From Melissa’s Kitchen: Easy Calzones

Our family really likes pizza, especially the homemade variety.  Sometimes, though, it can be fun to change things up.  For us, that means calzones.

Several years ago, when I was really into freezer cooking, I stumbled upon calzones as an easier alternative to frozen homemade pizza.  Todd and the kids loved them, so I continued to incorporate calzones in the menu.

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To make the calzones, I start with my homemade pizza crust recipe.  Once the dough cycle is done in the bread maker, I dump the crust out on a floured countertop and assemble the filling ingredients.  When I made calzones for these pictures, they were the simple pizza variety, but you could fill them with just about anything.  Some of our favorites:

Bacon Cheeseburger

  • Browned ground beef, cooked bacon crumbles, shredded mozzarella and cheddar, ketchup, mustard, & pickles

Broccoli Chicken

  • Cooked chicken breast chunks, broccoli, shredded mozzarella, ranch dressing

Pepperoni Pizza

  • Tomato sauce, pepperoni, shredded mozzarella

BBQ

  • BBQ sauce, shredded mozzarella, cooked chicken breast chunks, sauteed onions

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Once the pizza dough is one the counter, I split it into five equally-sized dough balls.  I flatten each of them into a circle about 1/4-inch thick.  I cover the circles with toppings, just like I would for regular pizza.  Once the toppings are on, I carefully peel the crust off the counter and fold it in half.  The edges get pinched shut and the calzones form enclosed half-moons.

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I transfer the calzones to an oiled baking sheet (or use a silicone liner).  Each calzone should be pricked three or four times with a sharp knife so that steam can escape during baking.  The calzones are baked in a preheated oven, at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, for 15-20 minutes.

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Once the calzones come out of the oven, I cut them in half and let them cool for 5 minutes before serving.  Each calzone can feed 1-2 people, depending on appetites and side dishes.

Do you have any creative pizza recipes?  Let me know in an email or comment below!