While restaurant-branded foods sold in grocery stores aren’t a new thing, Chuck E. Cheese has decided to enter the market with a frozen pizza line. Currently offered in cheese or pepperoni, these pizzas are currently exclusive to Kroger.
How is it?
As I was sitting down to try the pizza, I realized I needed to recreate the feeling of being in a Chuck E. Cheese to really bring you all a well-rounded review. I spilled some soda on the floor, blasted some Rock-afire Explosion on my TV, and had my husband run up and down the hallway screaming about a broken game machine.
While I don’t think that added much to eating the pizza, I was pleasantly surprised by the item’s quality.
The crust was thin, but not so thin that it crumbled when cut. The sauce was a little on the sweet side, but a fairly standard pizza sauce. It could have used a little more cheese, but most frozen pizzas tend to be lighter on cheese. The pepperoni was a pleasant surprise in both quality AND quantity.
I couldn’t tell you how it compares to what’s served at Chuck E. Cheese locations, but I’d hope the in-store product is a higher quality than grocery store frozen pizza.
Anything else you need to know?
There’s a coupon on the back of the box for 250 e-tickets. I have no idea what that means in real people’s money, but I think it equals around 100 Shrute bucks.
While I doubt you’ll find yourself reaching for this unless it’s on sale or you have kids who want those sweet e-tickets, it’s a perfectly serviceable frozen pizza. It sits firmly ahead of Totino’s Party Pizzas, but under DiGiorno in terms of quality.
Purchased Price: $6.99 Size: 18.55 oz Purchased at: Kroger Rating: 6 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1/4 pizza) 310 calories, 14 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 760 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.
I’ve had enough DiGiorno Pepperoni Pizzas to know that if you stuck one in a generic pizza box and told me it was delivery from some local restaurant, I’d take out the pizza, look to see if there were any grease stains on the box and if there weren’t any, I’d put it in the recycling bin. And if there were grease stains, I’d scold you for wasting a perfectly good pizza box on a poorly planned prank.
My internal prank detector would also quickly notice an attempt to swap a regular DiGiorno pepperoni pizza with DiGiorno’s new Gluten Free Pepperoni Pizza. Unlike Gluten Free Oreo Cookies, DiGiorno’s gluten free offering doesn’t look, smell, or taste exactly like the gluten-ful version.
The burnt cheese may say otherwise, but I did follow the instructions. As I pulled the pizza from the oven, I knew the crust’s rigidness meant it would be crispy or crunchy. While regular DiGiorno crust has some crispiness, this gluten free crust was noticeably crunchier and drier. It even looked like it would be with its too long at the tanning salon looks.
According to DiGiorno, its gluten free pizzas are the only ones in the frozen aisle that feature a thick hand-tossed crust.
Of course, crust only is part of the pizza equation. The sauce, cheese, and pepperoni seem to taste like what’s on a regular DiGiorno offering. While they’re the same toppings, the crust really affects how everything tastes. It’s noticeably blander than the standard stuff, and not even the toppings can help hide that fact.
It’s not a bad pizza, but it’s also not a great one. It’s a good enough pizza, and if I was late to a frozen pizza party and this was all that was left, I would gladly eat it. But more importantly, for those of you who have gluten sensitivities, you now have another option. Or do you?
The ingredients list says it contains wheat starch. Yes, wheat contains gluten. But wheat starch is followed by an asterisk that leads to the following statement, “The wheat has been processed to allow this food to meet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for gluten-free foods.”
What does that mean? Research for me.
According to the FDA website, a product that contains an ingredient that’s been processed to have less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten can carry a label of “gluten-free.” So, what I take from that is that this may contain a trace amount of gluten or no gluten. But, if there is, it’s below or meets the FDA requirement. Um, yeah, that doesn’t make things clear. So if you have Celiac disease or are very sensitive to gluten, you may want to skip this pizza.
Look, I’m not someone who would typically eat gluten-free food. I’m a gluten-free food hobbyist. I like to try them and compare them with the original version of the product if there is one. I brought up Gluten Free Oreo because it did wonderfully at replicating what a regular Oreo tastes like. But this Gluten Free DiGiorno Pizza wasn’t able to accomplish the same.
DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample. Doing so did not influence my review. Also, my sample was sent in a plain white box, so the image at the beginning of the review was provided by DiGiorno.
Purchased Price: FREE Size: 26.1 oz. Purchased at: Received from DiGiorno Rating: 5 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1/5 pizza) 320 calories, 12 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 970 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 2 grams of added sugar, and 10 grams of protein.
What is the DiGiorno Meatless Monday Meatless Sausage Supreme Pizza
Well, for starters, it’s a bunch of words. So going forward, I’ll probably refer to this as DMMMSSP, or “dimsup” if I’m saying it aloud. This is the frozen pizza maker monolith’s ode to fake meat, which has been quite the rage for the better part of recent history.
How is it?
It feels as though this review should be split between “how’s the fake sausage” and “how’s the product, overall?”
So, to answer the first one — it’s great! Made with pea protein, you’d be hard-pressed to discern these crumbles from the real deal. (At least in terms of, you know, frozen pizza sausage.) There is a very convincing chew and real sausage-like seasoning. It’s peppery without being spicy.
The pizza, however, is just okay. If you’ve had DiGiorno, you’re familiar with the bland, muted veggies (in this case, red and green bell peppers and onions), the overly sweet sauce that gets applied with a sauce cannon, and the crust which is thick and uncompromisingly bread-y.
Anything else you need to know?
“Meatless Monday” was started in 2003 by Sid Lerner, who advocated that people give up meat one day a week for both their health and the health of the planet. Is it weird that this was the first time I’ve ever heard of it? And I say this as someone who’s been a vegetarian for brief spurts in the past and regularly consumes meat-alternatives.
While I used to think DiGiorno was tops in terms of the frozen pizza empire, it feels as though they have recently been passed on all fronts by multiple competitors. But while brands such as Urban Pie and Screamin’ Sicilian may best DiGiorno in most ways*, their meat-alternative options are, for now, nonexistent. Kudos to DiGiorno for taking the leap; hopefully, we’ll soon see more brands do the same.
*The best option, if you have it in your area, is Brew Pub Lotzza Motzza frozen pizzas, by the way.
Purchased Price: $6.99 Size: 20.8 oz Purchased at: Target Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1/4 pizza) 300 calories, 10 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 750 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein.
Thanksgiving might just be the biggest food-related holiday there is. So with that, companies have recently decided to capitalize on it in the most creative ways possible.
For a few years, Pringles was having all the fun with its multitude of coordinating flavors encompassing the full feast. But this year, Perdue decided to throw its hat into the ring, and it is most definitely not messing around. The company has brought a clever name, vibrant packaging, cute themed shapes, and various wildly appropriate flavors.
The only disappointment here is the super limited availability, with only 100 bags available on its website. The 100 number was meant to celebrate Perdue’s 100th anniversary, but as you will see below, these deserve to be in way more people’s bellies!
Breaded Breast Meat Turkey Nuggets
These are white meat nuggets in the cutest little shape of a turkey with a secondary sweet potato flavor. They look very much like regular nuggets with a light brown coating, and the inside is chock full of delicious white meat.
The meat is very tender and the coating is good, but I wish the nuggets could’ve been a little thicker/crisper. The sweet potato starts to emerge as you chew, and it doesn’t let go. The first few nuggets to me were just a tad sweet, but the flavor really developed for me after a few more. Holy cow (or turkey?) these really taste like I am eating a side of sweet potatoes. Yum!
Rating: 9 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (4 Nuggets) 210 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 390 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.
Breaded Dark Meat Turkey and Cranberry Nuggets
These are dark meat nuggets are drumstick shaped and inspired by stuffing and cranberry sauce. I was a little hesitant with this flavor because I have never been a huge fan of dark meat, nor have I ever had it in nugget form. The two different flavors as an add-on also seemed a little odd.
These are much darker in color, but I can’t tell if it is just because of the dark meat interior, because of the actual composition of the breading, or maybe a little bit of both. The dark meat definitely gives these a more intense chicken flavor. But it is heavier too, and I am not sure I’m digging the texture as it is not as consistent as the white meat nuggets. These do have better crunch, though.
Just like the sweet potato with the other, the flavors here are very noteworthy. I can absolutely taste some onion and garlic, which is definitely giving me stuffing vibes. Do you see those little darker specks? They aren’t mystery meat particles. Those are actual cranberry pieces! When you get one, it is rather jolting but also a very nice tart surprise.
Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (4 Nuggets) 220 calories, 9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 590 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.
Perdue came to the Thanksgiving-themed boxing ring and just KO’d the competition! These have a lot going on with the different shapes, meats, and flavors, but all in all, they are creative and delicious. Kids and adults alike would enjoy these, and I hope Perdue brings them back next year for more to try. Fingers crossed that the company doesn’t make us wait until the 200th anniversary for 200 bags to fight over.
Purchased Price: $19.20 (For both flavors) Size: 24 oz bag Purchased at: Perduefarms.com
Have you ever felt neglected or wanted more from your life? Or were you envious of the so-called cool kids and wondered why you weren’t one of them? If the vegetable world is any indicator, just keep the faith as soon the tide may change.
I mean, look at cauliflower. In my youth, it was the white broccoli that no one cared about. Not good enough to be showcased in those divine kid TV dinners, but also in the shadow of regular broccoli. My oh my, how things can change. Cauliflower is now the bell of the vegetable ball! It works as a mashed potato replacement or a base for pizza crust. If breaded and fried, it can even be a chicken wings substitute. WOW! You go, cauliflower! No one will ever doubt you again.
Cauliflower is the star ingredient in three new frozen Green Giant treats, with zucchini taking the reins for one as well. They are shaped like either rings or fries, seemingly so that they can replace your hankering for onion rings or French fries.
The packaging on all shouts that these are CRISPY & CRUNCHY. You will see below that the fries do a better job of achieving this. The fillings are also all very similar, more of a very slightly chunky puree. Akin to a potato mash, but not so heavy, with definitely a lighter hit to your stomach.
Cauliflower Three Cheese with Bacon Rings
These have a nice crunch, but also a subdued flavor. It’s tough to tell that the cheese is there, so I’d like to adjust the description to a one or two cheese flavor. Three is definitely pushing it. I thought it was going to ooze out, but I found only one or two orange pockets of goodness.
The bacon flavor is a little more prevalent, and I can definitely taste the smokiness throughout. I didn’t see any actual pieces, but bacon is there in the ingredient list. Coupled with the breading, the puree’s creaminess, the smokiness, and the occasional burst of cheese, these were pretty good. Nice complex flavor!
Purchased Price: $2.09 Purchased at: Acme Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (About 3 rings) 210 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 330 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.
Cauliflower French Onion Rings
These look similar to the one above, but with more herbs speckled throughout the filling. The French onion flavor is there, but it is at a level even less so than the cheese or bacon from the previous one. You definitely have to work for the taste, which is a tad artificial. It makes me long for an actual onion that I could slurp out of its deep fried shell. I was definitely missing onion rings while eating this one.
Purchased Price: $2.09 Purchased at: Acme Rating: 5 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (About 3 rings) 200 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 270 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.
Cauliflower Ranch with Bacon Fries
The fries’ preparation requires double the amount of oven time from the rings, but it makes a huge difference. While they do come out a little on the oily side, it is worth it as they come out super crispy. In fact, with my first few cauliflower fries, I thought I was maybe eating actual French fries for a second!!!
The filling stays really creamy, and it is a nice contrast to the crunchy outside. But the flavors for this one are disappointing. I taste zero bacon, but the ranch does make an appearance.
Purchased Price: $2.09 Purchased at: Acme Rating: 7 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (About 11 fries) 170 calories, 7 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 320 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.
Zucchini Garlic and Parmesan Fries
This last iteration uses zucchini as its base instead of cauliflower. It is a nice change of pace as you can really taste the zucchini. In contrast, cauliflower doesn’t have an intense flavor profile.
These are gloriously crispy like the other ones, and while there is a little bit of garlic, the parmesan is predominant and a bit intense. However, with everything going on, it actually becomes a little too salty, kind of ruining the entire experience.
Purchased Price: $2.09 Purchased at: Acme Rating: 6 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (About 11 fries) 180 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.
French fries and onion rings are safe atop their deep fried throne, but if you are looking to switch it up and get a couple of servings of veggies in there, these are a fantastic choice.
You can probably skip the French onion rings and zucchini fries. Go for the three cheese rings as these are best eaten on their own with their multi-layered flavor. And definitely pick up the bacon ranch fries but make sure you eat them with your favorite condiment.
Amongst all this dining on rings and fries, I hope potatoes and onions don’t get too jealous!