March 20, 2017
Spring break is finally here, and even if you don’t have kids home from school this week, the longer days and warmer temperatures are a bit of a relief. That sense of giddiness that comes with the spring thaw seems to be reflected in my kitchen - I’ve evolved from wintery soups and stews and am having more fun with my food, enlisting any kids that happen to be around to help out in the kitchen. With everyone off school, there have been surplus cousins and friends in the house, and so we’ve been making plenty of pizzas - a new version of the pita pizzas of my childhood, made with thin flour tortillas.
Bar-style pizza sounds not quite kid-friendly, but refers to more appy-sized ultra-thin crust pizza with wedges that are more easy to handle with a pint. Thin enough to maybe fold in half, like people do in movies set in New York. As it happens, these thin, crisp individual pan pizzas are perfect when there are kids around, or just a bunch of people with different tastes - they take about five minutes to cook, and you can top them with anything you like. They’re perfect for any bits of leftover ham or sausage, roasted veggies or sautéed mushrooms you may have lurking in your fridge, and will take care of any cheese ends. You make them on the stovetop in a hot cast iron skillet - finish them quickly in the oven, or just cover the pan to make sure the cheese melts.
The kids in my life are also fans of butter chicken and Chinese food - given a choice, they’d likely to choose one of these three things (including pizza) to eat on a daily basis. Takeout can be pricey, though - and if there’s a Lego extravaganza going on in the next room, I may putter in the kitchen and make some sweet and sour or lemon chicken - with Meyer lemons, which are believed to be a cross between lemons and Mandarin oranges - if I can find any.
I’ll let you in on something I discovered last fall: you can buy Shef’s Fiery Kitchen butter chicken sauce frozen in containers at Calgary Co-op. It is some of the best butter chicken sauce I’ve ever had, and I always have some on hand in the freezer for dinner emergencies. It transforms leftover roasted chicken or turkey, and I’ve been known to pick up a couple containers and a deli-roasted chicken to chop and stir into the sauce for family dinners. It’s ridiculously easy, even if you start with sautéed chicken breasts or thighs, cut into chunks. I can usually lure my niece and nephew over with butter chicken, and sometimes I wrap the cold leftovers up in homemade naan dough, pinch the packages together calzone-style, and bake them until golden for butter chicken pockets you can take to go or eat out of hand while doing whatever spring break inspires you to do.
Have a great week, everyone!
boneless skinless chicken breasts
frozen Shef’s Fiery Kitchen butter chicken sauce
lemons (Meyer, if there are any)
As an internationally recognized chef who hails from the Prairies, Dale Mackay is working with Co-op to give Co-op shoppers and food lovers recipe ideas...
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I’m a fan of the roast chicken. Not only is it simple, versatile and delicious, it makes the best leftovers.