April Analysis – Doreen’s Frozen GF Pizzas

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE researching products. I work hard to earn money and I want that money to work hard for me in return. Therefore, I am very calculated about how I will spend my money. This is why research is such an important piece of my (and the hubby’s; aka Ultimate Researcher) life. I am willing to spend money on something that is quality and want YOU to spend your money the same way.

This is what fueled my April Analysis Series. I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts on products that are worth considering spending some dough on…

Annnnnnnnnd speaking of DOUGH… >horribly cheesy segway< … CHEESY!! >additional corny segway< … bummer… I’ve got nothing catchy for corn.

My first analysis post is going to be about PIZZA. Pizza is one of those blessed meals that is so satiating. It is a common cheat meal for fit fanatics and something most families in America eat on a weekly basis. And don’t even get me started on how many pizza places exist in the Chicagoland area!

Gluten free label 628x363

So… for those of us who have realized eating gluten free saves them from a lot of pain and suffering… Pizza is one of those items you lament giving up (seriously… Jet’s Pizza… PLEASE create a GF pie!!! And Giordano’s… GF deepdish would be GREAT).

Now, the hubby and I didn’t go out for pizza too often pre-GF and there are some pretty legit GF options out there today (but uh… to those pizzerias above… seriously… help a girl out). The issue comes down to… FROZEN pizzas. Again, a rare occasion, but the man and I liked to have two stowed away in the fridge for those nights that just need a quick meal (with a MONDO salad, of course).

When it comes to gluten free frozen pizzas, all the mega name brands are EXPENSIVE and many of them just don’t cut it when it comes to flavor and texture (just because you eat GF does not mean you want to eat things that taste bitter or like cardboard). And for those that are decent to eat, I simply cannot justify spending that kind of money on a convenience food; I’d rather get a fresh pie for take out for nearly the same price. I was to the point where I was just making pizza quesadillas and call it a night. WAY cheaper (I heart corn tortillas).

BUT THEN…

There just happened to be a sale on a locally owned place’s frozen variety of pizza…

DOREEN’S PIZZERIA now started carrying GLUTEN FREE PIZZA!

AND IT WAS ON SALE!!!!

20160303_200515-1.jpgSo we had to try it out because we had actually tried there normal frozen pizzas previously to our gluten free lifestyle and they were excellent and fresh tasting (hard to find with frozen foods; especially pizza). Not to mention, I am ALL about supporting local businesses instead of padding the corporations’ pockets.

We have now had the opportunity to try all FOUR gluten free pizzas:
(1) Pepperoni
(2) Veggie
(3) Sausage
(4) Cheese

And… finally…my review of these gluten free frozen pizzas!

Before I break down the different topping varieties, I want to talk about some general characteristics about the pizza that apply to all of them…

The first thing I said when I took my first bite was, “Wow, that is sweet.” And by sweet I mean not-so savory. I was actually surprised that there was no added sugar to the sauce (due to how 20160303_200524-1.jpgsweet it was), but there definitely is added sugar in the crust. It was by no means off-putting, but it was not as savory as I would have expected from a pizza. I did not add anything to these pizzas for the sake of a fair analysis of the product, but, I would imagine adding some parmesan garlic seasoning would help enhance the savoriness of the pizzas.

The sauce was very simple, some of the different flavors of pizzas seemed to taste as if they had more seasoning than others, but overall had a basic and sweet tomato taste to it. The level of acidity expected from tomatoes was not present. I enjoy the acidity, so I was hoping for some of that (again savoriness), but it by no means was a deal breaker for me. The sauce and the crust fuse somewhat (VERY common for GF pies), but it was not gummy. Overall it tasted clean and good; I am somewhat of a nit-picker when it comes to flavor from my years of mystery shopping! Sauce is also my favorite thing about pizza, which is uncommon apparently… so I may be more critical.

20160303_201857-1.jpg
Top: Light Pan / Bottom: Dark Pan

Let’s talk cooking methods… I made sure to cook the pizzas according to the box’s directions. I did not however, use the same baking sheet. For one, I used a light baking sheet and the other was dark. I HIGHLY suggest (and perhaps Doreen’s should write this in their instructions) that you use a LIGHT baking sheet for these, or putting down foil on your dark baking sheet. The difference in the done-ness of the crust was incredibly distinct. The dark baking sheet burned some of the crust and I cooked it at the proper temperature for the lowest amount of time listed in the directions. I am not sure if the cooking time is too long, but if I were to cook them again, I would bake them a few minutes less and then broil them until the cheese is bubbly.

More on the crust… It is a very thin and crunchy/cracker like crust. The flavor is very clean and somewhat sweet. I am guessing the added sugar is what may be causing the intense browning of the crust. For a gluten free frozen pizza crust, it is quite good. I would DEFINITELY recommend it over Udi’s any day!

And speaking of choosing Doreen’s over Udi’s… Doreen’s pizzas are definitely bigger and cheaper! This is a major win. Now when it comes to amount of toppings, I would venture to say that every single frozen pizza does not deliver what we consumers prefer, but you can always add on! I will say, however, that the amount of cheese was good for the pizza.

20160317_205121-1.jpgAs for flavors, I am going to have to say that Pepperoni was my most preferred pizza, but that is not to say the others were bad… and that is my topping of choice anyway. I hope that in the future they offer their Pepperoni Jalapeño flavor on gluten free crust! The Sausage, however, was actually quite good. I usually do NOT enjoy sausage on pizza, and really did enjoy this one. You could tell the meat was not made with fillers and it had great seasoning and flavor. It definitely tasted like an Italian sausage as opposed to some generic, black peppery, or breakfasty tasting sausage that some frozen pizza come with (blek). As for the Vegetable, it was actually not overpoweringly onion-y! I find that most frozen pizzas have this overt onion flavor, but Doreen’s veggies were well balanced and tasted fresh and delicious. The Cheese was quite good as well, not surprisingly! They CLEARLY use real cheese. The basics of the pizzas are solid, so the Cheese earned my approval.

20160317_205116-1.jpgOverall, I would definitely recommend Doreen’s Gluten Free Frozen Pizzas. Decent size, fresh and good flavors, decent price, and solid, local company. I reached out to them to let them know I would be doing a piece on them and they were so kind and very responsive. I love real people, doing real good work, who care about connecting with customers. Not to mention, on their website they say…

Established in 1986, Doreen’s uses expensive Lowfat Mozzarella Cheese (no cheap imitation cheese) on all pizzas for its great taste and is low in saturated fats and cholesterol.

Our pizza sauce is Fresh (not from concentrate), with no chemicals and low in acidity (won’t bother your tummy).  Our veggies are also fresh, not canned, for extra fiber and nutrients.

LOVE THESE VALUES! Doreen’s you have got our vote and I hope MANY more in the future!

You can check out their websites at:
http://www.doreenspizzeria.com/
http://doreenspizza.com/index.htm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Doreens-Gourmet-Frozen-Pizza-199323756854495/

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/doreenpizza

Have you had Doreen’s?? Comment below! Or share your favorite GF pizzas!

 

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