Cheesy Garlic & Mushroom Calzone

I’m trying to catch up on some of the recipes from 2011 that I left in the dust on my hard drive. This was a really fun recipe and a delicious dinner. It’s economical and easy to make, and you can make it into a healthier calzone by simply substituting lighter cheeses, whole wheat flour and putting more vegetables in it.

The first step is making the dough. This, for me personally, is a lot of fun, and easy to do. I think dough is always better when made a couple hours ahead of time. You definitely need at least one hour for it to rise, so this isn’t a fast dinner.

*Note: this recipe yields two large calzones!*

Ingredients for 

the dough:

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2- 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp olive oil
I always combine the yeast, water, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, sugar and salt for about ten minutes before adding in the flour. Then I mix it together, using a fork at first and once it clumps together, I knead it on a lightly floured chopping board. I knead the dough for about 10 minutes, turning it over, pressing in, and so on until it feels soft ( some people say it should feel like skin). I always do the poke test. Once the dough pops back after being poked, it’s ready. Then, set it in a bowl with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Coat it in the oil, cover with plastic wrap, and then let it rise for about an hour, until it has doubled in size. 

Preheat the oven to 375 when you are ready to roll out the dough. Separate the dough into two portions. Roll both of them into circles.

To make the filling for one calzone, simply combine 1/2 to 1 cup ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese,  1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms and 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves. Now, you can fill it with anything you like. I personally love a four-cheese calzone, but you can fill it with more vegetables to make it healthier. I also used light ricotta in this one. Arrange the filling on half of the calzone.

Fold the calzones in half and secure with a fork. Using a baster brush, cover the whole thing with an egg wash (beat one egg in a bowl). This will give it that gorgeous color and crisp!

Bake for about 30-40 minutes. Enjoy with your favorite sauce!

Four-Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms are SO tasty and versatile, not to mention easy and fast to make. Since bread is off-limits for the first two weeks on the South Beach Diet as well, they work as a nice substitution for bread in pizzas and as an accompaniment to cheese.

Soft or full-fat cheeses are not allowed on the SBD until later or in moderation, so if you are really strict about no cheating whatsoever, you can substitute it with a reduced fat cheese. Dhiren brought home these two cheeses though and they worked out nicely and added lots of flavor. I don’t think 2 tbsp of cheese is going to set me back or rekindle any cravings.

To make these lovelies, you need:

  • 3 stuffing mushrooms (I made one serving)
  • 1/2 c. skim Ricotta
  • 1 tbsp Gouda
  • 1 tbsp Chambozla (you can substitute any type of soft cheese for this)
  • 2 tbsp shallots, minced
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Clean mushrooms and remove the “gills” on the inside with a spoon. Heat a skillet and then cook mushrooms for 4-6 minutes on medium heat. This reduces the time needed in the oven.

2. After 3-4 minutes, toss in the minced shallots, garlic and parsley and sauté in a tsp of olive oil. Scrape into a bowl, add the cheeses and incorporate together with a fork.

3. Place mushrooms in a baking dish with the rest of the olive oil (I just used a cake pan– whatevs!) and fill them with the cheese mixture. Salt & pepper them, and then place in the oven to cook for 5-8 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and the cheeses bubbly. Next time I try this, I’m going to try broiling it, so the cheese gets that nice browned look on top.

4. Decorate with a couple sprigs of parsley or maybe one of these bad boys:

Three Recipes

So Dhiren and I decided to make our meals for the week in advance on Sunday night, and I’m so happy we did.  We chose to make Indian daal, Eggplant Parmesan and  I marinated tempeh so I could use it on a whim in whatever I want.

The Eggplant is such a simple dish and a huge hit.  Basically, slice an entire eggplant into 1/4″ clices and dip into a couple beaten eggs and then into a bowl of garlic and parmesan.  Bake on a cookie sheet for 5 min. on each side at 350.  Then dump 1/2 can of pre-made pasta sauce (Trader Joe’s makes a good variety) or if you are feeling particularly Martha Stewart, you can use your own.  Layer the eggplant in and top with a mixture of parmesan, skim mozzarella, chopped basil.  I topped with a couple slices of tomatoe, olive oil, and seasoning.  Bake for 20-40 min. at 350 or until everything is bubbling.  I’ve made this twice this week.  Here’s the key to making it healthy:

Dip in egg whites/ use skim, non-fat or low-fat cheeses/ use more basil than cheese & make sure the pasta sauce does not have added sugar or corn syrup.  In that sense, it’s better to make your own “SOAUCE”

NEXT: Dhiren’s Indian daal

Daal is a staple dish made of lentils, spices and vegetables.  Put oil in a large skillet or preferably, a wok.  Add spices (tumeric, cumin and a general curry mix) to taste and after they cook for a while, throw in some crushed garlic.  Meanwhile in a large pot, cook the lentils (use red lentils if possible).  Then add vegetables to the wok and once the lentils are finished cooking. Pour the lentils into the wok to create a giant vat of sludge.  I know it looks like baby poo, but trust me, it’s delicious.  We top it with fresh cilantro, mango chutney and onions.

Finally we have tempeh.  Tempeh (fermented tofu– gross huh?) has a great flavor and is a perfect alternative to beef.  Especially after watching Food Inc. and reading about how the food industry (and more importantly) the meat industry operate, I’m going vegetarian with the occasional spurge of organic, grass fed, free-range, local meat without hormones and antibiotics.  Tempeh can be bought anywhere, though I like the brand from Henry’s and Mother’s Market> Trader Joe’s.  Treat it like meat and marinate it in anything and use it in anything.  I marinated it in a peanut satay sauce overnight with 3 cloves of garlic chopped up.   I fried it up in the wok with a tiny bit of olive oil and ate it with an avocado.  It was AMAZING.