Grandma’s Famous Calzones

Growing up, anytime our family got together for a holiday or celebration my grandmother would make these calzones as an appetizer. They were everyone’s favorite, and if you didn’t take 2 pieces when they first came around, there wouldn’t be any left for you if you wanted second helpings. They were always a treat when she made these, but sometimes she couldn’t get the correct dough, or didn’t have enough time to let the dough rise. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when I found a way to get the same great taste of her calzones, but cheat with the dough. By using Pillsbury pizza dough, I’m able to make these calzones within 30 minutes, and don’t have to worry about planning hours ahead to make this simple appetizer. Serve these at your next event as an appetizer or even cut into large pieces and take into work with you as a sandwich!

These calzones are so tasty, but really don’t require too many ingredients. Pillsbury pizza dough, parsley, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, garlic powder, and sesame seeds are all you really need.

calzone

Arrange the dough to cover a baking sheet completely (I use a sheet that is 10x15inches – I wouldn’t go much bigger than that). Top the dough with a single layer of pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, parsley, and garlic powder.

Calzone

Roll the dough (on the long side) as if you were rolling a jelly roll. Tuck the dough on each side of the roll, to ensure that nothing falls out when baking. Brush egg wash over the entire roll, liberally top with sesame seeds, and cut slivers into the top (every couple of inches).

calzone

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes (or until dough is golden brown). Let cool and slice into 1 inch pieces.

calzone

Grandma’s Famous Calzones

Ingredients

  • 1 Pillsbury Pizza Dough
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Approx. 50 small slices of pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • Toasted sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Arrange the dough to cover a baking sheet completely (I use a sheet that is 10x15inches – I wouldn’t go much bigger than that). Top the dough with a single layer of the pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, parsley, and garlic powder.
  3. Roll the dough (on the long side) as if you were rolling a jelly roll. Tuck the dough on each side of the roll, to ensure that nothing falls out when baking. Brush egg wash over the entire roll, liberally top with sesame seeds, and cut slivers into the top (every couple of inches).
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes (or until dough is golden brown). Let cool and slice into 1 inch pieces.

calzone

White Bean Dip with Pita Chips

I love appetizers dips. Salsa, crab dip, spinach & artichoke, hummus, you name it. That’s why I was extremely excited when I came across this recipe for a white bean dip (& homemade pita chips). Not only is it extremely easy to make, but it’s the type of appetizer you won’t feel too full off of if you indulge. I’ve always been a fan of Stacy’s Pita Chips, but I have to say, after making my own homemade chips, I probably won’t be buying the store brand as much anymore. Hope you enjoy this easy (and yummy!) white bean dip.

White bean dip

Ingredients

  • One (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Lemon juice (from half a lemon)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus 4 TBSP
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 6 pitas
  • Oregano
  • Salt& Pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice,  and parsley in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Slowly add in the 1/3 cup olive oil while the processor is on low. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the bean puree to a small bowl.
  3. Cut each pita in half and then into 8 wedges. Arrange the pita wedges on a large baking sheet. Pour the remaining oil over the pitas. Toss and spread out the wedges evenly. Sprinkle with the oregano, salt, and pepper. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until toasted and golden in color.
  4. Serve the pita toasts warm or at room temperature alongside the bean puree.

white bean dip

Minestrone Soup

There is nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a cold day. Even though it’s now officially spring, it doesn’t necessarily feel like it. This morning it was 30 degrees outside when I left for work and it made me crave nothing more than a comforting bowl of minestrone soup when I got home.

This recipe is one of my favorite soup recipes because it is quick and simple to make. No need to worry if you don’t have all day to let a pot of soup simmer, this will be ready to enjoy in about 45 minutes. Serve with a sandwich or a crusty loaf of bread and you have the perfect one-pot lunch or dinner. The ingredients are simple: carrot, celery, onion, garlic, ground beef, diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, tomato paste and beef broth.

Minestrone Soup

Dice the carrot, celery, and onion. Place in a large dutch oven and saute until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. add the ground beef and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the meat is browned, about 5 minutes.

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Stir in the tomato paste and mix to combine. Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, and bay leaf. Simmer on low until the soup has reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces lean (8 percent fat) ground beef
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven, add and heat the oil over medium hear. Stir in the onion, carrot, celery, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Increase the heat to high and add the ground beef and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the beef is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and mix to combine. Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

I love stuffed mushrooms. There are so many different types of stuffed mushrooms, but I really prefer this recipe because (1) I almost always have all of the ingredients on hand, and (2) the stuffing is light, fresh and isn’t too rich if you want to eat a handful of them. They are a perfect year-round appetizer and only take about 20 minutes to make. All you need are mushroom caps (any type of mushroom you prefer), fresh parsley, garlic, olives, red pepper flakes, and canola oil.

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

Clean the mushrooms using a damp paper towel and pull out the stems, ensuring not to break the cap of the mushroom. From there, I like to make the work really easy and throw the parsley, olives, and garlic into a small food processor and pulse until finely chopped. In a small bowl, combine the mixture from the food processor and plain bread crumbs. Slowly add in canola oil until the mixture begins to stick together.

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuff each mushroom cap with the mixture and place onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes (cooking time may vary depending upon the size of the mushrooms).

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • Mushroom caps, 1 package
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Olives, to taste
  • 1/2 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel and remove stems. In a small food processor, combine parsley, olives, and garlic cloves. Pulse until well blended.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the mixture from the food processor, red pepper flakes, and breadcrumbs. Slowly add the canola oil until the mixture begins to stick together. Fill each mushroom cap with the breadcrumb stuffing.
  4. Place stuffed mushrooms on a greased baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Garlic & Herb Salad Dressing

Most of the ingredients for this salad dressing will already be in your pantry and it only takes about 5 minutes to make. Mix up a batch and save for salads or even use as a marinade.

Garlic & Herb Salad Dressing garlicandgrits.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder (substitute 2 garlic cloves if making a marinade)
  • 1 tsp. sugar or honey
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Mix ingredients together and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Garlic & Herb Salad Dressing garlicandgrits.com

Garlic and Herb Salad Dressing

 

Easy Bruschetta

Bruschetta is best in the summer when you can use fresh tomatoes and basil. But on a night like tonight, where it is a chilling 12 degrees outside, it’s nice to make something that tastes like summer. This is always a big hit as an appetizer because it is quick an easy to make and so fresh and tasty.

Easy Bruschetta garlicandgrits.com

I prefer to use a French loaf because the slices are small and perfect for an appetizer, but really any type of bread can be used. The same goes for tomatoes. I love the size and sweetness of the cherry tomatoes. You also want to make sure to use a good olive oil because the flavor will be front and center on this dish!

Easy Bruschetta garlicandgrits.com

Slice the loaf of bread (one loaf should get you about 15 pieces) and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes. The bread should be crispy with a light golden brown color. While the bread is toasting, quarter the tomatoes, chop the basil, and peel 1-2 cloves of garlic.

Easy Bruschetta garlicandgrits.com

Once the bread is finished toasting, the bruschetta is ready to be assembled. Take a garlic clove and rub it onto each slice of toasted bread. Next, press the tomato slices into each slice. Top with a little bit of salt, a generous amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with basil. Enjoy quickly – they won’t last long!

Easy Bruschetta garlicandgrits.com

Easy Bruschetta

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of French bread
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Cherry tomatoes (approximately 25)
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Basil

Directions

  1. Slice the bread into about 15 pieces and toast in the oven until golden brown, about 5 minutes. While the bread is toasting, quarter the tomatoes, chop the basil, and peel the garlic cloves.
  2. Rub each slice of bread with a garlic clove. Press the cherry tomatoes into the bread, sprinkle with salt, generously top with olive oil and basil.

Easy Bruschetta garlicandgrits.com