How many times have I complained about dinner time here on my blog? No wait, don’t even try to tally it up, because the answer is more than you would ever want to count. I’m even a little embarrassed about the sheer number of posts about dinner that are here lurking on my blog. But there’s so much not to like – deciding what dinner will be (and then the almost unavoidable
fight discussion over all the choices), making it, serving it, cleaning up after it, and, of course, that doesn’t even factor in the coordination of schedules so we can all sit down and eat dinner together. Dinner is much more my enemy than my friend.
So when Aileen from Newsy Parents invited me to try out our local Dream Dinners location in Sunrise, I quickly accepted. I’m always on the lookout for anything that could make our dinner experience easier, and that’s exactly what Dream Dinners is designed to do.
If you haven’t heard of Dream Dinners before, it’s an innovative meal planning and preparation service. Every month, Dream Dinners posts a menu with approximately 17-20 different meal choices. Meals come in 3 or 6 serving increments and are priced around $5 per serving. Once you’ve made your choices (the minimum order is 36 servings, but can be done in any combination of 3 portion or 6 portion meals), you call Dream Dinners and let them know your selections and arrange an appointment to go in and make your meals. You see, it isn’t fast food. It isn’t pre-packaged food. Dream Dinners is real food that you make yourself for your family. But it doesn’t take all day, it just takes a little planning.
When you arrive at Dream Dinners they have everything ready for your meals in designated recipe stations. For those of you that are leery about your cooking skills, please know that these aren’t just any old recipe stations – they are simpler than ever because everything is either pre-measured or the measuring spoons are specifically designed to only accommodate the amount requested in the recipe (for example, if your recipe asks for a 1/4 tsp of garlic, you’ll quickly notice that the spoon in the garlic is actually a 1/4 tsp spoon). It’s impossible to mess up the recipe. Impossible. And don’t forget, recipes are only guides at Dream Dinners. If you like garlic, add an extra 1/4 tsp. Really like bacon? Be liberal with that sprinkle. Think cheese is the best? It’s okay to add some extra. This is food for your family and Dream Dinners is just there to help – you know what you like, and they want to make sure you get it.
Follow the instructions posted on the work station to put together your meal using ziploc bags to keep your ingredients separate – you’re not really cooking at this point, so you don’t need to combine them, you just want to simplify the process when you do eventually make your meal. Once you finish a meal, you place it in the fridge and move on to the next recipe and workstation. As soon as you’ve completed all your meals, you take your uncooked meals home to freeze and take out when you need them. The entire process for a months worth of meals is approximately 1 hour.
Sounds easy, right? It is!
But, of course (and perhaps unfortunately), Dream Dinners isn’t designed to replace cooking at home entirely, it’s merely intended to provide 3 easy-to-make meals that are already prepped and ready to go. That’s 3 nights per week (or 12 nights a month) where you don’t have to think about cooking, other than to pull the ziplock bag out of the freezer, assemble, and cook in the oven. The ziplock bags keep cleanup to a minimum, while the prep you did at Dream Dinners keeps cook time to a minimum. It’s good, homestyle food on your table in minutes, not hours.
There was Tarragon Chicken with Potato Wedges on that plate. Two days later, I’m still dreaming of that chicken…yum!
If you’re looking for a way to simplify dinnertime in your house, and you live in the South Florida area, you should definitely go and visit Sally and Nicole at the Sunrise location – they can help you put together a menu and answer all your questions. If you’re not in South Florida, make sure to check out the Dream Dinners website to find your nearest location!
Disclosure: I was invited to an information session and tasting at Dream Dinners in Sawgrass. All thoughts and opinions are my own.