Hot & Fresh–Calzones

What do you make when you have all the fixings for pizza but want something other than a standard pizza?

Calzones!  Fast, fresh, and easy.  Possibilities are endless.


Refrigerated pizza crust (I used Trader Joe’s whole wheat)
Sauce of your choice (pizza, pesto, salsa, etc.)
Fixings (meat, veggies, cheese)
Fresh herbs (basil, oregano)
Olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees; spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
2.  Roll out dough into 4 thin ovals/circles.
3.  Spread sauce, sprinkle herbs, add ingredients.
4.  Fold together ends to make a pocket; pinch ends together.
5.  Place on the cookie sheet.
6.  Cut a few slits/air vents in the calzone.
7.  Lightly brush the top of each calzone with olive oil.
8.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Sauce, basil, pepperoni, spinach, mushrooms, cheese

A little trick to add extra protein–I mixed a small amount of cottage cheese into the pizza sauce.


Hot out of the oven. Sauce, turkey, mushrooms, basil, spinach, cheese.

My dad makes tasty home-made pizza and focaccia bread and uses the Dei Fratelli pizza sauce.  I found it at my local grocery store, stocked up, and used it in the calzones.  Wow – this is fresh and flavorful sauce!  I’m going to be on the hunt for more of their products.

Best sauce!

And this cooking post wouldn’t be complete without a cameo from my favorite kitchen helper who was on high alert in front of the oven.

Kitchen helper

I hope you’ll try making calzones–these are certainly going to be added to my regular kitchen repertoire!

Halfsies Pizza: A veggie and meat win-win

Happy weekend everyone!

On Friday night the Quality Assurance Guy (QAG) and I headed out for dinner.  Sounds easy, right?  Well, not always.

I have adopted a plant-strong diet.  The QAG has adopted a plant-strong halfsies diet.  He has cut back on the amount of diet soda consumed, processed lunch meat eaten, and chocolate chip cookies devoured.  (Unfortunately that means that some of my baking tools are collecting dust.)

When we dine out, it is a little bit of a production.  I always appreciate that he suggests we find someplace that will cater to both of our tastes.  Dining out for pizza isn’t always that easy.  QAG would prefer pepperoni, I’d prefer green peppers.  It’s rare to find a pizzeria that will allow for a halfsies pizza–half meat-lovers, half veggie-lovers.

Our luck turned last night when we stumbled upon Villa Dolce Gourmet Italian Pizzeria & Ristorante in Middleton, WI.  We stopped in to look at the menu, spoke with the owner, and took a quick look at the dining rooms.  The pizzeria has a really fun and cozy atmosphere; great decor and lighting that makes for a casual dining experience.

When our waitress started answering our myriad of menu questions, the first thing I told her was that I was going to be difficult–regardless of what I ordered, I’d ask for modifications.  Her response, “No problem.”  The best news of all, we could get a halfsies pizza.  No issue, no extra charge.  Mamma Mia!  Our halfsies creation was half Garden of Villa (grilled zucchini, red peppers, eggplant, tomato, mushrooms, minus the mozzarella) and half Meat Lovers (prosciutto, Italian sausage, pepperoni, bacon, tomato sauce, mozzarella).

The halfsies pizza

Pizza Aftermath

As you can tell, we loved the pizza.  Sometimes plant-strong at a restaurant isn’t filling or satisfying; this pizza was both.  It’s worth pointing out that the plant-strong side did not leave the Exxon Valdez oil slick that the meat lovers side created.  Oh boy!

We’ll certainly be back at Villa Dolce.  The pizzeria has an extensive pizza, pasta, and salad menu.  I’m sticking to the veggie pizza!  If you find yourself in the middle of Middleton, WI, check it out!

Question:  How do you handle dining out with others who don’t necessarily share your eating habits?

(Note:  We were not compensated for the dinner at Villa Dolce and paid our own way.)