacamole, made all the better with crispy bacon. Just cook up some bacon and crumble it, then work it into guacamole made with avocados, lime juice, minced garlic, fresh cilantro, salt, and pepper.

Appetizers don’t have to be hard, and this endlessly dippable bacon guacamole is a testament to that.


Burgers on Fourth of July just make sense. But this year, try mixing things up with this Greek bison burger recipe.

These burgers are tangy, savory, and so satisfying, thanks to a burger patty made with ground bison, feta, kalamata olives, garlic, oregano, and black pepper. No need for extra salt, as the feta and olives provide plenty.

A homemade tzatziki makes every bite creamy and delicious. Serve these bison burgers sandwiched between pita halves for a fully Mediterannean-inspired meal.

Just Peachy! BBQ Chicken Thighs

Sweet and juicy, these Just Peachy! BBQ chicken thighs make fruit part of the main dish, and wow, do they succeed.

With ripe peaches aplenty in summer, this recipe is perfect for the Fourth of July. To make it, you’ll start by whipping up a quick and easy BBQ sauce, made with onion, ketchup, Tamari, apple cider vinegar, coconut sugar, and more.

Meanwhile, halve and pit your peaches, and slather your chicken in the homemade sauce. Grill both to perfection. From here, you can serve it all atop a vibrant salad, or alongside some great side dishes. We’ve got a few suggestions for those later in the list.

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Sirloin Cap with Peppers and Onions

Sirloin cap, aka coulotte or picanha, may be a lesser-known cut, but one bite of this sirloin cap with peppers and onions recipe and you’ll wonder why.

This cut is large enough to feed a family and grills up beautifully with very little effort. It’s the marinade that imparts bright, bold flavors to this sirloin cap, thanks to a (literal, as in you’ll use a blender) blend of garlic, onion, Fresno pepper, sugar, beer, orange juice, and more.

Once you’ve grilled your sirloin cap, peppers, and onions, you can fold it inside warm tortillas with fresh avocado and a spritz of lime. Amazing.

Side Dishes

Summer Potato Salad with Grilled Bacon and Herbs

If it’s the Fourth of July, you’ve probably already got your grill fired up. You had may as well throw on some bacon and corn and make this summer potato salad with grilled bacon and herbs.

Beyond grilled corn and bacon, you’ll just need to boil some red potatoes and toss it all with some fresh herbs and dressing. To make that dressing, combine champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.

It’s bright, vibrant, and zingy.

Grilled Veggies with Aged Balsamic

Nothing tastes better than char-kissed veggies, so whip up these grilled veggies with aged balsamic while you’re working on your entrée.

While you can customize this side dish with almost any veggie you’d like, we’ve used a colorful blend of red onion, asparagus, portobello mushrooms, corn, Japanese eggplant, and more.

Because the grill imparts so much flavor, the seasoning for these veggies is simple. Just sprinkle with salt, pepper, and drizzle on aged balsamic.


Grilled Peach Shortcake

Skip the strawberries and opt for grilled peach shortcake this Fourth of July. Sweet, caramelized grilled peaches, tall, buttery biscuits, and thick, decadent whipped cream—need we say more?

Make the shortcakes ahead of time by baking them in the oven. They’re a tall, sweet biscuit that pairs wonderfully with caramelized fruit and whipped cream. To grill your peaches, simply cut and grill flesh-side down on the hot side of the grill. When they’re done grilling, slice them and toss with sugar.

The Most Instagrammable Mimosa Bar Ever

Making the ultimate mimosa bar is easier than you think, and we’ve got the steps to help you create an ultimate brunch celebration at home. (Bonus: It will look great to the friends you invite via Zoom and in any screenshots your guests take.)Mimosa

Here are some of our social media tricks for making the perfect scene for entertaining:

1. Setting the space. Whether you prefer to use a large dining room table, a corner of your counter space, or your kitchen island we recommend you designate a space for your “Mimosa Bar.”

Think of it like the ultimate Instagrammable opportunity —even if the rest of the kitchen is chaotic. Put down a decorative napkin or tablecloth, use natural or candlelight to create some ambiance, and use the fruit you’re not juicing as decor.

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2. Prep the night before. Pick out your prettiest glasses! If you don’t have a carafe to display orange juice, consider using a vase or a mason jar.

Pro tip: Wrap a ribbon or some twine around the jar and add a tag for some charm!  If you don’t have an ice tin to keep the champagne chilled, what else do you have? A small cooler or even a mixing bowl could do the trick!

3. Get your garnishes together. Sliced oranges, a sprig of rosemary, and small dishes with sugar or dried rosemary help create a scene straight out of a lifestyle blog. So get creative and wow your friends and followers.

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4. Mocktails are just as good as cocktails. Make it fun for the kids and moms-to-be by setting out some seltzer and sparkling water. And, if you have any decorative straws, share them enthusiastically—any kids present will likely go through any and all variations you have.

5. Show off your home décor. Whether you share the set up with the family at home, on your weekly family Zoom call, or your social networks, you can feel great about setting up an Insta-worthy space with the things you have lying around the house. So go grab the succulents off your window sill and pour another one!

Now that you have your set up, it’s time to move on to the main meal!

4 new Products perfect for grilling season

season You asked, and we answered. We believe in giving members what they’re looking for, plus new and unique options they can’t easily find anywhere else. Take a look at what’s new from ButcherBox, just in time for summer grilling.


Burgers: Same Beef, New Look

It’s finally summer—our favorite season to fire up the grill and enjoy delicious meals with family. While we can’t be at your cookouts, we’re always here to make sure your experience with our 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef is as great as the product itself. We believe that you should have great food that’s easy to cook and store. That’s why our burgers are now individually quick frozen, specifically made to cook from frozen, and come in a handy resealable bag.

The patties are flash-frozen within minutes of being made, helping to maintain natural moisture and resulting in a juicier cooked burger. Our new resealable bag protects freshness and flavor, so you can use as many burgers as you need as often as you need. Don’t worry about defrosting the whole pack—simply take as many as you want and cook right from frozen. Less time spent prepping means more time enjoying great weather and food.

Cooking tips

These patties are best when prepared from frozen. Cook on your outdoor grill, under the broiler, or in a frying pan. For a medium burger, cook until the internal temperature of the patty reaches 160°F and enjoy.


Ground Bison: Beef’s Cooler Cousin

Summer and adventure go hand-in-hand, and sometimes the best adventures happen in your kitchen. Put on some good tunes, grab your boldest apron, and experiment with our ground bison. You can use it in lots of ways—making a burger is just one. Our pasture-raised, 100% grass-fed ground bison is lean and rich with umami flavor. It can easily be swapped for ground beef in any of your favorite recipes. Generally, it’s a unique way to bring more protein and flavor to meals without excess fat. Be the cool cousin with the bison at the next family barbecue!

Cooking tips

Bison cooks quicker than beef, so keep an eye out while you’re grilling. Happy eating! For a unique grilled bison burger, try our Greek Bison Burger recipe.


Salmon Burgers: Something New for Burger Night

Need a break from your usual burger? Switch it up with seafood. Have our wild-caught, sustainably harvested salmon in a new way. It’s okay if you spent all day soaking up the sun and forgot to defrost something for dinner—these patties are made to cook from frozen. They’re a quick, easy, and tasty choice for the whole family to enjoy.

Cooking tips

Grill, pan-fry, or bake. Be sure to cook to an internal temperature of 165°F before you enjoy. For a some tips on how to top your salmon burger check out our Guide To the Perfect Salmon Burger Toppings.

Bonus: New Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are a burger’s best friend, so we couldn’t forget them. Not to mention, they’re the unsung hero of the summer cookout. Our franks are made with high-quality heritage-breed pork and 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef you can feel good about serving to your family this season. They’re uncured, sugar-free, and naturally smoked with no artificial flavors or fillers. Don’t forget, our hot dogs aren’t preserved. Make sure to keep them refrigerated below 40°F to preserve the deliciousness.