Screamin’ Sicilian – Spicy Clucker

2015-12-20 13.19.37

I had high hopes for this. Not only is Screamin’ Sicilian’s “Holy Pepperoni” variety excellent, but multiple people have asked me about this brand which happens to be one of HEB’s fastest selling pizza brands. I think it’s the eye-catching packaging. I unfortunately didn’t care for the Spicy Clucker. It lived up to the spicy name, but I can say now that pizza is shockingly one of the few things bacon does not improve. I also didn’t like the cheese, and nothing about the chicken stood out (unlike the excellent Dr. Oetker Pizza Pollo). Not necessarily bad, but all around forgettable.

Purchased at HEB for $6.95.  21.85 oz, $.32/oz.

Mia Fresca – Pepperoni & Garlic

2017-05-09 22.18.38

Tonight I must thank the Pizza Gods, for tonight the Pizza Gods hath delivered to me heaven on a carb-based platform. That is an overly dramatic way of saying this stuff is excellent. I’ve gotten to the point where it’s hard not to rehash the same old lines every time now that I’ve reviewed 85 pizzas (not all reviews have been posted).

I think the relatively minimal amount of tomato sauce was the driving force that made this sing to me. I tend to prefer more cheese and less sauce than is presented on most pizzas. Mia Fresca’s offering did not seem to have more cheese than usual, but there certainly seemed to be a little less sauce which upped the cheese:sauce ratio.

It helps that the cheese was not greasy at all. Too much grease makes me sick.

The roasted garlic was the perfect topper as it gently enhanced the flavor without getting in the way the slightest. If the minimal sauce let the cheese shine, the garlic propped it up that much more.

The pepperonis were perfect. Cannot say much more.

The price hurts a little ($.45/oz for this vs $.17/oz for your typical Red Baron and Digiorno types), but it’s worth it. I’ll buy this again soon.

Mamma Mia this pizza was Fresca!  Had to work that in somehow.

Purchased as Walmart for $5.97. 13.15 oz, $.45/oz.

High (Temperature) Times from Reddit

My dad told me about a post he found on Reddit* suggesting an alternate strategy for baking pizza.  Inspired by brick oven pizza eateries, the post recommends eschewing the instructions on your frozen pizza packaging and instead following these 3 steps;

  1. Let your frozen pizza thaw
  2. Preheat your oven to its highest setting
  3. Bake your pizza for a few minutes

*I’ll add a link directly to the Reddit post once I find it.

Edit – here’s the link.

Instead of trying a new pizza tonight, I decided to cook a previously reviewed favorite using this method.  The subject?  Dr. Oekter’s Virtuoso (formerly called “Ristorante”) Pepperoni Pesto.

The box suggested I keep the pizza frozen while preheating, preheat the oven to 425 degrees, then bake for 12-14 minutes.  Instead, I set the oven to 525 degrees (the highest it will go), thawed the pizza, and baked it for 6 minutes.

Verdict: it’s good!

2017-04-26 01.14.52

It’s hard to say if I prefer this method over obeying Dr. Oetker’s commands, but the pizza tasted great.  I’d have to cook two side by side (one following the printed instructions and one following this method) to tell.  Makes me wish I bought that double oven instead of a single.

I was disappointed the crust wasn’t crispier, but this disappoint led to an epiphany; I should let my pizzas sit on the pizza stone for a few minutes after they’re done cooking.  The packaging for this particular pizza didn’t say anything about doing so, but I always ignore such instructions when I do see them because seriously, who wants to eat a pizza in five minutes when you can eat it now?

This shouldn’t be a surprise, but the last four slices I pulled off the stone were crispier than the first four. The first four slices were pulled off about a minute after I removed the pizza from the oven.  They were good but not crispy.  The next two slices were pulled off maybe five minutes later.  Not exactly crispy but no doubt crispier.  When I pulled the final two slices another five minutes later, they were unfortunately no crispier than the prior two although they were just as tasty.

Speaking of the pizza stone, I should say I frequently see instructions recommending I place my frozen pizza directly on the oven rack and not on a pizza stone.  Sorry Pizza Gods, but I’m lazy.  Tried it once.  Got pizza crust stuck to my rack (I’m a guy, no rack jokes necessary).  Took more than a minute to clean it off.  Nope, not doing that again.

I should, however, listen to suggestions on how high to place the pizza (bottom, middle or high rack).  I never do.  Curious to see what difference that makes.

Overall, this was a success.  I think I’ll try this method from now on whenever baking a pizza I’ve already reviewed.  Let’s see if I start to notice a significant difference.

On one final note, Pizza Dog has a knack for waking from a dead sleep and materializing in front of the oven at the most opportune times.

2017-04-26 01.15.10

Too bad he never gets to eat any pizza.  All mine!

Dr Oetker – Pepperoni Pesto

Here’s another old review from 12/18/15, back when I used to type one-sentence reviews.  Please note that Dr. Oekter changed the name of this brand to “Virtuoso.”  Looking forward to tomorrow’s post where I directly reference this one;)

2016-01-16 15.32.31

My new favorite Dr Oetker pizza.  Perfect blend of cheese, pesto and tomato.

4/26/17 update: the above sentence is what I originally wrote over a year ago.  I still love this pizza as much as I did the first time it graced my taste buds, but I think the Spinach pizza is tied with the Pepperoni Pesto as my favorite.  I buy both occasionally through the year.

Purchased at HEB for $3.98.  12.7 oz, $.31/oz.

Monteli – Organic Margherita

2017-04-11 21.39.34

Amazing!  Perfect 10!  So much gooey cheesy goodness.  Tasted like a perfected version of one of HEB’s Taste of Italy pizzas.  That’s about the highest praise I can give a pizza.  This was one of the best frozen pizzas I’ve ever tried.  Cannot wait to try some of their other varieties!

This is a little more expensive than your average pizza, but it’s worth it.  This pizza rang in at $.44/oz ($5.98/13.58 oz, about maybe 10″ in diameter).  Of all the pizzas I’ve tried, the average price is $.34/oz.  Taste of Italy – Monteli’s closest competitor in my eyes – rings in at $.35/oz.  You wouldn’t go wrong saving about a dollar and buying an HEB Taste of Italy pizza, but $1 is a trivial amount to pay for perfection.  Besides, not everyone lives near an HEB.

Purchased at HEB for $5.98.  13.58 oz, $.44/oz.

Home Run Inn – Margherita Sausage

2015-11-29 22.07.14

This one had me intrigued. I don’t like sausage on pizzas and can be indifferent towards the margherita style, but Home Run Inn makes one of the best pepperoni pizzas out there. Imagine my surprise to find out I like this slightly more than their regular pepperoni pizza. Lots of flavor mixed in with the usual extra cheesy Home Run Inn taste. It might just be that this was my first time baking a pizza in a gas oven [note – this is an old review from November 2015 I never posted], so I’ll have to reevaluate my opinion of their regular pepperoni variety. Poor me, an excuse to eat more pizza.

Purchased at HEB for $5.98.  32.5 oz, $.19/oz

Central Market HEB – Margherita

2015-10-22 19.45.08Another good one from HEB.  Not much new I can say here.  Very similar to the Cherry Tomatoes and Spinach variety but not quite as good.  The tomatoes, cheese and sauce all packed a ton of flavor.  It came with a small pesto packet, but I prefer the margherita pizza sans pesto.

Purchased at HEB for $4.98.  14.99 oz, $.33/oz.