Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Calzone Goddess

That's my new nickname. At least, the nickname I have given myself.

This weekend I made an awesome dinner. Sensational, actually.

As a kid, we ate a ton of pizza pops. Literally a ton. I'm sure we kept the pizza pop factory in business. Whenever my Mom went to a conference, which, in my childhood memory was ALL THE TIME - but was probably 3 times a year - we had pizza pops. We had them for lunches, for dinner, I wouldn't be surprised if my brother occasionally ate them for breakfast. By my preteens I was so desperately sick of pizza pops that I learned to cook so that when Mom was busy and Dad was in charge, I wouldn't need to eat the godforsaken pizza pops.

Then I moved away from home, swearing to never again eat a pizza pop. I, like many freshman far from home, lived in a dorm with cafeteria privileges. Once a month, we had a special night that every single student looked forward to: Calzone night.

Newsflash, 2002 Megan: Calzones are just way, way better pizza pops. But lord, how I loved them. EVERYONE loved them. The Dining Centre was packed. You had to get there early, or Sorry, No Calzones for You.

My baby brother would go on to live in the same residence for a couple years, but by then Calzones were a regular fixture on the menu, not just a once a month treat.

Tonight, I made Calzones. God, they were delicious.

This is where I apologize for the fact that I didn't take photos while making them, so you'll have to trust me. Delicious. Attractive. Pretty much the sex symbol of food you can eat with one hand.

Or a fork and knife, if you're classy. Like me.

Megan's Calzones

Step One. Go back in time a few days, a week, whatever. Make this pizza dough recipe or the pizza dough recipe of your choosing. Let the dough rise, split it in half. Make one pizza. Freeze the other half of the dough.

Here's a trick I learned during my tenure making pizza at a restaurant-type fast foodish drive in establishment: spray the first layer of saran wrap you use to wrap up the dough with oil or pam first. That way, it won't stick after it's been thawed! Double-wrap that dough ball to protect it from freezer burn or something.

Don't have a time machine? Make the dough today and stash half of it for pizza later this week.

Don't want to make your own dough? Buy it frozen from a pizza joint or the grocery store.

Step Two: Back to today. Take dough out of freezer and thaw. Let dough come to room temperature before you work with it - it's easier to work with than cold dough.

Split dough ball into 4 equal parts.

Flatten each into a thin circle, but not so thin that it tears or is see-through. You don't want filling busting out, that's not atractive.

I made each calzone one at a time because we're short on counter space, but go nuts assembly-line style if you have a big kitchen.

Place dough on a greased cookie sheet. You can sprinkle the sheet with cornmeal if you're fancy. Usually I am, today, I am not.

Step Three:

Place about one cup MAX of your choice of toppings on ONE HALF of the dough circle. This is not a lot of toppings. If you look at it and go, Meh, not enough! you've probably hit it spot on.

Suggestion: put the toppings on, then spoon a little sauce on top of them. 3 tbs or so is LOTS of sauce.

This next bit is important: leave about a 1/2 inch border of nekkid dough around the outside of your toppings.

Toppings I used: chopped turkey breast deli meat, pineapple chunks, mozzarella cheese strings *my friend Robert just cringed at the idea of cheese strings*, pizza sauce.

Go nuts here. Use whatever you like on pizza, whatever is in the fridge, or a combo of the two. Taco or fajita leftovers would be awesome. Stir fry leftovers would work. Meatballs. Canned tuna. Just veggies. BBQ steak bits. Roast beef. Chicken. Tofu. Eggs and bacon.

Play with the sauces - salsa, peanut sauce, bbq sauce, alfredo sauce, teriyaki...whatever! This is a great way to use leftover bits and bobs of veggies in the fridge. Make everyone's to order, if you're a nice person. I'm not. Turkey and pineapple for us all!

Step - where am I? Four?:

Fold the un-topping'd dough over the toppings. Pinch edges together tightly to seal. You can do this a couple ways - use a fork or do what I did - pull the dough over just the toppings, leaving that border you left uncovered. Then roll the dough border OVER the top folded over dough and smush down with your fingers tightly to seal. Fold ends under. This should make a vaguely crescent/half-circle shaped delight.

You can now do a quick brush over the top with an egg wash if you're fancy. I'm not.

Step Five: Go back in time to between Step Three and Four and preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Step Six: Bake on the cookie sheet for 12 minutes. The dough might be brown, or it might not, but tap the top - it shouldn't be mushy or soft.

Let cool for a minute or two before devouring.

This makes FOUR pretty large calzones. One would be lots for dinner with a nice salad. I will leave you to calculate points and nutritional info yourself, but this came in really low for me because of the minimal toppings used and their low points values.


Leah said...

Sounds divine! I always make homemade pizza on Saturday nights, and have always wanted to try calzones. Thanks for the tip!

Lauren said...

OH wow Meg, those calzones sound delicious!! Definitely adding to my "must make eventually one day" recipe list!

P.S. I eat string cheese everyday. I <3 it!

Also, added you to my blogroll. You have such a great attitude towards WW and weight-loss in general!

Carolyn said...

Trust me to make it even easier... I made this yesterday and bought the pizza dough from Lina's Italian Market. One $2.99 blob made 3 nice sized calzones.