Sausage and Pepper Calzone
If someone were to tell me I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose pizza. Selecting one type of pizza as my favorite is a much more difficult decision. I typically order supreme but have yet to try a pizza I didn’t like. I tend to prefer thin crust, but sometimes I crave thick. Even though I live in the South, home of notoriously bad pizza, I am originally from the Chicago area and have visited New York City so I have experienced great pizza. I should note that pizza has come a long way in the Atlanta area over the past fifteen years I’ve been living here, so there are good pizza places around despite the bad reputation. In fact, Adam Richman of Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food” filmed an episode at a local pizza place, Big Pie in the Sky Pizzeria.
Since I do have a long-standing love affair with pizza, I have only rarely ventured away from the standard pie to try variations such as calzones or strombolis. Typically, if I’m at a pizzeria, I’m getting pizza. Unfortunately for me, pizza is also my downfall since it’s usually not very healthy, and I cannot seem to control myself around it. In an attempt to make a more portion controlled version of pizza, I decided to make calzones. Don’t get me wrong, these are not exactly POINTS-friendly either, but it was totally worth the splurge and a much better POINTS bargain than several slices of pizza.
As I’ve mentioned before, I do not enjoy baking, particularly the act of rolling out dough. I simply do not have the patience for it nor do I like flour everywhere. So, I cheated and used Pillsbury refrigerated dough. Next time I will get a bag of whole wheat dough from Trader Joe’s, but since the nearest one is quite a drive from me and I cannot go in there without spending WAY too much money, I opted for the cheap, readily-available dough. The dough was a little sticky and hard to work with, but it turned out really well once baked. I wasn’t sure how much cheese or sausage and peppers I would need, so I started with a pretty generous portion of each. I ended up using all of the cheese and only half of the sausage mixture (the recipe reflects how much I actually used). If you wanted to cut back on POINTS, you could easily reduce the amount of cheese and still have plenty, but Ryan and I are cheese-aholics. The ricotta cheese mixture had a nice sweetness and blended well with the spiciness of the sausage. Even though each half of one of the calzones is 9 POINTS, it is really filling and tasted amazing. It was by far one of the best things I’ve made in a while, and we’ve both been craving it ever since.
Sausage and Pepper Calzone
2 links chicken Italian sausage
1 medium bell pepper, thinly sliced
refrigerated pizza dough
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon dried basil
1. Slice the sausage and cook with peppers in a large skillet coated with cooking spray until the peppers are tender. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Split pizza dough in two. With a rolling pin roll out one portion of the dough to fit the baking sheet or use your hands to stretch it to fit. On a separate pan, roll out the second half of the dough.
3. Mix the Ricotta cheese with half of the Mozzarella. Spoon the filling evenly on half of each portion of the dough leaving a one inch border around the edge. Sprinkle with the remaining Mozzarella, then the sausage slices and peppers.
4. Gently fold over the dough to cover the filling. Pinch edges together all the way around.
5. Make a knife slit in the top to let steam escape while cooking.
6. Cook for 15-20 minutes until dough is golden brown. Let set for five minutes before slicing. Serve with tomato sauce.