Breakfast Calzone

Today’s inspiration came from my friend from college who posted his fabulous brunch. Breakfast calzone? Genius! Inside the puff pastry dough, I filled it with scrambled egg, cheese, and sausage. I never use puff pastry for calzone but thought it was very breakfast-y.

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Calzone
It was such a quick weeknight dinner, or would be a fun one to feed some overnight guests!

Ingredients:

1 sheet puff pastry
4-5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
3 sausage links
1 1/2 shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk together the eggs and milk and pour into a medium pan over medium-low heat. Gently cook the scrambled eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Calzone
Remove from the pan and bring to medium heat to cook the sausage.
Roll out the puff pastry maintaining the square shape.
Place the pastry dough onto a baking sheet: sprayed with non-stick spray or a baking mat, or topped with parchment.
Add the eggs, sausage, cheese to the middle third of the dough all the way to the ends (left to right).
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Calzone
Slice 1/2 slits from the top & bottom to the filling.
Alternate “braiding” the strips starting on one end and crossing one, then the other side, alternating until 3/4 of the way to the end. Then start at the other end in reverse direction to close it up.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Calzone
Bake 20-30 minutes, until crisp and golden brown.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Calzone
Slice & enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Calzone
This was so great. Puff pastry has that buttery crispness that is so perfect for breakfast. I liked the simple and classic flavors. There are 1000 ways to tweak this…with spinach/tomato/herbs or Mexican touches & salsa on the side or eggwhites or whatever else! Also, I’d totally copy my friend who put spiced fries inside as hashbrowns! So clever!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Calzone

Theeeese a a few of my favorite things…

I found some frozen roasted chicken in the freezer and decided it would fare best if cooked and would be perfect in a calzone. Add my fav flavors, and thus, a meal is born. I used roasted chicken, crispy bacon, chopped tomato, alfredo sauce, ranch seasoning, and mozzarella. I felt like a rockstar to prep this 75% of the way the night before and just finish it before serving. Boo-yah.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Calzone

Ingredients:

pizza dough
2 cups roasted chicken
3 strips of bacon
1 1/2 cups mozzarella (mine was a mix of fresh & shredded)
3 tbs dried ranch seasoning
1 cup alfredo sauce
1 small tomato, diced

Directions:

Preheat the oven & pizza stone (if using one) to 400-degrees.
Pan fry the bacon until crispy.
Warm the chicken in a medium pan over low heat and add 1 tablespoon of the ranch seasoning.
Lay the dough onto the pan or pizza stone, off center, for the filling to go on the bottom and for the rest to fold over.
Add chicken, tomatoes, cheese, alfredo, and ranch seasoning.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Calzone
Then repeat the layers making sure to get the filling all the way to the ends & edges.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Calzone
Fold the rest of the dough over the filling and pinch to close. Press down slightly to push the filling throughout the inside. Cut a few slits into the top to vent.
Bake 30 minutes until browned and crisped.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Calzone
Serve and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Calzone
I knew we’d love this. What’s not to love? It was a perfect use for some leftover roasted chicken from the freezer (also the dough and bacon came from the freezer too). It was equally perfect that I prepped it the night before when I didn’t have to rush. I cooked it for about 20 minutes that night and just 15 minutes to serve. Dinner time is such a race against the clock and it was really nice to have this pretty ready. #winning
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Bacon Ranch Calzone

Meatball & Creamy Spinach Calzone

I needed something really good to redeem myself after Tuesday’s post. This calzone was really great ANNND really easy. The filling was already made so this calzone was just assembly. Perfect for this time of year!

The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone

Ingredients:

1 ball of pizza dough
~6 meatballs (I used these really good chicken meatballs)
1 package of frozen creamed spinach
1 tomato, chopped
¼ red onion, chopped
8 oz shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Preheat the oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400-degrees.
Cook the meatballs and creamed spinach according to the directions on the package. Then slice the meatballs.
Lay the pizza dough onto the pizza stone or pan off center (so what will be the bottom is centered).
Layer on: cheese, meatballs, creamed spinach dollops, tomato, and onion.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone
Repeat. Repeat. (it needs to seem over-filled).
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone
Fold the rest of the dough over the top and pinch closed. Slice a few slits into the top to vent the calzone.
Bake 20 – 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone

I loved this one. It was so good, not over-complicated, and so easy. I really appreciated the ingredients just hanging out for the precise moment I was ready to make dinner. Creamed spinach is a great go-to freezer item. I have thrown it onto pasta as a sauce, or into deep dish pizza, and now into calzone!

The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone
See what happens if you are too hungry to be patient? haha it is OK, it tasted good, inside or out of the calzone.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball and Creamy Spinach Calzone
This weekend is the C Family xmas so stay tuned on instagram for some goodies and I’ll be back next week with some holiday festiveness that is simply delightful.

Sausage, Apple, and Onion Calzone

After apple picking, I knew some dinners should include apples…as well as snacks, breakfasts, and any other occasion this fall. Seriously, the orchard only did big bags so we have a LOT of apples. I hadn’t made a calzone in awhile so that was the winner.

Apples are easily served with brie or baked into some dessert. Well, no brie or soft cheeses for me for another 3 months, and I’m not a big baker.

The Three Bite Rule - Sausage, Apple, & Onion Calzone

Ingredients:

pizza dough
1 onion, sliced
2 apples, sliced
2-3 chicken sausage links
2 cups mozzarella, shredded

Directions:

Preheat the oven and a pizza stone if using one, to 400-degrees.
In a large skillet over medium low heat, gently cook the onion until lightly browned and cooked through.
Slice the sausage and add them to the pan to warm through.
Roll out or spread the dough out. Then drape it onto the pizza stone or pan, off-centered so the toppings will go on the bottom and the excess will fold over.
Layer on the cheese, sausage and onions, and the apple slices.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage, Apple, & Onion Calzone
Keep layering the toppings, even if it seems like it is over filled.
Pull the rest of the dough over the top and pinch to close.
Cut a few slices in the top of the calzone to vent it.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden browned and cooked through.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage, Apple, & Onion Calzone
Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage, Apple, & Onion Calzone
I loved this one. I’ll definitely make it again. The apples being raw added a soft crunch to go with the sweet onions and the mild chicken sausage. This is such a fantastic combination. I’d love these flavors as a sub or panini, or as a pizza, or an app of some sort.

Peppers and Meatball Calzone

This calzone isn’t such a far cry from my sausage and peppers calzone or from my meatball and spinach calzone but I think some of the best calzones are really the most successful. I like the mix of flavors and textures. Turkey meatballs have rent-controlled residence in my freezer and make a great calzone filling.

Not all turkey meatballs are created equal. Trader Joe’s has, hands down, the best ones out there. Perdue Turkey Meatballs are terrible…though this wouldn’t be the worst way to use ‘em up. Cooked Perfect are pretty good. I’d definitely try Butterball’s turkey meatballs but I haven’t seen them in passing. I’ve made turkey meatballs myself but I think I like the ground chicken meatballs I’ve made better.

The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Calzone

Ingredients:

pizza dough
6-8 turkey meatballs
1/2 green pepper
1/2 white onion
1 cup tomato sauce
8 oz shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Preheat the oven, and a pizza stone if using one, to 375 degrees.
Slice the meatballs into disks, the pepper into strips, and the onion into strips.
Saute the onions in a tsp of olive oil until tender, and starting to get translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add in the peppers, cook for another 5 minutes until everything is cooked through but still has some texture.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Calzone
Spread the pizza dough onto the pizza stone or onto a baking sheet. Lay the dough out onto the pan off center, so you’re adding the fillings to what will be the bottom, and you’ll be folding over the top. You won’t be repositioning it on the pan again.
Add the fillings in layers: cheese, peppers & onions, meatball disks, and a drizzle of tomato sauce. Repeat the layers filling and adding what seems like over-filling.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Calzone
Fold the top over across the filling. Pinch it closed, and slice some vents across the top.
Bake 20 minutes, then brush with eggwash or olive oil. Bake another 10 until golden brown.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Calzone
Let sit 5 minutes before slicing. (I cut it too soon, and look what happens).
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Calzone
It was so good. I loved the tradtional-ish flavors. Sometimes I go for out-there flavors but that made me appreciate what works together. The turkey meatballs being fully cooked helped speed this along. I tried to be careful to cook the onions enough before adding the peppers so they could cook evenly.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Calzone

Calzone with Cabbage and flavors of a Reuben

One of my favorite pizza places is Portland Pie Company. I love seeing what their seasonal menu offers. I spotted a reuben inspired sandwich and thought I could vegetarian-ize it to skip the corned beef. I made it into a calzone and it was totally different than any others I’ve made. It has cabbage, peppers, swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and 1000-island dressing.

The Three Bite Rule - Reuban Inspired Veggie Calzone

Ingredients:

pizza dough
1/2 cabbage
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1/4 red onion
1/2 bell pepper (green, yellow, orange)
8 oz swiss cheese
1/4 cup mayo
2 tbs ketchup
2 tbs relish
2 tbs onion, finely diced
salt & black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven (and pizza stone, if using one) to 400-degrees. Chop the cabbage into thin slivers. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add the mustard and the vinegar, stirring to combine. Add in the cabbage, tossing to combine. The Three Bite Rule - Reuban Inspired Veggie Calzone
Cook for 5 minutes until softened, then remove from the heat. In a small skillet, caramelize the onions over medium heat. When the onions get tan-colored and caramelized, add the green onion chunks. Cook for 3-5 minutes. In a small jar, add mayo, ketchup, relish, onion, salt, and black pepper. The Three Bite Rule - Reuban Inspired Veggie Calzone
Shake up the 1000 island jar and taste. The Three Bite Rule - Reuban Inspired Veggie Calzone
Stretch the pizza dough out into a flat and even circle. Lay the dough onto a pan or pizza stone so the part of the dough that will become the bottom. Layer the cabbage, the onions and peppers, swiss cheese, and some teaspoons of 1000 island dressing. The Three Bite Rule - Reuban Inspired Veggie Calzone
Keep layering all the fillings to fill (and what feels like over-filling) the calzone. Fold the top over and pinch to close. Cut a few slits in the top to vent. Bake 30-minutes. The Three Bite Rule - Reuban Inspired Veggie Calzone
Let rest 5 minutes before slicing. The Three Bite Rule - Reuban Inspired Veggie Calzone
This was good. Maybe not amazing, but really good. I loved the acid of the vinegar, the light mustard flavor, and the creamy sweet 1000 island dressing. The veggies were crunchy and I liked that the swiss got to shine. I don’t eat corned beef but I can definitely see people liking that.

suggested adaptations: 
Reuben calzone + corned beef = a true reuben calzone
reuben calzone – pizza dough + wonton wrappers = reuben eggrolls

I like the idea of sandwiches as calzones, or pizzas for that matter. I’ve done a cheeseburger calzone that is sandwich inspired, and a sausage and peppers calzone that is sort of like a sandwich. Hmmm. Maybe my next calzone will be along the lines of a sandwich.

Sausage and Pepper Calzone

Like most calzones, this could easily be a pizza but I was feelin’ a calzone. I also wanted to play around with using different cheeses so I went with Monterey Jack. Pepper Jack, cheddar, mozzarella, or a mix would work well with these flavors. This calzone feels very ballpark-ish which is appropriate right about now. A million years ago I made a sausage and pepper calzone but I didn’t really blog it. It was time to highlight the good stuff.

I went really heavy on the Italian Seasoning but would tone it down a bit for anyone who doesn’t like bold flavor. I used the color peppers that were on sale but really any would be good. I also think it’s an easy time to lighten up the calorie count with some chicken sausage or turkey smoked sausage. This is a crowd-pleaser that could easily be prepped in advance and baked for only 10 minutes. Then it can be refrigerated or frozen and baked for another 20-30 when it is time to eat.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone

Ingredients:

1 ball pizza dough
3 sausage links, scored with a few shallow slices
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 red pepper
1/2 onion
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
a few drips of liquid smoke (optional)
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees (and pizza stone if using one).
In a medium skillet, over medium heat, cook the sausage until crisped and cooked through. Or grill them!
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone
Slice the peppers and onion into strips and then into chunks.
In a large pan, over medium heat, cook the onions in 1 tsp olive oil. After 3-4 minutes, add the peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, adding liquid smoke if desired.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone
Spread the pizza dough out, stretching it out evenly.
Spread it out onto the pizza stone/pan off center, so the filling gets added to what will become the bottom. The top will cover it and meet the bottom without having to move the calzone.
Layer cheese, sausage slices, peppers, and repeat. Spread all the filling out to the edges. Layer, layer, layer…it seems like less when it bakes.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone
Pull the top over and pinch it to close the seam.
Cut a few slices in the top of the calzone. Brush the top with eggwash or olive oil (optional).
Bake 30 minutes.
Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.
The Three Bite Rule - Sausage & Peppers Calzone
The calzone is a great way to reduce the meat and up the veggies. With just 3 links of sausage I had 4 servings of calzone. The ratio is off here, being heavy on the peppers and light on the sausage which I love. I think there was plenty of sausage (2 links might have been just fine) and I’d rather us filling it up with peppers and onions.

Chicken Parmesan Calzone

I love the ease of calzones and this one is ideal to feed your hungry house guests or to keep your weeknights productive with simplicity or to be a hefty appetizer or a potluck star. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t finished wrapping Christmas presents and there are about a bejillion holiday movies on tv right now. Keeping wiggle room on weeknights is definitely what I need.

This is not a far cry from my Chicken Parmesan Pizza, but I want to save you from a lackluster Chicken Parm calzone if you were thinking of chicken and mozzarella. That’s not enough, but of course you weren’t thinking that. ;) That’s almost enough for topping a Chicken Parmesan pizza but in a calzone it will be underwhelming and seem empty. Don’t forget to fill, fill, fill the calzone. It seems like wayyy less when you bake & slice it up.

Ingredients:

pizza dough
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes)
5 chicken tenders breaded and cooked through, and cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
1 cup Parmesan

Directions:

Preheat the oven, and pizza stone if using one, to 400 degrees.
Spread the pizza dough onto the pizza stone or pizza pan, off center so the filling can be on the “bottom” and the “top” can fold over. When the dough goes onto a hot pan it cooks a bit to hold the form.
Layer chicken chunks, mozzarella, ricotta spoonfuls, Parmesan, and tomato drizzles.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Calzone
Keep layering and making sure there’s filling all the way to the edges. Fill more than it seems like it needs.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Calzone
Keep filling, and filling, and filling.
Fold the top over and pinch the edges together.
Gently “squish” the fillings to the edges to pat it down a bit.
Slice some vents into the top, spacing them out and keeping any unplanned vents.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Calzone
Bake 30 minutes. Optional: Brush with olive oil or eggwash for a shiny top midway through.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parm Calzone
This is an easy one that is ohh so comforting. It is very simple but hits some flavors everyone likes, plus calzones are great as leftovers. I put tomato sauce into this calzone, but I normally just serve it on the side. I also would love slices of fresh mozzarella in here but I was trying to keep it pretty simple.

I made a few pizzas and a few calzones for guests. This one was a good crowd-pleaser amongst some other flavors. The chicken parmesan calzone helped the menu since I could prep it and partially cook it in advance. I paired this guy with a bruschetta pizza, a BBQ chicken pizza, and a pepperoni pizza for the kiddies. Something for everyone!

Calzone Tips and Tricks

I make calzones a lot and have figured out some helpful tips I think are worth sharing. There’s nothing worse than spending the time to buy everything, assemble, bake, and then discover it feels like there’s nothing inside! They are easy to prep and work perfectly to prep in advance.

1) Preheat the oven to 400-degrees AND preheat the pan or pizza stone.
This helps the bottom of the calzone get crisp enough and not soggy.

2) Prep inside ingredients while the oven is preheating. Today’s example is turkey meatballs, shredded mozzarella, and fresh spinach. I like to keep fillings simple and varied. Mess around with the cheese a veggie or whatever else. The best calzones have a few textures and don’t only have wet ingredients.

turkey_meatball_ingredient_590_390

some of my favorites have been: Chicken Cordon Bleu (chicken cutlets, shredded swiss, and ham); Cheeseburger Calzone (ground chicken, American or cheddar, tomatoes, spinach, and special sauce); Prosciutto, Apple, and Brie (with only those ingredients or swapping pear for apple); and of course turkey meatball, spinach, and mozzarella.

3) Assemble your calzone on the surface you’re baking it on. I can’t even imagine trying to move a calzone. By using a hot pan or pizza stone it will actually cook the bottom of your calzone a tiny bit while you assemble! Multi-tasking! Fill that calzone more than you think is necessary. Seriously. Really fill it up so much that you have to stretch the dough to close it up. You want layers and the filling to reach completely to the edges and piled high.
turkey_meatball_filled_590_390 Close it up by pinching the dough around the insides. Put some pressure on the fillings to spread them out again. Don’t squish it completely though.

4) Cut some slits into the top so air can come out. This allows it to vent and cook better. I bake mine for about 30 minutes or so at 400-degrees. Bake for 15 if you’re going to freeze it and cook it the rest of the way later, or if you’re serving it another day. Then you’ll bake it the rest of the way and it won’t be overcooked. Brush the tops with eggwash if you want them shiny. I often skip this and just spray a bit of olive oil over the tops for some shine.
turkey_meatball_baked_590_390
5) Cut and enjoy! Or, Label with preheating instructions if you’re not the one cooking it the rest of the way.
turkey_meatball_instructions_590_390

Cheeseburger Calzone

Let’s start the week off right. Let’s talk burgers…no calzones. Seriously, this is just pure goodness whichever way you look at it..

This was delicious, and fresh, and comforting all at the same time. I was thinking back to when I messed around with a biscuit crust for a burger pizza (it was a no-go, seen here).  ‎It was pizza topped with salad. It was a good idea, but needed a re-do. I made a big mac pizza here, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted.
cheeseburg_calzone_cut_590_390

Ingredients:

3/4 pound ground chicken
1 ball pizza dough
12 oz shredded cheddar melting blend
1 large tomato, chopped
2 cups spinach, chopped
3 tbs ketchup
1 tbs mayo
1 tbs relish
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp sesame seeds

Directions:

Preheat oven and pizza stone (if using one) to 400 degrees.
In a skillet, over medium heat, brown ground chicken until cooked through.
Mix in 1/4 cup of cheese. Stir.
cheeseburg_calzone_meat_590_390
Whisk together ketchup, mayo, relish, and garlic salt, or shake in a glass jar.
cheeseburg_calzone_sauce_590_390
Spread pizza dough out into a large circle. Lay it onto the pan/stone off center (off center so it is loaded up and not moved, only closed)
Layer cheese, ground chicken, spinach, tomatoes. Dab with special ketchup sauce.
cheeseburg_calzone_layer_590_390
Repeat for 2 layers (or until layer ingredients run out).
cheeseburg_calzone_fill_590_390
Stretch pizza dough “overhang” across to meet the other side and close up.
Pinch edges together.
Slice a few vent slits into the top of the calzone.
Bake 10 minutes.
cheeseburg_calzone_plate_590_390
Remove, brush with olive oil and shake sesame seeds onto the top.
Return to the oven, baking for another 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

cheeseburg_calzone_cut_590_390

The dough provides the perfect crispy pseudo-burger bun. The meat mix with cheese in it was great. I think it would have been too dried out without the cheese. I like the spinach in there or arugula would be good. These two greens are so good cooked that I can’t quite picture other greens, but some lightly dressed on the side could be fresh and bright.

Calzones have some great pre-prep opportunities. The whole thing could be made and baked for only 10 minutes to firm up. Then heated for 15 minutes before serving. The meat/cheese mix and special sauce could be prepped the night before too, to speed up dinner prep. At this time of year, I like all the help I can get for dinner ;)