With three teen boys, ordering pizza for dinner has saved countless busy nights. However, I prefer making my own pizza to guarantee loads of healthy toppings and expose my kids to more veggies in the process. However, the time required to make and roll out dough (or even toss out a pre-made pizza crust) and chop up ingredients is a luxury reserved for the weekend. So, I’ve become “that woman” frantically running down the frozen foods aisle with a couple frozen cheese pizzas under her arm a half-hour before dinner. But, don’t worry, I have a couple frozen cheese pizza tricks up my sleeve!
First, I take a quick pass through the salad bar, filling a to-go box with all the colorful, pre-prepped produce that catches my eye. I’ve tried anything and everything from artichokes to zucchini and pineapple to peas – it all depends on my current state of craving. Some ingredients might be sprinkled on a salad, but my true intention is to use these sliced, diced, chopped and otherwise prepped toppings to add a farmer’s market flair to a plain pizza pie. Plus, my frugal side appreciates that I can buy just as much as I need to avoid waste.
Second, I grab a container of fresh, creamy dip or dressing from Litehouse Foods to sauce up the top of my pizza right before serving – or, to serve on the side for the “crust-dippers” in my family. Again, anything goes and I’ve used varieties like Homestyle Ranch Dressing, Blue Cheese Dressing, and Avocado Dip found on the refrigerated shelves of the produce department.
My last frozen cheese pizza transformation featured julienned beets, shaved Brussels sprouts, bits of leftover chicken, and a drizzle of creamy Avocado Dip. It may sound “out there,” but everyone agreed the once sad, frozen cheese pizza could have come from an upscale eatery!
In addition, to adding fresh toppings and sauces, try these additional tips for optimizing your frozen cheese pizza.
- Good Quality: While you don’t have to buy the cheapest frozen cheese pizza in the bin, the most fussy, expensive one isn’t required either. I look for a frozen cheese pizza with hand-tossed looking crust, not too much sauce, and that uses real, quality cheese.
- Thaw: Even though the directions might indicate otherwise, I let my pizza thaw on the countertop for about 10 to 15 minutes. Usually, it’s halfway thawed by the time I’m home from the store anyway. A thawed pizza can be cooked at a higher heat, in less time, offering a more authentic pizzeria experience.
- High-Heat: As mentioned, I quickly bake my thawed and self-topped pizza at high heat to create a crispy crust and quickly cook the toppings without scorching the cheese. Usually, about 450 F degrees, even a bit higher works great. However, you’ll have to reduce the cooking time listed on the package instructions. It usually takes only about 8 to 10 minutes to cook a thawed frozen pizza at high heat, but watch closely on your first few tries.