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Posts Tagged ‘Red Baron Pizza’

Compare & Contrast – Red Baron French Bread Pizza

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I’ve reviewed Red Baron products  before, frozen pies brought to you by the good folks at Schwan’s from Minnesota, my home territory. (Many believe Minnesota is the birthplace of frozen pizza, courtesy of Rose Totino, and later, Jeno Paulucci).

Today I wanted to take the two French bread pizzas and compare them by cooking one via microwave, the other in a conventional oven.

The instructions are straightforward.  For microwave, remove wrapper, then zap 2-3.5 minutes.  For conventional, preheat to 375, bake on cookie sheet 20-25 minutes.

Done.

Can you tell which loaf was cooked in which oven?  Wait for it….. wait for it…  the one on the left is the microwave product.  Surprised?  Me to.

Major differences to my senses?  The microwaved product is actually more visually appealing to me, and although the conventional oven one, the bread was “crispier”, overall taste did not differ between the two.  The limitations with “basic” microwaves remains the same, however, and that is uneven cooking, even with a carousel.  I’m guessing this product turns out much better in an up to date microwave.

But the taste is fine, mild sauce, slightly spicy pepperoni, a bit oily, but overall,  for me, the flavor and texture is better than a lot of ‘regular’ frozen pies.

I’d buy them again.

 

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Home Cookin’ Test – Red Baron Fire Baked Crust

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One I have tried before, just a quick update      because they were on sale for about $2, and     Mrs. BDB and her friends were enjoying yet     another vegan dinner at our house….and I was   going through carnivore withdrawal (that’s  what SHE said).

My impression last time was largely favorable, and either my taste buds are changing (probably constantly) or the recipe has been varied a little bit.  This time around, I found the sauce a little too “sweet” for my liking.  Didn’t put me off eating the entire 160 carb pie of course (more insulin, please), but OK, I don’t have the capacity that I used to, and the 18.76 ounces of Italian-Style Meat Trio pie took three different consumption periods (note that we no longer call them “meals” at our house) to polish off.

In old economy speak, those “consumption periods” would have been called “dinner”, “4th meal”, and “breakfast.”   So it’s really not a feat worth bragging about, not compared to my college days when I could polish off two 14″ pies from Basil’s Pizza (nee “Bill’s Pizza”) , in Northfield, MN, all be my lonesome (with a pitcher of beer chaser).

I also took exception to the ‘oiliness’ this time, a close-up pic (below) shows a puddle of ‘grease’ – which with a delivered pizza would have decorated the take-out box and been lessened, a bit, I suspect.

Overall?  A fantastic value at the price, and they are frequently on sale.

Red Baron Fire Baked Frozen Pizza

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Home Cookin’ Test – Red Baron Fire Baked Pizza

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Red Baron Fire Baked Pizza

Red Baron Fire Baked Pizza

From deep in the frozen pizza capital of the U.S., Marshall, Minnesota (????), comes this new offering from the Red Baron Brand, part of the Schwan’s Food Company. The  “Fire-Baked Original Crust Italian Style Meat Trio” is one of a plethroa of new types of pies the frozen pizza industry has introduced of late.

Red Baron posts their new offering is “the authentic pizzeria style taste that comes from cooking the crust in a fiery 800°F oven – tender on the inside, and crispy on the bottom. Topped with all the finest vegetables, meats and 100% real cheeses.” 

 

Red Baron Fire Baked Pizza

Red Baron Fire Baked Pizza

 The 22 oz meat monster is topped with ham, sausage and pepperoni, though “contents may settle during shipping”, and you will note in this pic, that you will have to do a little remodeling between removing the pizza from the box and placing it in the oven.

The product calls for fairly standard baking instructions, and the box provides you with directions to obtain a crispy crust, or a softer one, depending on whether you place the pizza directly on an oven shelf, or on a cookie sheet.  I often wish manufacturers would also provide a set of instructions for cooking on a stone, but realize I am in a  clear minority of people who employ that method at home.

Five minute prior to the end of the baking cycle, the pie looks as depicted below.  Although not suggested by Schwan’s, I usually finish off my frozen pies under the broiler for a moment or two.  I  like the effect that ‘heat blast’ has on the cheese.
 
Overall, I liked this offering.  The sauce is mildly-spiced, the meats have fairly good flavor, the pepperoni doesn’t cup or char.  The ham and sausage pieces could be bigger.  Red Baron comes in a mid-price range for frozen pizzas, around $4 or $5, but often on sale.
Schwan’s “Tony’s” brand seems to be their low price offering, with their Freschetta lable hitting the higher end of the spectrum (but still not as much as California Pizza Kitchen or Wolfgang Puck.
My conclusion is that this pie is as good as any in its segment, and the ‘fire-baked’ treatment does make for a more pleasurable crust experience.

The frozen pizza industry is busy trying to lure consumers with new choices, or at least new descriptors – ‘artisan’, ‘pizzeria-style’, ‘home-style vegetables’ and so on.  A number of brands have even started selling frozen slices.

I previously took a look at other Schwan’s offerings from their frozen pizza line, Tony’s “Garlic Cheese Bread,” and their “Crispy Crust Party Time Pizza. ”

Red Baron Fire-Baked Pizza

Red Baron Fire-Baked Pizza

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Tonys Pizza Review – Garlic Cheese “Bread”

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Tonys Pizza Review

Tony’s Pizza Logo

Schwans, a Minnesota company primarily in the direct to consumer (home delivery) food business, acquired the Tony’s Brand in 1970, and started selling the pizzas direct to consumers, and eventually, to grocery stores.  

Tony’s is part of a much larger portfolio at Schwans now, which also includes the Fruschetta and Red Baron pizza brands.

Schwans has 6,700 trucks in the US, delivering fresh and frozen food items to homes all over America.  One might be surprised that in this day and age, this business had not only survived, but thrived.  Worldwide, Schwans has over 18,000 employees!

Tony’s sells a variety of what I would call “value-priced” frozen pizza products, including their original crust, thin & crispy crust, individual pizzas, snack rolls, and individual microwavable snack pizzas.

I’m not sure which national pizza chain started the idea of using a crust, putting cheese and sauce on it,  cutting it on a different bias, and calling it “pizza bread” or some variation, but for some reason I am thinking it was Little Caesars.  

But it has become common place at the national pizza chains, and has started to make it’s way into the frozen pizza sections of grocery stores.   One might find “garlic cheese bread” as a selection, as I did with Tony’s; other brands sell a combination pack of frozen pizza and “breadsticks” such as one might order at a chain pizzeria. DiGiorno, a frozen pizza grand created by food giant Kraft, sells the combo product.  

DiGiorno was sold to Swiss food giant Nestle earlier this year.  It joined other iconic frozen food brands in the Nestle portfolio, like Maggi, Lean Cuisine, Hot Pockets, and Stouffer’s.

Tony’s Garlic Cheese Bread is part of Tony’s “original crust” pizza line, although the product does not have the word “pizza”on its box.  Instructions call for baking the ‘pie’ at 425 for 9-11 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the crust is browned.

The taste is more than adequate for this type of value-priced product.   If you slice it in long pieces, it’s cheese bread; triangles or squares, and topped with your leftovers, it’s a pizza.   With the current promotion of a coupon on every box for one free game of bowling, basically you are getting the pizza for free (if you bowl).

If you’re looking for Tony’s products, you can find them in nearly every frozen food section of groceries across the US, or use the handy “Where to Buy” locator on their website.  If you are interested in having Schwan’s food service deliver top-notch groceries and treats directly to your door, you can contact your local delivery point via the box in the upper left hand corner of their home page.

And if being a Schwans delivery person seems like a good career move for you, start the application process here.

 

Tonys Pizza Review


Tonys Pizza Review

Tonys Pizza Review

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