Sausage Calzone - freezer meals

I'm part of a group of gals who get together about every 6 weeks and swap freezer meals.  Two of us have kiddos with dairy allergies and a few have nut allergies but we do pretty good to label those foods that contain the allergens so the little ones don't get sick.

 For one of the meal swaps, I chose to make sausage calzones for the group and I made a pepperoni and sausage calzone that was dairy free for the other family.  I had made these calzones ages ago and just recently decided to pull out the recipe and quadruple it.  I only needed 6 meals and ended up with 10 calzones.  Sister needs to work on her math skills a bit.

 I set up a little station of pizza dough, the sausage ricotta filling, mozzarella cheese, a flat baking sheet to roll out the dough and make the calzones and olive oil to spread out the dough.  I put the baking tin in front of me so I would make sure the calzone would fit in the tin.

I use this pizza dough recipe, mixed ricotta, cooked sausage, garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese in a large bowl.  After spreading out the dough to the desired size, on the bottom half of the pizza dough add a layer of ricotta mixture then top with mozzarella cheese.

 Fold over the top of the dough onto the bottom and fold and pinch the edges to seal them.  Using your hands or two spatulas, transfer calzone to the baking tin, add the top and write what it is, bake time at what temperature and once completed, add to the freezer.

I'm glad that I ended up with a few extra for my freezer because I have used them for a couple with a brand new baby, sent one to a neighbor who had broken her collar bone and another for a night when I seriously have no idea or motivation for dinner.

Sausage Calzones
makes 2 large calzones, serves 6-8

Pizza dough
olive oil
1 lb of Italian sausage
2 cups of ricotta cheese
1/2 of parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c of parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes  (optional)
fresh ground pepper
2 c mozzarella cheese
Favorite marinara sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Brown sausage in a small skillet until cooked through and into small crumbles, drain on a paper towel lined plate.

In a large bowl, combine sausage, ricotta cheese, parm cheese, garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes if using and a few grinds of pepper.  On a lightly greased baking sheet, spread half of the pizza dough to cover the entire sheet.  On the lower half of the dough, spread half of the ricotta sausage mixture and then top with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.  Take the top half of the dough and bring it towards you to cover the filling. Start at one end and take the bottom dough and fold up to the top of the dough and pinch to close.  Go around the entire calzone to make sure all the filling is safely secured and won't ooze out when baking.  Transfer the calzone to another lightly greased baking sheet.  Take the second half of the dough and make another calzone using the same steps as above.  Transfer that calzone to the baking sheet with the first calzone and place in the oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Warm up your favorite marinara sauce and serve on the side.  Cut each calzone into 6 slices and serve.

**You could also take the second calzone and wrap it in plastic and aluminum foil before baking and place it into the freezer for another day.  Take the frozen calzone out of the freezer, defrost in the fridge and then bake as directed.  You may need a few extra minutes if your calzone is still a little frozen in the middle.

adapted from Rachael Ray 30 minute meals 2

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