2 weeks since my last post..whoops, sorry guys. Time flies when you are having fun, you know, starting work, settling into a routine, seeing your best friend get married (Congrats Bart!) etc. In any event, I have been cooking up a storm this week, and I even did my meal plan last weekend, so the JBean Cuisine kitchen is back in full-steam.
This month’s recipe swap theme was “Tailgating Recipes”. It is clear that us Canadians do not have the love or tradition of tailgating that the US football fans do. But, after reading all the posts’ about rituals, get-togethers, the food and just the general fun, I am looking for a US college team to adopt me, just so I can participate in the tailgating fun. I actually asked CH if we could go down to a US college game this season, just to experience it and tailgate (feel free to leave a comment with what school/team/game we should check-out, anything within driving distance of Toronto is fair game – so that means NY, MI – any Ann Arbor fans?!).
However, with all this tailgating excitement, I have to be 100% completely honest; the recipe I received in the swap is one that would never appear on our table. I am not trying to be harsh or snooty, it just isn’t a recipe I’d ever make at home, and when I showed it to CH, he said he’d never eat it. Although the point of the recipe swap is to try new things, this recipe definitely needed tweaking in order for us to try it, and I don’t mean any offense to whoever submitted it, or to those that enjoy this recipe. It just isn’t to our taste and I didn’t want to waste all of those ingredients on a recipe I knew we wouldn’t like.
So, what I did do, was take inspiration from the original recipe and turned it into something we REALLY enjoyed. I had a batch of Annie’s pizza dough in my freezer and lots of fresh vegetables in the fridge, so this is how my Mediterranean inspired calzones were created. I had never made calzones before, and CH even questioned me attempting them…along the lines of “do you even know how?” Well, I proved him wrong…they came out perfect: golden crispy crust, gooey, cheesy filling, freshness from the veggies and a slightly spicy undertone from the siracha, banana peppers and red chili flakes. All in all, it was a great combination.
We loved the fun spin on the normal pizza dough recipe. I will definitely be experimenting with calzones in the future, and perfecting my folding skills (which left a little to be desired).
A special thanks goes out to Sarah of A Taste of Home, who is the amazing organizer of all these swaps. Be sure to check-out her blog and see the round-up post to get inspired.
Mediterranean Chicken Calzones
Yield: 4 servings (1 calzone each)
Prep Time: 20 minutes (not including cooking the chicken, or making the pizza dough)
Cook Time: 25 minutes, ~15 minutes stove-top, 10 minutes in the oven
- 1/2 batch Annie’s Pizza Dough (or your favourite pizza dough)
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 green pepper, diced
- 1/2 yellow pepper, diced
- 1 handful of cherry tomato, halved
- 2 cups cooked chicken, diced into bite sized pieces
- 1/4 cup pickled banana peppers, diced with juices
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 TBSP sriracha hot sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Preheat your oven to 500° F. Place your pizza stone in the oven and heat for at least 30 minutes.
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the olive oil for a minute or two. Add the chopped onion to the pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until translucent. Add the peppers to the pan and continue sautéing for another 5 minutes. Mix in the cooked chicken, tomatoes, tomato paste, sriracha, banana peppers, oregano, basil, red pepper flaxes and a dash of S&P.
Cook the mixture over low-heat for another 5-10 minutes, until warmed through and the mixture is thick (and all of the excess moisture has evaporated).
Meanwhile, divide pizza dough into quarters (4 pieces) on a lightly floured work surface and roll out each piece of dough into rounds approximately 4-5 inches in diameter. Transfer each piece of dough to a piece of parchment paper, or place all dough rounds on one large piece of parchment paper, the size of the pizza stone (I cooked mine in batches, just to accommodate different schedules!).
Sprinkle one half of each piece of dough round with a small amount of shredded mozzarella, leaving a thin border around the edge.
Divide the chicken and vegetable mixture between the dough rounds. Then, top the mixture with more mozzarella cheese and finally top with a generous sprinkle of the feta cheese.
Fold the dough over on top of the filling, pinching the edges of the dough together to seal (I pinched the sides and then used a fork to ensure it was sealed).
Transfer the calzones to the heated pizza stone and bake until crispy and brown, about 8 – 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, and then dive-in.
Enjoy (and GO [insert your team’s name] GO!!)