If you ever find yourself in a Southern Indiana grocery store and see a young couple standing in the frozen novelties section shouting, “I LOVE TOTINO’S PIZZA ROLLS” at one another, stop and introduce yourself because that would be me and my handsome husband.
Hi, we’re dorks.
It all comes from this commercial, which is all kinds of ridiculous and hilarious. And that means it is fair game to turn into a Johnston Household Inside Joke. We scream “I LOVE TOTINO’S PIZZA ROLLS” way more than I feel comfortable admitting.
The scary part about it is that we actually do love Totino’s Pizza Rolls. They are everything that is wrong with the American food system. There is no real nutritional value for the insane amount of calories and fat per serving. And I tried to count the number of ingredients once, but then my brain imploded.
But damn, they are delicious and junkfooderific. Some of my very best slumber parties in middle school were punctuated by the burn of too-hot pizza roll filling on my tongue. Pizza Rolls are little deep-fried nostalgia packets. Delicious and sentimental!
I knew it was only a matter of time before I tried to make my own. I struggled with months trying to figure out how to do the crust/pocket/dough in a way that was delicious, healthy and efficient. I wasn’t about to make my own dough and roll out 40,000 mini squares. Inspiration finally struck when I made baked mozzarella sticks—wonton wrappers! PERFECT.
Wonton wrappers are typically used when frying, but they also bake up beautifully. They get crispy and golden and hold onto filling like a champ. My grocery store (the one where you’ll find me screaming about pizza rolls) sells them in the natural foods cooler near the tofu and other meat substitutes.
For the filling, I went sans-meat—green peppers, onions and garlic, but really, you can use whatever fillings make your heart go pitter-patter. Just make sure you use a good, flavorful sauce and lots of fresh shredded cheese. Shredding fresh is where it’s at for flavor and texture (wood- or cotton-based additives are put in the bagged stuff so it doesn’t stick together).
And yes, we definitely started shouting, “I LOVE JOHNSTON’S PIZZA ROLLS” while consuming these. It’s our bit. We’re gonna go with it. Take it on the road. We’ll make millions!
Baked Homemade Pizza Rolls
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 48 rolls
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 large green pepper, diced fine
- 1 small onion, diced fine
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Cooking spray
- 1 package wonton wrappers (about 48 wraps)
- In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add in garlic, green pepper and onion. Cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in marinara and mozzarella.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange three wonton wrappers along the bottom edge of the sheet. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling into the middle of each wrapper. Using a finger dipped in water, run along the edge of each wrapper and then fold wrapper in half and press down to seal. Continue until baking sheet is filled with pizza rolls (spaced about 1″ apart). Spray tops with cooking spray and bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until rolls are golden and crispy. Repeat process with remaining wraps and filling.
- Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving (filling will be hot).