And now for something completely different ...
This space is usually reserved for sit-down restaurants, but there is a dinner trend a-brewin' and it bears reporting. A handful of make-your-own-dinner franchises have sprung up across Middle Georgia, and Super Suppers is one of them.
This is how it works: You may either make your entrees yourself in the store or pick them up whenever you need them. Of course, with the latter option, you'll be limited to what is available that day, but you would have plenty to choose from. If you plan ahead, you can even order in advance and then pick it up as you pass by.
The penny-pinching option is my favorite, however. You can save a few dollars per entree if you come into Super Suppers one evening and make a week's worth of dinners - or more. There are several stations inside the store. Each station is supplied with the recipes and ingredients for at least two entrees. No actual cooking is required.
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For example, if you were making chicken lasagna, you would find that station, read the assembly instructions, measure the ingredients, and place them in a containers as instructed. If you want to substitute carrots for mushrooms, you can do that sort of thing. A sticker for your entree goes on top and tells you how to reheat it when you're ready to eat it. You can also make your entrees as half entrees, making twice as many (e.g., 12 halves instead of six whole entrees) and not have leftovers.
I have a friend who assembles her meals at the beginning of every month and even plans to take a cooler of them to the beach this summer. Imagine spending the day outside playing, popping in just to put dinner in the oven, then coming back a little later to a gourmet meal that costs less than $20 (or just $10 if a half will feed all of you) for the whole family. It's brilliant, I tell you.
Another stroke of genius is the monthly preview. The one I just attended was sold out. For $5 per person, you get to try out the items that are available that month for assemblage. We were treated to Asian chicken and veggie wraps, Baja burritos, baked cheesy ham and potatoes, chicken and pesto braided bread (very fun to make), orange tarragon-glazed chicken with herbed noodles, and rosemary balsamic London broil, among others. By attending the preview, we got a special deal that knocked another $15 off the total price. (Check www.ssmaconga.com for the next preview date.)
I've run out of room before I can tell you how good everything tasted. Shanghai pork chops or chicken and white bean cassoulet, praline French toast or chicken curry and rice - it was all excellent. Somehow you can tell that it wasn't made in a factory and shipped to a superstore's freezers.
So grab a friend and go make some great-tasting dinners together this week.
4524 Forsyth Road
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-1 p.m., closed Sunday
Payment: Cash, credit card
Price: Around $19 per family-sized entree
Reservations: Only for private parties
Children's menu: No
Vegetarian selections: Yes
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Noise level: Low
Smoking policy: No