Make or Buy: Pizza or Calzones

First if all, I'll thank all y'all true Italians out there not to hold me to any level of authenticity in this post. If you're looking for true Italian cooking, I can probably save you some time here and say "Buy". But since we're more of a delivery family, I wanted to give this an honest effort. So do you remember by original Make or Buy post about sandwich bread? I used my very favorite cookbook, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, to whip up a huge batch of light wheat bread dough. Well good news, efficiency nuts! That same recipe that left you with a ton of leftover dough in your fridge, is perfecto for a calzone or pizza dough. No joke.

When Sean decided he wanted something pizza-y for dinner, I realized I was out of just enough ingredients that I'd have to make a trip to the closest grocery store. Our neighborhood store is weird. Just plain weird. You just never know what you're going to find. Walking across the parking lot, I came face to face with a pregnant lady who wasn't wearing pants. No pants. Lotsa preggo.

Inside the store, I was looking for feta cheese. Nada. Greek yogurt. Fahgeddabahdit. Sugar-free ice cream. Nope.

But they did have these.

go figure.

Note: we didn't use the soy nuts in the calzone...we just like to snack on 'em.

Anyway, once I got home, I grabbed a pound-sized hunk of that delicious dough (it gets better with age dough was over a week old and was better than ever). I sprinkled a baking sheet with corn meal and started to roll out the dough. Then I dropped a huge blob of ricotta on it and spread over half the dough.

the meager beginnings of weeknight dinner perfection

While this deliciousness was going on, I simmered up some baby bella mushrooms in a smidge of water and a dash of kosher salt.

my guy loves him some fungi.

And then I added the finely chopped spinach (because while my hubs loves spinach, he frequently forgets how much he loves it if it's not chopped up into tiny bites)...

makin' popeye proud, one calzone at a time

...and topped with grilled chicken.

Tip: I buy boneless chicken breasts in huge packs at Sam's Club once a month or so. I slice them through the center to double the amount we have and then grill them all at once. Then, into the freezer they go. That way, we always have lots of quick and easy grilled chicken at our disposal for sandwiches, pasta, tacos, salads...or pizza!

a little lean protein to offset the copious amounts of cheese. yum-o!

Top with handfuls upon handfuls of shredded Italian cheeses and spices, fold over and pinch the edges to seal. I added a few little steam escape scallops, too. For a really nice finish, brush a beaten egg over the top as well for a crispy, lovely sheen. I would have done this but we were out of eggs and I was feeling lazy.

I baked this lovely little creation at about 400 degrees or so on a baking stone. Don't ask how I successfully transferred the calzone from the baking sheet to the was all grace and luck.

In a perfect world, you would have done all your prep on a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal. My world isn't so perfect, but it still came out über yummy.

served with a little maranara on the side...delicious!

And because I was aiming for top wife honors that night, I even whipped up this lovely little dessert to top off the best weeknight dinner ever.

would you believe low-fat and sugar-free?

imanimama's VERDICT: You can't get much better than homemade in my book. And if you already had a bunch of this dough waiting to be used in your fridge, you are in bonus land. See, this dough requires no rest or rise time once it's in the fridge. So you can literally just roll it and go. In fact, the faster you work, the better. This earns top dog points in my book, because there are few things more discouraging to me as a full-time working mom than the hundreds of "super quick and easy" homemade pizza dough recipes I've tried that require anywhere for 30-60 minutes of prep time just to make the dough...that doesn't count oven time. That is NOT quick and easy in my world. Start-to-finish, I had 35 minutes in this meal...5 minutes of prep and 30 in the oven.

Sorry for that little tirade. I get very passionate about dough.

Anyway, add to that the fact that this makes for a very tasty crust, and we have a winner. Don't take my word for it though. Hubs? What did you think?

nom nom nom

So go forth and make your own pizza or calzones. Wow your family on a Tuesday! Take pictures and make your friends think you slaved in the kitchen! They don't need to know you were painting your nails while the dinner of the century did its own thing. That can be our little secret. Just remember, this thing of beauty was once again brought to you by Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

And speaking of mama's favorite cookbook, you DO remember I'm giving it away, don't you??? Giveaway ends this Wednesday, so get your entries in now!

Weekend Rewind :: Pre-Father's Day Surprise

Surprises, Cheesy Bread and the Book of Faces

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