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Taco Calzones with Avocado Cream

I’d be hard pressed to choose a favorite between Mexican and Italian cuisines. I like preparing, and love eating, foods from both regions. It is for this reason that I was excited to find a recipe in the March 2009 issue of Cooking Light for Tex-Mex Calzones – an Italian concept with Mexican ingredients and flavors. I set out to make my own version of this yummy-sounding meal, and came up with this recipe.

Lean ground turkey flavored with a homemade taco seasoning mix is first sauteed with fragrant onions, garlic, and green bell peppers; then topped with reduced-fat shredded Mexican blend cheese; and finally tucked into pizza dough pockets…

… which are baked into crisp golden brown calzones.

The Taco Calzones are served with a cool and creamy mash of rich avocado and thick Greek yogurt, which beautifully balances out the piping hot, slightly spicy, and cheesy filling.

Taco Calzones with Avocado Cream

inspired by Tex-Mex Calzones from Cooking Light

yields 4 calzones

Ingredients:

  • homemade or store-bought pizza dough – enough for 4 servings
  • 1/2 lb lean ground turkey (7% fat)
  • homemade taco seasoning blend, recipe follows*
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup salsa of choice
  • 1/2 cup shredded light Mexican-style cheese
  • 1/2 large avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1/4 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Divide pizza dough into 4 equal portions. On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 1/4 inch thick circle of about 7 inches in diameter. Place all dough circles onto a non-stick (or lined) baking sheet.
  3. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions have begun to soften. Add in the garlic, and saute for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Add in the ground turkey, and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring to crumble.
  5. Stir in the green pepper and taco seasoning mix and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  6. Remove skillet from heat and stir in the salsa.
  7. Divide the cooked meat and vegetables into 4 equal servings and spoon each onto 1/2 of a pizza dough circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Top the filling evenly with the shredded cheese.
  8. Fold the other half of the pizza dough over the filling and pinch edges closed. Using the tines of a fork, pierce the top of each calzone a few times to let the steam out while cooking.
  9. Place calzones into the oven, and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the calzones are golden brown. (If planning on freezing all or some of the calzones, par-bake for 10 minutes, let cool completely at room temperature, refrigerate until well-chilled, wrap well in plastic wrap, then place in freezer in heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag).
  10. Meanwhile, prepare the avocado cream by mashing together the avocado flesh, yogurt, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  11. Once cooked, let the calzones sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Slice each calzone in half, and serve with the avocado cream.

*Homemade Taco Seasoning Blend (good for 1/2 lb of ground meat)

  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 tsp oregano

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