Cheese & Sausage Calzones with Roasted Broccoli

From Comfort Food Makeovers by America’s Test Kitchen. Print This Post Print This Post

Serves 4 ~ ***I doubled this recipe for my family of 5 which worked out perfectly.  To keep it simple I made 2 separate batches of the dough following the recipe as I am not a master pastry chef and didn’t want to get into doubling and have the dough not turn out right.  Then I just doubled the filling recipe.***

Dough  ***This is one of the easiest doughs I have worked with and the taste was really great!***


2 cups bread flour

1 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp olive oil

3/4 cup water, heated to 110 degrees


1. Process flour, yeast and salt together in food processor until combined, a few seconds.  With food processor running, slowly add oil, then water, until dough from rough ball, 30-40 seconds.  Let rest for 2 minutes, then process for 30 seconds longer.

2.  Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth, round ball, about 4 minutes, dusting with extra flour as needed.  Place dough ball in greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Let dough rise in warm place and until doubled in size, 1-1 /2 hours.  (Dough can be made ahead and bowl of unrisen dough can be refrigerated for 8-16 hours and then let to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.)



4 ounces hot or sweet Italian chicken sausage, casings removed, broken into 1/2 inch pieces ***I use turkey sausage***

6 saltines broken into pieces

10 ounces nonfat cottage cheese

4 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 garlic clove, minced ***I have a few in my family that don’t love garlic in dishes so I omit this when I make it.  It still tastes great and was not missed, so totally up to your taste whether you want to include***

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1 jar (26 ounces) marinara sauce

IMG_5788              IMG_5790


1.  With oven rack in middle position, heat oven to 450 degrees.  Cook sausage in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.  Drain and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, and let cool.

2.  Pulse crackers in food processor until finely ground.  Add cottage cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic, if using, salt and pepper flakes;  process until smooth.  Combine with sausage in bowl.

3.  To make calzones, flour your work surface,  place dough on prepared surface.  Divide dough in half, and press and roll each half into a 10-inch round;  Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Spread filling on bottom half only of each dough round, leaving a 1 inch border at edge.  Brush bottom edge lightly with water.  Fold top half of dough over filling, leaving 1/2 inch border of bottom layer uncovered.  Lightly press dough around filling to remove air and seal dough.

4.  Starting at one end of seam, gently pull bottom layer of dough over top layer and pinch to seal.  Brush calzones with egg white; cut steam vents in top of calzones.  Gently place calzones on prepared baking sheet.  Bake until golden, about 15 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.  Heat marinara sauce in saucepan.  Transfer calzones to wire rack; let cool slightly.  Serve with warm marinara sauce. (Or any tomato sauce of your liking)



Roasted Broccoli


1 large bunch broccoli, cut into florets (stems peeled and sliced if using)

2 Tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper


Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine florets with olive oil and salt & pepper to taste on baking sheet.  Spread in a single layer and roast for about 20 minutes until outer florets are crispy and stems are tender.



Corn Chowder with BLT Sandwiches

Corn Chowder with BLT’s  Print This Post Print This Post  Corn Chowder recipe from Comfort Food Makeovers by America’s Test Kitchen.

Serves 6


10 ears of corn, husks and silk removed ( I have used a large bag of frozen corn in this recipe when we have not had fresh corn in season with great results and it is a bit of a time saver as well)

1 Tbsp canola oil

1 slice bacon, chopped fine

1 onion, chopped fine

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp dried thyme

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

3 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup skim milk

1 pound red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup half-and-half

2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley (optional)

salt and pepper


1. Cut kernels from ears of corn and put into large bowl.

2.  Heat oil in Duth over over medium heat, add bacon and cook until crisp, about 3 minutes or so.  Stir in onion and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes.  Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.

3.  Slowly whisk in broth and milk, scraping up the browned bits in bottom of pan.  Stir in potatoes, bay leaf and corn.  Bring to a simmer, partially cover and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

4.  Stir in half-and-half and simmer about 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaf, stir in parsley if using, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

BLT Sandwiches


1 package bacon

2 tomatoes

1 head of Romaine lettuce

Sandwich bread of your choosing



Cook bacon according to package directions.  Wash tomatoes and slice thin.  Wash & dry lettuce.  Toast bread, spread each piece of bread with the mayonnaise, top with 2-3 slices of bacon, 1 piece of lettuce, 1-2 slices of tomato.  Top bottom slice of bread with a top piece to make a sandwich and cut in half if desired.



Nut Crusted Chicken w/ Roasted Cauliflower and Green Salad

Nut Crusted Chicken Breasts w/ Roasted Cauliflower & Green Salad (Week 1)

From Comfort Food Makeovers by America’s Test Kitchen     Print This Post Print This Post

Serves 6


3 Tbsp Olive Oil

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of all visible fat

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup panco bread crumbs

1 Tbsp sunflower oil

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 large egg whites

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees w/ oven rack in middle position.  Line rimmed baking sheet w/ parchment paper or aluminum foil, top w/ wire rack and oil the rack.  Pat chicken dry w/ paper towels and using a fork poke thicker half of each breast 5-6 times and sprinkle each w/ 1/4 tsp salt.  Transfer breasts to prepared wire rack and refrigerate while preparing coating.

2.  Pulse almonds in food processor until they resemble coarse meal, about 20 pulses.  Toast processed almonds, panko, and sunflower oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes;  let cool.

3.  Spread flour into shallow dish.  In second shallow dish, whisk egg whites and mustard together until foamy.  In third shallow dish, combine toasted almond mixture, lemon zest, cayenne, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Pat chicken dry w/ paper towels.  Working w/ one piece of chicken at a time, dredge in flour, dip in egg white mixture, then coat w/ nut mixture, pressing gently to adhere;  return to wire rack.

4.  Drizzle chicken w/ olive oil.  Bake until chicken registers 160 degrees, 20-25 minutes.  Let chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.


Roasted Cauliflower:


1 Head of Cauliflower

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Wash a head of cauliflower and pat dry.  Cut into florets.  Place the florets on a baking sheet and toss w/ 2 Tbsp olive oil and season w/ salt and pepper.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.


Green Salad:


Wash and dry 2 heads of romaine lettuce.  Divide into serving plates/bowls for the amount of people you are serving.  Add desired toppings:  veggies, croutons, cheese of choice and top w/ desired dressing.

Print This Post Print This Post
Week 1 Dinner Menu

Recipes 1,2,3 & 5 are from one of my favorite cookbooks, Comfort Food Makeovers, by America’s Test Kitchen.  I received it last Halloween as a gift from my mom…thanks mom!     Print This Post Print This Post

Recipe #4 is by Molly Gilbert from Family Fun Magazine September 2015, pg. 38

Following the menu items for this week you will find the grocery list that goes with all of these recipes.  To make it easy for you if you are not going to make every recipe, I have put the number of the menu items below after each item on the grocery list so you know which meal it goes with.  If you are not making the # 3 meal for this week, the calzones for example, you would not need to purchase anything with a (3) after it as those items would be for that meal.  You could cross all of those off your list.

To access the recipes, click on the menu items below.  They are all printable for your convenience as is the grocery list.

1.Nut Crusted Chicken w/ Roasted Cauliflower & Green Salad

2.Corn Chowder w/ BLT Sandwiches

3.Cheese & Sausage Calzones w/ Roasted Broccoli

4.One Pan Chicken Fajitas w/ Brown Rice & Refried Beans

5.Pasta O’s w/ Meatballs, Spinach Salad & Carrot Sticks


Click Here for Week 1 Grocery List



Welcome to Menu Mutt!

If you’re like me, the first thing you hear when your kids or spouse walk in the door is, “What’s for dinner?!”  If not prepared, this question becomes a source of major anxiety and suddenly you are in scramble mode.  Let me help you look forward to and enjoy dinner time with your family!  My weekly dinner menus and accompanying grocery shopping lists are the key to making this happen.  You will feel so good about providing your family with healthy, homemade meals, and when you plan ahead it is a piece of cake!