Totinos Pizza and Chili

I’m a grown adult, rapidly approaching 40 years old. I’ve got children, a mortgage, probably a bunch of other stuff that might suggest a mature individual with grown-up tastes. Well, I think most people who know me might laugh at the “grown-up tastes” portion of that statement. I can find no more definitive evidence of that than my life-long love of Totinos Pizza, especially when it’s topped with homemade chili.

If you’re not familiar with Totinos, it’s a bargain-priced square pizza that is recognizable by it’s bright red box (or more recently red plastic wrap) and $1-ish price. You may be more familiar with this pizza’s cousin, the amazing party food known as Totinos Pizza Rolls. It’s also remarkably unhealthy, with 19g fat, 6g saturated fat, and enough sodium to make my doctor cry. Just googling “Totinos pizza health” will give you such amazing results as “is Totinos pizza real food” and “The worst: Totinos Party Pizza.

All that being said, I still love these crispy little pizzas. Once upon a time, when I was a teenager, I randomly decided to put some of my mom’s chili on a cheese Totinos. It was a revelation! The crispiness of the light cracker-ish crust, the cheesey pizza goodness, the hearty chili…they all come together to sing a beautiful song (the chorus goes: “whyyyyyy did I eat thaaaat?).

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I actually made a pot of chili New Year’s Day, so last night the natural thought was; let’s put those leftovers to work! I had to add some extra cheese, because pizzas that cost $1 aren’t always the most generous with that aspect. But it turned out exactly as I’d hoped. Of course, my wife and kids (well the kid who has teeth) wanted nothing to do with this concoction. They just ate some regular pizza like normal people. Can you believe they missed out on this?

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I eat a lot of pizza. Yet again, here is something that is not news to friends and family. But, I would say Chili Totinos is more of an occasional guilty pleasure and a nostalgic call-back, rather than a regular part of my pizza rotation. If you want my judgment on the best frozen pizza, it’s still hands-down Tombstone. I’ve tried pretty much any brand I can get my hands on, and Tombstone is consistently the best. Tombstone’s crust crisps up nicely, the sauce has a good flavor, and the toppings are solid. And they’ve been that same level of tasty for like 20 years.

Digiorno used to give Tombstone a run for their money, but at some point they changed their ingredients. Digiorno’s sauce is now bland and sparsely applied, and what’s present sort of spreads into the dough, resulting in a mushy center even when the rest is well-done. Also, some honorable mention to California Pizza Kitchen’s frozen pizzas, which are good taste-wise, but too small and too expensive. And Screamin’ Sicilian Holy Pepperoni is of note; it started out as a delicious newer brand, but fizzled when they shuffled their pizza formula. These brands that seem to undergo major changes to their ingredient taste/quality make Tombstone’s consistency that much more remarkable to me.

Anywho, I enjoyed munching on this Chili & Totinos. Tombstone is the king, but Totinos is a fun court jester.

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