Mini Calzones Recipe
Have you ever come up with an idea so simple, it’s just genius? I don’t mean to gloat – but that’s basically what you’re about to encounter here with today’s recipe. Not only are these calzones simple and inexpensive to make – they are portable, freezer-friendly, and kid-friendly. In other words, they are perfect to tuck into your kid’s lunch this fall.
One of my kids’ favorite meals is pizza. However, pizza isn’t always so easy to make and pack for school lunches. I researched many recipes for pizza rolls and pizza pockets, but many of them involved making dough from scratch or many ingredients, so I decided to strike out on my own with today’s recipe. I wanted to create something that was delicious, portable, but that wouldn’t require a huge time/energy commitment on your part, either. The good news is this recipe ticks all those boxes.
- One package Rhodes Dinner Rolls (any quantity of your choosing)
- Mozzarella cheese, one cube per roll
- Pepperoni, three slices per roll
- Butter, melted (about 1-2 tablespoons per 8 rolls)
- Italian seasoning & garlic powder, to taste
I ended up buying a package of 36 rolls, a 1 lb block of Kroger Mozzarella cheese and a package of Kroger pepperoni for a total of about $10 by shopping at Fred Meyer. Not bad, considering the amount of rolls this is about to make!
Let your rolls defrost just until they are pliable enough to roll out, but not much longer than that as you don’t want them to begin to rise. This worked out to be around half an hour or so for me.
As pictured above, you’re going to roll out each dough ball into a circle. For pepperoni calzones, place three sliced of pepperoni and one cube of mozzarella in the center of the circle. For cheese calzones, just put cheese (obviously).
Fold the dough over the fillings as pictured above. Use a fork to press the creases together, kind of how you would make a pie crust.
Next, set your assembled calzones in a lightly-greased and covered baking dish to rise, about an hour or two.
Heat your oven to 350°. Spread a little bit of the melted butter on top of each calzone and sprinkle with a touch of Italian seasoning and garlic. Bake 15-20 minutes, until done.
At this point, I asked my kids if they would be kind enough to taste test these for me. After some whining, they agreed to take a bite. They then proceeded to each eat two entire mini calzones on the spot! I made 10 of them on the first go for this recipe and they were all gone by the next morning. I ended up having to make a second batch a few days after much pestering for more of the “pizza buns!” And, in case you’re wondering, I estimate that the total cost per mini calzone worked out to less than $0.50, thanks to shopping at Fred Meyer!
I did try testing these for the freezer. What I’d recommend: individually wrap the calzones in plastic wrap and then put them in a labeled freezer bag. These defrost pretty quickly, so you could easily pop one out of the freezer and put it in your child’s lunch and it should be ready by lunch. If your child would prefer a hot bun, you could heat it and put it in a warmed thermos.
Other modifications you could make to my recipe:
- Try adding Parmesan cheese on top (or inside!)
- Try serving with a side of marinara, for dipping
- Experiment with different cheeses or meat fillings
These may be so good, you’ll find yourself nabbing one (or two!) while packing them in your child’s lunch. I calculated that they are actually a pretty low-calorie alternative to a regular slice of pizza! One cheese mini calzone has roughly 170 calories and a pepperoni mini calzone has just under 200 (source: MyFitnessPal Recipe Calculator). Omitting the butter topping would reduce either option by about 30 calories.
If you end up making this recipe, I would love to hear what you (and your kids!) think. I’d also love to hear any additional ideas you have for changing it up!
PS – Make sure to check out my Alphabet Soup Recipe for another fun back-to-school recipe idea!