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I am drowning my sorrows in these Big Game Taco Calzones today. My favorite Cincinnati team may be out of the playoff picture after the first round (for the fifth year in a row… SIGH) but we’ll still have friends over in February to see which team ultimately prevails. If nothing else, the commercials and half time show are entertaining. But I am super excited about these calzones for three reasons:
- WalMart provided all the ingredients I needed – fresh and canned – for 4 of these tasty taco pockets for just under $15!
- I can make this delicious dough in advance and pull it out of the freezer right before our Big Game party to make quick work of these crowd-pleasing calzones.
- My entire family loved these for dinner when I created this recipe and made it for a trial run. So these Taco Calzones can be served at a party or for a family dinner.
In addition to the canned aisle at WalMart providing inspiration for fantastic football party food, I’ve got a little tip for you on how to pick the perfect avocado. A ripe avocado should be firm but still have plenty of “give” when lightly pressed with your thumb. Not mushy, but starting to feel soft. Remove the stem by popping it off with your thumb. If underneath it is still green in color, then that avocado will make you happy! If it is brown, then that avocado is going to be sad and mushy and it should be left in the bin.
So the fillings for my Big Game Taco Calzones are pretty simple but combine with the fresh pizza dough and avocado sour cream to make a party dish that tastes much more complicated. Taco seasoned ground turkey meat, Rosarita pinto beans mixed with a can of RO*TEL tomatoes, lime juice, salt and fresh cilantro, plus some shredded Colby Monterey Jack cheese equal calzone perfection!
Tell me: are you excited to try these Taco Calzones and which football team are you hoping will win the Big Game in February?
Make Ahead Pizza Dough
- 1/2 c. warm water
- 1 pkg. instant yeast I use Red Star Platinum
- 4 c. bread flour plus more for flouring
- 1 1/2 t. salt
- 1 1/4 c. water at room temperature
- 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
- Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes, until yeast is foamy. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast and water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast and water mixture as well as the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, 1 - 2 hours.
- Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each into a smooth ball and wrap each dough ball tightly with plastic wrap. Place the wrapped dough balls into a gallon-sized freezer bag, seal the bag and freeze dough for up to one month.
- When ready to use the dough, unwrap the dough and place each ball in a bowl lightly greased with olive oil. Allow to thaw on the counter for a couple of hours and then proceed with the calzones.
Big Game Taco Calzones
- One recipe Make Ahead Pizza Dough
- 1 pound 16 oz. lean ground turkey meat
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 1 can 15 oz. Rosarita whole pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can 10 oz. RO*TEL, drained
- 1 T. fresh lime juice divided
- 1/2 t. salt divided
- 1/4 c. fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 block 8 oz. Colby Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 1 avocado
- 1 T. lime juice
- 1 t. salt
- 1/2 c. sour cream
- 4 T. unsalted butter melted
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Cook the turkey and taco seasoning according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
- In a clean bowl, toss together the pinto beans, RO*TEL tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cilantro. Set aside.
- Mash together the avocado and remaining lime juice and salt until smooth. Mix together with the sour cream. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Flatten each ball of dough into about a 12-inch circle. Top each dough ball with the turkey taco meat, bean mixture and cheese (see picture above). Fold each piece of dough over the toppings (in half) and roll the edges upward to completely seal.
- Place the calzones on the parchment lined baking sheets (two per sheet). Use a sharp knife to make three small slits in the top of each calzone.
- Bake the calzones at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Rotate the pans in the oven. Bake for an additional 15 minutes until calzones are golden brown. Remove the calzones from the oven and brush with melted butter.
- Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Slice and serve with avocado sour cream sauce.