Tag Archives: frozen food

Home Run Inn Cheese Pizza Review

My new favorite frozen pizza

The final frozen pizza on sale at Safeway last week was Chicago’s Home Run Inn pizza. I got both a cheese and a pepperoni one and my daughter made the cheese. We both loved it. It’s hard to describe a pizza, but this one reminded me of the pizza served at La Vals in Berkeley when I want to college. It’s quite a bit thinner, but flavor wise it’s very close to what I can remember. It is probably my favorite frozen pizza ever.

Signature Reserve Wood Fired Gorgonzola & Bacon with Pear Chutney Neapolitan Style Pizza Review

A success!

Safeway had a bunch of frozen pizzas on sale this week, so it seemed like a good opportunity of giving them a try. I’m not generally fond of thin crusted pizza (which is what I gather Safeway means by “Neapolitan style”), but it’s overall healthier.

This flavor particularly intrigued me, as pear and gorgonzola pair beautifully and bacon could only make it better. This time, I was right. The flavors actually all worked very well and the pizza was very good. I’d have it again (despite its crispy, thin crust).

Gorgonzola by itself would be overwhelming, so the pizza also has mascarpone and Mozarella cheeses – but I had to read it in the box, as it’s not apparent. The predominant flavor is gorgonzola, but in a reasonable amount. I did like both the bacon and the arugula, but felt it could have used more of both. The pear came in the way of a very sweet chutney. Of course, fresh pears would be better – or even a less sweet chutney, but it did provide a nice note to the pizza.

It’s made me want to try the other pizzas from this series – though only as long as they’re on sale for $6.

Gino’s East of Chicago Deep Dish Gooey Mozzarella Cheese Pizza Review

The worst frozen pizza I’ve ever tasted

I absolutely love Chicago style deep dish pizza, so when I saw that Gino’s East of Chicago Deep Dish Pizzas were on sale at Safeway for $6, I had to give it a try. The reviews were so good that I got both a Mozzarella cheese one and a Supreme. Boy, was I disappointed!

The pizza tastes of one thing and one thing only: pasta sauce. And while it’s not a bad pasta sauce, it’s not a great one either. On top of some spaghetti, with some Parmesan cheese on top, I might even enjoy it. But it just does not belong on pizza. I am aware that the sauce for Chicago style pizza, unlike that for other pizzas, is cooked – so it lacks the fresh, fragrant flavor of raw sauce. But they still tend to taste different than pasta sauce. Zacchary’s, my favorite Chicago-style stuffed pizza chain in the Bay Area, uses a sauce very similar to just stewed tomatoes, which retains much of the freshness of the raw fruit. Gino’s sauce while still chunky, is really a melded sauce. It’s hard to describe other than it really makes you think of spaghetti sauce.

And while the sauce is on top, as is the custom for Chicago-style pizza, I couldn’t remove enough of it to be able to taste the other ingredients. It was just a mess. No one else in the family liked it either. I hate to waste food, but I ended up giving it to the dog.

It takes 45 minutes on a pre-heated oven to heat up this pizza. I was pre-warned by reading reviews, but you should be aware. At $6 for a 2 Lb pizza, it’s not a bad value while on sale. It should feed two people (or more if you are eating a salad or something else).

Primal Kitchen Beef & Mushroom Bowl – Review

I found these frozen bowls at Grocery Outlet, I think for $4. I was impressed by the simple ingredients and “grass fed” beef so I figured I’d give them a try. It was fine, about the quality you expect from frozen food. The beef consists of “patty crumbles”, the mushrooms are limp and the sauce is basic a tomato sauce, a little bit spicy and a little bit undersalted. The dish is in need of a starch, some bread, rice or cornbread would probably compliment it nicely. Of course, they are sold to cater to the “paleo” market, thus their lack of carbs.

I did like that it came in what seems to be a compostable bowl and is covered with wax paper – but I have curve side composting. And the portion was large enough for a light lunch. I just wasn’t sold on the flavor.

Primal Kitchen, which started as a small company but was later acquired by Kraft, sells 3 frozen bowls – the other two are panang curry and chicken pesto. It’s not clear to me if the bowls are in the process of being discontinued, however. The only place I can find that sells them, other than Grocery Outlet, is Thrive Market, where they retail for $9. They used to be $8 at Safeway, but they’re no longer available.

Goya Beef Empanadas Review

I got these frozen beef empanadas by mistake in an Instacart order. They come 4 to a package, each individually wrapped. They are on the small side, each weighing about 2.5 oz. You are supposed to deep fry them, but I air fried them instead after spraying them with olive oil. The ones in the photo were cooked for 8 minutes at the default setting, but you can add a couple of minutes more to get them darker.

The little empanadas do pack a lot of flavor – both natural and “enhanced” -; while they don’t seem to have vinegar, they taste like they do. They’re aren’t bad, but not something that I would seek out. The dough is on the salty side as well, and I can only imagine it’s better if deep fried.

In all, I wouldn’t buy these even if they weren’t Goya brand, as they aren’t that special. But I’ll finish the box.

Note: the link to Instacart is a referral link, if you subscribed immediately after you click on it, I might get $10 credit and you would as well. You probably can get a better deal elsewhere, though. Links on the margins may also be referral links, check.

Genova Delicatessen Ravioli – Review

Love them!

Ravioli has been one of my favorite foods since I was a little kid. My Italian-Argentinian grandparents would make them by hand, and my first birthday was celebrated with a huge raviolada. I kept the same tradition when I celebrated my daughter’s first birthday, over 18 years ago, though in that occasion, as well any subsequent ones, I bought the ravioli already made, from the supermarket.

Genova Delicatessen Ravioli are, by far, my favorite ravioli in America. They have the softest, most supple pasta shells of any – fresh or frozen – that I have eaten. Indeed, as far as texture goes, I don’t think I’ve had any served at restaurants that surpass them.

The fillings are OK. Good without being too special. They are mildly seasoned, so they don’t stand to very flavorful sauces. In this occasion I paired them with a truffle pasta sauce from Safeway, and it was too much for it. Butter and Parmesan cheese are sufficient.



The ravioli come frozen and require that you separate them before boiling. They are rather small, so it’s a quick 5-minute boil. They do cost about twice as much as Safeway-brand ravioli, but they are a whole level above them.

Goya Platanos Maduros – Fried Plantains Review

Good, quick dessert from an evil company

As a matter of course, I try to avoid buying Goya products, but I needed to get a few things to meet the minimum for deliver through Instacart, and I figure I might as well tried these. I was pleasantly surprised. The frozen fried plantains are heated up in the microwave for a couple of minutes, so it’s basically an instant dessert. They are quite sweet, and not too mushy, and they pair well with either ice cream or whipped cream. It’s a rather rich dessert, so though the 11 oz package (pictured above after microwaving) doesn’t seem like much, it should be able to feed 3-4 people. It was on sale through Instacart for $3 at Cardenas market. I’m going to look to see if there is a similar product from a manufacturer other than Goya.

Note: the link to Instacart is a referral link, if you subscribed immediately after you click on it, I might get $10 credit and you would as well. You probably can get a better deal elsewhere, though.

Benihana Yakiosba Steak Review

Benihana Yakisoba Steak Frozen Entrée (10 oz) - Instacart

As much as I love to cook, sometimes I fall off the cooking bandwagon and I then rely on frozen food. I’ll be honest, most frozen entrees suck – so I was pleasantly surprised to find this particular one. It actually tasted like something I’d want to eat. The beef was tender and looked like beef, the noodles were good and the sauce was tasty. The main problem was that the entree wasn’t very big – but maybe I was specially hungry.

Vegan Pizza at Home: Review of Parmela Creamery Mozzarella style nut cheese & American Flatbread Farmers Tomato Pie

Back in August we visited Las Vegas, where my daughter had the BEST VEGAN PIZZA EVER at Trattoria Reggiano at The Venetian’s Grand Canal Shoppes. It tasted so much like a real cheese pizza that we suspected it might be real cheese after all. After all, my daughter had had plenty of pizzas with Daiya cheese, including from great pizzerias like Zachary’s, and they’ve always tasted like vegan pizza.

The waitress at Trattoria Reggiano had suggested that their pizza was made with nut cheese, so when we saw packages of Parmela Creamery Mozzarella style nut cheese at our local Grocery Outlet, we had to try it. My daughter is very glad we did. While it didn’t work I tried to make an Alfredo sauce with it, it makes a mean vegan pizza.

Parmela Creamery’s cheeses are made with cashew milk, which is cultured and then aged – following a process similar to dairy cheesemaking. It’s not surprising that they taste considerably better than Daiya’s cheeses, whose main ingredient is tapioca flour.

A search online suggests that it’s not easy to find Daiya cheese in stores, though there are a couple of places that sell them online, so we need to stock up at Grocery Outlet and start looking for other nut cheeses to try. When available, a 7 oz package of Parmela Creamery shreds costs $6-7.

My daughter has been making her close-to-real pizzas by putting the cheese on frozen American Flatbread Farmers Tomato Pie. This is a thin pizza shell covered in tomato sauce with some veggies, basil and balsamic vinegar. She just covers it with the shreds and bakes it. I also found this product at Grocery Outlet, but it also seems hard to find in regular stores. Where available it should retail for about $8. I’m not sure why this product is not described as vegan – the only potentially non-vegan ingredient listed is yeast.

Review: Margherita Italian-Style Meat Trio Panini

I found this frozen sandwich at Grocery Outlet for $2 and decided to give it a try. It was actually pretty tasty, though a little too heavy on the meats, which made it a bit salty for my taste. I microwaved it, so the panini was soft, but it was a pleasant doughy-chewy consistency. It’s not a huge bite, but it’s good for an easy snack.