Calzone: Baked!

Basically calzones are just a rolled up version of pizza in a pocket or mini pies so to speak, but they are fun to make and delicious to eat! Throw in your favorite toppings, add a salad on the side and you’ve got yourself a meal!

Calzone: The Inside

What You’ll Need For The Crust:
(This is my basic pizza dough recipe.)
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of warm water
1 tablespoon of yeast
1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar

Mix flour and salt in your food processor by giving it a few pulses. Add in olive oil.

In a separate container mix water, yeast and honey. Turn on food processor and pour yeast mixture into the flour mixture and process until dough ball forms.

Cut dough ball into 4 pieces and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

What You’ll Need For Each Calzone:
1/4 pizza crust
1/4 a red onion, sliced into strips
1/4 a bell pepper, diced
1 large button mushroom, sliced
Green or black olives, optional
2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of Mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons of part skim Ricotta cheese
1/4 cup of pizza sauce
olive oil
1 pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch of dried oregano
1 pinch of Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Cook red onion, bell pepper and mushroom until tender by sauteing or in the microwave. Set aside.

Take one ball of dough and roll flat:

Calzone Dough: Rolled Out

In the middle of the rolled out dough add cooked vegetable mixture and olives:

Calzone: Veggies

Next add mozzarella cheese:

Calzone: Mozzarella

Then add Parmesan cheese:

Calzone: Parmesean

And then add ricotta cheese:

Calzone: Ricotta

Last add pizza sauce:

Calzone: Sauce

Fold dough over the filling:

Calzone: Folded Over

Fold the excess dough back toward the calzone to crimp the edges and seal in the filling:

Calzone: Edges Tucked

With a very sharp knife make slits for venting:

Calzone: Vented

Brush the top of the calzone with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, oregano and/or Parmesan cheese:

Calzone: Brushed With Olive Oil, Sprinkled With Dried Oregano, Sea Salt, Parmesean And Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Each calzone makes roughly 2 servings.

Notes: You can put pretty much anything you want to into the center for your fillings. Spinach? Sure! Goat cheese? Yum! Use salsa instead of pizza sauce and cheddar cheese to make a Mexican calzone. Or you could make a fruit calzone with some cooked apples, blueberries or cherries!

Be creative! Being in the kitchen isn’t just about eating, it also about having fun!

Homemade Loaf Bread

Homemade Loaf Bread: The Inside Goodness!

I’ve been making a lot of bread lately and it’s true…Once you start making your own, the stuff you buy at the store just doesn’t seem that appealing!

This is an old recipe that I’ve had for years. I remember making it when I lived in Knoxville and I left there in 1997, so it’s been a while. I believe I copied the recipe from my Mom’s recipe box, but I can’t remember for sure and of course being me I’ve adapted it over the years. Regardless it’s extremely good!

Try it…You’ll like it! There’s just nothing like freshly made bread right out of the oven!

What You’ll Need:
4 teaspoons of yeast
1 1/4 cup of warm water
2 tablespoons of melted butter
2 teaspoons of sea salt
2 tablespoons of organic cane sugar
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

Mix yeast, water, butter, salt and honey and stir to mix. Add flour and stir until a sticky dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes until elastic. Place in an oiled bowl in a warm spot and cover. Let sit for 45 minutes to 1 hour and let double in size.

Punch dough down and shape into a loaf. Place in a bread pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, cover and let rise again for 45 minutes to 1 hour and let the dough rise and fill the pan. (I have a larger bread pan and when I first put the dough in it doesn’t “fit” the pan, but after it rises for a while it fills in nicely!)

Homemade Loaf Bread: Ready For The Oven!

Preheat oven to 375 F and bake for 30 minutes.

Homemade Loaf Bread

Baked Salmon Dip

Baked Salmon Dip

I LOVE salmon! But I don’t like it smoked and I don’t like the stuff they put into a can. It’s a waste of perfectly good salmon! Over the years most of the salmon dip recipes that I came across called for either smoked or canned salmon and that just wouldn’t work. So I came up with this little recipe. I play with it from time to time, but it’s delicious none the less!

What You’ll Need:
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 a red onion, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon of dried dill (at least)
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 baked salmon filet, skin removed and flaked

In a bowl cream cream cheese until smooth and set aside.

Chop red onions and microwave for 1-2 minutes until tender, but the onions retain their color. (This helps take a little of the bite out of them.) Add chopped scallions to the bowl with red onions and microwave for 30 seconds to a minute.

Stir cooked onions into the cream cheese mixture until mixed.

Stir in seasonings and mix well.

Last add flaked salmon and stir until just mixed so as not to completely tear apart the salmon pieces. Serve with crudités and/or bread and crackers.

Baked Salmon Dip

Note: Baking salmon is easy. Just take a salmon steak, drizzle it with a little olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and dill (optional) and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 F or until done.

Pineapple “Pudding” Cake

Pineapple "Pudding" Cake

This cake was one my mom made often when my sister and I were children and I loved it! She took it to a lot of church pot lucks and things of that nature. I never really understood why it had pudding in the title since there is no actual pudding in the cake, thus the quotes. This is my take on yet another of my Mom’s classics. It’s moist, fruity and delicious!

What You’ll Need For The Cake:
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 – 20 oz. can crushed pineapple packed in juice, undrained (If you don’t have crushed pineapple or tidbits, you can take a 20 ounce can of chunk pineapple and process it in your food processor.)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking soda and salt until incorporated. Dump in remaining ingredients and stir until just mixed. Pour into a 13 X 9 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

What You’ll Need For The “Icing”:
1 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla

While the cake is baking add sugar, butter and cream to a sauce pot. Melt butter and then bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let sit until cake comes out of the oven.

When you remove the cake from the oven pour “icing” mixture over cake immediately.

You can serve this cake warm or cooled. It’s delicious either way!

Pineapple "Pudding" Cake

Vegetable Eggrolls

Veggie Egg Rolls

In honor of the Chinese New Year I thought it would be fun to make some egg rolls! I had never made them before, but I figured it wouldn’t be too hard and I was right! They’re fast, easy and delicious!

What You’ll Need:
1 carrot, cut into matchstick pieces
1/8 of a head of cabbage, cut into strips
1 leek, cut into strips
A pinch of sea salt
A pinch of black pepper
2 teaspoons of rice wine vinegar
Egg roll wrappers
Peanut oil for frying

Step One:

Heat oil to 350 F.

Step Two:

While oil is heating, in a medium sized skillet saute veggies with salt, pepper and vinegar until just tender and remove from heat. The filing is now ready to fill the egg roll wrappers.

Egg Roll Filling: Cabage, Carrot And Leek Cooked

Step Three:

Lay an egg roll wrapper flat and place some filling in the middle.

Egg Roll Step One

Step Four:

Fold bottom corner to the middle and tuck under the filling.

Egg Roll Step Two

Step Five:

Fold and tuck corners. It will resemble an envelope at this point.

Egg Roll Step Three

Step Six:

Close and seal your “envelope” by rolling the egg rolls over. Dip your fingers in some water and run along the seam and gently press closed to seal.

Egg Roll Step Four

Step Seven:

Fry egg rolls for 45 seconds to 1 minute until brown. Once removed from oil the egg rolls will continue to brown. Don’t over do them!

Egg Rolls Frying

Step Eight:

Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. Serve immediately or you can reheat them later by placing them in a warm oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Makes 6 egg rolls.

Blueberry Eggrolls

Blueberry Eggrolls

When Jamison and I first got married we lived in Huntsville, Alabama and there was a Chinese restaurant that we frequented often. They had dessert egg rolls that were filled with pineapple and cream cheese. I made them a few years ago and thought of them again today when I was making the Vegetable Egg Rolls.

I thought about making some since I had some left over egg roll wrappers, but I realized I didn’t have any pineapple on hand since I rarely keep canned fruit and I haven’t gotten a pineapple lately. I saw some blueberries in the fridge and my mind kicked into gear and these lovely little goodies were the result!

What You’ll Need For The Blueberry Filling:
2 cups of blueberries
1 cup of organic cane sugar
The juice of one lemon
The zest of one lemon

What You’ll Need For The Cream Cheese Filling:
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla

What You’ll Need For the Blueberry Eggrolls:
Blueberry filling
Cream cheese filling
Egg roll wrappers
Peanut oil for frying
More organic cane sugar for dusting

To Prepare Blueberries:

In a saucepan over medium heat cook blueberries, sugar, zest and water until they turn jelly like, stirring occasionally to make sure they aren’t sticking. Cool to room temperature. The blueberries will become thicker as they sit.

Blueberries Cooking

To Prepare Cream Cheese Filling:

Cream together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

To Make The Blueberry Egg Rolls:

Blueberry Eggrolls

Preheat oil to 350 F.

Place approximately 1 tablespoon of blueberry filling and 1 tablespoon of cream cheese filling in the center of an egg roll wrapper. Fold using the same directions as the Veggie Egg Roll recipe.

Drop rolls into oil two at a time and fry for 1-2 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with organic cane sugar and serve hot.

Blueberry Eggrolls

“Refried” Beans

Piping Hot Refried Beans

This version of Refried Beans is a very basic rendition. They aren’t as unhealthy as some varieties, but every bit as delicious. There’s no lard, or pork, making this variety vegan as written. It’s also made in a slow cooker, so you can set it in the morning and make them right before dinner. “Refried” Beans are very easy to make and much better for you if you do! Try them! You’ll love them!

What You’ll Need:
1 small package of dry pinto beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
1 1/2 red onions, chopped
A pinch of sea salt
A pinch of cayenne pepper
A pinch of black pepper


Cover beans with water until just covered and bring to a boil Reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally. Half way through cooking time stir in chopped onions. Cook for several hours (4-6 hours) until beans start falling apart.

Remove from heat and mash beans with a potato masher until pasty. Stir in seasonings and serve.

Notes: You can add in a chopped red onion when cooking if you like.

Cheesy Salsa Dip

Cheesy Salsa Dip

Back in the day we used to make dips with Velveeta, but I don’t use it that much these days. I do get some occasionally, but I thought it would be interesting to see if you could adapt the recipe for a cheesy salsa dip with other alternatives. This dip is tasty and just as good as the stuff with the Velveeta.

What You’ll Need:
1 – 8 ounce block of cream cheese
1 cup of Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
1 cup of Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 – 16 ounce jar of salsa

Dump ingredients into a large glass Pyrex bowl and microwave for 2-5 minutes until completely melted.

Serve with tortilla chips or crudités .

Isn’t that easy??

Note: I do not use preshredded cheese. They put weird stabilizers in them and they don’t melt properly.

Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice

I used to take the RiceARoni Mexican rice mix and then add tomatoes, peppers and onion, but that mix is full of sodium! One servings has over a thousand milligrams of sodium! Yikes! So today I decided it would be easy to make my own, and you know what? It was! Fresh is always better than boxed anyway. 😉

What You’ll Need:
1 cup of long grain rice
1 – 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes (Or you can use 2 cups of fresh tomatoes, chopped)
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch of scallions, chopped (Most bunches have 8 or 9 scallions in them. You can also use 1 small onion, chopped.)
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 tablespoon of paprika
1/4 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup of water

Dump all the ingredients in a covered dish and microwave for 20 minutes. When finished stir and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes: You could vary this by adding 1 cup of frozen corn or a can of black or red beans.

Dianne’s Fresh Salsa

Dianne's Fresh Salsa

I like to make this little “salsa” from time to time when I’m in the mood for something fresh. It’s basically a kicked up pico de gallo, but it always gets raves!

What You’ll Need:
4-6 Roma tomatoes, seeded (4 if they are large, 6 if they are smaller)
1/2 of a green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 of a red or orange bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch of scallions, chopped (There are usually 8 or 9 scallions in a bunch)
The juice of one lime
A pinch of black pepper
A pinch of cayenne pepper
A pinch of sea salt

First Step:

Seed your tomatoes. (I always freeze the pulp for soup or chili later.)

Seeded Tomatoes

Cut seeded tomatoes into strips.

Tomato Strips

Dice tomato strips and place in a medium sized bowl.

Diced Tomatoes

Second Step:

Cut Bell Pepper Into Strips.

Bell Pepper Strips

Dice pepper and add to the bowl with the tomatoes.

Tomatoes And Peppers

Step Three:

Chop scallions and add to tomato/pepper mixture.

Step Four:

Add lime juice and seasonings. Stir to mix. Chill at least 1 before serving hour.

Notes: This “salsa” breaks down quickly due to the citrus juice. Make it the day you plan on eating it and if you have any left overs you can freeze them and use it in chili or tortilla soup later.

Red onion is a nice addition, as is freshly chopped parsley. Cilantro tastes like soap to me, so I wouldn’t advise it, but if you like the stuff, add away!