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Friday, October 22, 2010

Guest Post: Calzones

****I am extremely excited about today's post.  Today you are all in for a real treat!  Long time follower Wayne Hoxie has agreed to share his amazingly delicious Calzone recipe with us.  I love calzones, but rarely find the time to actually make them.  With only two of us in the house, I always convince myself that it's just too much work....but no longer.  Wayne makes it sound incredibly easy...and the pictures make them look too delectable to not try!!  A big thanks to Wayne for taking the time to not only write out the recipe AND take pictures, but to also give us a nice little story that goes along with it!  I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did!  Take it away Wayne....****

I am not eloquent enough to be a blogger, but I will try and tell the story of how these delicious little beauties came into being, and ultimately, how a hungry mob of family members devoured them. (Sorry, I just read a comic called "The Walking Dead", and it has colored the way I look at things all day.)

I woke up this morning craving cheese. Weird, and kind of gross, I know, but true nonetheless. Then I started thinking about a golden, slightly crunchy, light buttery bread and I thought, "A-ha! I must want grilled cheese!"  No sooner had I thought that than I realized I wanted something with meat and some kind of sauce, as well. Confused, I sat down to my breakfast of oatmeal and scrambled egg whites. (Okay, that's what I should have had, instead of the bowl of lucky charms that I actually ate.)  Then it hit me - "Calzones!"  They have homemade bread, a simple tomato sauce, as much cheese as I want to put in them, and any meat that I feel like eating. As a kid growing up in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, I fell in love with calzones after sampling them at a local restaurant called Roni's pizza. Excited, I started rummaging through my pantry for ingredients. As this recipe is pretty simple, I had everything I needed. (Which never happens)

I quickly ran into a snag. My yeast was no good. I had three packages, and all three wouldn't foam for me when I tested them.  After a quick grocery run (I knew it was too good to be true),  I was back in business. I like to make my calzones with pepperoni and sausage. Sometimes I mix hamburger meat with sausage, which is what I did today. I usually chop up some green peppers and add them to the mix, but our 6 week old, breast -fed son would have objected, so they were left out. I likewise didn't add mushrooms, because mushrooms are disgusting. Okay, everyone but me LOVES mushrooms, but I am cooking and I don't even like the way mushrooms look, much less taste, so -no mushrooms. I use lots of mozzarella and just a pinch of cheddar in my calzones. The sauce is easy - just a can of tomato sauce, some minced garlic, oregano, and basil. I have an herb garden running along the side of the house, but have found that the sauce is still delicious if you use dried herbs.

The hardest part about making these is folding them over and pinching them shut once you have added all the goodies. I usually end up folding and pinching the edges 2 - 3 times to ensure the filling won't seek freedom. I also sprinkle a little of the grated parmesan cheese that comes in the green plastic cans on the top of these just before baking. I have yet to meet anyone who does not like these. I have made them with a green pesto sauce, with pineapple and Canadian bacon (an abomination in my wife's opinion), and countless other variations. They are so versatile, you should be able to please anybody. If your child or loved one likes pizza, they will love these. I have a 3 yr old picky eater in the house. I was going to lie and say that he ate and loved these, but he wouldn't even touch them. "Those are yucky" he said, "They have red on the inside and blue is my favorite color." Of course,  he flushed a handful of hot wheels down the toilet the other day, so his opinion on what is or isn't good doesn't carry a lot of weight right now.

One last tip - when you brush on the egg right before you bake them, I have found that a cheap, small 1/2 inch, soft bristled paintbrush works better than the basting brushes that you find in the kitchen store. The egg goes on smoother, more uniformly, and you are much less likely to poke a hole in your dough with the brush.

Everyone tore into these like it was  their last meal, and none of the calzones survived.  Around the table, we all were happy and full - even the 3yr old, who was alternating dunking a hot dog in yogurt and then honey. At the end of the day, you'll find this is a simple meal that everyone will enjoy!

From the kitchen of Wayne Hoxie, loosely adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook
Pizza Dough (see below)
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
4 oz chopped mushrooms (optional)
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped basil leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped oregano leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
1 clove garlic, crushed
8 oz sliced pepperoni - (i like the prepackaged hormel brand)
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
shredded mozzarella cheese (maybe 2 cups)
1 egg, beaten
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt
1 medium onion, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Brown the ground beef, salt, and onion together.  Drain excess grease.  Set mixture aside for later.

Prepare pizza dough.  Punch down dough. Divide into 6 equal parts.  Roll each part into 7 inch circle on lightly floured surface. Mix tomato sauce, mushrooms, basil, oregano, and garlic.  Spread over half of each circle to within 1 inch of edge.  Top with small amount of beef mixture, bell peppers, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese.  Fold dough carefully over filling, pinching edges to seal securely.  (can also then crimp with a fork for added holding power)  Place calzones on greased cookie sheet.  Let rest for 15 minutes and then brush each with egg.  Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Pizza Dough
1 package regular or quick-acting active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees)
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 to 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl.  Stir in sugar, oil, salt, and 1 cup flour.  Beat until smooth.  Mix in enough flour to make the dough easy to handle.

Turn dough into lightly floured surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Place in greased bowl and turn grease side up.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost double.

***Calzones are approximately 550-600 calories each***


gracelandwest said...

Wayne Hoxie has moxie for putting up this recipe.

megan @ whatmegansmaking said...

oh man, these look awesome. I've never made calzones before, but they're on the list of things I want to try. They're so golden brown and pretty!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Great guest post!! Thanks Wayne, your calzones sound awesome! I agree, mushrooms are NASTY! But the hawaiian calzone, thats one of my all time favorites!! Oh and I also have that 3 yr old, the hot dog in the yogurt then honey, yeah mine enjoyed that same meal yesterday. For breakfast. Ew. LOL!! Awesome calzones, sounds like ideal Friday nite food to me :)

Jean at The Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Wayne and Jenn, for reminding me about calzones. It's probably been three years since I made them. Now they're back on my mind and in the queue. (And, Wayne, I'm glad they have red inside instead of the blue your child favors!)

Pam said...

Now I am craving a calzone!

Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking said...

Wayne and Jenn, these calzones look fantastic! I have some leftover pizza dough in my freezer that is just begging to be used for this favorite Italian sandwich of mine. Thank you for sharing this mouthwatering recipe!

StephenC said...

I've said many times that I'm too lazy to make my own pizza dough. But no matter, it's easy to buy. The calzone is such a wonderful repository for so many diverse fillings. Thanks for inspiring me.

Annie said...

These calzones looks amazing!! My son would eat pizza every day if I let him, I can't wait to make these, it will be a good change! :) Thank you Wayne and Jenn!

Cranberry Morning said...

These look fantastic! I'm sure they'll be a hit with the fam! :-) (Thank you)

Unknown said...

Oh wow, this looks so delicious and wonderful for a chilly night.

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

Love love love this recipe!!! Craving some calzone now...

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

SnoWhite said...

those look amazing!

Cheeseboy said...

Somewhere in heaven, George Steinbrener approves this post.

(Seinfeld reference)

Pam said...

Great post. They look delicious! I'd have to load it with mushrooms. ;)

Chef Dennis Littley said...

those calzones look incredible, and I think your writing is pretty darn good!! Thanks for sharing a great post!