Broccoli Calzones

Broccoli Calzones

Broccoli Calzones

Oh. My. Gosh.   These are soooo good,  I did not want to stop eating them.  Do I have any regrets?   Yes, I wish I had made more to freeze.

Some calzones can be rather heavy because they are so loaded with filling that includes meat and cheeses, that after eating one, you’re done.  These, however, are lighter than that. The filling consists of chopped broccoli, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella used in moderation.  A pizza dough makes the outside, holding all that great filling.  Served with warm tomato sauce, i.e., spaghetti or pizza sauce, and a side salad,  this is a delicious and satisfying meatless meal.


This recipe makes eight calzones that can be frozen before baking, so when you’re in the mood for one–or two–, just remove the quantity you want, and bake them frozen.  I made only half the recipe for a quantity of four calzones, and I’m regretting that I didn’t make the whole recipe.  It doesn’t take much extra time or effort to make more to freeze, and you’ll be so glad you did.  One of these would be great with a bowl of soup, or with a salad for a light meal.

Note:  the following recipe calls for frozen, chopped broccoli, but fresh broccoli may also be used.  Cut the broccoli into small florets and steam until tender before proceeding with the recipe.  The convenience of frozen store-bought pizza dough helps to speed up and simplify making this recipe, as does jarred tomato sauce.



Yield:   8 calzonesIMG_7356


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 packages (10 oz.) chopped broccoli, thawed
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 ( 1 pound) packages frozen pizza dough, thawed
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese ( can use small curd cottage cheese instead)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, or pizza blend cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • tomato sauce


1.   Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook till soft ( 4-5 minutes).  Add broccoli, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Cook 5-7 minutes till any liquid has evaporated and mixture is hot.  Set aside to cool.


2.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.

3.  Divide each ball of dough into four ( 4) pieces.  On a lightly floured surface stretch each piece out.  First to a 3 x 4″ oval, then stretch again to 6 x 8″ oval.  Let dough rest as needed to relax before continuing to stretch it. Don’t worry if the ovals are not perfect, they almost never are.

Stretch dough pieces out into oval shapes.

Stretch dough pieces out into oval shapes.

4.  Stir cheeses into cooled broccoli mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add cheeses to broccoli mixture.

Add cheeses to broccoli mixture.

5.  To assemble:  Spread about 1/2 cup broccoli mixture onto half of each dough piece.  Leave 1/2-inch border all around.  Fold over to form a semi-circle/ half moon.  Press edges to seal.  Cut two slits in the top of each one.


Fold dough over filing the press edges to seal.

Fold dough over filling then press edges to seal.


6.  Using a wide spatula or bench knife, transfer the calzones to the baking sheets.  Reshape as needed.


7.  Bake at 400*F for about 25 minutes, till golden brown.   Serve with warm sauce.


Serve with warm sauce.

Serve with warm sauce.


To freeze for later use:  Proceed through step #5 above, then tightly wrap each calzone in plastic wrap, freeze until firm.  Transfer to zip-lock bags; label and date.  Freeze up to 2 months.  To cook and serve, unwrap and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake without thawing until golden, 35 – 40 minutes.







Grapes, You Need Them!

Grapes,  juicy and sweet.

Grapes, juicy and sweet.

Grapes are ancient.  So ancient that some vines have been growing on this planet long before people arrived.  In certain areas of Italy there is still evidence of late Bronze Age vineyard posts used to train grapevines.  Over the years we’ve been trying to find  ways to make them bigger and sweeter.  Some of the grapes I see at the market are so plump and ripe, I just want to reach out and grab one or two for a juicy bite.  Don’t you?

Red, purple or green, plump or petite, grapes are a healthy pop-in-your-mouth snack.  I love grapes when they are cold as a refreshing way to cool off.  And when we travel, I like to bring along a big bunch of grapes to snack on.  One 3/4 cup serving of grapes is a good source of vitamin K, providing 25% of your daily needs.  Recent studies suggest that Vitamin K reduces the risk of bone fractures, particularly in older women.  Other studies have shown the benefits of having a glass of red wine to reduce the risk of heart and artery problems.  Grapes, particularly red  and black ones, are also rich in antioxidants.  So we know about their benefits, and we eat grapes fresh as a fruit/snack, or drink their juice fermented as wine,  but how many of you cook with grapes?  I’m not taking about making grape jam or jelly, but really incorporating them into a main dish, side dish or salad.


I’m guessing not many people would even think of cooking with grapes.  Small and juicy with a hint of acid and sweet, they make perfect partners with some foods.  In the weeks ahead, I would like to introduce you to some recipes that utilize grapes in ways you may not have  considered.

Grape and Rosemary Focaccia

Grape and Rosemary Focaccia

The first one is this recipe for Grape-Rosemary Focaccia.  Scattered over the top of the focaccia, the grapes subtly sweeten each bite.  The sweet/salty combination of grapes, Parmesan cheese and rosemary is surprising, and delicious.  It can be served with a soup, or salad, as a dinner accompaniment in place of dinner rolls, or as an appetizer.  To make it quickly, use prepared whole wheat pizza dough from your supermarket, fresh or frozen.  If frozen, defrost thoroughly in the refrigerator or at room temperature.  Open the bag to give the dough room to expand, i.e. “rise”, prior to stretching and shaping.   Once the focaccia is prepared, allow it to sit at room temperature for about half an hour for another small “rise” before baking.


Yield:    Makes 12 servings

Whole wheat pizza dough, grapes, rosemary, and Parmesan cheese.

Whole wheat pizza dough, grapes, rosemary, and Parmesan cheese.


  • 1 pound prepared pizza dough, preferably whole wheat
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves or 1 tsp. dried
  • 2 cups seedless grapes.  ( If large ones, cut in half.)

1.  Position rack in upper third of oven;  preheat to 425 *F.  Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

2.  Working on a lightly floured surface, pat and stretch dough with damp hands into a 10 by 12-inch oval.  If the dough will not stretch easily, let it rest for 10 minutes, then stretch it again.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

Stretch dough out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cheese.

Stretch dough out on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with cheese.

3.  Drizzle the oil over the dough;  sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and rosemary.  Arrange grapes on top and press lightly into the dough.   At this point I let mine sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to give the dough a chance to rest and rise again a little bit.

Add chopped rosemary and grapes.

Add chopped rosemary and grapes.

4.  Bake until golden around the edges and some of the grapes have burst,  18 – 25 minutes.   (Note:  Mine was done at 15 minutes, so watch carefully,)   Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving.  (The grapes will be very hot inside.)

Golden brown with a heavenly aroma after baking.

Golden brown with a heavenly aroma after baking.

Serve warm with additional olive oil for dipping.

Serve warm with additional olive oil for dipping.

SOURCE:    Eating Well

Bacon, Tomato, and Arugula Pizza

It all started with a Buy-One-Get-One-Free special at the market.  I don’t normally take advantage of these deals because for two of us its often too much of something and it goes to waste.  But for some unknown reason I bought the grape tomatoes being offered, and got the other one free.  OK, now what to do with them?  Other than put these sweet little tomatoes in salad,  I really don’t  cook with them, although I’m starting to.  Coexisting in my refrigerator there was also half a bag of arugula that I wanted to use up, and four slices of thick bacon.  Put all those items together and they spell BLT.  What could taste like a BLT sandwich but be substantial enough for a Friday evening supper?   How about a  pizza!

I always have a bag or two of frozen pizza dough on hand, so I took one out of the freezer to defrost, and in about 2 hours I was ready to get creative with my pizza.  First I cooked the bacon till crisp, drained it and broke it into pieces.  Then in the drippings remaining in the pan I briefly cooked the tomatoes with a little salt and the red pepper.

I always use a pizza stone to bake pizza,  so I sprinkled a little cornmeal on that and patted and stretched the dough into a 12 inch circle to cover it.  Cornmeal helps to get a crispy crust and keeps the dough from sticking.  Next I spread a little pizza sauce on the dough, topped that with the tomatoes, then the bacon pieces and of course lots of cheese.   Once baked and out of the oven I scattered a layer of arugula over the top.   The smell of this pie baking brought Mr. D. to the kitchen without being called, so I knew I was on to something good.  Mouthwateringly delicious is what it was.   I know I’ll be making this one again–and again!


Makes one 12 inch round pizza


  • 1 pound refrigerated pizza dough, preferably whole wheat
  • 4-5 slices smoked bacon
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup jarred marinara or pizza sauce
  • 3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup baby arugula


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Sprinkle a baking sheet or pizza stone with cornmeal;  roll or stretch dough into a 12-inch circle, and place on prepared pan.

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove to paper towel.  Break into pieces or crumble.  Add tomatoes, red pepper and a little salt to drippings in pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spread sauce evenly over dough, leaving a small border.  Top with the tomatoes and bacon.

Sprinkle cheese over top.  Bake at 450 degrees for 17 minutes or until crust is golden.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle arugula over the top.  Cut into 8 wedges and serve immediately.

Source:  a Carolyn Original

Pizza Dough

With this easy and delicious recipe, pizza will quickly become an often-served meal in your home.  If you prefer, you can replace the whole wheat flour with regular bread flour.  I depend on my bread machine to make my yeast doughs, but of course you can make it in the traditional mix and knead method if you prefer.

  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, optional
  • 1 teaspoon pizza dough flavoring, from King Arthur Flour
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons yeast

1.  Place ingredients in pan of dough machine in the order recommended by your machine. 

2.  Set for DOUGH cycle, and press START.

3.  At end of cycle, remove dough from the machine and roll into 1 or 2 pizza pan-sized circles.  Place on lightly oiled pizza pan and turn any excess dough under itself to form a high crust.  Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes. 

4.  Spread with desired sauce and toppings.  Place in preheated 400 degree oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.

5.  Alternately, you may divide the dough into 2 balls, wrap in plastic wrap and foil, and freeze for later use.


Source:  Slightly adapted from The Big Book of Bread Machine Recipes