Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chicken Spinach Calzones

There was a restaurant in the town where I grew up called the Italian Oven. It was in the plaza where our very first Wal-mart resided and was the site of many high school dates. The boy who would one day become my husband took a crayon and wrote "Tim + Joey forever" on the white paper that covered the table. We sipped lemon water through long ziti noodles that you could crunch on when the drink was gone. I ordered a chicken spinace calzone with no bacon (because I was weird about bacon back then). We stood to leave and Tim took a last look at the table, impulsively grabbed a crayon and colored over the Tim+Joey. So much for "forever," but that's the price of being a girl with a boy's name.

That Italian Oven went out of business eventually, leaving us with only the original location too far from home, somewhere near Somerset, PA. We miss that place. There's a new joint in town called "IO," a venture by the same owners. They have a great quick serve menu of pizzas and pastas. There are no noodle straws or writing on the table. Also no calzones. So it's just a little taste of the past. A little extra fuel for our trips down memory lane.

Thankfully, chicken spinach calzone isn't difficult to make. In fact, this is the very first thing I ever cooked when I was just a teenage girl.

Chicken Spinach Calzones with Marinara


Bread dough (I use my Mr. Rogers Neighborhood recipe: 2 1/4 tsp yeast, 1 cup warm water, 2 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, dash of EVOO, let raise for one hour)

Two cooked chicken breasts cubed
Six strips of cooked bacon crumbled
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup provolone cheese
1/4 cup asiago cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out the bread dough in a big rectangle. Use a butter knife to cut the dough into pieces. (I make nine little rectangles so each of us can have three calzones - two the first night and one for lunch the next day.)

Combine the chicken, crumbled bacon, spinach, cheese, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.

Calzone filling: chicken, spinach, bacon, mozzarella, provolone, asiago

Pile the chicken filling onto each rectangle of dough.

Fold the dough around the filling, pinch corners together to seal.

Place on a greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet with the seam side down.

Chicken spinach calzones ready to bake.

Slice a vent in the top of each calzone.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

Serve with marinara dipping sauce.

Makes four hearty servings.