I wanted to try to make calzones because they seemed like the perfect little portion controlled item to grab and go for lunch. The cool thing about calzones is that you can pack just about any ingredient in there that you want. Make it meaty, vegetarian or even vegan if you’d like! I’ve been trying to add a few more veggies back into my diet so I decided to go with my favorite: spinach and mushroom (and a few turkey pepperoni for flavor). Overall they turned out pretty good and they will surely keep me full all week long.
Total Recipe cost: $13.69
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Cost per serving: $1.71 each
Compare to: $5.99 each
Prep time: 20 min. Cook time: 30 min. Total: 50 min.
pizza doughs (16-18 oz. each)
part skim ricotta
sliced button mushrooms
whole milk mozzarella
salt ‘n peppa
8 calzones, $5.99ea
STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil. When the skillet and oil are hot, add the sliced mushrooms along with a dash of salt and pepper.
STEP 2: While the mushrooms are cooking (stir occasionally), prep your work area by sprinkling with a generous amount of flour. Using a sharp knife, cut each ball of dough into 4 pieces.
STEP 3: Stretch each piece of dough into a small circle approximately 5 inches in width. This may seem small but when you add the fillings and close them up they will stretch further. The idea here is to not stretch the dough too thin or else you will be left with a thin, flat calzone after baking. Your mushrooms should be done cooking at this point. Set them aside until you are ready to use them.
STEP 4: In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, basil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place about 1/4 cup of the ricotta mix in the center of each dough circle. Then, layer in the rest of your toppings. I layered in the following order: ricotta, pepperoni (3), fresh spinach, mushrooms, 1/2 oz. mozzarella, pepperoni (3). I made sure to have some “wet” ingredients on top of the fresh spinach to aid in its cooking.
STEP 5: To close the calzones, gently lift and “roll” the back side toward the front until the edges of the calzones are touching. If you simply lift the dough up and over without rolling it, there is a good chance it will just stretch to meet the other side and get way too thin. So, try to close it up without stretching the dough.
STEP 6: To make a fancy crimped edge, start on one side and roll the edges up and over itself. Moving from one side of the calzone to the other, a few centimeters at a time, continue to roll the edge up and over itself. If this technique is too difficult, take a fork and press the edges down with the tines.
STEP 7: Place the calzones on a baking sheet or pizza tray. Spray the calzones liberally with non-stick spray. This will keep the dough supple as it expands and rises. Using a very sharp knife, cut three slits in the top of each. The slits allow for steam and moisture to escape instead of blowing a large hole out the back of the calzone (yes, this has happened to me). Bake the calzones for about 30 minutes or until they are nice and golden brown.
NOTE: Calzones traditionally don’t have sauce in them but rather are served with sauce on the size for dipping. Since it wasn’t actually part of the “recipe”, I forgot to include the cost of sauce. BUT, you can get a can of pizza sauce for less than $2.
Next time I think I will do a Mediterranean version with artichoke hearts, spinach, black olive, feta and tomato… yum! If you have any good ideas for calzone fillings, post a comment and share them with us!
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