Saucy Successful Calzone

Yesterday my baby brother turned 14. Yikes right?

It's hard to believe that the little nugget is now closer to being able to drive than color inside (and outside the lines). In the tradition of birthday dinners, Baby Brother got to pick what he wanted to dine on. There was some back and forth but he ended up asking for calzone. He probably thought that meant we'd be ordering takeout ... but I wanted to give it a go. Plus, this fits within the trend of me attempting to make something that I love to buy (meatballs, english muffins, foccacia).

Since we are a family of 5, I gathered that meant I'd be crafting two calzones. The great part about calzone it is essentially just a blank canvas for whatever you feel like. You want veggies? Go for it. You craving some meats? Load it up. 

For this occasion, I elected to rock the combos of:
- buffalo chicken 
- prosciutto and peperoni

I'm not going to beat around the bush here, calzone is really easy to make. I was a bit apprehensive given how much the family loves carbs / calzone / buffalo chicken.... but this went off without a hitch. Obviously, the buffalo chicken option required a bit more prep obviously, but hey ... if you want something amazing and homemade you've got to work for it a bit.

So here's how it goes.

Buffalo Chicken Prep
(Step 1) As a little bit of prep work, I cut up the chicken into smaller bite size pieces and marinated it for a few hours in buffalo sauce. The recipe that I was following originally suggested you marinate the chicken overnight... that seemed like a great idea but I didn't allow for that much time. I'm honestly not sure that I would notice the difference. 

(Step 2) The buffalo chicken needs to be pre-cooked before getting slapped into the pizza dough since the cooking time is largely to melt the cheese and cook the dough - not cook the chicken. Saute up the chicken in a pan like you'd normally cook chicken. No big deal.
Calzone Bizness
(Step 3) Prepare your cooking sheet with cornmeal / olive oil / PAM spray ... whatever moves you. Stretch out your pizza dough like you'd do if you were making normal pizza.... since calzone is essentially pizza folded in half. Don't get stressy pants about shape. It's calzone not brain surgery.

(Step 4) Now it's time to stuff the calzones. There is no right or wrong way to do this since essentially everything is going to melt together in your carb pocket of love but this is what I did.
Buffalo Chicken - Working on half of the dough spread a layer of blue cheese dressing, followed by the cooked buffalo chicken, then topped with shredded cheese. I used about a handful of each mozzarella and cheddar. Looks good right? Feel free to toss on a bit of extra hot sauce. No harm done.
Prosciutto and Pepperoni - Nothing fancy here just working with layers spread out some prosciutto and pepperoni between layers of mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
 (Step 5) After you've filled the calzones, just bring the other half over and pinch the edges to seal. I sprinkled the top of the prepped calzones with a bit of cheese. I originally thought that this was more for decoration but it actually proved to be a good measure of when the calzone was done cooking. Although, it is purely decoration... no added flavor here ... so if you run out of cheese no worries babes.

(Step 6) Another bonus for calzones, great for making in advance of dinner time. I threw these suckers together around lunchtime and just tossed them in the fridge for a few hours to wait patiently. No harm done.  When it was time to eat, I put them in a 400 F oven for 25 minutes.
(Step 7) Let the calzone cool for a smidge before you cut into it. Just like a pizza folks :) Now, eat and enjoy it.

I was pretty pleased with the end result. I can't take any credit for how well the crust turned out (since I didn't make the dough) but the balance of the filling was pretty solid. Baby Sister is a true buffalo chicken connoisseur and she gave it a two thumbs-up review.

Shopping List
Buffalo Chicken
1 pizza dough
2 cups of shredded cheese
chunky blue cheese dressing
2 cups of chicken chopped in bite-size bits (about 6 chicken tenders)
1/2 cup buffalo sauce (1/3 cup for marinate sauce)

Prosciutto Pepperoni
1 pizza dough
2 cups of shredded cheese
6 slices of thinly sliced prosciutto (about 2 oz)
pepperoni (as much as you want? I'm not going to judge)

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