Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Calzones for Lunch

Jamey packs his own lunch.  I try to put leftovers in containers that travel well so that he can just grab them and go but sometimes there are no leftovers and this leaves him without many choices.  Feeling a bit badly about this, I decided to make calzones for him thinking that they could be kept individually wrapped in the freezer so that on the days no leftovers are available he would have something easy to take.

I wanted to put meat in them because we rarely eat meat for dinner - this would make them special.  But I also wanted to incorporate a lot of vegetables because... well, they're good for him.  I also wanted to include some sauce so he wouldn't have to take something separate to dip them into but was worried tomato sauce might seep through.  After some thought and using what we had on hand, I came up with a recipe that really works.  Pureed roasted tomatoes provide the sauciness (with no leak) and a little zing.  We sampled some and were both really pleased- don't you just love it when things come together?

Jane's Calzones
Prepare the dough first and let it rise while you make the filling.  These freeze and reheat nicely, making them perfect for lunches.  This pizza dough recipe is the one we make every Friday night (Pizza Night).  It makes two large pizzas.
Makes 16 calzones

pizza dough (adapted slightly from More-With-Less Cookbook)
2 cups warm water
2 tbsp. yeast
2 tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. canola oil
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups all-purpose flour

In the bowl of your electric mixer, using the dough hook, pour 2 cups warm water.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and turn the mixer on the slowest setting.  Add the sugar, salt and vegetable oil.  Keeping the setting on low, add the whole wheat flour.  Once combined, slowly add the remaining flour.  If need be, stop the mixer and lift out the mixer head so you can invert the dough ball, then mix again.   Once well combined (not wet-sticky or stuck to the sides), form it into a ball in the same bowl.  Remove the bowl from the mixer stand, cover with a clean dish towel and set in a sunny spot or in a warm room to rise for 1 hour.  If the dough is very sticky, add a little more flour and mix again.

While the dough is rising, make the filling.

1 1/2 cups roasted tomatoes
1 lb. ground sausage
2 large onions, chopped
3 large red bell peppers, chopped (frozen work fine)
4 cups frozen chopped spinach, Swiss chard or kale
2 tsp. salt

cooking spray
1 egg
1 tbsp. water
4 tbsp. cornmeal, divided
1 heaping cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Puree the roasted tomatoes in a food processor until almost smooth.  Set aside.  In a large skillet, cook sausage, breaking it up, until almost browned through.  Add onions and bell peppers and continue to saute until the vegetables are tender and the sausage is fully browned adding a bit of oil if needed.  Add frozen spinach (or chard or kale) and cook down, uncovered until all the liquid evaporates (stir and check often to keep filling from burning).  Take off heat and stir in the pureed roasted tomatoes.

Prepare two large cookie sheets by coating them with cooking spray and sprinkling each with 1 tbsp. cornmeal.  Set them aside.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg and 1 tbsp. water and set it aside.  Flour your counter and rolling pin.

Once the dough has doubled in size, divide it in half.  Set one half aside.  Form the other into a thick log and, using a sharp knife, cut it into 8 pieces.  Form one piece into a ball, flatten it in your hands and then roll out on your floured counter with the rolling pin to form a 5-6 inch circle.  Using a pastry brush, brush the egg mixture around the edge of the circle.  Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out 1/4 cup of filling and place it just beside the center of your circle.  Place a generous pinch of mozzarella cheese on top of the filling.  Fold over the empty circle half, not quite matching it up on the other side.  Fold the bottom exposed edge over the top and pinch/crimp to seal.  Transfer the calzone to a prepared pan and repeat this process until all 16 calzones are made.

Using the remaining egg mixture, brush the tops and edges of the calzones and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until they are a light- medium brown.  Transfer the calzones to cooling racks and let them cool completely before wrapping them in wax paper and then again in foil and place them in the freezer.  Or, enjoy them immediately.

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  1. These look very tasty! How do you warm them up after freezing them?

    1. Jamey has been letting them thaw in his lunch bag and then warming them in the microwave. You could also use the oven or a toaster oven to reheat them if there is one on hand.

  2. Yummy! I think I've got to give this a try. Thank you Jane. What a sweet wife you are...I'm sure your Jamey thinks so too. :)


  3. Maybe I'll try these for my husband. He's tired of the burritos and runzas I made him.

  4. These I gotts try. with a ton of teens pooping in every weekend and hubby trucking I need something on hand. I try to pack him foods to go out with each trip n subway n mcD is usually the only place available for him to grab something . He is tired of that so much so he el even take Cheerios n milk . ty for sharing ur recipe.

  5. I had a free afternoon and just made these for my husband to take in his lunch. I used odds and ends from the freezer and fridge, plus cheese and spaghetti sauce. I also made the dough in my bread machine on pizza dough cycle. They came out great, and I know he will love having something different to pack!!

    Also, thanks for mailing the grape pie sticker. Much appreciated!!

  6. Not to mention they're gorgeous!! I like how you added the sauce right into the filling...I'll have to try that next time!

  7. They look beautiful!! I love the thought of freezing them!:) thank you!

  8. Thank you! These look yummy and I cannot wait to try!

  9. wow..they really look and sound wonderful!!!

  10. I recently found your blog ... somewhere or other ... and I have enjoyed it so much! This recipe looks excellent, and I'd like to try it. Do you think that a regular ordinary-thickness home-canned tomato sauce might work as a replacement for the roasted tomato puree (for someone who incomprehensibly failed to make roasted toms last summer, but will rectify the problem this summer)? Thanks -- kristin

    1. I think that if you put your sauce through a sieve to drain out some of the water (almost making a paste) it would work nicely:-).

  11. I made a 3 meat version (Italian sausage, bacon and pepperoni) and I can easily say calzones are now a family staple! Thanks SO MUCH for the recipe!!


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