Pros: Surprisingly tasty, easy to prepare
Cons: Expensive for frozen pizza
Ive never stepped foot in an actual California Pizza Kitchen. However, thanks to my local grocery store, I do enjoy the brands BBQ Chicken Pizza with self-rising crust on just about a weekly basis. Yes, were still talking frozen pizza. No, this stuff isnt gourmet. Still, as ready-in-ten-minute dinners go, BBQ Chicken Pizza remains at the top of my list.
The What and the Where
These days, California Pizza Kitchen products can be found in the freezer section of just about any respectable grocery store. Most places only carry a few of the brands many varieties. Topping options include Garlic Chicken, Thai Chicken, Sicilian, Cajun, and Hawaiian. New selections are continually being added. Expect to pay between $6.00 and $7.00 per pizza, except during the occasional two for $9.00 promotion.
California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizzas come in two varieties. Crispy thin crust pizzas are large in diameter but low in bulk. Self-rising crust pizzas look much smaller, but half of one definitely fills me up. BBQ chicken flavor is one of the only pizzas which is available in both types of crust, but we prefer the self-rising variety.
The How and Why
Even I, with my admittedly poor cooking skills, can handle cooking up a frozen pizza. Unbox the thing, cut it free of its plastic wrap layer, and throw it in the oven at 400 degrees. This particular pizza, along with others in the self-rising crust line, requires around twenty minutes to cook. If Im in a big hurry to eat on a particular night, I opt for one of the quicker-cooking thin crust pizzas instead.
Admittedly, $7.00 is a whole lot to pay for a relatively small frozen pizza. In fact, we can get a fresh pie of about the same size for $6.00 at our local pizza joint. Although I know that this BBQ Chicken Pizza is not the best bang for my grocery buck, I keep buying it because its just darn tasty. A combination of tangy BBQ sauce, red onion, chicken, and cheese elevate this pizza well above the freezer aisle norm. The crust puffs up quite nicely and crisps in just the right spots. While not a nutritional powerhouse, a whole pizza packs less than 900 calories, meaning I can eat half without feeling guilty.
While it certainly doesnt compare to a hot-from-the-oven pie served at our local pizzeria, BBQ Chicken Pizza makes for a reasonably tasty dinner on nights we just dont have the time or energy to even stop for carryout on the way home from work. Overpriced? Yes. Better than your average frozen pizza? Yes. Until the day I can pay for a live-in personal chef to cater to my culinary whims on demand, I expect that California Pizza Kitchen products will continue to be a staple at the Chelledun household.
*This has been an entry into the very worthwhile Food for Food Write-off. Come join the fun!