It’s so easy to fall into dinnertime doldrums. You know the symptoms: you’ve made the same dish over and over. It still tastes good, but it’s become exceedingly dull. Sometimes you just need to break out of the mold and try something new.
That’s what I did recently when I attempted turkey calzones for the first time. Turkey calzones are a tasty mixture of ground turkey, vegetables and herbs, all wrapped up in a flavorful pizza dough. It was definitely worth the trouble. Calzones are not the easiest recipe to make — or at least to make pretty. Mine certainly don’t look like the pizza place versions, but they taste amazing. Plus, calzones freeze well, ensuring that there’s a meal waiting on those evenings when I don’t have time to cook.
My goal is always to make my dishes as healthy and flavorful as possible, using as many vegetables and herbs as I can. When cooking with ground turkey, you really need to add a lot of additional flavors, because the meat itself can be fairly bland.
You can use refrigerated pizza dough if you don’t want to make your own. I have a bread machine, so making fresh pizza dough is easy and that’s what I did. I like the heartiness of whole wheat dough; that’s my go-to recipe. I also made a double batch, because this recipe will yield a lot of filling.
The most difficult part of making calzones is filling and folding. And I’m sure that will be easier the second time around. This recipe yields eight large calzones or 16 small ones and you’ll probably have filling left-over. If so, you can freeze it for the next batch or use it in a pasta sauce.
Pizza dough (enough for two pizzas)
1 pound ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
3 mini sweet peppers, chopped (I used a combination of red & orange peppers. You should have approximately 1/3 cup)
1 celery rib, chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
1 package mushrooms, cleaned & chopped
mozzarella cheese, shredded or fresh
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 TBSP fresh thyme, chopped
2-3 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
1 TSP chicken boullion (I use the Better than Boullion brand)
1 TSP olive oil
1/4 TSP red pepper flakes (optional)
If you’re going to use homemade pizza dough, make that first so that it’s ready by the time your filling is done.
Chop the vegetables, grate the carrot and mince the garlic cloves. Chop the herbs, keeping the parsley and thyme separate. Add olive oil to a large skillet and saute the vegetables and thyme until the vegetables are just tender. Season lightly with salt and pepper. This should only take a few minutes. Remove the vegetables to a plate or dish.
Add the turkey to the same skillet and cook until lightly browned, breaking into small pieces. Season lightly with salt and pepper and add red pepper flakes, if you’re using them.
Once the turkey is done, add the vegetables to the turkey mixture and stir. Add the chicken bouillon and parsley, stirring to combine. Taste to make sure the mixture is seasoned properly and remove it from the heat.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and prepare two baking sheets. Oil the sheets or use parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. Divide the pizza dough into 8 (0r 16) pieces, depending upon the size of calzone you want to make. Roll each piece into a ball, then roll out into a 6-8″ circle. Spread mozzarella cheese in the center, then top with some the turkey mixture. Fold one side of the pizza dough over the filling into a half-moon shape. Seal the edges by pressing with a fork or folding them over and pressing to seal. Cut two or three short slits in the top of each calzone, to allow steam to escape.
Carefully place the calzones onto the baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. If you plan to freeze them, make sure they’re completely cooled completely. Put them in labeled Ziplock bags and place them in the freezer. You can thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and reheat them in a 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes or just reheat in the microwave. They freeze and reheat beautifully.