Sunday, February 15, 2009

Prepare A Freezable Meal Now for Busy Weeknights

I had dinner this week with my friend, Amber, who often prepares freezable meals for families in need with her church group. I told her about a recipe that I found really easy and delicious! For those busy weeknights that you have evening events, it's great to have meals prepared in the freezer that are ready to go!

It takes a bit of preparation (1 hr) to make the recipe and to wrap it for the freezer. Don't forget to write the date on the freezer bag.

Make these calzones now. Reheat them on a night when you're on the go and serve with extra marinara sauce, and a side of fruit, or green salad, or steamed veggies.
You can reheat them straight from the freezer while you're doing other projects around the house. I used pre-made pizza dough for this recipe when I made it. Making the dough from scratch is easy with a stand mixer (using the dough hook).

Sausage and Pepper Calzones
Cooking Light May 2007
Makes 8 servings

2 3/4 cupss flour, divided
1 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast
Dash sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced red bell peppers
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound chicken apple sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup cottage cheese
2 teaspoons parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

To prepare dough, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup warm water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl; let stand 15 minutes. Gradually add 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 tablespoon oil, and 3/4 teaspoon salt; stir until a soft dough forms. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining 1/2 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

To prepare filling, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, and sausage; sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Spoon mixture into a bowl; cool slightly. Add mozzarella and remaining ingredients to sausage mixture; stir well.

Preheat oven to 450°.

Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 6-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Spoon about 1/2 cup sausage mixture onto half of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold dough over filling; crimp edges of dough with fingers to seal. Place calzones on a large baking sheet lined with foil and coated with cooking spray. Pierce the tops of the dough once with a fork. Lightly coat the calzones with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 14 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Coat a sheet of foil with cooking spray. Place 1 calzone on coated side of foil; seal. Repeat procedure with remaining calzones and cooking spray. Place calzones in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; freeze.

Preheat oven to 450°.

To reheat, place foil-wrapped, frozen calzones on a large baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Yield 8 servings (serving size: 1 calzone)

Nutritional InformationCALORIES 327(30% from fat); FAT 10.7g (sat 3.5g,mono 2.4g,poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 16.3g; CHOLESTEROL 49mg; CALCIUM 124mg; SODIUM 680mg; FIBER 4g; IRON 3.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 42g

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