To my future husband, I am sorry.
I can’t watch televised sports, I won’t speak to you in the morning, I’m absurdly finicky when it comes to loading the dishwasher, I use words like finicky…and I’m one of those awful people who loves 2 for 1 deals.
It’s such a disease. I seriously can’t resist. Even if it’s something completely ridiculous…like drill bits. I don’t own a drill.
But if buying one involves me getting something free I’m down.
Know what’s even better than a 2 for 1? A 3 for 1 of course. Yeah dude, get pumped.
Today, you’ve stumbled upon a recipe for ultra cheesy chicken-spinach calzones, a hearty marinara sauce for dipping and a charming salad to serve alongside. All of that, plus one of my nice little anecdotes..
Man, that’s a 4 for 1.
You lucky dogs.
I’ll be honest, there were alternative motives afoot in putting this meal together.
I needed to use up some ricotta. Oh, and I might have been trying to discreetly give a cooking lesson-like thing.
You see, my future roommate has a culinary comfort level of about -4. The grocery store fills her with fear, the kitchen makes her antsy, she won’t hold a knife… This kid is planning to transition from her on-campus meal plan to surviving on take-out and Bagel Bites.
Do you see where this might be a problem?
I mean, what happens when Mario Batali stops by for dinner, and sees Easy Mac sitting in my pantry?
How does one even deal in that situation? Someone please, answer me that.
Right, so that’s why I’ve been attempting to ease her into the kitchen throughout this year. Don’t tell her.
I invited her over for a collaborative dinner the other night. Her duty: salad.
If transcribing every single one of the girl’s frantic texts, sent during her adventure through Kroger, wasn’t pushing the bounds of cruelty… I totally would. Alas, It’s hard being so warm and sensitive a soul as I.
This lost little lamb told me, and I quote, “Darcy, even if it really sucks, you’re gonna have to tell me this is the best damn salad you’ve ever had in your life.”
And ya know, I was indeed impressed.
She obtained a recipe, navigated a grocery store, bought ingredients and prepared a dish. I was a proud mama fa sho.
I shall have such a healthy child.
Okay, well it’s a start.
Three Cheese, Chicken & Spinach Calzones
- 1 package pizza dough mix (or be a winner and make your own favorite recipe)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 10 ounces fresh spinach– washed, dried, chopped
- 1 & 1/2 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts (you can use already cooked leftovers, or simply saute these)
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese, drained of excess moisture
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1 egg
- egg wash*
*egg wash– 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 400F and lightly grease a baking sheet. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the spinach by handful and cook until wilted (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and drain spinach of excess liquid in a colander.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all three cheeses and the egg. Mix in the wilted spinach. Tear the cooked chicken into small pieces and mix into filling.
Prepare dough according to package directions. On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out into roughly a 12 inch round. cut in half. Spoon filling onto one side of each dough section and fold the dough over to enclose the filling. *(Note: you may have leftover filling depending on your dough recipe, which works great in baked pasta) Role the edges tightly to seal in filling. Cut a few slashes in the top of each calzone to release steam during baking. Repeat with remaining calzone and transfer both onto prepare baking sheet. Brush the calzones with egg wash and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
Serve with marinara sauce.
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/3 cup dry red wine
- 2 dried bay leaves
In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, liquid and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. For smoother consistency, allow sauce to cool slightly and puree in a food processor.
- 10 ounces romaine lettuce
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 4 ounces crumbled feta
- store-bought raspberry vinaigrette
Toss lettuce, berries, nuts, and cheese. Coat with dressing to taste.