A few weeks ago I attended a media event over at Dream Dinners (740 N. Damen, Chicago) and I am hooked. The concept is actually genius! It was started by a mom who owned a catering business and couldn’t figure out why should be feed an army of people but not her own family! She started inviting women to her commercial kitchen to cook up meals to freeze for their families and the business took off.
How it works:
- You pick your meals from a list (minimum of 36 servings chosen from 3 and 6 serving meals)
- Show up at Dream Dinners during your scheduled appointment
- Start cooking!
- Everything is labeled with a color and some already measured for you – follow directions for recipe
- Bring your Ziploc bags home and freeze them
- Pull them out as needed!
Okay so as a busy mom of three I admit we eat fast food and take-out more than we should. I just struggle with having the time to make dinner around 5pm, which is when my boys tend to want to be outside or are just acting up. I have tried making meals ahead and freezing them, but I never had luck on mine or had issues with ingredients. My biggest problem is that I will have good intentions to make a recipe but then I forgot an ingredient. So I end up making something else and my ingredients go to waste. I also don’t really have kitchen-confidence as I like to call it, and tend to stick to a select group of recipes.
What I love about Dream Dinners:
- Make 12 meals in about an hour
- No more wasting money on ingredients I only need for one recipe
- No more forgetting items for my recipe (and then wasting food because I didn’t make the recipe)
- Trying food and recipes I wouldn’t normally make
- Portion control
- Healthier meals (less fast food, hormone free meat)
- Meals ready in about 30 minutes or less
- Less eating out and eating same meals over and over
- Fun night out with friends
- No kids hanging on my legs as I’m cooking
- No searching for measuring cups or bowls
- No prepping or cutting!
- No dishes to wash!
After visiting Dream Dinners and making three dinners to bring home to my family, I got hooked. I signed up to go back and each month I will go and make my dinners. Their meals are meant to replace about 12 meals for the month, giving you 18 other dinners to make on your own. You can of course make more dinners from Dream Dinners too if you’d like! How awesome would it be to not have to grocery shop (as much), prep and cut ingredients, cook, and then wash all those dishes! You do have to add side dishes (although some come with something on the side) but the main entree is already to go!
Like I said I got the chance to make three dinners: Coconut Shrimp, Carne Asada Steak Tacos and Steak Gorgonzola and they were all fabulous! I would have never made Coconut Shrimp on my own and it was so easy! Seriously let me re-iterate, 12 meals in an hour!
There are cooking stations set up for two to work at and for different recipes:
Drawers for your personal belongings:
We got to sample some of the menu:
You can buy sides for your entrees:
Me and Maria:
My 3 meals and cookies:
Easy to follow directions for cooking:
Okay so what’s the catch? They are a little pricier than making your own meals, especially for you coupon clipping price matchers out there, but overall Dream Dinners says you will save money. Since you are shopping less, you are buying less impulse purchases, wasting ingredients, and you have no excuse for not having a meal at home. The meals are about $5 per serving and they are smaller than what your used to since they are for portion control. So for example the three-serving Steak Gorgonzola was perfectly sized for just my husband and I. We then just added a side of veggies and salad. So yes it is a somewhat shock at first that the chicken/steak is the size of your fist, but in theory that is what you are supposed to eat. Oh and that meal was about $16, which is actually a good prices for good quality delicious steaks for us! They also change their menus up every month so you won’t be getting bored with the same old meals. While there is no monthly commitment you have to sign-up for, but you do get discounts if you stay with them each month (skip a month and you have to start the rewards program all over.) Don’t have time to make the dinners, you can pay $25 to have them make them all for you.
Overall, I highly recommend Dream Dinners. I had never heard of this type of meal preparing service before but it truly is genius. I definitely see the value and its a nice night out with my friends (even though we are cooking.) Oh and in my title where I put “Make Meals and Memories” I mean it as since I am spending less time in the kitchen, it is more time with my family!
VISIT: Check out Dream Dinners Chicago or see if there is a Dream Dinners in your area!
Mom and More Disclosure: I attended a media event at Dream Dinners and received three meals in exchange for sharing my honest opinion. Please see my Disclosure Policy.