Thursday, September 22, 2011

GUEST POST: Katie's Cucina

If you think you’re not hungry while you’re reading this post, get ready to salivate.

Katie from Katie’s Cucina is here today to present a kid-friendly calzone!

As an avid cook, her recipes make me want to run to the kitchen and try and replicate them!

Check out these Oreo Cream Cheese Brownies (I know, I like to start with dessert first)

And this fresh Peanust Asian Coleslaw:

This Berry Cornmeal Poundcake would go nicely with afternoon tea or morning coffee:

And, my favorite, Melixan food….this yummy tortilla and black bean pie that my kids would totally eat!!

Katie has been in the kitchen since she was nine years old! So slap on an apron and get ready to cook!

Hi, my name is Katie and I am the author and voice of Katie's Cucina. Earlier this month I shared my Customized Notebook via Sew Woodsy. Yep, that's me too. I manage two blogs--pretty crazy!  I'm a Marketing professional with a love for crafts and cooking. I have the most amazing (and talented) husband, and I'm a proud mama to a Yorkie named Lola. Pretty much all of my free time is spent with my husband, my dog, and my blogs. 

I've always had a love for cooking. I started cooking full meals for my family at the ripe age of 9, and haven't stopped cooking since. My dad will tell you that I cook better than my mom (but would never admit that to her). There is not a specific style of food I like to cook. I pretty much love it all. Last year I challenged myself to start baking from scratch. This was foreign to me since my mom never baked from scratch. Baking can also be challenging because you must use exact measurements. It's not like traditional cooking where you can add a little of this and a little of that. I must admit that I now bake with confidence. I love to bake, and am not at all scared to bake like I use to be. Friends and family request baked goods on a rather frequent basis which is good but also bad! Today I'm going to show you how to make your own calzones. This is a simple meal to make on a busy night, and best of all you can customize them to meet the needs of every member of your family. You have a vegetarian? No problem. Meat lover? No problem. Just make sure to mark the tops of the calzones so you know which is which! 

Pizza dough from bakery section (1 ball of dough per 2 extra-large calzones)
Flour for rolling dough
Rolling Pin
Vegetables (thinly cut, and sautéed to al dente)
4 tbsp Ricotta Cheese
1-2 cups Mozzarella 
4 tbsp Parmesan cheese + additional
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Basting brush
Coarse salt

Take the store bought dough out of the fridge, place in a bowl and let it rest for 1 hour. While the dough is resting start prepping all your veggies. I like to sauté my vegetables so they are cooked through and not crunchy. To me there is nothing worse than crunchy vegetables in a calzone. If you decide to use sausage this is when you'll want to cook the sausage. Make sure you remove the  sausage from the casing, break it up in pan, until cooked all the way through. Set aside. 

After dough has rested and expanded, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. On a clean counter top lightly flour, and place dough on floured counter top. Roll dough around until all the dough has some flour on it. Lightly dust your rolling pin with flour, and make sure to always have a little bit of flour on your work surface. Once all of this is done start rolling out your dough. The shape doesn't really matter since you are going to want to cut the dough in half and then fold in half again once filled. 

Once you've rolled out the dough, cut 2 equal pieces. Take a little more flour, and pat the dough with the flour. On one side of the dough start layering all your veggies. I like to start with the spinach followed by my onions, peppers, mushrooms, and olives. If you are putting meat in your calzone you will want to add the meat. In the pictured calzone above I added pepperoni. Lastly add the cheese (1 tbsp Parmesan cheese  and 2 tablespoon ricotta, 1 cup of mozzarella, and a teaspoon of Italian seasoning). Rub olive oil around the edge of the dough. Fold over, and press firmly to close. I used a fork to seal the ends together. 

Carefully pick up the stuffed calzone and place it on a greased baking sheet (we like to use our pizza pan). Once on the baking sheet take a knife and carefully cut a few slits on the top of the dough (if your making customized calzones I recommend telling everyone there number--which will represent how many slits are on the top of the calzone). Repeat until all of your calzones are stuffed, sealed, and on the baking sheet. Before placing the calzones in the oven brush olive oil on top of each calzone and sprinkle with coarse salt and parmesan cheese. 

Cook in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. At this time make or warm-up marinara sauce (I like to make my Tomato-Basil Sauce), and prepare a side salad. Once the calzones are done, cut them in half to allow them to cool, and serve. Remind everyone that these will be piping hot since they just came out of the oven! Enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe. Remember, the recipes don't stop here. You can always visit Katie's Cucina for a wide variety of recipes and follow me on Twitter and Facebook


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