I love calzones so much that I’m surprised I don’t eat them more often. I’m always like, “I should eat calzones every week. Every single week.” Whenever I’m stumped for what to cook for dinner my immediate response should be to make calzones. You would think that this is a normal reaction for me. That isn’t the case, though, and I end up never making them. Which is sad, because a life without calzones is a life I don’t really want to live. It’s okay because whenever I do get to making calzones, it’s literally the best day ever. The best week ever. I’ll end up cooking up a lot more than I should, and keep them in the fridge for the week. If I want to enjoy them over a longer period of time, I’ll pop them in the freezer and just reheat whenever I’m craving a hot cheesy calzone. They make for great lunches or easy dinners or midnight snacks. Just serve them with a salad on the side, and then they instantly become healthy. That’s how it works, right? I’m almost positive that I’m doing this whole healthy New Year New Me thing right. It’s the only way to do it.
My favorite calzone will always be a simple pepperoni calzone. They get me every time. I wanted to branch out a bit for this post however, and pretend that I’m more sophisticated than I actually am, even if it’s just for a moment. These are filled with many of the great Mediterranean flavors we all know and love. Chicken, artichokes, spinach, sun-dried tomato and feta. If you so wish, you could take them a step further and add olives to them. And because there really isn’t a sauce in these calzones, I thought it would be the best idea to drench them in tzatziki sauce. It’s a cool and creamy cucumber sauce that is loaded with so much flavor, it’ll knock your socks off. No more socks. Cold feet for life. You could also serve them with hummus (just saying).
If you’re in need of even more calzone deliciousness, remember that time we made two kinds of calzones on the blog? Of course you remember, you would be crazy not to. There’s a BBQ Chicken Calzone and a Sausage and Peppers Calzone for you to try. Now that you have three different calzones to eat, there’s no excuse. Get your life together and start eating all the portable pizzas you’re destined to eat. I’m rooting for you.
This is a really easy filling to put together. You literally just cook everything down in a single skillet. Start off by browning the chicken in a skillet, and then add in the onions, garlic, spinach, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, pepper, and fresh oregano. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until the veggies have softened.
**Note: If you’re having a hard time finding fresh oregano at the grocery store, just use dried. Remember to use less because the dried stuff is much more potent.**
Give the filling a taste and then adjust seasonings accordingly, adding more salt or pepper as needed.
**Tip: If you like living life on the spicy side, then kick up the filling a bit with a pinch or two of crushed red pepper flakes. It adds a little spick kick without going overboard!**
Allow the filling to cool off to the side for a bit, and then stir in the mozzarella and feta cheese.
**Note: Since pizzas are normally made with mozzarella cheese, that’s why I’ve included it here. I also like to mix in a bit of feta for that extra salty Mediterranean flare. I like the mixture of both.**
Cut your pizza dough into fourths and then roll out each into thin circles. Fill with a few heaping tablespoons of filling, and then fold over and crimp the sides.
Continue filling and folding the calzones until all of the filling and dough has been used. You might need 2 different baking sheets for this, so as to not over-crowd them.
**Tip: To make life easier on yourself, feel free to use store bought dough or go to your local pizza joint and buy some dough from them! More often than not, they”ll be happy to sell you pizza dough. Of course, if you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to make you own, Pizza Dough. P.S. BTW FYI, Trader Joe’s has great pizza dough!**
Once all of the calzones are done, brush each of them liberally with egg wash.
**Note: Egg washes are simple to make, and are usually a mixture of beaten eggs with a splash of water or milk. It helps brown certain recipes and make them more appetizing and flavorful.**
While the calzones bake, let’s make a delicious sauce to pour over them?
Tzatziki is a Greek sauce that is used in a lot of recipes of Mediterranean decent. I love it on all sorts of recipes. The first one is on grilled chicken or curry. I love it because the cool creaminess from the sauce helps cut through some of the heavier spicy calzones, or other dishes in Greek food.
**Note: The tatziki can be made a day or two in advance. The longer it sits in the fridge the better. The flavor will just get better and better over time. I like to make a big batch and then just keep it in the fridge for all sorts of meals.**
Once the calzones are golden brown, remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving. You don’t want to burn your mouth off, so it’s best to let them cool slightly before serving.
Serve the calzones with several spoonfuls of tzatziki on top. Remember that if you’re serving this for dinner and want to have a full and complete meal, serve the calzones with a hearty Greek salad on the side. It’ll seem healthy and like you’re making the right decisions in life. Let’s fool everyone tonight.
If you’re looking for a simple salad recipe to serve on the side, do what I do. I like mixing together chopped romaine lettuce (just use the bag mix, and same some time!) with tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, black olives and feta. Toss it all together with a balsamic vinaigrette and call it a day.
One of my favorite things about calzones is that you can totally make them in advance. Make life easier on yourself by cooking up a batch of these (or any calzones) on the weekend. Allow them to cool off completely and then place them in the freezer. Keep them in there for up to 3 months and whenever you’re in the mood for a delicious calzone, jus reheat them in the oven or toaster oven for about 10 to 15 minutes.
I also really love calzones because you can fill them with literally anything you want. The world is your oyster. Go crazy with your calzone imagination and fill them with whatever you want. Fill them simply with cheese, pizza sauce and pepperoni for that classic kid’s flavor. The possibilities are endless.
Why is it that even though I’m an adult now, my favorite pizza topping is still (and will always be) pepperoni and just pepperoni? It’s such a basic/staple of a topping, yet it’s always the best pizza I’ll ever have. Pepperoni is king and I definitely can’t get enough.
**Note: These mediterranean calzones are just as good as pepperoni, so don’t let me discourage you from trying them out. I mean, sure pepperoni is great, but chicken mediterranean calzones are just as bomb dot com.**
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 (4-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach, chopped
- 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 (16-ounce) packages store-bought pizza dough
- 1 large egg, whisked with a splash of water
- 1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
- 2 small Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
- Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
- Place a large skillet over high heat with the oil. Once hot, add the chicken and cook until evenly browned and crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the onions and garlic. Cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the spinach, a handful at a time, and cook until the spinach has wilted. Stir in the artichoke and sun-dried tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for a minute or two longer. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the mozzarella and feta cheese.
- Cut each pizza dough into fourths and then working with one piece at a time, roll each into a thin circle, about ¼ of an inch thick. Fill one side with a few heaping tablespoons of the filling. Fold over to create half a moon shape and then crimp the edges to seal and make sure the filling doesn't come out during baking. Place on the prepared baking sheets, continuing to fill and fold the remaining calzones. Brush each with the egg wash and bake until evenly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.
- Meanwhile, make the tzatziki. In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumbers, lemon zest and juice, garlic, parsley, sill, salt and pepper. Stir until evenly combined. Give it a taste and adjust seasonings accordingly, adding more salt or pepper as needed. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in fridge until ready to use. Can be made up to 4 days in advance, and stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Serve the calzones with the tzatziki sauce on top. Calzones can be baked, cooled and frozen for up to 3 months. Just rewarm in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. Enjoy!