Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Healthy" Mini Calzones

The reason healthy is in quotes is because there really is no way that I can think of making low calorie pizza. Of course, that doesn't mean that pizza is unhealthy. Typically the way it is made now-a-days it is unhealthy with pounds of cheese and tomato sauce on each pie. My dad used to take us to this place called "Christine's" (now it is named something else and I don't remember the name) and they made one of the best pies I have ever eaten.

Looking back on it, it was probably not that bad for you compared to other pizza places. The dough was thin (so less dough was used), the sauce was fresh and flavorful, and there wasn't that much cheese on the pizza. I used to think that cheese made the pizza, but that place made me realize that it was all in the sauce. My self-proclaimed Italian pasta sauce (a conglomeration of sauces my mom and dad separately made and then improvised by me) has benefited ever since I came to that conclusion. "Christine's" style pizza is also the inspiration for these mini calzones.

roma tomatoes
green pepper
italian sausage
italian seasoning
pizza dough

Really you can make this with anything you want, because it is pizza. I used Italian sausage because I was sick of chicken and I didn't want seafood on my pizza (I'm a stickler in that way). The real critical ingredient is the tomatoes and the dough. You can buy dough at the supermarket, but here in ABQ this is a supply that is pretty scarce. I used Great Value brand dough (and I will never do that again), but I recommend either buying dough wrapped in plastic or making your own (they have easy to make kits).

For the sauce you will want to food process the tomatoes, onion, and pepper (depending on how much you have) and mixing in the seasoning, salt, and pepper. For pizza sauce I like it almost puree form, but you can do thick chunks if you prefer. Next you will want to brown the sausage. I think that ground sausage works better for these mini calzones, but if you want to you can cook the whole link and then slice it or make chunks or whatever. For ground sausage you just cut the skin open and all the meat falls right out.

Place your sauce, cheese, and sausage in separate bowls after they are ready. It is time to prepare your dough. You want small circles (or whatever shape you prefer) about the size of your hand when stretched and flattened (maybe a little smaller). Place as much sauce as you want on half of your dough. Then add as much of the other ingredients as you want. Less cheese is healthier for you (and trust me these taste great without it). When you are done loading your calzone, you need to fold it over. Make sure you press the edges together really well or you risk the calzone popping open. Using a fork here to press it together is a good option. Simply press the fork "fingers" (cause I don't know what they are called) onto the edge of the dough and press in so the dough comes between the spaces. When you remove the fork you should see ridges.

Now for the ultimate in healthy-ness you will want to bake these bad boys for about 25 min at 350. I chose to deep fry which isn't an unhealthy option. Just make sure you remove the oil with paper towels after cooking. When deep frying the cooking time is around 3 minutes. When they are done simply pop them into your mouth and enjoy!

1 comment:

Mom said...

I was watching a program on the PBS channel about making a healthy pizza & Calzones. They used whole wheat and added several different grains to the dough. Most pizza places will let you buy the dough, if you don't have time to make. Some Italian restaurants are getting into using whole wheat for their dough too, and you might be able to see if they'll sell to you.

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