Pizza-Inspired Calzones: They're What's for Dinner!

Pizza gets old. Trust me, I’m a pizza fan. But sometimes I like to tweak the ingredients into something just a little bit different. Hey, I’m not the only one: Calzones certainly seem like an excuse to reinvent pizza!

Calzones, with their pizza-like dough that’s folded over yummy ingredients like Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese, do seem an awful lot like a handheld pizza. But what I like about calzones is the excuse to dive into the fridge and uncover fun ingredients to toss in. Roasted veggies on hand? Make a roasted-veggie-and-cheddar-cheese calzone. Pesto and leftover chicken? Throw in some parmesan and mozzarella – even a little baby spinach – and you have a tasty pesto calzone.

You can cut down the prep time for calzones and buy pizza dough from the grocery store, but where’s the fun in that? Yes, calzones do take some time to make, but if you use your food processor, it goes pretty quick.

Hint #1: I always, always double the recipe and freeze some of the extra calzones to use for lunches or a quick dinner later. Making a big batch of dough also means that I have to get creative – who wants 12 calzones all with the same filling? I let my kids come up with whatever cheese and meat or cheese and veggie – or, more likely, cheese, meat and veggie – combo for their calzones.

Hint #2: Only put a tablespoon of sauce – tops – into the calzone! Putting in too much sauce makes for a soggy calzone. Serve heated-up spaghetti sauce, alfredo or pesto sauce along with the calzones and let your kids dip instead of trying to tuck the sauce inside.

Hint #3: Let the calzones rest after they’ve baked for at least 15 minutes. These come out hot. Your kids will like them a lot better if the calzones have had time to cool down.

Hint #4: Calzones make for easy breakfasts. You can even eat them cold. 🙂

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