Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sausage Calzones with Freezer Friendly Pizza Dough

Almost every family has a pizza night or that night that they need a quick grab and go meal or it's mom's night off or whatever your reasons are, you have it.  We don't tend to order pizza out much, we either buy the good old frozen ones or make our own.  But even my kids get tired of the same old pizza every now and then.  In steps Calzones!  I don't know what Italian momma came up with these babies, but she is one of my heroes!  (I don't know if it was an Italian mom, just figured because they are an Italian food and genius. :) )We've done the make your own pizza style ones, but my favorite are sausage and cheese filled.  Yum! 
In making our pizzas or calzones I usually make our own dough.  You can buy premade dough to roll out in the can or even fresh sometimes, but homemade is so simple and really only uses a few ingredients that save you a butt ton of money.  Plus, it tastes better!  I love this recipe because you can mix up a bunch and even freeze the dough to keep for later.  Again, genius!

2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
1 Tablespoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoons oil (vegetable, Canola, or olive oil)
5 cups flour (can use all whole-wheat, half white/half whole-wheat, or all white) (plus more for rolling out if use right away)
(I reduced the amounts of a few ingredients from the original and we tend to like the taste a little bit better.)
Pour the warm water into a bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir to dissolve.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix.
Dump onto a floured surface and knead dough for two to five minutes until smooth and no longer sticky.

To freeze: Cut lump of dough in half and place each half in an airtight freezer bag. Freeze for up to 4-6 weeks.
To bake: Place frozen dough in a greased bowl and thaw at room temperature for at least 3-4 hours. Roll out and shape onto a greased pizza pan.
Add pizza toppings of your choice. Bake at 450 degrees for around 15 minutes (until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned).
If you don’t want to mess with freezing the dough, take the kneaded dough and roll out and shape onto a greased pizza pan. Add pizza toppings and bake as directed above.

Now for the filling....

Sausage Calzone Filling

1 large Ricotta cheese
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 eggs
1 lb sausage
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves,  minced
1 T olive oil
1-2 recipes of Pizza Dough

Heat oil in a skillet and cook onion and garlic until they are soft.  Add in sausage and cook and crumble until lightly browned.  Drain meat.  Let cool about 20-30 minutes.
While sausage is browning, mix in a large bowl: cheeses, eggs and Italian seasoning.  Stir in slightly cooled meat mixture and mix well. 
Roll out pizza dough and cut into small portions.  (I get about 12 out of 1 dough recipe, but this makes a lot of filling so I usually do a double dough recipe.)
Spoon filling into 1 half of rolled out dough potion, fold over other half and pinch to seal shut.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes or until browned.
**You can bake, cool and freeze these too.  They are really good! 

**To make gluten free ones I make my dough like this....
Mix together:
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup oil
2-3 cups of gluten free flour or gluten free Bisquick.
Gluten free pizza dough is much wetter and stickier than regular dough.  I always add more flour to make it a little easier to roll out in some way.  It will crack if you add too much flour.  You have to play with it a bit to get it how you like it.  Just remember that it is not going to look or work the same as other dough.  I got 4 calzone out of this 1 recipe.  Bake them the same as the others at 450 for 15-20 minute or until browned.  If you prefer or have a better GF pizza crust recipe you like, then by all means use that!  Then tell me what it is!  I'm still searching for that one that I love. 

Pretty little calzones all in a row!

Gluten Free Calzone for me!

Now, I did 1 recipe of gluten free crust and got about 4 of those and then did a double recipe of regular dough and got about 18 calzones and still had some dough left over.  This is what happened with the leftover dough...  Cinnamon Rolls! Yes, I could have frozen it, or even just baked it like a free form bread to have, but no.  My family needed breakfast in the morning.  :)

Cinnamon Rolls

On a floured surface roll out your dough to make a thin rectangle.
Melt 4-6 T of butter and pour over dough.  Spread evenly.
Mix together 3/4 cup sugar and 2 T cinnamon (or just sprinkle it all on separate) and get dirty and spread it all together over dough to the edges.  Mix more if you need more.
Start at one end and carefully roll until you get a log. 
Slice in 1-2 inch disks and place in a baking dish to fit your rolls.
Refrigerate over night or bake on the spot.  (If you refrigerate, let sit at room temp for about 1 hour before baking.)
Bake at 425 for about 30-40 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
Pour icing on and eat!

**For the icing I just mixed 2-3 cups powdered sugar with 3-4 T milk and a little vanilla.  Use a can or make your own, whatever you like. 

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