Ever find yourself standing in the kitchen at 5pm, staring at the refrigerator wondering what to throw together for dinner while the kids are screaming at the “witching-hour”…throwing in a frozen pizza or telling the husband to just pick something up on his way home? Clearly, I know that scenario well! Although I don’t “go to work” anymore (I was a high school teacher) and I try to menu plan, it seems as though the above scenario happens WAY too often around here! So, if you’re familiar with a similar scenario (please tell me I’m not the only one!), a good solution might be Dream Dinners! Dream Dinners is the nation’s leading meal assembly service, and I had the pleasure of trying it out for the first time last night! For those that aren’t familiar, Dream Dinners is a meal preparation service that eliminates menu-planning, shopping, prep-work, & clean up! Sounds fabulous right?! I love cooking, but personally, don’t particularly enjoy the prep & clean-up aspects! So, I was thrilled to give it a try!
Here’s the basics of how it works:
You schedule your session and pre-pick your meals online (normally a 36-serving minimum is required). Each month, Dream Dinners publishes a menu with a whole variety of meals to choose from (usually about 14–17 choices). This month’s menu includes items like Creamy Chicken Risotto, Baked Swiss Chicken, New Orleans Jambalaya, Pesto Cheese Ravioli with Chicken & Walnuts, and Grilled Chicken with Sesame Honey Butter (<—-that’s what I made!). Now, I don’t know about you, but the majority of those dishes sound a lot fancier than the majority I normally make! It seems like it would be hard to get in that “food rut” (you know, making the same handful of dishes over and over again) with Dream Dinners!
When you show up (after washing up & getting your apron), you rotate through the recipe stations you’ve chosen. Each recipe has its own location, with everything prepped for you. All you do is follow the step-by-step instructions for all the meals you’ve picked! So easy!After you finish up at each station, you place the meal on your designated shelf in the large refrigerator and you continue on to another station. On average, the whole process takes just 60 to 90 minutes (depending on order size, recipe choices, etc.)! Price: The majority of meals range in price from $10-$30, with the price per serving averaging around $4. Now, obviously that price point is higher than a typical homemade meal I can make at home. However, the price is MUCH cheaper than dining out (fast food included) and it’s also MUCH healthier than eating out since most Dream Dinners are less than 350 calories per serving and aren’t full of a bunch of processed junk! Plus, you don’t have to do the planning, the grocery shopping, any prep work, or any clean up. So, the old saying “time is money” is definitely appropriate here!
Live in the Phoenix-area and want to try it for yourself at a reduced cost?! Here are two great opportunities:
Family Day Make & Take Event:
September 26th is National Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children and the two Phoenix-area Dream Dinners stores, together with the NFL Wives’ Association, are celebrating by offering a “make and take event”. The event will take place at both Phoenix-area locations (North Phoenix and Awhatukee) on Wednesday, September 21st from 6pm — 8pm. At the event, you will be able to choose from 1 of 3 recipes at a greatly reduced cost–just $5 for a 3-serving meal or $10 for a 6-serving!
In addition to assembling a healthy, delicious meal for your family to enjoy on National Family Day, you will be treated to samples and refreshments, gift bags for the first 40 new guests (and a bag of chocolate chip cookies for existing guests), and exciting giveaways that will be raffled off every 30 minutes!! Plus, the Awhatukee location will feature a special booking signing event with Stephanie Allen, co-founder of the Dream Dinners empire and author of the New York Times Best Seller List Book, The Hour that Matters Most, spreading the word about the importance of eating dinner as a family! Here are some “family dinner” facts shared with me:
- The National Merit Scholarship Corporation profiled National Merit scholars from the past 20 years and was surprised to find out that the one thing all national merit scholars have in common is they come from families who ate together three or more nights a week.
- A University of Michigan study found that the amount of time children spend dining with their families is the single strongest predictor of student test scores and behavioral problems.
- According to Time magazine (“The Magic of the Family Meal” by Nancy Gibbs), kids who dine with the folks are healthier, happier and better students. Kids who eat most often with their parents are 40% more likely to say they get mainly A’s and B’s in school than kids who have two or fewer family dinners a week.
Additionally, there is an opportunity to give back to the community! All participants can donate a meal (donation cost is $7) to Singleton Moms, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing assistance to single parents battling cancer. Dream Dinners will match donated meals up to 100 servings. Members of the Off the Field Players Wives Association, comprised of spouses of retired and active NFL players, will be at both locations assembling donated meals!
For more information or to RSVP, please visit the Phoenix Dream Dinners page on facebook or contact the store directly (North Phoenix and Awhatukee). Limit 1 family dinner and 1 donation dinner per household.
One lucky local Mom Endeavors’ reader will win a $25 gift card to either of the Phoenix Dream Dinner locations! It can be used whether you’re a brand new customer or returning, and they will wave the 36-serving minimum requirement. So, you can redeem your gift card for the Family Make & Take Event, to come in a different time & just make one meal, or apply it to a larger order–totally YOUR choice!
Congratulations to lucky comment #10! Kara, hope you enjoy your Dream Dinners experience!
1. Just leave a comment telling me what seems most appealing to you about Dream Dinners!
Get extra entries (leave a separate comment for each):
Giveaway will end on September 20th at 7pm PST. Winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using random.org and be notified via email (winner will also be posted on this post). They will have 48 hours to claim their prize before a new winner is selected!
Disclosure: I received a free meal courtesy of Dream Dinners. As always, all opinions and experiences are my own.