REVIEW: Totino’s Takis Fuego Mini Snack Bites

Totino s Takis Fuego Mini Snack Bites Bag

Totino’s Takis Fuego Mini Snack Bites’ ingredients list is CVS receipt-long. While coupons can make the drugstore’s receipts reach outstanding lengths, it’s ingredients that end with -ate that help the list take up more than one-fourth of the bag’s real estate on the back.

Totino s Takis Fuego Mini Snack Bites Ingredients

While I won’t type out verbatim the ingredients list, I will do so with the product’s description on the front of the bag. These mini snacks are hot chili pepper & lime seasoned bites with a cheezy imitation mozzarella filling.

If you’re familiar with Takis Fuego Rolled Tortilla Chips, you’d know they are entirely red, giving them a striking look. Unfortunately, these bites are partially coated in a red seasoning, making them look tame.

Totino s Takis Fuego Mini Snack Bites Frozen

Their preparation can be done in the microwave or oven.

Depending on your microwave’s power, it takes between 1 minute 10 seconds to 1 minute 40 seconds to heat up a serving. The oven instructions involve preheating to 375 degrees, placing a layer on a baking sheet, and baking for 9 to 11 minutes for a half bag or 11 to 14 minutes for the whole bag.

Like most frozen foods with conventional and microwave oven instructions, doing it the long way creates an optimal product. However, there’s not a significant difference between the two preparations.

When microwaved, they’re kind of, well, squishy, which is the opposite of what Takis are. That’s sort of expected when microwaving without some sort of special crisping sleeve. From a conventional oven, they’re still squishy, but there’s some crispiness at the seams.

Totino s Takis Fuego Mini Snack Bites Frozen Microwaved

A lot of that squishiness comes from the cheezy imitation mozzarella filling. Thanks to every pizza commercial made, mozzarella is thought of as a stretchy cheese when a slice is pulled from a pizza. But what’s in these snack bites have a creamy not-quite-ready gelatin texture that I’ve never experienced before with any kind of mozzarella product.

Takis Fuego’s hot chili pepper and lime seasoning stands out on my taste buds and in the aroma that fills my nostrils as they come out of whatever oven I decide. A mild spiciness accompanies the peppery flavor, and the citrus enhances both.

The white filling, which has a slight cheesy tang, tempers the Fuego flavor. It’s also a tad sweet, which is a little weird. Somewhere in the ingredients list, there’s “dried cream cheese,” which might be the cause of everything odd about the filling. I also want to say its taste brings Laughing Cow cheese to mind.

Overall, I love the seasoning on Totino’s Takis Fuego Mini Snack Bites. However, I was expecting it to be a little spicier. I’m less sold on the cheezy filling. It tastes fine and sort of works with the peppery and citrus coating, but I don’t know if others will be as forgiving.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample of the product. (Thanks, Totino’s!) Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 13.9 oz bag
Purchased at: Received from Totino’s
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (13 bites) 230 calories, 9 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 640 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Totino’s Supreme Stuffed Nachos (2016)

Totino's Stuffed Nachos Supreme

If ramen noodles are the Usain Bolt of cheap eats for students, drunkards and poor folks the world over, then Totino’s is surely…whoever happens to be the second fastest guy in the world.

Okay, now some of what I’m going to say will sound made up, but unless Wikipedia is riddled with errors (which has never happened), this is the God’s honest: Totino’s was founded in Minneapolis in 1951 (!) by Rose and Jim Totino (!!) as a take-out pizza joint (!!!). They eventually expanded to a full-service restaurant (!!!!) that finally shuttered its doors in 2011 (!@#$%!!).

I know, right?

Anyway, in 1993, Pillsbury-owned Jeno’s pizza rolls (first created by Jeno Paulucci in 1968 as “an egg roll filled with pizza ingredients”), were rebranded as Totino’s, and the rest is history.

If you are alive, and human, you have had a Totino’s Party Pizza (the idea of throwing a party involving Totino’s never ceases to make me laugh). You have also had Totino’s Pizza Rolls.

The “pizza” is by no means a real pizza; now, that’s not to say it’s bad. It is a small, crispy disk of bread-like material covered with an amalgamation of hydrogenated oil-based cheese substitutes, flavorless ketchup, and salt-bits masquerading as various types of meat toppings. It regularly retails for $1.39 in my area, and can often be found as a 10/$10 deal.

It has its place as a late-night regret.

It is also a wildly successful brand, producing 240 MILLION discs per year.

So it is no wonder that they would also try to corner the market on another beloved American institution, the frozen, pocket-based delicacy. Not that this is their first attempt. The ORIGINAL Stuffed Nacho from Totino’s was introduced in 1996 and then discontinued, leaving a trail of heartbroken and hungry snack aficionados in the wake.

Totino's Stuffed Nachos Supreme 2

The Totino’s Stuffed Nacho is a triangle pizza roll filled with nacho-inspired ingredients. For the sake of this review, I went with the “supreme” variation. The box promised me “taco seasoned chicken and beef pizza topping, red bell peppers, jalapeños and cheddar cheese rolls in a crispy crust.”

Totino's Stuffed Nachos Supreme 4

The first thing you should know is that you can’t taste ANY of it. There was no heat from the jalapeño, no sweet tang from a red bell pepper, no possible way a chicken ever saw the killing room floor. There may have been cheese, but only in the way that we know God loves us.

The shell was different from a standard pizza roll in that it was corn-tasting. Not in an ACTUAL corn tortilla respect — and not even in a corn chip way — but in the way that Nestle manages to conjure a vague corn-ambiance from its Beef Taco Hot Pockets effort.

The beef too was not unlike the aforementioned BTHP. It was a chewy approximation of meat, but if you received something like it anywhere other than here (Taco Bell included), you’d curse out the proprietor and demand a refund. It has that signature taco taste, though, achieved through “spice” (a real ingredient on the label), as well as onion and garlic powders.

Totino's Stuffed Nachos Supreme 3

Anyway, does this taste like an elf in the Totino’s factory magically impregnated a pizza roll with a plate of delicious nachos? Not a chance.

Would I buy them again, however? Eh, maybe. They seriously weren’t awful — in the same way that pizza rolls and Totino’s pizza discs aren’t awful. But at $4.59 (!) for a 34 count box (NOBODY NEEDS THAT MANY OF THESE THINGS!!), it’s prohibitively expensive. You know, for the target demographic: students, vagabonds, and drunks.

(Nutrition Facts – 6 rolls – 220 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 420 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.59
Size: 17.4 oz box
Purchased at: Hy-Vee
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Vague taco qualities. You don’t have to think much about it. Nice face-stuffing quotient
Cons: Pretty one-note. Idea of “nacho pocket” isn’t a bad one, but execution on this offering lacks. Per Wikipedia, Consumer Reports rated Totino’s as “only fair for nutrition.” Because, duh.

REVIEW: Totino’s Pizza Stuffers (Pepperoni and Combination)

Totino's Pizza Stuffers

Totino’s Party Pizzas have a special place in my heart, which I hope they’re not clogging with trans fats.

Even though I’ve never seen one at a party, it uses something called “Mozzarella Cheese Substitute,” and its crispy crust sometimes makes my upper palate raw, my mouth can’t help but water when a Totino’s Party Pizza is presented in front of me. So while I’ve never seen Totino’s Party Pizza served at a party, it does create a party in my mouth.

But it’s not just being so damn tasty that makes a Totino’s Party Pizza so special, it’s also its price.

When on sale, you can score yourself one with whatever loose change you can panhandle in 10 minutes outside the store you’re going to purchase it from. Of course, the more charming or desolate you are, the quicker you’ll probably get the one dollar you’ll need to purchase a Party Pizza.

While Totino’s Party Pizzas are tasty and cheap, the two things they aren’t are portable and microwaveable. But Totino’s is trying to solve that with their new Pizza Stuffers, which takes the meat, sauce, and mozzarella cheese substitute on top of a Party Pizza and stuffs it into a golden crust. Think of it as Totino’s delayed answer to the Hot Pocket.

I know Totino’s has their Pizza Rolls, but, seriously, those are meant for 10-year-olds.

The Totino’s Pizza Stuffers come in three varieties: cheese, pepperoni, and combination (sausage and pepperoni). I skipped the cheese one because, really, there’s only so much mozzarella cheese substitute I’m willing to tolerate. Depending on which ethnicity you are, a Pizza Stuffer looks like either an empanada, a gigantic gyoza, a mini calzone, or some kind of dim sum.

Totino's Pizza Stuffers Innards

Preparing a Pizza Stuffer took me about two minutes of microwaving time, flipping it over once at the one minute mark. Just like Hot Pockets, Totino’s hasn’t figured out how to prevent their products from oozing when being microwaved. If you decide to microwave your Totino’s Pizza Stuffer, expect a softer crust that’s a little tough and chewy at the edges. I also baked them in a toaster oven, which takes 20 minutes to heat up at the instructed 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Since they don’t come with fancy crisping sleeves, a crispy crust can only be accomplished in an oven or toaster oven.

If you find yourself staring into the freezer aisle case at your local grocery store because you’re trying to decide which Pizza Stuffers flavor to pick up, I’d suggest picking up the Combination one. The Pepperoni Pizza Stuffers were palatable, but I could hardly taste the pepperoni. Instead, it had a significant tomato sauce flavor. The only difference between the Pepperoni and Combination flavors is the use of pork sausage, but it makes a huge difference in terms of flavor because, unlike the pepperoni in the Pepperoni one, I could actually taste the sausage. I still couldn’t taste the pepperoni in the Combination Pizza Stuffers, but that was expected.

Overall, the Totino’s Pizza Stuffers are a good snack or part of a complete lunch or dinner. If Totino’s Party Pizzas have a special place in your heart, both varieties will have a familiar taste, thanks to that sweet sauce they all have. They’re more expensive and less satisfying than a Party Pizza, but their size makes portion control much easier. Because, seriously, I could inhale a whole Party Pizza in one sitting.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Pizza Stuffer – Pepperoni – 280 calories, 130 calories from fat, 15 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 760 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein. Combination – 270 calories, 120 calories from fat, 14 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat*, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 700 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.)

*uses partially hydrogenated oil

Item: Totino’s Pizza Stuffers (Pepperoni and Combination)
Price: $3.99 (on sale)
Size: 4 count
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Pepperoni)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Combination)
Pros: Combination flavor is good. Pork sausage brings the flava. If you enjoy Totino’s Party Pizzas, you’ll enjoy these. Portable and microwaveable. Totino’s Party Pizzas.
Cons: Pepperoni flavor was a little disappointing. Uses partially hydrogenated oils. More expensive and less satisfying than a Totino’s Party Pizza. No crisping sleeves. Uses something called mozzarella cheese substitute. Eating a Totino’s Party Pizza in one sitting.