Dinners on a Dime: Calzones

by Katie on March 31, 2011

I was halfway to Louisville this past weekend when I realized that I never posted our family’s calzone recipe.  Our kiddos (especially our older two sons) absolutely love calzones, but at almost $7 apiece, they are not a very affordable option for dinner.  So, I thought I’d get creative and come up my own homemade version. 

I tweaked my usual pizza crust recipe a bit, and doubled the majority of the ingredients for the crust of the calzone:

Calzone Crust

2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
2 cups hot water
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
6-7 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in hot water.  Stir in the sugar, salt, and vegetable oil.  Add flour until dough becomes thick, and difficult to stir.  Dump mixture on floured counter and knead for 5-10 minutes.  Divide dough into 8 equal parts.  Roll each portion into an elongated oval.

Since the day I made the calzones was a Friday in Lent, it was a no meat day for our family.  I searched the refrigerator and came up with ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and shredded cheddar cheese (I still had kiddos with colds at this point, and running to the store for needed ingredients was not so much of an option).  I tossed these cheeses as well as salt and pepper together for our filling. 

Cheese Calzone Filling Recipe

1-15 oz. container ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

I scooped an eighth of the filling onto the center of each dough oval.  I then flipped the long ends over each other, and twisted and tucked the short ends under the calzone.  I cut four slits into each calzone to allow for proper heating as well as ventilation during the cooking process.  I brushed a small amount of vegetable oil on the top of each calzone, and baked them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until they were lightly browned on top.

The verdict?  The kids loved them!  They are excited about making them again this week, although they want to make them on a day that is not Friday, as they intend to add a variety of sausage, beef, and chicken to their calzones. 

To save yourself a fair amount of clean up time, I would suggest lining the cookie sheets with either foil lightly brushed with oil, or with parchment paper.  While I love to cook and bake, I’m not such a huge fan of having a sinkful of dishes at the end of the evening.  I’m always happy to find ways to simplify the clean up process!

Cost:

Meijer brand active yeast, $0.50 (Meijer)
Store brand sugar, $0.10 (Aldi)
Morton salt, $0.05(Walgreens)
Store brand vegetable oil, $0.10 (Aldi)
Store brand flour, $0.70 (Meijer)
Store brand ricotta cheese, $2.38 (Aldi)
Kraft Mozzarella cheese, $1.17 (Meijer)
Kraft Cheddar cheese, $0.59 (Meijer)
Store brand pepper, $0.05 (Aldi)

Total cost – $5.64 (or $0.94 per serving)

Since the cost to make calzones for all of us was less than the cost of one restaurant calzone, I’m thinking this is the route we will take more often than not!

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