Friday, February 18, 2011

easy calzones

Do ya'll like calzones?  I am such a sucker for stuffed pizzas, calzones, and stuffed breads.  It's comfort food for me.  I've had this recipe for calzones for a long time, and my two favorite things are that 1. It's easy and quick enough to make on a week night, and 2.  You can change up the filling ingredients to fit your taste or mood.
Don't be intimidated by making your own crust.  It's super easy, and the dough could also be used for a traditional pizza if you are so inclined.

We had these for dinner last night so I thought I'd share the recipe with you.

Easy Calzones

For the crust:
1 pkg yeast (I like to use rapid rise for this recipe)
1 Cup warm water
1 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. oil (olive oil or vegetable oil)
1 tsp. salt
2 3/4 Cups flour

For the filling:
Whatever you like on a pizza!
Some suggestions would be:
 mushrooms (canned or fresh)
green pepper
browned italian sausage
mozzarella cheese
provolone cheese
grilled chicken
artichoke hearts
pizza sauce or alfredo sauce

Last night we used pizza sauce, pepperoni, mozz cheese, mushrooms, green pepper, and onion.

Veggie calzones would be awesome Meredith, if you are reading this :)

Melted butter for brushing

Dissolve the package of yeast in the 1 cup of warm water in a large mixing bowl.  You want your water on the HOT side of warm if that makes sense.  I usually turn my tap on as hot as it will go, let it heat up, fill my cup measure and then by the time I get it over to my bowl with the yeast it's about the right temp.
Stir in the sugar and wait about 5 minutes for your yeast to "bloom."

If you've never cooked with yeast before, it's a bit like a science experiment.  When the yeast get all warm with the water and all fed with the sugar, they start to reproduce rapidly and you can actually watch this take place in your bowl.  It's called "blooming", and it's probably only cool for a baking nerd like myself.

Add the oil, salt, and flour and mix your ingredients until smooth.  You may have to mix the ingredients with your hands at the end to get them all incorporated.
Throw some flour down on your counter, and rub some oil on your hands. 
Dump the dough out on the floured counter and knead it until it becomes nice and smooth, about 3-5 minutes. 
Place the dough in a clean, oiled bowl (or one sprayed with cooking spray), cover it with a clean dish towel, and let it rise in a warmish place for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare your filling ingredients and oil a pizza pan and sprinkle it with some cornmeal.  The cornmeal is optional, but I like to do it.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

After the 30 min rising time on your dough is up, remove it from the bowl and divide it into 2 pieces.  Roll each piece into a circle approx. 10 inches in diameter.  They do not have to be perfect!  My circles look more like ovals, and sometimes they are kind of squarish.  No big deal.
Divide your filling evenly between your circles.  Fold dough over the filling and crimp the edges to seal.  You want to get your dough sealed pretty well here, otherwise all that yummyness will leak out all over your pizza pan.  Transfer the calzones to your prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.  After 15 minutes, brush the tops with a little melted butter to help them brown.

I like to serve these with maranara sauce for dipping.

You can double this recipe, but each calzone is pretty big.  I usually just eat a half, especially if I'm having a salad or something along with it.
Enjoy and have a GREAT weekend!


Mommy Webb said...

Yum. Yum. We will be trying this around the Webb household for sure. Is there anything you can use from the store (refrigerated or premade crust/dough) if you are in a pinch for time instead of making your own?

Mommy Webb said...

To follow up on my comment, I meant for the bread part - of course I would add the goodies inside:).

melissaballard said...

I think you could definitely use refigerated pizza dough - the kind that comes in the tube from pillsbury. When we lived in NY you could find refrigerated or frozen pizza dough easily, but I've had trouble finding it here.

Stover's site said...

yep, I'd definitely have to go with the Pillsbury refrigerated stuff. :-) I wanna be like you Melissa when i grow up. xoxoxoxo

a. meredith said...

i am going to try this!! :)

Tucker's Mama said...

I just wanna come to your house every evening at about 5 pm, okay?

Mommy Webb said...

Maybe once we get our new Kroger they will have more dough selection:).