Chicken Parmesan Turnovers

This could also be called, how else to not serve pasta for every meal. I’d be totally ok with nightly pasta but I really truly strive for variation. My little one would gladly eat pasta daily but I love to feel the surprise when it is choice-night/”anything goes” night and I offer 2 choices of easy things (pasta/quesadilla/eggs/etc). If he picks anything besides pasta I’m shocked! I guess I do appreciate being kept on my toes! This was a fun way and super easy way to eat some of the flavors I was thinking about, in another format.
Chicken Parmesan Turnover - The Three Bite Rule

I whipped up these chicken parm turnovers on a weekend in preparation for a mid-week dinner. What’s better than scooting something into the oven on a busy night and just waiting for the oven timer ding? Answer: not much! These are perfect to make ahead of time and par-bake, or make & freeze, or as a use for leftover ricotta or a seemingly small amount of chicken strips/popcorn chicken! I didn’t have a plan for the rest of the block of mozzarella so I shredded it and popped it into the freezer for a future pizza or calzone.

Chicken Parmesan Turnovers

Ingredients: (for 4 servings)

4 crispy chicken strips
1 roll of crescent rolls (mine had 8 crescent triangles)
1/2 cup ricotta (optional)
1/4 cup tomato sauce (of course I used my fav Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes)
1/2 cup mozzarella/parmesan/provalone

Directions:

Preheat the oven and prepare frozen chicken strips according to the package. Mine are fully cooked ones I keep around so I just warmed them through. Then chop into bite-size pieces.
Chicken Parmesan Turnover - The Three Bite Rule
Unroll the crescent rolls into squares, so keep the 2 triangles connected (or make tiny tiny ones using 1 triangle to make as appetizers!). Use a fork to press the seam together and use your hands to flatten the whole square out a little, keeping it even in thickness.
Assemble on one triangle end with a smear of ricotta on the bottom, chicken, a teaspoon of tomato sauce, and a sprinkle of mozzarella or Parmesan.
Chicken Parmesan Turnover - The Three Bite Rule
Gently fold the opposite triangle over the filled side and press to close. A few of mine busted open but I closed the seams as best as possible.
Move to a baking sheet and use the fork to make a few holes in the top of each one.
Bake according to the crescent roll package instructions. (If serving later: My package of crescent rolls had baking instructions of 12-15 minutes so I did about 10 minutes, let them cool, and refrigerated. When serving, I baked for 10 minutes with a sprinkle of shredded cheese & sprinkle of Italian seasoning on top.)
Chicken Parmesan Turnover - The Three Bite RuleEnjoy!

Crescent rolls are cheap, delicious, and easy to work with but puff pastry sheets might be even easier without any seams, or pizza dough would work too. I often have ricotta so that was a no-brainer for me, but skip it if you don’t have a use for the rest.
Chicken Parmesan Turnover - The Three Bite Rule

You could lighten this up using other chicken or breaded eggplant, forming the dough into a muffin tin to only use 1 crescent roll, adding a veggie in there, but I wasn’t making these for health. The crescent rolls have such a great buttery flavor and were a fun change from our norm. I used a pretty small amount of chicken per serving.

Insert soapbox here: Jarred tomato sauce has lots of sugar and salt added. I stand by our fav Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes (#notsponsored). I served some on the side for dipping and my toddler, no lie, spooned it up. The rest of the can of tomatoes went into tomato soup the next night.

These Chicken Parm Pockets may not be healthy, but they are definitely a crowd pleaser, definitely a use for what might not be enough chicken in another setting, and definitely an easy meal to prep in advance. Win, win, win!

BLT Calzone

BLTs in all forms! I put all my fav flavors into a calzone. I prepped this on a weekend, let it cool, and wrapped it up, and it was ready to go during the week! I baked it a little less than usual and the night we were going to eat it, I popped it into the oven for about 15 minutes. Voila! The little one is veryyy ready for dinner when we get home so this was such a great time saver.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Calzone

BLT Calzone

Ingredients:

pizza dough
6 strips of bacon
1 tomato, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons cornmeal/wheat germ
2 cups shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees (and preheat the pizza stone, if using one).
Pan fry the bacon until crisp, and drain on paper towel.
Chop the spinach, tomato, and bacon.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Calzone
Sprinkle the cornmeal or wheat germ onto the baking sheet or pizza stone.
Spread the dough out into a big circle. Then lay the dough off centered, onto the pizza stone/pan. (I try not to move the calzone once filled, so I lay the dough out onto the pizza stone to put the toppings on and fold the dough to become the top.)
Layer on half the cheese, half the bacon, half the tomato, half the spinach. Repeat. Pull the other half of the dough over the filling and pinch to close. Cut a few slits in the top to vent.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Calzone
Slice and enjoy!

The beauty of this calzone is the classic combo of these few ingredients. Calzones also make great leftovers so I was also in luck for lunch the next day too. Calzones are also easy to make mini so this can be 1 big calzone or 4 individual serving ones!
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Calzone

Veggie Calzone with Fire Roasted Tomatoes

I saw some really delicious sounding stuffed shells by How Sweet Eats and decided to turn them into a calzone. I loved the idea of fire-roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, and veggies so I put ‘em into a calzone since I haven’t made one in awhile. I’d love these in a baked pasta with penne, or on a pizza, or for a panini! There’s lots of room here for any veggies. Artichokes, mushrooms, and eggplant would be good too!
The Three Bite Rule - Fire Roasted Veggie Calzone

Fire Roasted Tomato & Veggie Calzone

adapted from How Sweet Eats Vegetable Stuffed Shells
Ingredients:

pizza dough, at room temperature
1/2  yellow onion
1 zucchini
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 can fire roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup ricotta
1/4 cup fontina, chopped
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
sprinkle of wheat germ/semolina/corn meal

Directions:

Caramelize the onions: chop and cook in a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of olive oil on low, for about 20-30 minutes, stirring regularly.
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees, and a pizza stone- if using one.
Chop the zucchini into 1/2-inch disks then into quarters. Roast in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian Seasoning.
Roll out the dough, or manually stretch it out between 2 hands working it into a big circle.
Sprinkle some wheat germ/semolina/corn meal onto the pizza stone or baking sheet. Next lay the dough out off center, so what will become the bottom is centered.
Assemble with shredded cheese, caramelized onions, ricotta dollops, fire roasted tomatoes, zucchini, and fontina are all spread out, then repeat. Fill it all the way getting close to the edges, and with toppings piled high.
The Three Bite Rule - Fire Roasted Veggie Calzone
Fold the dough that will become the top over the insides. Pinch the edge closed, or roll it under the bottom. Poke a knife into the top to create some air vents.
Bake 30 minutes and check the dough has puffed and become golden brown. Then bake 10-15 minutes more, as needed. (Parbake just until set- 20 minutes and then refrigerate or freeze until serving. Then bake remaining 20 minutes until heated through).
The Three Bite Rule - Fire Roasted Veggie Calzone
Slice & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Fire Roasted Veggie Calzone
I loved this one. Ricotta and multiple other cheeses is right up my ally. I don’t often use fire roasted tomato sauce because I’m so obsessed with Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes instead of sauce that I never even think twice, but I loved the smokey flavor in here! Canned tomatoes like my fav, and the fire roasted ones, are so great for pizza or pasta because they’re not loaded up with sugar- like jarred sauce. The tomato flavor is much better and was just like I had on pizza in Naples, Italy. The birthplace of pizza knows a thing or two! For this, I spooned out the tomato chunks so the calzone filling wouldn’t be too watery.

This was also great to prep in advance. I made the caramelized onions and roasted the zucchini first, then later I assembled and par-baked during nap time. That meant just popping it into the oven for dinner. Voila!

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.