The Recipe Club

My sister's version


Yesterday, I posted about my New Year’s Resolutions. I am happy to report that for the second day in a row, I woke up with no snooze alarm! Lest you think I am a bastion of willpower, let me let you in on a secret. At night, before I go to bed, I set the alarm on my cell phone. Then, I get out of bed and put my phone far out of my arm’s reach. Then, in the morning, I am forced to get out of bed to turn off the alarm. Once I’m out of bed, my dogs are looking at me longingly and my workout clothes are all laid out, so I figure I might as well go ahead and get dressed instead of crawling back into bed and hitting that snooze button.

So far, this technique is working for me. The Taste Tester (TT), however, is not a fan. Jealous of my newfound resolve and willpower and also a big believer in snoozing, he has decided to set his alarm earlier than my alarm, thereby waking me up and giving me the effect of the snooze alarm, even though I am not actually hitting the snooze button. The joke’s on him though, because this gives me the best of both worlds. I still get the gradual wake-up the snooze alarm gives me, but I am also out of bed at just the right time. No over-sleeping and starting the day off rushing. Instead I am up at 6:30, ride my exercise bike, make my coffee, and slowly get ready for the day. Aside from letting my dogs out 3-4 times, chasing one dog up and down a steep hill in our backyard because she won’t come inside, and spending part of the morning outside in frigid temperatures in my bathrobe; it’s pretty much the perfect start to an excellent day. Read more

The Best Frozen Pizza (in a convection oven)

The Taste Tester is an unabashed, unapologetic lover of ALL pizza. He is not discerning in his taste. Pizza, even pizza I would consider sub-par, is better than any other meal in his opinion. His standard in evaluating most of the things I make is-would he choose this over pizza? The answer is almost always no.

This makes eating out a challenge. Pizza is usually the cheapest option when eating out or getting take-out. And, since eating out is usually a rather unhealthy endeavor, the Taste Tester hates to waste his calories on a meal he considers only average. Therefore, we eat a lot of frozen pizzas, as they are usually cheaper and more convenient than eating out.

For as long as we have been together, the Taste Tester’s go-to frozen pizza brand was Tombstone. Pepperoni to be exact. But recently, we wondered, is this still the best frozen pizza? There have been so many recent developments in the frozen pizza realm, so we decided we should get to the bottom of it once and for all.

The Test

To determine the very best frozen pizza, we sampled a pepperoni pizza from each brand. They were each cooked in my microwave convection oven, not my conventional oven. I think this may have had an effect on the crispiness of the crust, but once we started with the convection oven, I did not think it was fair to switch. We will do another test using the conventional oven and see if that changes the results.

To help you interpret our opinions, you should know that the Taste Tester loves pepperoni and it is his preferred pizza. I like all kinds of toppings but am normally satisfied with pepperoni as well. I also prefer thin crust while the taste tester usually likes New York style pizzas, but is open to all types of crust without a strong preference.

Each pizza was rated by both the Taste Tester and myself in each of the following categories:


We rated them on a scale of 1-10 in each category, which left a total possible 40 points from each of us, for a total of 80 possible points.

The Results

The Taste Tester and I, in the interest of science, will continue to test as many frozen pizzas as we can get our hands on. I have summarized the scores here and I will link to the reviews as I write them! This is completely unbiased and we were not in any way compensated or requested to give these reviews. Believe it or not we took it completely upon ourselves to conduct this experiment.

Freschetta Brick Oven: 73.1%

DiGiorno Stuffed Crust: 65.6%

Red Baron Classic Crust: 50.6%

DiGiorno Rising Crust: 47.5%

Meijer Pizzeria Hand Tossed: 45%

Kroger Rising Crust: 45%

Kroger Simple Truth Organic: 15%


DiGiorno Rising Crust Pizza

For this test, we tasted the DiGiorno Rising Crust Pizza. At Meijer, this retails for $5.49, but we found it on sale for $4.88.

Total: 38/80; 47.5% 

The Breakdown:

Taste Tester

Crust: 4/10

Sauce: 6/10

Toppings: 6/10

Overall Taste: 5/10

Total Score: 21/40


Crust: 3/10

Sauce: 3/10

Toppings: 6/10

Overall: 5/10

Total Score: 17/40


Both the Taste Tester and I were relatively satisfied with the amount and the quality of the toppings on this pizza, but I felt it was way too much crust. The crust was soft on the bottom, it was hard to get this one cooked through without burning the top. I definitely felt the sauce here gave the distinct frozen pizza taste.



Bacon, Black Bean, and Corn Tacos

3683 cal
270 g
82 g
279 g

Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

Yields 4

Bacon, Corn, & Black Bean Tacos

20 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 7 strips bacon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 jalapeno peppers, chopped and seeded (or leave the seeds, this is to taste)
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 4 ears corn, removed from cob (or about 3-4 cups)
  • Milk, to taste (optional)
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Toppings: cilantro, sour cream, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.


  1. In a cast iron skillet (or other large skillet), fry bacon to desired crispness.
  2. Remove bacon from skillet and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Leave the bacon grease in the skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the onion, followed by the peppers to the bacon grease and cook about 5 minutes, until soft but not brown. Reduce heat if needed.
  4. Add the corn to the pan. Fry corn until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. If you want to make this step even faster, microwave the corn on the cob for 5 minutes. This will mostly cook the corn then it should fry much more quickly.
  5. For a creamier-style corn, you can add a bit of milk at this time. I forgot about the milk so I did not try it this way.
  6. Once corn is cooked, stir in black beans until heated through.
  7. Cut bacon into small pieces and add to pan or use as a topping for the tacos.
  8. Makes 4 servings of two tacos each.

Ahhh August. Is there anyone who doesn’t love this time of the year? I mean, sure, it’s hot, but all the best things are in season. Tomatoes. Peaches. Corn. This is the time of the year to figure out how to use these fresh ingredients in as many ways as possible. Like turning corn into corn tacos. With bacon. Do I even need to say more?

corn taco 1

3 more weeks of summer means 3 more weeks of corn! (That’s right southerners-it’s still summer up north, no school until after Labor Day!) I have been buying it by the dozen and freezing it for winter. This weekend I got 5 ears/$1. Can you beat that? This year, the Taste Tester, who previously was not a big fan of corn, has come around to liking it. Partially because I have been grilling instead of boiling and partially because it’s so cheap! I was nervous about this recipe since he is not a big fan of corn, but he really liked it* and we ended up enjoying the leftovers** for dinner the following night. (Leftovers from meals the Taste Tester doesn’t care for end up as my lunch!)

corn taco 2 Read more

Sweet Potato Breakfast Pizza

Sweet potatoes have a special place in the heart of both the taste tester and myself. In the first 26 years I spent on earth, I cannot think of a single time, outside of Thanksgiving, that I ate a sweet potato. Then, seemingly all of the sudden, around 2012, sweet potatoes started having a “moment.” Sweet potato fries started popping up on menus and it seemed that their popularity soared. Or maybe that was only in my head. Maybe the sweet potatoes were there all along and I just hadn’t bothered to notice.

Read more

Bell Pepper Nachos

I LOVE nachos. Like it might be my desert island food. If I am going to a desert island, I am choosing between popcorn, ice cream, or nachos. Popcorn might get old and ice cream might not last long given the whole desert thing. So yah, nachos. So versatile! So many ways to eat them, I would never ever tire of them.

And most nacho toppings are not all that bad for you. The meats tend to be lean, beans, veggies, salsa, maybe a little cheese (or maybe a lot!). But really, if it wasn’t for all those pesky chips, I could eat nachos every day! So that got me thinking, how could I make nachos sans chips? Enter bell pepper nachos. All the flavor with none of the chips! Read more

Cheap Eats: Greek Yogurt Pasta

Pasta has a pretty bad rap these days, and mostly for good reason. The serving sizes are pretty puny when compared to its vegetable noodle equivalents and I don’t find it particularly filling. If you make a meal on only pasta, you may find yourself feeling pretty chubby over the next few days, especially if you are a carb-avoider like me!

BUT, this pasta, is SO WORTH IT! First, it couldn’t be easier to prep. It comes together so quickly and it could be a one-pot meal if you skip the mushrooms. Second, instead of loading up the carb-heavy pasta with a creamy, fat-laden, coma inducing sauce, these noodles are nestled in a pool of Greek yogurt. And, as we all know, Greek yogurt is pretty low in calories and has tons of health benefits such as providing protein, being super filling, and filling your belly with lots of good bacteria. Not to mention, this is CHEAP to make and will last several days in the fridge. Read more

Greek Pizzas with Roasted Chickpeas

So last week I told you about a few “misses” in the kitchen. I think we all have those sometimes or at least it makes me feel better to think I am not the only one. Of all the meals my mom cooked for me over the years, I only really remember one “miss.” It was a mandarin orange salad, which must have been way ahead of its time, because at that time in my young life mandarin oranges in a salad seemed baffling. The thing is, I have no idea what the salad actually tasted like, I only remember teasing my mom relentlessly about the dreaded “orange salad.” Now I have to assume that in 20+ years of cooking for a family this cannot be the only miss my mother had, but it is the only one that comes to mind. So here’s hoping that my misses fade into the background of the taste tester’s memory! Read more

No Bean Chili From Scratch

This week has been a rough one in the FoodioCentric kitchen. Do you ever have those weeks when, despite your best intentions, nothing comes out as planned? On Monday, it was an attempted “healthy” recreation of my Mom’s chicken casserole (originally with Bisquick) that, due to a lack of butter, went horribly, horribly wrong. On Tuesday it was Greek pizzas, which I found so delicious that I had one every day for lunch this week, but were a definite miss with the taste tester. On Wednesday, it was this chicken, which both smelled and tasted heavenly but had a pinkish hue that left the taste tester unable to fully enjoy it for fear of contracting salmonella. So yah, last night, I needed a win in a big way. Read more

Easy Food for Busy People: Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce

There are times in life when it seems natural to spend lots of time in the kitchen, making special, labor intensive meals. Christmas, birthdays, and long, cold weekends seem to almost demand those special, all-day-in-the-oven type meals. If you’re anything like me, when you find yourself with free time, you may like to take on cooking projects that are just as likely to end in failure as success, but undoubtedly push you to become better and more confident in the kitchen.

Then there are the other seasons in life. The time when sitting down and actually eating your food while it is still warm seems like an accomplishment. Maybe your kids are small or you’re busy at work or you decided to study for the bar exam, shop for a house, and train a new puppy all at the same time. Whatever the reason, this can be a time of learning in the kitchen as well. Read more