Supper time comes and with it the age old question of what to prepare. If I go to the fridge or freezer and look inside am I going to find anything to eat. Sometimes it seems like the work required to prepare a meal is not worth the end product. Or maybe, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to prepare a meal. Supper Central is a Winnipeg business that aims to give people the best of the take-out and home-cooked worlds in one place.
Last Friday I was there as a guest of the Manitoba Chicken Producers. So, although the opinions stated here are mine, you might want to keep that in the back of your mind as you read. As well as assembling our meals we also got to sample several items from the Supper Central menu. My favourite of these was the Almond Crusted Chicken with Lemon Sauce. The Chicken had Dijon mustard mixed in with the coating giving zip to the flavour. Although this was a chicken themed night, with chicken from Dunn-Rite, there are many other menu options.
Situated in Kenaston Commons (one of the most inappropriately named places in Winnipeg), Supper Central features an open area for food prep with roughly space for a dozen or so people to work at the food prep stations. Each station has two or three different recipes associated with it, and all the necessary ingredients are at the station or in the freezer by the wall. Along with the ingredients, all the necessary tools for assembling your supper are also at the station. While Supper Central enables you to assemble the meal, you will still need to cook it when you get home. Fortunately you all receive a step-by-step guide for preparing your meal.
I chose the recipe below as well as the (not so) Jerk Chicken. Both of these choices contained spices that were placed on the station with the appropriate sized measuring spoon already in the container. The chicken was already cut into strips and placed in a freezer bag in the cooler below the station. Everything is placed into zipper storage bags, and Supper Central provides plastic containers to allow you to use both hands for adding ingredients instead of needing to use one to keep the bag open.
The other main selling point of Supper Central is the staff. Not only are the friendly and knowledgeable, but they keep on top of the stations, removing used dishes as you are done, and making sure that they are quickly wiped down to maintain a clean, healthy working environment.
With everything so well organized, I was able to put together each of my dishes in about 10 minutes, and with a minimum of effort and mess. The latter quite remarkable given that neatness is not one of my foremost qualities.
Crazy for Cajun Chicken Pasta $28.50 Full ~ $15.25 Half <Favourite!>
Make this as spicy or mild as you like it! Tender chicken breast strips are tossed in a homemade Cajun spice then sautéed with red and green peppers. Served over your choice of white or whole wheat pasta. Cooking: 30 minutes; Stovetop
The price on the pasta I tried is typical of the items Supper Central has on offer, with some being a little higher and some a little lower. They also offer a selection of frozen dinners that serve one, or perhaps two if they are people with smaller appetites. If you are really pressed for time, pre-assembled dinners are also available, these make up about half of the business that Supper Central does. Supper Central also delivers, with the cost for delivery being a flat $10.00 fee. Given this, it’s a worthwhile option to consider ordering several dishes if you wish for delivery.
Supper should be as easy to cook as it is to prepare, thanks to the card that comes with the meal, but I had a little trouble. This has nothing to do with the product, but that I have an apartment stove, and don’t have two large burners, which made it difficult to have all the ingredients come together at the same time. However, once everything was finished, the dish certain lived up to expectations. The chicken was tender, there was a real spiciness to the meal (the Supper Central note that using all the spice would render the dish quite spicy was accurate, fortunately I really like spicy). Supper Central is definitely worth giving a try. In fact, if you’ve thought about throwing a dinner party, but aren’t sure what to prepare, Supper Central could take the difficulty of that decision out of your hands.
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Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner
Earlier this year I went to a meal building event at Supper Central out at Kenaston Common. The event was sponsored by the Manitoba Chicken Producers. It was a fun and tasty evening. So when they opened up the opportunity to the fans to attend another session, I jumped at the chance. After all, you can’t have too many chicken dinners.
After church last Sunday, I headed down to the Supper Central site. Oddly, it was one of the few occasions where bus travel on a Sunday was easier than on a weekday evening.
I had been through the process before. I figured I’d wait a bit while others prepared their meals. This was great because it allowed me time to chat with some people. I also tried the hors d’oeuvres prepared for our enjoyment. These included a chicken corn chowder and “Colonel’s Got Nothin’ On Us” Oven Fried Chicken.
One of my claims about food is that the act of eating together is highly important. Related to this is the preparation of food together. Times with others in the kitchen are equally as formative as times spent around the table.
When it came time to prepare my meals I was sharing a station with Shel Zolkewich. She also writes a hunting column for the Winnipeg Free Press. She’s one of the first people I got to know through being involved in Social Media. Working with Shel is always a lot of fun. We also shared the station with Natalie Bell, who is the author of the PegCityLovely blog. Up until Sunday, I had only interacted with Natalie through the MB FoodBloggers Facebook page, but sharing space at the work station made for a laughter filled afternoon.
The first meal we prepared was the Mexican Stuffed Chicken. The picture below shows the chicken just before I put it in the oven. The next picture is of the chicken plated. Served with Spanish rice, included in the meal from Supper Central. I added creamed corn, my choice instead of sweet corn.
Home made Fried Chicken
The next item I made was the “Colonel’s Got Nothin’ On Us” Oven Fried Chicken & Honey Carrots. This item cooks up real well. I used a non-stick, rather than a regular greased pan, and I found that the crumb on the bottom didn’t cook up quite as well, my error. However, there is plenty of flavour in both dishes. In the Mexican Stuffed Chicken the sweet and heat of the cream cheese and jalapeno filling gives a great contrast in tastes.
Keep Your Eyes Open for Chicken Deals
Karen Green Armstrong of the Manitoba Chicken Producers and Susie Erjavec Parker of Sparker Strategy Group put together a great event with the help of Supper Central. Want to get in on the fun? Like the Manitoba Chicken Producers Facebook page. Then keep your eyes open for future events of various sorts.