Meat Free Monday – Easy Mini Calzone

Mmmmmmmm pizza! Sometimes you just feel like eating pizza and the best thing is if you make it yourself it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. I prefer serving the kids these mini calzone over regular pizza as they solve the problem of the topping slipping off and going all down their fronts or, as Lottie does, picking of the topping and not eating any of the base – cheeky monkey! Freddie also had these in his lunchbox last week – it came back empty which is a good sign! Adults will enjoy them too and they make a great TV dinner (yes we do have those sometimes).2014 03 24_1899This calzone recipe is quick to make and very versatile. You can fill them with whatever your favourite pizza toppings are, really your imagination is the limit. They don’t have to be meat free either although they are a great way to smuggle a truckload of veggies into your little one or to finish off a mixture of veggies that need cooking.

Some meat free filling options that are popular in our house are:

  • Homemade tomato sauce with spinach, mushrooms, olives, aubergine, basil and cheese
  • Feta and basil pesto
  • Roasted vegetables, feta and homemade tomato sauce
  • Artichokes, sundried tomatoes, feta or ricotta and a little homemade tomato sauce

If you’re looking for a meaty option here are some tasty options:

  • Bolognase
  • Spicy tuna, spinach and homemade tomato sauce
  • Chicken, pesto and mushrooms

The pizza dough is the same as the one I use to make my breadsticks. I generally make a batch of pizza dough, split it into 4 and freeze it in snaplock bags for busy days. If you want to reduce the gluten then you could always substitute the wholemeal and plain flour for spelt flour.

Mini Calzone
Makes: about 24 – 30 Calzone
Serves: 2 adults 4 children
Preparation Time: 10 – 15 minutes to roll out, fill and assemble 8 calzone
Cooking Time: 15 minutes to bake
Suitable from around 8 months
Freezes well as dough

Dough Ingredients:
Makes: 2 large pizzas
2 tsps active yeast
3/4 tsp bread improver
2 tsp raw sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsps melted butter or olive oil
240ml warm water
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour or spelt flour
1 1/2 cups plain flour
You could use 3 cups wholemeal flour if you prefer

2 tbsp polenta to sprinkle the tops of the calzone to give them a good crunchy top

To make the dough in a bread maker
If you are using a bread maker follow the manufacturer’s directions. Making by hand is great fun and your children will love getting involved.  As a child I have fun memories of pizza parties, making the dough and choosing from an array of toppings.

To make the dough by hand – Simon and Alison Holst have some helpful instructions in their Bread Book.
Place the first 5 ingredients in a bowl and leave covered in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Add the flour and bread improver and knead until the dough is a soft ball that springs back. This will take about 10 minutes.

Cover the dough in about 2-3 tsps of olive oil and place in a covered bowl to rise for 30 minutes. Once risen lightly knead and split into 4 equal parts – freeze 3 for future use.

Creating the calzone

Put your pizza stone in a 200’C oven now so it gets nice and hot!2014 03 24_1891Split the pizza dough into 8 balls

2014 03 24_1892Roll the balls into circles.

2014 03 24_1893Place a couple of tablespoons of filling onto the pizza dough.

2014 03 24_1894Fold the circles almost in half and curl the underside edge up pressing down with your thumb. If your filling squirts out you will find it hard to seal the cazone. I found dabbing a little flour on the edges solved this problem.

2014 03 24_1896Brush the surfaces with a little olive oil and sprinkle with polenta. Pierce the tops with two little holes ot let the steam out and bake at 180’C for 15 – 20 minutes until the tops are golden.

Ta dah a veggie packed tasty meal your kids will love to cook and love to eat!

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