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Does "Good" Frozen Pizza Exist?

Does "Good" Frozen Pizza Exist?
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  • Post #31 - January 15th, 2009, 2:05 pm
    Post #31 - January 15th, 2009, 2:05 pm Post #31 - January 15th, 2009, 2:05 pm
    I love Reggio's and totino's frozen pizzas. Unembarrassed to admit.

    Doctor them up a little - at 1/3rd the price of many frozens, end up being better.
  • Post #32 - January 15th, 2009, 2:18 pm
    Post #32 - January 15th, 2009, 2:18 pm Post #32 - January 15th, 2009, 2:18 pm
    AngrySarah wrote:But they changed it and the sausage is more like rabbit turd/Domino's type.


    Charming, and tagline-worthy.
  • Post #33 - January 15th, 2009, 2:47 pm
    Post #33 - January 15th, 2009, 2:47 pm Post #33 - January 15th, 2009, 2:47 pm
    Our go-to frozen pizza actually isn't frozen: it's the Dominick's "fresh" pizza, which freezes very well. I usually get the cheese and add on toppings of my own from the fridge and freezer. They're huge, cheap, and IMO better than most of the prefrozen brand-name pizzas out there.

    The California Pizza Kitchen Pizza isn't bad, but it's about five times the price and half the size of most frozen pizza - to the point that you'd be better off going to a restaurant.
  • Post #34 - January 15th, 2009, 3:02 pm
    Post #34 - January 15th, 2009, 3:02 pm Post #34 - January 15th, 2009, 3:02 pm
    The Digiorno "ultimate" frozen pizzas aren't half bad. I don't like that they charge upwards of $8 for a gourmet frozen pizza (there's an oxymoron for you), but for those days when the only effort I'm willing to put towards dinner is turning the oven knob, it works. The Freschetta version of the higher-end pizza is not so good and, bizarrely, it comes pre-cut into slices. For the life of me, I can't figure out why. And maybe its collegiate nostalgia, but i also love the super-cheap totino's pizzas, although to be honest it seems to fall just outside the "pizza" category into brave new world of its own.

    Has anybody ever tried freezing a pizza they made from scratch? I love the meditative rhythm of hand-kneading dough, and the boy loves pizza, so I make lots of them. I'm wondering whether they can be made to a point, even par-baked if necessary, and then frozen? I can freeze the dough quite easily and defrost when the urge strikes, but sometimes even that level of effort is daunting.
  • Post #35 - January 15th, 2009, 3:03 pm
    Post #35 - January 15th, 2009, 3:03 pm Post #35 - January 15th, 2009, 3:03 pm
    Athena wrote:America's Test Kitchen did a show a couple of weeks back where they rated frozen pizzas - they rated one by California Pizza Kitchen highest (the review is also on their website; iirc you need to be a subscriber to see the full review).


    I'm not a fan of CPK. The kids I babysit seem to be fed CPK frozen pizzas all of the time. I find the pizzas, both frozen and in the restaurants, too sweet.

    Pie Lady wrote:Y'know what I used to dig? French bread pizza. I liked the sausage one. It was in a red box - maybe Banquet?


    Me, too. I haven't had one in forever, but I think I'd still enjoy it today. Another individual-size frozen pizza I like are the ones from Market Day. They're probably not on par with Home Run, which I haven't had, but the Market Day pizzas always hit the spot for me.

    JackieK wrote:About twice a year I will crave a Tombstone Pizza. Maybe it's because I ate those growing up (not too often, but more than twice a year for sure), but sometimes I just really want one and nothing fresh will suffice.


    Me, too. I've never indulged the craving though... :oops:
  • Post #36 - January 15th, 2009, 5:07 pm
    Post #36 - January 15th, 2009, 5:07 pm Post #36 - January 15th, 2009, 5:07 pm
    AngrySarah wrote:

    But they changed it and the sausage is more like rabbit turd/Domino's type.


    That is also what happened to Tombstone pizzas.

    Thirty years ago when Tombstone was still a small Wisconsin company, their sausage was spicier with a gravel-like texture. Every self-respecting neighborhood bar in Chicago served them, baked in the small electric toaster oven that Tombstone provided. Tombstone pizza achieved cult-like status at that time, and then it was introduced to supermarkets.

    Several years after that, the company was purchased by Kraft, and the rest is history-- :(
    "Goldie, how many times have I told you guys that I don't want no horsin' around on the airplane?"
  • Post #37 - January 15th, 2009, 5:14 pm
    Post #37 - January 15th, 2009, 5:14 pm Post #37 - January 15th, 2009, 5:14 pm
    tem wrote:
    jimswside wrote:
    dukesdad wrote:I liked it as well, but always burnt the heck out of the roof of my mouth.


    One of my 'favorite' childhood memories ... the inevitable scalding of the hard palate and accompanying skin peeling off


    :shock:

    I remember burning my palate too, but not the peeling of flesh...
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

    There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

    I write fiction. You can find me—and some stories—on Facebook, Twitter and my website.
  • Post #38 - January 15th, 2009, 5:20 pm
    Post #38 - January 15th, 2009, 5:20 pm Post #38 - January 15th, 2009, 5:20 pm
    It was mentioned earlier, but I'm also a fan of the Home Run Inn new thin crusts. Gets pretty nice and crispy. Although the sausage doesn't taste all that great. You can usually get them on sale at Dominick's too.
    "I Like Food, Food Tastes Good" - The Descendants
  • Post #39 - January 15th, 2009, 5:35 pm
    Post #39 - January 15th, 2009, 5:35 pm Post #39 - January 15th, 2009, 5:35 pm
    happy_stomach wrote:I'm not a fan of CPK. The kids I babysit seem to be fed CPK frozen pizzas all of the time. I find the pizzas, both frozen and in the restaurants, too sweet.


    That's one of my main issues with them. I also don't trust America's Test Kitchen results. Or, I should say, very rarely are their tastes in line with mine.
  • Post #40 - January 15th, 2009, 7:29 pm
    Post #40 - January 15th, 2009, 7:29 pm Post #40 - January 15th, 2009, 7:29 pm
    JackieK wrote:
    About twice a year I will crave a Tombstone Pizza. Maybe it's because I ate those growing up (not too often, but more than twice a year for sure), but sometimes I just really want one and nothing fresh will suffice.


    Me, too. I've never indulged the craving though... :oops:


    Happy Stomach: Give in to the craving - it's so worth it! But accept that you'll probably wind up eating the whole thing. And it's not like chocolate - once I eat the Tombstone I'm good for months.
  • Post #41 - January 15th, 2009, 11:56 pm
    Post #41 - January 15th, 2009, 11:56 pm Post #41 - January 15th, 2009, 11:56 pm
    cito wrote:Every self-respecting neighborhood bar in Chicago served them, baked in the small electric toaster oven that Tombstone provided. Tombstone pizza achieved cult-like status at that time, and then it was introduced to supermarkets.

    You got that right. Those Tombstones before Kraft took over were great bar food. I even got one of those little ovens to bake them in at home. But now they're awful.
    What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about?
  • Post #42 - January 16th, 2009, 9:10 am
    Post #42 - January 16th, 2009, 9:10 am Post #42 - January 16th, 2009, 9:10 am
    A few years ago I found @ Woodman's a Pizza claiming to be made by the original inventor/owner or something of Tombstone. It was awesome just like I remember at the bowling alleys when I was a kid...but I never found it again
  • Post #43 - January 16th, 2009, 9:26 am
    Post #43 - January 16th, 2009, 9:26 am Post #43 - January 16th, 2009, 9:26 am
    tem wrote:
    jimswside wrote:
    dukesdad wrote:I liked it as well, but always burnt the heck out of the roof of my mouth.


    One of my 'favorite' childhood memories was the pain of eating Stouffer's french bread pizza. It was so thick and difficult to bite through completely that you had to really chomp down on it, leading to the inevitable scalding of the hard palate and accompanying skin peeling off for the next couple days.

    That is so funny. I have the exact same memories. :D Having grown up in Cleveland, I thought that the Stouffer's products were local. I haven't seen them here in Chicago but, then again, I don't really spend much time in those aisles any more.
  • Post #44 - January 16th, 2009, 10:20 am
    Post #44 - January 16th, 2009, 10:20 am Post #44 - January 16th, 2009, 10:20 am
    I am happy with the Doreen's brand pizza, the jalepeno sausage being my favorite frozen pizza. I don't know if it is available elsewhere or not. The crust is nothing to write home about, but the toppings are very good. I also like the Home Run Inn frozen pies. The girls like the CPK white pizza.

    Suzy
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa
  • Post #45 - January 16th, 2009, 10:27 am
    Post #45 - January 16th, 2009, 10:27 am Post #45 - January 16th, 2009, 10:27 am
    Cogito wrote:I know that a frozen pizza is never going to compare with a fresh sampling, but jeez, do they have to be so bad? It would nice to be able to go to the freezer at 2AM and take one out, put it in the oven for a few minutes, and then just enjoy getting that pizza jones scratched, albeit at a sacrifice in quality.

    I've been trying everything in Tony's frozen pizza section, and man, it is grim. So far, everything has sucked like a Hoover. The best thing I've found is a Palermo ultra-thin crust, and it doesn't come close to fresh. Almost eferything has a horrible cardboard-like crust, or if the crust is near-to-palatable, there are no ingredients to speak of, or they are just awful in quality. Has anyone found anything that is even remotely decent?


    What about the frozen pizzas from places like Unos or Ginos that I see in the freezer section with all the flat national brands? Any one try them and have any comments?

    They must be better than Tombstone :(
  • Post #46 - January 16th, 2009, 11:09 am
    Post #46 - January 16th, 2009, 11:09 am Post #46 - January 16th, 2009, 11:09 am
    I'm a fan of Connie's, myself. I doctor them up a bit, and thaw before cooking. And generally, the frozen pizzas from pizza joints are good - Coz's and Butch's from the Springfield area come to mind, though of course they are unavailable here.
  • Post #47 - January 16th, 2009, 11:16 am
    Post #47 - January 16th, 2009, 11:16 am Post #47 - January 16th, 2009, 11:16 am
    cito wrote:Thirty years ago when Tombstone was still a small Wisconsin company, their sausage was spicier with a gravel-like texture. Every self-respecting neighborhood bar in Chicago served them, baked in the small electric toaster oven that Tombstone provided. Tombstone pizza achieved cult-like status at that time, and then it was introduced to supermarkets.

    Several years after that, the company was purchased by Kraft, and the rest is history-- :(


    Tony's has a similar history. Dick Barlow started making them up and freezing out the back of his Salina, KS restaurant "Tony's Little Italy". He made a respectable frozen pie, but he sold his operation to Schwann in the early 70's and they went downhill fast.

    I worked at the restaurant as a high school kid in the mid-seventies, long after the frozen pie operation had been moved off premises and the place had changes hands. I didn't realize how good of place this was until a few years later when I went to college and I couldn't find an edible veal parmigiana, decent pie, or a lasgna that wasn't a tomato and cheese goo. If I could run down Wyn Titus, the gent who owned the place while I was there, I'd beg him to sell me his recipes. Last I heard he was into real estate in the Ozarks or something.
  • Post #48 - January 16th, 2009, 11:39 am
    Post #48 - January 16th, 2009, 11:39 am Post #48 - January 16th, 2009, 11:39 am
    I grew up eating a lot of Reggio's frozen pizza, and I still like them. My wife introduced me to frozen Home Run Inn pizza, while I like also. I think if you like HRI, you'll also like Reggio's. They have a similar, buttery crust.

    More recently, we've taken to ordering our pizzas a bit larger than what we normally would eat, and freezing the leftovers. The reheated versions are not as good as freshly made pizzas, but are considerably better than pre-packaged frozen pizzas.
  • Post #49 - January 16th, 2009, 11:50 am
    Post #49 - January 16th, 2009, 11:50 am Post #49 - January 16th, 2009, 11:50 am
    We really like the Freshetta Brick Oven 5 Cheese Pizza and the Home Run Inn Cheese and Plum Tomato Pizza.

    The Home Run Inn reminds me of the sauce from My Pie.

    Both are available at Strack.

    Jamie
  • Post #50 - January 16th, 2009, 1:46 pm
    Post #50 - January 16th, 2009, 1:46 pm Post #50 - January 16th, 2009, 1:46 pm
    cito wrote:
    AngrySarah wrote:

    But they changed it and the sausage is more like rabbit turd/Domino's type.


    That is also what happened to Tombstone pizzas.

    Thirty years ago when Tombstone was still a small Wisconsin company, their sausage was spicier with a gravel-like texture. Every self-respecting neighborhood bar in Chicago served them, baked in the small electric toaster oven that Tombstone provided. Tombstone pizza achieved cult-like status at that time, and then it was introduced to supermarkets.

    Several years after that, the company was purchased by Kraft, and the rest is history-- :(

    If you want the "old-school Tombstone" it's called classic on the wrapper.

    Jewel Thin and Crispy is pretty good.
    The clown is down!
  • Post #51 - January 16th, 2009, 2:11 pm
    Post #51 - January 16th, 2009, 2:11 pm Post #51 - January 16th, 2009, 2:11 pm
    JeanneBean wrote:If you want the "old-school Tombstone" it's called classic on the wrapper.


    I have tried the new "classic" version, and believe me---It is not the "old-school Tombstone"
    "Goldie, how many times have I told you guys that I don't want no horsin' around on the airplane?"
  • Post #52 - January 16th, 2009, 6:29 pm
    Post #52 - January 16th, 2009, 6:29 pm Post #52 - January 16th, 2009, 6:29 pm
    Riffhard wrote:A few years ago I found @ Woodman's a Pizza claiming to be made by the original inventor/owner or something of Tombstone. It was awesome just like I remember at the bowling alleys when I was a kid...but I never found it again


    http://www.pepspizza.com

    Seems to be available throughout Wisconsin, and at the Woodman's in Kenosha and Rockford. If it's still there, let me know how it is!
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #53 - January 16th, 2009, 6:57 pm
    Post #53 - January 16th, 2009, 6:57 pm Post #53 - January 16th, 2009, 6:57 pm
    iiifrank wrote:
    tem wrote:
    dukesdad wrote:I liked it as well, but always burnt the heck out of the roof of my mouth.


    One of my 'favorite' childhood memories was the pain of eating Stouffer's french bread pizza. It was so thick and difficult to bite through completely that you had to really chomp down on it, leading to the inevitable scalding of the hard palate and accompanying skin peeling off for the next couple days.

    That is so funny. I have the exact same memories. :D Having grown up in Cleveland, I thought that the Stouffer's products were local. I haven't seen them here in Chicago but, then again, I don't really spend much time in those aisles any more.

    +1
    :lol:
    Agonizing, but delicious!
  • Post #54 - January 16th, 2009, 7:53 pm
    Post #54 - January 16th, 2009, 7:53 pm Post #54 - January 16th, 2009, 7:53 pm
    phredbull wrote:
    iiifrank wrote:
    tem wrote:I liked it as well, but always burnt the heck out of the roof of my mouth.


    One of my 'favorite' childhood memories was the pain of eating Stouffer's french bread pizza. It was so thick and difficult to bite through completely that you had to really chomp down on it, leading to the inevitable scalding of the hard palate and accompanying skin peeling off for the next couple days.

    That is so funny. I have the exact same memories. :D Having grown up in Cleveland, I thought that the Stouffer's products were local. I haven't seen them here in Chicago but, then again, I don't really spend much time in those aisles any more.

    +1
    :lol:

    I know it might sound strange but I used to use a knife and fork so I didn't have to bite into it and burn my mouth. :oops:
    The most dangerous food to eat is wedding cake.
    Proverb
  • Post #55 - January 16th, 2009, 8:01 pm
    Post #55 - January 16th, 2009, 8:01 pm Post #55 - January 16th, 2009, 8:01 pm
    j r wrote:What about the frozen pizzas from places like Unos or Ginos that I see in the freezer section with all the flat national brands? Any one try them and have any comments?

    They must be better than Tombstone :(


    Forget about Uno's. They're horrible. HRI's deep dish is a much better bet.
  • Post #56 - January 16th, 2009, 10:05 pm
    Post #56 - January 16th, 2009, 10:05 pm Post #56 - January 16th, 2009, 10:05 pm
    Tombstone's okay as an emergency frozen pizza, but only when they're on sale for 3/$9.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"

    As Carl Sagan once said, to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe. And sometimes I just don't have the time and energy to invent the universe. So I figure it's okay to buy some stuff.
  • Post #57 - January 16th, 2009, 10:29 pm
    Post #57 - January 16th, 2009, 10:29 pm Post #57 - January 16th, 2009, 10:29 pm
    happy_stomach wrote:Another individual-size frozen pizza I like are the ones from Market Day. They're probably not on par with Home Run, which I haven't had, but the Market Day pizzas always hit the spot for me.


    I love the Market Day pizzas (my personal favorite frozen pizza, bar none), but I've been eating them for close to 20 years now and I realize that for someone who didn't start eating them at an early age, they generally do not hold the same allure.

    I would generally echo those who have mentioned CPK as an option worth trying. They make a better option for a pizza to share with my wife, who is less enamored with Market Day's than I am. She's also rather fond of the Target brand "higher end" frozen pizzas. I think it's Archer Farms, and she finds their Mediterranean and similar offerings to be her favorites for frozen pizza outside of the cheese/sausage/pepperoni staples. About the same size and price as CPK frozen pizzas, but there's normally a better selection available.

    Oh, and as far as someone else's mention of CPK pricing being high enough to recommend going to a restaurant instead. I'm used to seeing CPK pizzas for around $5 each for a 13oz or so pizza, with occasional sale pricing bringing it down further. This ends up being plenty for one person, and reasonable for two to split if you prepare something else to go with it. I have plenty of local pizza options that I love, in a variety of price ranges. None are going to come in anywhere near $5 per person though when all is said and done. Yes, it is more expensive than the plethora of low-end frozen pizzas available, but the quality and toppings available on a CPK frozen pizza are worth the disparity if one is, again, looking for something outside of the basic staples.
  • Post #58 - January 17th, 2009, 7:59 am
    Post #58 - January 17th, 2009, 7:59 am Post #58 - January 17th, 2009, 7:59 am
    Daughter #1 surprised me at Christmas and gave me three frozen pizzas from Pagliai's, an institution in my old college town of Iowa City. Back in the day, it was a required stop after hitting the bars. In these days of going 'downtown' at midnight, I suppose they hit Pag's beforehand!

    I've made a couple so far & am surprised at how well it compares to actually being there, eating their pizza fresh out of the oven. Same crust (thin, but maybe a little thicker than 'cracker-thin', a la Candlelite) and the same proportion of cheese, sauce, herbs & spices. And they use a Canadian bacon that must be indigenous to Iowa--sweet, a little thick, almost like a ham slice. Just great.

    Next time anybody's driving through Iowa City with cooler space, might be worth a stop.

    Pagliai's Pizza
    302 E Bloomington St
    Iowa City, IA 52245
    (319) 351-5073
  • Post #59 - January 17th, 2009, 10:06 am
    Post #59 - January 17th, 2009, 10:06 am Post #59 - January 17th, 2009, 10:06 am
    Pagliai's Pizza was my favorite in Dekalb when I was at NIU. I wonder if there is any connection to the IA locations.
    Fettuccine alfredo is mac and cheese for adults.
  • Post #60 - January 17th, 2009, 7:03 pm
    Post #60 - January 17th, 2009, 7:03 pm Post #60 - January 17th, 2009, 7:03 pm
    I've given up frozen pizza in exchange for trader joe's dough and sauce and my own toppings. Maybe it takes 10 minutes more to get in the oven than a frozen pizza but the result is sooo much better.

    When I ate it -- i'd go for the Home Run Inn sausage and pepperoni -- usually with added pepperoni thrown on top for my spicy needs. But my satisfaction level with the TJ dough and sauce is really so much better. And it's pretty dang cheap.

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