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Favorite Frozen Food?

I know most chowhounders, including myself, prefer to actually cook meals with fresh ingredients, but sometimes we're too tired or busy to do anything but stick a frozen meal in the microwave or toaster oven. I was just wondering what people's favorite frozen foods are, in hopes of finding some hidden gems!

I'll start:

*Trader Joe's Mildly Spiced Vegetable Burritos
*Lean Cuisine Butternut Squash Ravioli (surprisingly tasty given it's lo-cal nature)
*Babu's Pocket Sandwiches in Palak Paneer (these are basically Indian hot pockets and can be found at most Indian grocery stores)

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  1. Pretty much anything by Amy's but my alltime favorite is Stouffer's Mac and Cheese

    7 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      Stouffer's mac and cheese was a childhood favorite of mine!

      So far I have found Evol to make the best frozen burritos, especially the pork and green chile variety.

      Also, I have never been disappointed with an Amy's frozen meal.

      1. re: mels

        We also love Evol in this house. Ditto for Amy's. I adore their green tamales.

        For quick dinners, I like poached eggs on top of Trader Joe's Japanese fried rice or kimchi fried rice. Also love the vegan orange "chicken" but you need about one bag per person to fill you up.

        If you want meat, the TJ's precooked grilled chicken strips are great. We use them in tortillas with cheese and Amy's refried beans or in fajitas.

      2. re: mamachef

        Although living without a fridge, Stouffer's Mac and Cheese is consistently better than most I get here in Florida. Whether restaurant, diner, or BBQ.

        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

          yup -- stouffer's mac and cheese is still the gold standard. hard to believe after all these years -- decades! -- no one has come close to cracking that recipe.

        2. re: mamachef

          oooh yes, Stouffer's mac and cheese, microwaved so that it has those cripy edges! Nothing is better than that!

          1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

            Okay, I have to admit, I've never tried this stuff, but with all the love for it on this site, I think I might pick up a package the next time I'm at the store.

        3. Michael Angelo's Vegetable Lasagna

          2 Replies
          1. re: redfish62

            + one on the MA's vegetable lasagne. Inexpensive, light on the pasta, crisp veggies.

            1. re: redfish62

              Yes x 100!!! It's great, especially if you have time to cook it in the oven.

            2. Several Lean Cuisines (Swedish Meatballs, lasagna, their pizzas)
              Morning Star Farms products

              1. Totino's

                Corn Dawgs (just about any brand)

                Tabatchnik Soups
                Marie Callendar Pot Pies

                11 Replies
                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                  I forgot how much I love Tabatchnik soups! Especially the cabbage one!

                  Amy's Breakfast Burrito
                  Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza
                  Stouffer's vegetable lasagna..... so bad yet so good
                  Morningstar Farms Mushroom Lovers Burger

                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                    Although they're kind of pricey, I usually have two or three "boxes" of Tabachnik's in the freezer. I don't know that I've ever gotten anything frozen from Trader Joe's that I didn't enjoy but I haven't tried that much. I also really like Celetano's eggplant parm and their cheese tortellini.

                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                      Tabatchnik's is frozen where you are, PK? Here, it comes in shelf-stable cartons. The frozen would prolly be better.

                      1. re: mamachef

                        Actually, mama, Tabatchnik is now totally unavailable where I live. ): But a local store used to carry the frozen stuff and it was terrific although pricey as southernitalian says.

                        1. re: mamachef

                          I've only seen Tabatchniks in the frozen foods aisle.... what shelf-stable items do they have?

                          1. re: kubasd

                            Well, I don't know all of them, but currently showing in a kitchen cupboard near me are Tabachnik's Tomato and Cream of Mushroom soups. They're veryvery good for a processed food, e.g. you can't taste the chemicals. I was just wondering if a frozen product might not be that much better.

                            1. re: mamachef

                              You've got the ones in the cartons, right?

                              I've had both the frozen and the "shelf stable" Tabachnik soups and they are all grand. The frozen ones taste a tad bit fresher.

                              1. re: happybaker

                                Yep, the shelf-stable cartons. Okay, happybaker: thanks for the information. You confirmed what I suspected. : )

                        2. re: Perilagu Khan

                          Oh Totino's Party Pizza . . .how I love thee. I've never served one or been served one at a party. It's more of a personal indulge by myself party.

                          1. re: seamunky

                            They are oddly good. I like that flaky, crispy crust.

                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                              I haven't had one of those in years. Years ago I could eat two of them at a time. What is interesting is that there is not any actual cheese on them and yet they are still 'oddly good'.

                              Aldi has cheap battered cod that is ok (especially when compared to the cost of Schwann's) and their frozen breaded shrimp isn't bad for the price. The biggest problem with these frozen foods is the salt content. That's why we never buy the rotisserie chicken from the grocery stores or Costco, just too much salt.

                        3. Trident brand pub batterd cod
                          Stouffers macaroni & beef in tomato sauce
                          Stouffers stuffed peppers
                          And I still like Banquet pot pies, always have, can't beat the price!

                          1. Amy's Pesto Tortellini Bowl
                            Stouffers or Amy's Mac & Cheese
                            I realize this is likely only on my list...but the baby Celeste frozen pizzas for one
                            Evol burritos
                            Stouffer's Creamed Chipped Beef

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                              Not just you - I'm also a fan of the little Celeste frozen pizzas. The only place that I can get them is Target, and I will make a special trip.

                              And an unhealthy love for the Farm Rich Philly Cheesesteak pockets...I know, I know. But they are cheesy and delicious.

                            2. Alexia frozen potatoes

                              I agree on the Lean Cuisine butternut squash ravioli- the Healthy Choice ones are good too

                              Sara Lee pound cake

                              Dr. Oetker frozen pizzas

                              1. Right now I'm pretty hooked on Costco's frozen edamame. A giant plastic bag with 8 or so smaller bags inside. Each small bag is a perfect bar snack size for 3 or 4, or nice for lunch.

                                I also love Ore Ida Tater Tots. I make them for breakfast, cooked in a CI skillet with onions and chopped jalapenos, broken up with a spatula so they're almost hashed brown-like.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: tcamp

                                  I like Ore-Ida's Fast Food fries. The Tater Tots are also very good.

                                  1. re: tcamp

                                    I always get the Seapoint Farms Lightly Salted edamame in the shell. I eat a bag for a meal sometimes.... I know I shouldn't, but with the spicy ginger-garlic sauce I make it just tastes soooo good!

                                    And their Eat Your Greens blend is tasty, too. A great easy dinner is quinoa cooked in some veggie broth in a sauté pan. When the quinoa is almost done, I toss in some of the EYG mix with some toasted sesame oil, some ginger coins, and some crushed garlic.

                                  2. All time favorite that I don't buy that often...
                                    Banquet Fried Chicken - crunchy
                                    Tostino Frozen Pizza - cheap
                                    Frozen Burritos - fast

                                    Things I buy for family meals or snacks
                                    Costco Poststickers
                                    Trader Joe's Frozen pasta meal (?)
                                    Hot Pockets

                                    1. Pillsbury Toaster Strudel - greasy crispy, hot and gooey, fun to frost

                                      Fishsticks and Filets of all sorts and varieties - the breaded kind not battered. Current favorite is Sea-Pak Fish Nuggets

                                      Wei-Chuan Dumplings - fast and easy meal and cheaper than I can make myself

                                      Banquet Pot Pies - gravy and pie crust and childhood memories. Plus, every time I marvel at the research and development they put into reformulating the crust so that it browns and crisps in the microwave. I know it's all chemicals and processing but it really is a food science modern marvel.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: seamunky

                                        I also love fish sticks. Most people like to look back on childhood with a disdain for the humble fish stick. Oh no. No, my friends. I LOVE fish sticks. As I have grown older and more aware of what goes into my food I opt for ones with minimal ingredients, like Dr. Praeger's brand. But I still love them!

                                        1. re: mels

                                          Seriously? I bought the Dr. Praeger's kosher for passover fish shaped sticks for an easy passover meal and they were horrid! Among the worst foods I've ever eaten. They had the consistency of school paste. Did I do something wrong? I cooked them according to the directions, but they were really really nasty.

                                          1. re: mels

                                            Oh my God - how could I have left frozen fish sticks off my list!!!!! I still buy them when I'm in the mood for "blast-from-the-past comfort food". MUST be accompanied by Kraft (or Velveeta) boxed mac & cheese. Although these days I do make a little bow to health by adding some steamed broccoli florets. ;)

                                            Also like & buy frozen pierogies. All the brands I've tried have been good.

                                        2. Oddly enough, the Safeway Supermarket chain's own house brand ("Select") of pretty much everything is pretty darn good - frozen items included. We've enjoyed not only their frozen line of appetizer/snack/canape items, but also their frozen lasagna & other entree items.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Bacardi1

                                            Their empanadas are pretty awesome.

                                          2. Stouffer's spinach souffle. OMG it is so good, like crack!

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: tzurriz

                                              I.Love.that.stuff. Love it with a BIG love. Oh hey, and for a side dish, if you can stand to do it, that souffle is awesome mixed w/ noodles. I mix mine with a little butter and parm., my sister uses a little sour cream, and my cousins use a little cottage cheese in it, but any way you do it, it's delicious!!

                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                Ohhh, I never even thought about mixing it with noodles! Or anything for that matter, I always just zap it and then eat the whole damn thing myself when I'm alone or depressed. :) Now you've given me some great ideas!

                                                1. re: tzurriz

                                                  What do you mean, "eat the whole damn thing myself?" It's only one portion!!!! AAAhahahaha!

                                                2. re: mamachef

                                                  I like to thaw it out, mix with fresh cheese tortellini (that has been cooked), cover with mozz and bake until it's brown and bubbly.

                                                  1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                    Now you've REALLY messed me up, Janet! YUMMMMM!

                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                      Mmm. I think I know what dinner will be the next time the husband works late.

                                                        1. re: Bacardi1

                                                          Oh, and it's a great pot luck dish.....people will think you slaved all day over it (not kidding).

                                                    2. re: tzurriz

                                                      I do the souffle on top of a toasty English muffin and poached egg. Delicious.

                                                    3. Mrs. T's potato and onion pierogies. Just saute them in a little butter.

                                                      Trader Joes turkey meatballs. In either a jarred marinara sauce or with beef gravy with sour cream.

                                                      I too like the banquet pot pies. Mostly for the price.

                                                      Trader Joe's Alscace frozen flat bread (i think that's the name)

                                                      Stouffers spinach soufflee

                                                      Weight watchers dark chocolate/raspberry ice cream bars.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                        Yikes - you reminded me of many I forgot!

                                                        Love Mrs. T's. If you want to pretend you are healthy, toss them with not just butter but also spinach and some parmesan cheese.

                                                        Adore Stouffer's spinach souffle. LIke elegant baby food - and I mean that in a good way!

                                                        1. re: happybaker

                                                          Forget healthy...saute them with some onions!

                                                          1. re: cavandre

                                                            Naughty!

                                                            And yup, my dad used to serve them with caramelized onions. So good!

                                                        2. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                          We too like Mrs. T's however our preference is the potato and cheese, they're more authentic to our family's culture. Recently, we discovered Aldi has pierogies of similar quality for half the price. They say it's limited to quantities on hand but I hope they start to carry them on a regular basis.

                                                        3. I forgot one that is my favorite...Kroger Private Selection croissants. They are fabulous.

                                                          (scroll down) http://www.kroger.com/in_store/corpor...

                                                          1. Firecracker pops!!!
                                                            (Sorry, lapse back to age 5...when they were called non p.c. "Bomb Pops")

                                                            Thumbs up for Stouffers Mac and Cheese, French Bread Pizza ("Deluxe" style) and their spinach souffle....I could tear through four packages of the stuff if I let myself.

                                                            1. We don't have a microwave so frozen food is often more time consuming and inconvenient that making something fresh but I have been known to pick up potstickers at Trader Joe's if I'm starving and want something I can make quickly as soon as I get home.

                                                                1. While I am no chef and quite often reach for a frozen food, this list made me wanna hurl, haha. Stouffers or Lean cuisine anything, yikes.

                                                                  With the sad state of pizza these days, I used to get Tombstones deluxe, but then my stove broke and I had to resort to something smaller. I picked up a few Celeste Pizza's and haven't looked back. Deluxe, Sausage and Pepperoni, Mushroom, Three cheese. Amazingly fresh taste for a frozen pizza and at $1.25 a pop, the perfect meal with a side salad.

                                                                  Only other microwave foods I buy regularly are these egg sandwiches at a gas station near me. The bagel gets a little soggy and the egg is a little bland, but the sausage is delicious. I ass a little sriracha too it and it's not too bad.

                                                                  Late night snacks - White Castles and I don't know the brand but it's a steak and bean burrito....gotta try and find the brand name though. Delicious.

                                                                  1. Even though I don't have a gluten intolerance, I love Kettle Cuisine Thai curry soup:

                                                                    http://www.kettlecuisine.com/content/...

                                                                    Stouffer's french bread pizza is a close second.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. *TJ's masala burgers
                                                                      *Jamaican beef patties (Tower iirc). I just buy them as singles. Great snack with pickapeppa sauce!
                                                                      *Kroger has some hard to find but excellent sous vide entrees for two. Ther's a cajun stuffed pork chop, chicken marsala, several others All have been delicious. My Kroger doesn't keep them by the frozen dinners. They are hidden by the frozen poultry, burgers, etc.
                                                                      *Once in a while Fridays Buffalo style wings hit the spot!

                                                                      1. +1 on the Stouffer's mac n cheese, baked till golden and bubbly - it get's this crust I love!

                                                                        Marie Calendars Turkey pot pies (large), on sale, they are a great value for comfort food. Yes, my homemade is far better, but in a pinch, these are a technology marvel (how DO they get that crust to brown in the micro?).

                                                                        TJ's French Onion soup. It's a PITA to bake it, but it tastes really pretty home-made when done. With a salad, it's a fave winter dinner when solo.

                                                                        Mrs. T's potato/onion Perogies. A nice alternative starch on occasion.

                                                                        Ling Ling Potstickers shrimp & Veg, or Pork. Steamed then fried, and my awesome dipping sauce. A nice simple dinner on occasion.

                                                                        1. ok...here are mine

                                                                          TJ's frozen ham and gruyere flat bread. ditto their Wild Mushroom and Black Truffle Flatbread . Their self rising chocolate croissants are pretty good too.The only pain is that you have to take them out of the freezer the night before.
                                                                          I use TJ's puff pastry all the time.

                                                                              1. re: malibumike

                                                                                omg are you kidding. just had stouffer's lasagna at a friends house and it was nothing but over-cooked mushy noodles, over-thickened tomato sauce and some cheese like product on top, didn't even seem to be layers in. If there was meat in there i never saw or tasted it. even my non-foodie friends were rather appalled. am i missing something here?

                                                                                I always have frozen mixed vegetables in the freezer, some boneless skinless chicken thighs, some ground beef chubs, and recently the individually packaged frozen ahi steaks from costco. to add insult to injury i just throw them on my foreman grill (a gift i'm embarrassed to admit I use a lot) still frozen, and by the time the outside is nicely brown the inside is still rare. So good.

                                                                                Until i read the thread I didn't realize how little prepared frozen food i use, but how much of what I eat comes out of the freezer one way or the other.

                                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                  The Stouffers veggie lasagna is surprisingly good.

                                                                                  1. re: happybaker

                                                                                    I agree. I'm not a huge fan of Stouffer's regular lasagna, but the veggie is great. I also like their beef, macaroni & tomatoes.

                                                                              2. Love Stouffer's lasagna. My DH thinks it's a little too sweet, so I don't buy it much.
                                                                                Also loved Mama Rosie's frozen meat ravioli, but I don't see it at all any more, just cheese.
                                                                                Haven't had Banquet chicken pot pie in years, but loved it when I was young. Are they still the same?

                                                                                Other frozen things I buy regularly are:
                                                                                baby peas
                                                                                shrimp
                                                                                Oreida French fries
                                                                                Pep Farm puffed pastry

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: noodlepoodle

                                                                                  Yup - always have everything on your list in the freezer - peas, shrimp, fries (both regular & sweet potato), & Pepperidge Farm puffed pastry (shells & regular).

                                                                                  1. re: noodlepoodle

                                                                                    Landolfi frozen ravioli. Made in Trenton, the epicenter of all things wonderful in the universe.

                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                      That is something you don't hear every day.

                                                                                  2. I see people listing food that frozen as opposed to 'frozen food' food that is frozen includes things like meat and vegetables. 'Frozen food' to me means frozen processed foods such as Stouffer's, frozen pizza, Lean Cuisine, etc.

                                                                                    1. I like frozen sweet peas. Not so much that I think they taste great, but that they are very convenient. Quite a few of recipes call for very small amount of sweet peas. (no particular brand). Oh yes, also frozen edamame beans too.

                                                                                      1. I love the frozen food aisle, it's like a monument to American excess, ingenuity, and salesmanship. All that brightly-colored packaging representing the collective attempts of countless chemical engineers and marketing departments to make frozen food look like something you'd actually want to eat... well call me a sucker but it works on me, every time.

                                                                                        My first frozen love is Totino's pizzas. They used to go on sale for 68 cents apiece in the halcyon days of undergrad. I can attest that a shopping cart crammed full of these red and yellow boxes will cause the teenaged checkout girl to flash you a glare of total contempt. If she doesn't just avert her eyes out of pity that is. Eating one of these greasy little disks is not enough for a meal, but two is far, far too many.

                                                                                        Honorable mentions to: chicken Kiev in the generic white box, shredded hash browns (any brand), Minh egg rolls, Tina's green chile burritos, and whole mackerel at the Asian market.

                                                                                        1. Michael Angelo's eggplant parmesan. Divine!

                                                                                          Most of the Bertolli frozen meals taste "real".

                                                                                          LOVE the trident fish sticks at Costco. They also make great fish tacos.

                                                                                          And mark down one more chowhound for Stouffers mac and cheese. So good!

                                                                                          1. Stouffer's Mac n Cheese. I think I resent sharing it with the husband, tend to only buy it when he's out of town. lol

                                                                                            Spanakopitas from Costco. Seriously good munchies.

                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                              I forgot about those spanakopitas. Those are very good. A nice dinner along with a big greek salad plus pita wedges and hummous.

                                                                                              1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                Costco also sells an hors d'ouvre selection: spanakopita, mini quiches, mini knishes....I'd forgotten all about it, but now it's all I can think about. That would make a very elegant meal, served on a tray on the couch with a nice enormous glass of crushed pepsi on ice.

                                                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                  I love me some mini quiches.....I'm not picky about brand.

                                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                    Tell us more about this "crushed Pepsi", mamachef. ;)

                                                                                                      1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                        Oh for pete's sake!! What I get for waking up too early!! That was to mean, Pepsi on Crushed Ice. : )

                                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                          I know, I know, lol, just loved the phrasing. :)

                                                                                                          But who knows, you could create a new mixology trend, akin to "gently bruised gin" -- "crush Pepsi in large bowl using hands or meat mallet". You could rhapsodize about how it "opens and deepens the flavor". Every foochebag within 50 miles will be pounding at your door to taste it. Purists will insist it is ONLY for Pepsi, while a staunch contingent of Dr. Pepperists will create havoc and disorder.

                                                                                                          1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                            "Taunt Pepsi lightly with the merest whisper of rum..."
                                                                                                            It's The Pepperites that always cause the most trouble, damn them.

                                                                                                      2. re: mamachef

                                                                                                        Oh yes - Costco's frozen Spanokopita is delicious!! (Hope that isn't commiting sacrelige against the fabulous version my grandmother used to make!)

                                                                                                    1. Tandoor Chef's Pad Thai, Palak Paneer, and Paneer Tikka Masala.

                                                                                                      Amy's frozen spinach pizza.

                                                                                                      1. Tombstone makes a "lite" pizza that is all veggies, and is pretty good. The sauce definitely has a spicy kick. Too bad the crust is really "meh."

                                                                                                        I like Amy's tamales. LOVE Amy's Veggie Korma. I like the Ethnic Gourmet chicken tikki masala.

                                                                                                        Love the Evol shredded beef burritos.

                                                                                                        Those new Bon Appetit parchment meals are pretty good. They're a step up from bertollis, and I don't think the bertollis are too bad.

                                                                                                        The Newman's margherita pizza wasn't too bad.

                                                                                                        If it's in your area, Meijer Organics does a nice spinach pizza.

                                                                                                        I've been known to cook up some frozen fish tenders in the toaster oven, and I throw in some Alexia french fries for a quickie fish n chips meal.

                                                                                                        1. The only frozen already processed food that I use is Trident salmon burgers which I buy at Costco. I don't put them in the micro or counter top oven though. I usually grill them on my stovetop grill pan.

                                                                                                          As a child I loved Banquet pot pies. As a parent I read in Consumer Reports that those pies didn't have the minimum protein requirements for a serving, so I never bought them again, and I can't say I miss them now after 30 years.

                                                                                                          1. Trader Joe's vegetable gyozas or potstickers. Amy's Mexican and Indian meals.

                                                                                                            1. Trader Joe's Mandarin Chicken is always a favorite. And Stouffer's meat lasagna (individual portion) is an easy meal for work lunch if I haven't planned to bring anything in from home.

                                                                                                              And peas. I always use frozen peas, not canned peas, which just squicks me out.

                                                                                                              1. CJ frozen wontons from Costco. Great in soup.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                  Two other great Costcofrozen items that we've enjoyed are the large bags of different potstickers, as well as the large bags of Spinach & Parmesan filled ravioli. Great stuff to have in the freezer for an impromptu meal when you don't feel like cooking.

                                                                                                                2. Stouffers Mac-n-cheese is better than 80% of all the home recipes I've tried over the years.

                                                                                                                  Stouffers Stuffed Peppers, Stouffers Stuffed Cabbage, Stouffers Lasagna. -- The DW thinks they are low-grade but she is wrong. I just love them. The Peppers and Cabbage are genuinely good and the Lasagna appeals to my love of factory food. The noodles are extremely dense and chewy; Nothing delicate about them. I'm also a sucker for any tomato-based sauce that Stouffers makes. Their Meatloaf and Salisbury steak are great too. My only gripe is that my closest store only carries the small single serve sizes. I can eat four of them in one sitting.

                                                                                                                  And can somebody please point me to a frozen beef burrito that actually tastes good? I'm a lover of commercial food but frozen beef burritos uniformly suck.

                                                                                                                  ETA: Can't believe I forgot my all-time fave frozen food: Mrs. T's Pierogies. DW and I are crazy about them fried in butter and covered in black pepper.

                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: tomhensr

                                                                                                                    Evol is the best one I've had. If they left the corn out (why does every commercial Tex-Mex thing have corn in it...sigh) it'd be darn near perfect.
                                                                                                                    http://evolfoods.com/in-the-freezer/c...

                                                                                                                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                                                                                      Are they exclusively mail-order? I can't see any info on where they are sold. I've never seen that label in my supermarket.

                                                                                                                      1. re: tomhensr

                                                                                                                        Try the higher end stores like fresh market fresh markets the granary etc...

                                                                                                                          1. re: tomhensr

                                                                                                                            I made only one post here and have not paid much attention to it, but your post makes me almost embarrassed. Mrs. T's is also our family's favorite but they are one of just a few foods I do not season with pepper. They don't eat them that way in the old country so we don't either. Our local Aldi stores had frozen perogies even cheaper than Mrs. T's last Easter but for a limited time only.

                                                                                                                          2. I guess it would be Blue Bell Chocolate Ice Cream....Their Homemade Vanilla ain't bad either!!!