in the kitchen: barbecue chicken calzones

Mmmmm.  Isn't pretty much anything better when totally encased in pizza dough? 

Well, I'm sure there's exceptions to what I just said, but these beauties are still pretty awesome.  And they're a great way to use up leftover chicken.

This recipe makes two huge calzones, so if you wanted to make four smaller ones that would probably work too (just adjust the baking time as needed).  Or else just make the two huge calzones, and cut them down the middle after they're finished baking to make four servings.  Either way works.  Ready to give them a go?

The Ingredients.

1-2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
2-4 slices of bacon
2/3 cup barbecue sauce
10-oz. can of pizza dough
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

The Method.

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (trust me, you'll thank me later).  Cook the bacon until crisp, either on the stovetop or the microwave if you're pressed for time, and then crumble it.  
  • Put the chicken pieces and the barbecue sauce in a small bowl and mix until everything is combined, and then add the crumbled bacon to it.  
  • Unroll the pizza dough onto the parchment paper until you have a big rectangle, and then gently press with your fingers to make it about a quarter inch thick.  Use a knife to gently cut a vertical line down the center of the dough to make two smaller rectangles (and if you're making four calzones, go ahead and cut a horizontal line too so you end up with four rectangles of dough).  
  • Divide the chicken and bacon mixture among the rectangles, being careful to only put it on one half of each rectangle and to maintain at least a half-inch border from the edge of the dough.  Top each one with cheese.
  • Fold the uncovered half of each rectangle over the filling and use your fingers to pinch the dough together.  It also helps to fold the excess dough over and press with your fingers that way.
  • Cut a small slit in the top of each calzone, and if desired, brush olive oil or butter on the top to help make a nice golden crust (you can also just spray the tops with nonstick spray!).
  • Bake the calzones for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.  When they look like this, they're ready:

{And yes, those are two ginormous calzones.  My hubby and I were hungry, and I shared some of mine with my kid, so don't judge...haha.}  And it's best if you let them cool for about five minutes before you attempt to eat them (unless you like the feeling of burnt tastebuds.  No?  Okay, then let them cool).

You can also play around with this recipe.  Might be yummy to saute some onions to mix in with the chicken, or maybe use some parmesan cheese in addition to the mozzerella.  Definitely a great alternative to the traditional calzone.  And didn't we all learn from The Calzone episode of Seinfeld that "there's nothing more satisfying than looking down after lunch and seeing nothing but a table"?

And yes, I looked up that quote to make sure I got it right.  There's a site with Seinfeld scripts on it, who knew?  :o)

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