When I saw this recipe for Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Calzones I knew I wanted to make a version of them as a recipe for using leftover Easter ham. I love gooey cheddar cheese with ham. Even better stuffed inside a crust.
Growing up eating ham for Easter was a tradition that I always looked forward to. It never occurred to me that other families might not have this same tradition, because as long as I can remember we always had Easter ham in the spring.
Imagine my surprise after Eric and I married when I found out that he didn’t really like ham all that much and this wasn’t a tradition from his childhood. What was I supposed to make for dinner on Easter now?
Incidentally, I thought that Eric’s favorite food was broccoli until a couple years ago. He told me that once while we were dating and I’ve been making broccoli ever since. Turns out that was just a joke. He doesn’t hate it, but it’s certainly not his favorite.
I have only made ham three or four times in the almost 9 years that we have been married. Eric always eats it without complaint, but I know it isn’t his favorite – especially because they are often large and our family is small. That means lots of leftovers.
Usually I dice up any leftover Easter ham and freeze it for use later. It’s nice to have on hand for omelets or other simple dishes. This Cheesy Ham and Broccoli Calzone recipe was perfect for using up leftovers!
I love the gooey cheese that oozes out when you bite into the calzone. Ham and cheese always go hand in hand as do broccoli and cheese. I’ll be honest – even though there is nothing fancy about these calzones, I thought they were so yummy and comforting that I ate two for lunch.
I tested one after it came out of the oven, then photographed another and since I cut it open for the picture I figured that I might as well eat it so the cheese wouldn’t go to waste.
I’m happy to report that even though the recipe contained ham (and his other “favorite” food, broccoli!), Eric enjoyed these calzones. They’ll definitely be added to our rotation, with or without Easter leftovers. Next time I might make them half the size as mini, hand-held sized calzones.
What are your favorite Easter traditions?
Do you have something special you make with leftovers?
Cheesy Ham and Broccoli Calzone
No Rise Calzone or Pizza Crust:
1 1/3 cup warm water
2 packets Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 - 3 cups all-purpose flour
For the Calzone Filling:
1 3/4 cups diced ham
1 3/4 cups small broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
6 ouncesMild Cheddar Cheese, shredded
2 - 3 green onions, sliced thin
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons flour
10 ounces milk
1 cube or 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon sour cream
For the Calzone Crust:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the warm water and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, whisk in the olive oil.
Meanwhile, combine sugar, salt, whole wheat, and 2 cups of all purpose flour in a bowl. Reserve the remaining 1 cup all-purpose in a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture to the water 1 cup at a time while mixing with the stand mixer's dough hook until a soft dough is formed.
If dough is still sticky, add the reserved flour 1/4 cup at a time (while still mixing) until desired consistency is reached. Dough should be soft and moist, but not sticky.
Dough does not need to rise, but keep it covered while you mix up the filling.
For the Calzone Filling:
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Prepare the ham, broccoli, cheese, and green onion. Stir together in a medium-large bowl. Set aside.
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until it has absorbed the butter. Slowly add the milk, whisking vigorously as you pour, until the sauce is thick and smooth. Add the bouillon and stir until dissolved. Season with pepper and, if desired, salt. Stir in the sour cream. Add the sauce into the ham mixture and stir to combine.
Divide dough into 8 equal portions and roll them into balls. It helps if you have a kitchen scale.
Roll each ball into an 8 inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Top each circle with approximately 1/2 cup of the filling mixture. Pull edge of lower crust over top to form a half circle. Press the layers together to seal.
Lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Transfer calzones to a greased baking sheet or a parchment lined pizza stone. If desired, brush with olive oil or an egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, beaten). Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-20 minutes, until browned and puffy. Transfer to cooling rack to keep bottom crust crisp to sit until cool enough to handle.
Note: To freeze - cool completely, then store in a freezer safe ziploc bag in the freezer for up to a month. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven or toaster oven at 300 degrees F.