REVIEW: DiGiorno Eggs Benedict Breakfast Croissant Crust Pizza

DiGiorno Eggs Benedict Breakfast Croissant Crust Pizza Box

My background with breakfast pizza is best described as inexperienced. I’ve had it, both fresh and frozen, but if I had to estimate how many times, I’d say six. Compare that with how many times I’ve had pizza (964) and how many times I’ve eaten breakfast (12,573), and you have a pretty insignificant number relative to breakfast and pizza consumption. In other words, cheese=MC2.

This is DiGiorno’s maiden voyage into breakfast pizza, and it’s doing it with three new varieties -— Sausage and Gravy, Cinnamon Roll, and Eggs Benedict. All are served on a croissant crust, something the brand has previously employed on regular pizzas. (But I haven’t had.)

DiGiorno Eggs Benedict Breakfast Croissant Crust Pizza Frozen

Here’s my next startling confession: I’ve never had eggs Benedict. The thing is, I don’t like English muffins. Like, at all. Their texture is abrasive, they smell like feet, and biscuits exist. I mean, there’s just no earthly reason to eat them. And seeing as how I’ve never encountered eggs Benedict involving anything but, well, here we are.

DiGiorno Eggs Benedict Breakfast Croissant Crust Pizza Flaky

But again, the base layer of this pizza is a croissant. And how is DiGiorno’s croissant? It’s decent. It’s a little buttery and a little flaky, but it’s not on par with Pillsbury croissants from a can. But it makes a sturdy base and is marginally more interesting than DiGiorno’s traditional crust.

On top of the OK Croissant (my favorite Radiohead cover band composed entirely of pastry chefs), you’ve got “cheddar and mozzarella cheese, scrambled eggs, diced ham and hollandaise style sauce.”

DiGiorno Eggs Benedict Breakfast Croissant Crust Pizza Cooked

So, there was some cheese, but not as much as on a normal pizza, and that’s fine because of the “hollandaise style sauce” I mentioned previously. It tasted like cheese sauce. And as established, I’ve never had eggs Benedict. So it should come as no surprise that I don’t really know what hollandaise tastes like. Then I Googled it up, just to see what hollandaise is supposed to be. And most things I read describe it as a “rich and decadent egg based sauce” with a “buttery flavor” that can range from “sweet to tangy” preparation depending. Or, in DiGiorno’s case, “cheese sauce.” And don’t get me wrong — I love cheese sauce! But if you’re looking for a true hollandaise, this probably isn’t it.

DiGiorno Eggs Benedict Breakfast Croissant Crust Pizza Slice

The ham was good. Smoky, evenly distributed bite-sized rectangles. My only complaint is that I could have used twice as much. The eggs were a bit rubbery and indistinctive. At one point, I said, “I wish this thing had more egg,” but then I remembered the whole “rubbery and indistinctive” thing and wondered why I’d want more of that.

As I was typing this out just now, I was wondering if I should give this a 7 or an 8, and I was also kind of wondering how I could justify an 8 when most of the review seemed to suggest that I didn’t like it; but that’s not the case. I really liked it, despite the sad egg and “meh” crust. This thing shined on the totality of its parts instead of failing on the weakness of its pieces. Did it taste like eggs Benedict? I mean… I don’t know. I suspect not. Did it taste like someone turned a Ham and Cheese Hot Pocket into a pizza? Weirdly, yes. But I kind of love that. And in that spirit, I kind of loved this. (Except for the price tag. $10 is insane for a frozen pizza, inflation or not.)

Purchased Price: $9.99
Size: 23.4 oz
Purchased at: Hy-Vee
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/5th of the pizza) 330 calories, 14 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 40mg of cholesterol, 690 mg of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar (including 1 gram of added sugars), and 10 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Eggo Thick & Fluffy Tiramisu and Strawberry Cheesecake Waffles

Eggo Thick  Fluffy Tiramisu and Strawberry Cheesecake Waffles Boxes

Here’s the thing about me and waffles: I don’t know when to eat them. I love them, right? Pancakes, French toast, and cinnamon rolls, too. But the thing is, I’m a salty and savory breakfast guy, though and through. Give me a big ol’ sloppy plate piled with biscuits smothered in thick, creamy gravy, a mountain of buttery scrambled eggs, and one pig’s worth of sausage and bacon, please.

So then, what do I do? When do I eat sweet breakfast foodstuffs? To be frank, it all feels so dessert-y to me. (I mean, one of the aforementioned foods has cake right in the name.) But here’s the deal with that — how often do you feel like eating a big syrupy stack of flapjacks or a fluffy golden waffle after pounding a plate of fried chicken and mashed potatoes?

It’s tricky.

But Eggo seems to be embracing the “breakfast for dessert” ideation with the introduction of its new Thick & Fluffy family members, Tiramisu and Strawberry Cheesecake. Will these vanguard vittles make me feel less conflicted about my B4D dilemma?

Well, they would if they were good, which they’re not, so they won’t.

Where do they go wrong, you’re asking? Let’s take a deeper dive.

Eggo Thick  Fluffy Tiramisu and Strawberry Cheesecake Waffles Frozen

First of all, these things don’t cook properly. At least, not in a toaster — aka, the place where you generally cook Eggo waffles. Much like the problematic Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, the Thick & Fluffy waffle cooks unevenly, leaving pockets of cold tundra surrounded by peninsulas of heat. The directions suggest toasting it on the lowest setting (!) And that “two cookings may be required.” I’m sorry… no? The point of a frozen waffle — or strudel, or Pop Tart — is that I can be ready to rock with that thing with very little foreplay. (I mean, in theory, anyway.) Same goes for the second suggested cooking method, a conventional oven. What is this, Kellogg’s, the slow food movement?

But anyway, all of this cooking nonsense would be forgivable if the waffles came out enjoyable. And they just don’t.

Eggo Thick  Fluffy Strawberry Cheesecake Waffles Warmed

I tried each kind plain, straight from the toaster, and then covered in butter and syrup. The Strawberry Cheesecake had a decent artificial strawberry flavoring (owing to the inclusion of dried strawberries, no doubt), but there was nothing there that even began to suggest “cheesecake.” Despite its flaws — the batter was bland, it could’ve used considerably more strawberries, and I was promised cheesecake, dammit — it did hold up better to butter and syrup than the tiramisu.

Eggo Thick  Fluffy Tiramisu Waffles Warmed

The tiramisu was definitely better, though, don’t get me wrong. The box promised “cocoa and roasted coffee” flavoring, and it had that. The coffee flavor was subtle and accompanied by the tiniest hint of chocolate. Straight from the toaster, they were okay. But something peculiar happened when adorned with butter and syrup, though. They turned into totally plain tasting Eggo waffles. The mild coffee tones were made obsolete.

As a fan of eating breakfast for dessert, I was excited about these waffles conceptually. As someone who doesn’t like to eat bad things, though, I ended up disappointed.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 11.6 oz boxes/6 waffles
Purchased at: Hy-Vee
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Tiramisu), 4 out of 10 (Strawberry Cheesecake)
Nutrition Facts: (1 waffle) Tiramisu – 160 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 260 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugar (including 7 grams added sugars), and 3 grams of protein. Strawberry Cheesecake – 160 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 240 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of sugar (including 9 grams added sugars), and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: DiGiorno Stuffed Pizza Bites

DiGiorno Stuffed Pizza Bites Bags

Tearing open my two bags of DiGiorno Stuffed Pizza Bites (which I keep wanting to call pizza rolls à la Totino’s), I was hit with the powerful feeling that I’d just gotten home from fourth grade soccer practice and was racing to prep my afternoon snack before my favorite cartoon started.

The bag suggests three ways to cook these adorable little Hot Pockets lookalikes, but since I don’t have an air fryer, I was limited to using my oven (for 22 minutes at 350° F) and microwave (for 1 minute and 15 seconds). Regardless of appliance used, the cooked pizza bites emitted the immensely comforting smell of warm dough, grassy herbs, and tangy marinara sauce, with just a hint of processed uncanniness to really drive the nostalgia home.

The bag advises you to use the oven or air fryer if you like a crispier texture and the microwave if you seek a softer pizza bite. The bites that I baked in the oven were impressively firm with a satisfying crunch. The microwaved ones, though… varied. One of the two that I put in the microwave came out noticeably softer but not mushy or falling apart as I’d feared, and in fact, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I preferred it to its oven-ed counterparts. The other, though, somehow ended up extremely overcooked, a thick brick with even the filling nuked stiff. Whoops. Anyway!

DiGiorno Stuffed Pizza Bites Outsides

The two flavors were unsurprisingly pretty much impossible to distinguish just by looking at their outsides, though even after a bite I couldn’t immediately identify which was which. The one that I eventually pegged as the four-cheese was an oozy, vodka sauce-looking shade of orange. The other was flecked with dark red chunks that I immediately guessed were flecks of tomato from the sauce, but ended up being the pepperoni. Whoops again!

DiGiorno Stuffed Pizza Bites Insides

The four cheese flavor’s titular cheeses are reduced fat mozzarella, parmesan, asiago, and romano. The best way I can think to describe the potent results of mashing them all together is “funky.” I could make out a fresh, creamy flavor that probably came from the mozzarella, but there were also undertones of sharpness. According to Google, that would be the Romano. There’s also a sort of earthy nuttiness that Google also tells me is typical for both parmesan and asiago. With the pepperoni flavor, mozzarella is the only one from the cheesy cacophony invited to the pizza party, so the taste was dominated instead by the meaty, faintly spicy tang of the pepperoni and marinara sauce. The four cheese flavor wasn’t bad, but I definitely preferred the simpler, more classic taste of the pepperoni.

At the end of the day, these were about what you’d expect from a pizza roll, er, bite. I appreciated their unique heft (“2x the size per piece,” the bag crows), but the experience wasn’t notably different than, say, the aforementioned Totino’s. These pizza bites might have briefly flashed me back to my childhood, but now that I’m old enough to simply order myself an actual pizza instead of rooting through the freezer for my mom’s purchases to satisfy my dough-sauce-cheese cravings, I’d rather just do that.

Purchased Price: $6.49 each
Size: 14 oz bag
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (3 bites) Four Cheese – 200 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 340 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein. Pepperoni – 230 calories, 12 gram of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 550 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza

Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza Box

What is Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza?

Red Baron’s new “Fully Loaded” product line is named for its generous toppings. This pepperoni variety promises two kinds of pepperoni tossed among mozzarella cheese and a zesty tomato sauce. Also available are Five Cheese and Supreme varieties.

How is it?

As an avid fan of both junk food and the written word, I like to luxuriate in product descriptions. Finding just the right word can evoke glorious imagery. As I read the official Fully Loaded descriptions on Red Baron’s website, certain phrases characterizing this new product line’s toppings appealed to my inner word nerd: “loaded,” “mounds,” “piled high.”

What bounty! What splendor!

Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza Frozen

Unpackaged, the pizza is unfettered from those lofty expectations. Contrary to the product’s name, the Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza isn’t overloaded with toppings, although it offers enough to deliver great flavor.

Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza Toppings

Slices of crisp, lightly spicy pepperoni pair with chewy, salty little pepperoni cubes to ensure each piece of pizza gets a hit of meat. Mozzarella covers the pizza but is too spare to achieve cheese-pull status. Flecks of cheddar are also present, but their flavor is largely lost among the mozzarella and pepperoni spices. The tomato sauce is a nice surprise: thick in texture with hints of sweetness and smoky paprika.

Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza Crust

The real bounty of this pizza lies in the crust, which may be the most successful of all the Red Baron products I’ve tried. Moderately seasoned and buttery, it’s not too greasy. Thick and chewy, it somehow manages to remain airy and light. My only complaint is its tendency toward gumminess in the middle of the pizza, where the lightest part of the crust absorbs the sauce.

Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza Cooked

The crust’s edges are crisp — and I mean crisp. Have you ever watched a cooking show where the host bites into their final creation, turns to the camera, and asks the viewer, “Did you hear that?” I was tempted to recreate that for you, but this is a written review and so you can’t hear the satisfying crunch of my pizza cutter rolling through this crispy, crispy crust. I’m sorry for that.

And I’m sorry to demote your star status, toppings.

Anything else you need to know?

Red Baron Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza Side

This pizza reminds me a lot of DiGiorno’s Crispy Pan Pizza because they have similarly thick, yet airy crusts at comparable price points. I like both products equally.

Conclusion:

Red Baron’s Fully Loaded Pepperoni Pizza is hearty, flavorful, and among the brand’s stronger offerings. The product’s name sets high expectations that the toppings themselves don’t fulfill, but its thick, crispy crust helps to deliver an abundant bite.

Purchased Price: $7.99
Size: 27.85 oz (1 lb and 11.85 oz)/789 g
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 1/6 pizza) 380 calories, 19 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 680 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Impossible Chicken Nuggets

Impossible Chicken Nuggets Bag

What are Impossible Chicken Nuggets?

After the success of its plant-based burgers, especially in the form of the Impossible Whopper from Burger King, Impossible Foods has introduced chicken nuggets. Having made its mark on the world by creating a plant-burger patty nearly identical to beef, it was only matter of time before Impossible Foods attempted to replicate another animal. Will these plant-based nuggets manage another feat of food super-science?

How are they?

I’m the last person in the world to not have an air-fryer, so I cooked these in my stupid, non-trendy regular oven. Eleven minutes at 375 degrees resulted in hot and crispy nuggets. I ate one too quickly and burned my mouth, just like when I was a kid!

Impossible Chicken Nuggets Coating

They’re hot, juicy, too salty, and taste like chicken. Or, they taste like chicken as much as chicken nuggets do. Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? Ground, pressed, and formed chicken made into nuggets is about as far away from actual chicken as possible, so how impressive is it to recreate them from soy?

Anything else you need to know?

Impossible Chicken Nuggets Innards

I’m usually fairly forgiving when it comes to “imitation” foods. I like Boca Burgers despite them tasting nothing like actual hamburgers. Does imitation crab taste anything like real crab? No, but it’s still good. Impossible Foods has set itself the high standard of being indistinguishable from the real thing and so I judge them accordingly.

Are these plant-based nuggets the equivalent of chicken? Yeah, they’re even closer than the burgers. Yet, I have to think that these nuggets are less impressive than an Impossible Whopper. Chicken nuggets are a notoriously hyper-processed product (Jamie Oliver is on a crusade about them). When Impossible Foods delivers the whole muscle meats that they’re working on is when plant-based meat will have its true test.

Conclusion:

Impossible Foods’ plant-based chicken nuggets achieve the (not quite) impossible feat of making a nugget that’s no different than one made from chicken. I’m looking forward to what Impossible Foods has coming next.

Purchased Price: $6.99
Size: 13.5 oz pouch (383g)
Purchased at: Woodman’s Market
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (5 pieces) 240 calories, 12 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 480 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.