Mar 31, 2010

Calzone: On The Cheap

The Jackson home is usually bustling with activity around 5:00 p.m. A squawking Lucy wants her dinner, some juice, a banana, a Popsicle, PICKLES ( oh how she screeches for pickles at decibels I can not fathom), Saint Michael is home from work and wanting to catch up on our days, change out of his monkey suit( he works at a business professional joint and not as a birthday party mascot for the record.) and play with our squawk box of a toddler. Where am I? Happily in the kitchen prepping some sort of easy wonderment for my family to eat. I am not a fussy eater, nor is my family. We know what we like and we try to incorporate goodness and flavor in all the food we feast on. Usually this involves orange cheddar cheese. I have a theory family happiness is proportional to the amount of processed orange cheese you consume. Maybe the NIH will fund me some research grants to figure it out.

Last night I made calzone. Nummers. This is one of the easiest, cheapest, tastiest, most satisfyingly gooey meals I make. I like to make this when we are in a hurry to get outside and enjoy the rest of the evening. I make this meal when we want something tasty the whole family loves and no one will complain about. I also make this meal because it is all about easy prep and for just over $3.00, this meal requires no cutting, chopping, shredding or kneading. Simply thawing, sprinkling and baking. Oh and jar opening.
This recipe requires ZERO slaving, kids can even help it is so easy. It also has little for nutritional value, but eat it and have a happy belly because it is a fun treat for the wee ones. And me...

Quick and easy family sized Calzone

your shopping list:

Frozen bread dough- Reeds is great and is about $.60 a loaf. You need one loaf white or wheat (white tastes better I think). Don't make your own, that would take a long time and be lame.

1 jar pizza sauce- We use Ragu traditional and you only need about 1/8 of the jar so you can pop it in the fridge for future use. It costs about $.17 worth of pizza sauce to make one huge calzone.

Shredded Mozzarella cheese- how ever much you like I use about 1/2 cup or $.50 worth

Shredded Cheddar cheese- ORANGE and how ever much you like, again about 1/2 cup or $.50 worth.

One small can sliced black olives- $.69 and it saves you the work of slicing. My scarred up fingers are grateful.
One sack o' peperoni- we use the Hormel ones. Full fat, not turkey based. You only need about 20 peperoni so you can certainly get a smaller pack if you want. It is about $.70 worth of peperoni because we get about 5 calzone out of a sack.

To make:

Take your frozen bread dough out 6 hours before you want to use it in warm weather, 8+ in cold weather. You do not want your dough super huge and puffy, just risen. Place the dough in a greased ( with shortening) pan of some sort, grease the loaf with shortening too as it will dry out a little as it rises. Leave uncovered. Don't poke at it. Go by the clock not by how it looks, this method has never failed me.

1.Once dough is thawed, heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Spread dough out, work with hands into a rectangle about 14 inches long and 6 or so inches wide. Toss the dough onto a cookie sheet.
3. Spread pizza sauce on the dough, I take it to the edge but you don't have to if you like less sauce. Spread out the peperoni as generously as you like. Eat a couple while you do this- it just feels right.
4. Sprinkle cheeses on top, as much as you like.
5.Sprinkle olives on top of this mess- omit if you are weird.
6. Grab the long side of the calzone dough closest to you and try to roll it, think jelly donut, over so you make a big, long log of dough and goodness. You don't really need to roll it multiple times, basically just make a log.
7. I like to sprinkle a little extra cheese on top.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and done. You should see cheese and what not burbling out the ends, this is a good thing.

9. Remove from oven, slice with pizza cutter and enjoy.

This recipe is really similar to a Stromboli, except not as fancy and super quick. I like that it is more substantial and bready than your average Stromboli, it makes it easier to enjoy on the quick.
You can stuff these bad boys with whatever pizza toppings you like. I make it this way cause, well, we know what we like.
If you try it, tell me what you stuffed it with. Please, nothing healthy, o.k.?

Eat this meal on paper plates and clean up is a cinch, and it gets you outside into the fresh air to work off all the cheddar cheese fat. Serve it with a salad if you must, but try not to ruin the unhealthy perfection, please?


Cindy @The Flipping Couple said...

That sounds SO GOOD. Especially right now because I'm hungry. But I'd probably swap out olives for spinach because I still can't make myself eat olives. Which makes me weird. : )

Sarah, I think you and I are a lot alike when it comes to food. Meaning we like simple and cheap because we have a lot of things to do and slaving away in the kitchen doesn't rank at the top of the list. Especially when it's 70+ degrees outside in MARCH!

Amanda said...

I need to pass on my stromboli recipe to you. Mine is quite filling. 2 slices and you're full! I could do a guest "on the cheap" post for you. lol! The calzone sounds really yummy!

jeffrey Salovich said...

Here's one not on the cheap:


One batch of pizza dough
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup chopped/grated Mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper
Your choice of filling ingredients: onion, pepper, choriza, ham, prosciutto, spinach, etc.

Knead your dough on a floured surface for a few seconds, divide it into two pieces, form them into balls, and let them rest for 20 minutes under a towel.
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Drain your ricotta in a fine mesh strainer (or paper towel lined colander) for 10 minutes.
Prepare the filling ingredients if pre-cooking is needed (i.e. saute the onion and pepper).
Mix the three cheeses and your filling ingredients in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Roll out your dough balls into 8 – 10″ circles with an even thickness. Letting them rest for a few minutes after first rolling them out will make it easier. Transfer the rounds to a piece of parchment paper.
Add half the filling to each piece of dough. Maneuver the filling onto half of the dough, moisten the edges of each round with water, then fold over the empty half of dough to enclose the filling. Press the edges closed.
Bake the calzones on a cooking sheet or baking stone for 30 – 40 minutes.

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