Some (most?) nights, pizza seems like the best and easiest thing for dinner. A quick stop at the grocery store and you can throw together your own–get a ball of dough, a jar of sauce, some shredded cheese, and a few toppings to sprinkle on that sound good. Or maybe delivery seems like the way to go. Click through a few customizations, and wait 45 minutes for it to show up at your door.
Other times, though, that all sounds like too much work. So you open the door to the frozen pizza section at Target since you were already there anyway, or into your freezer at home for the Red Baron you stored for a future date (today). There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a frozen pie once in a while. Even so-so pizza–like one kept frozen for weeks and tossed into the oven when the evening demands it–is still pretty good pizza.
But there are some simple steps that can take a frozen pizza to the next level. Just like a box of mac and cheese can be jazzed up with a few add-ins and tweaks, the ice-cold disc of crust, sauce, cheese, and the rest can be made much more enjoyable in similar ways. We’ve all been there: just learning to cook, eating on a budget, or making meals when you have little energy or motivation. Everyone deserves to enjoy the food they eat, and doing a little extra to cook-and-serve foods can go a long way to feeling more content with what’s on the plate.
For starters, definitely, preheat the oven. And use a pizza stone or handy alternative. You’ll be much happier with how the whole thing bakes–the crust, in particular. Also, you’ve probably noticed that the toppings crystallized into the cheese aren’t spread out very evenly. Take a few seconds to move them around a little so each slice will end up with a nice distribution of whatever you’ve got on top–pepperonis, mushrooms, and the like.
Then shake a little seasoning on. A frozen pizza seasoning, other herb blend, or even just some dried oregano or garlic brings out the flavor of the sauce and cheese. And speaking of cheese, don’t hesitate to sprinkle on some other shredded cheese you have in your fridge, or some spoonfuls of grated parmesan, romano, or asiago. The more cheese the merrier. But beware of cheeses that don’t brown up all that great–like cheddar.
Other topping additions can add to the deliciousness, too–depending on what your favorites are. Cured or cooked meats, sliced vegetables, olives, anchovies…maybe even fruit, if you’re into it (ham and pineapple, anyone?).
Once you’ve got it all seasoned and topped off, and the oven is ready to go, bake until it’s as golden and crispy as you like it. After it’s ready, that’s another opportunity to add toppings you wouldn’t have put on while it’s in the oven: things like arugula, basil, sage, or olive oil.
Let the pizza cool for a few minutes, then cut and serve. Don’t forget your condiments! Some blue cheese or ranch dressing, BBQ sauce, or something with chili and garlic (like sriracha or sambal oelek) only add to your fancied-up, quick-baked delicacy.
And that’s it! A regular old frozen entree becomes something a little more delicious and a little more interesting with just a bit of this from a spice jar and a bit of that from the fridge.
Do you have your own ways of jazzing up a frozen pizza? What other tweaks did we miss? What’s your favorite frozen pizza to fancy up? Let us know! We’ll surely be baking one for dinner again soon.