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Fast and Healthy Meals with Ease – Dream Dinners is a Dream

By November 18, 2013 December 16th, 2013 No Comments
Dream Dinners Meal Prepping

“What’s for dinner?” is the tired and uninspired question we ask a lot in our household. I am not a cook (I prefer to bake), so my husband prepares 60% of all dinners, and the other 40% is take-out/restaurants. During my search for healthy alternatives, I was introduced to Dream Dinners, a meal assembly service that takes the chore out of menu planning, shopping, chopping, and clean-up. Their service enables me to do once a month cooking/preparation of meals with a menu that changes monthly and with each season. I was intrigued. My husband and I are trying out Dream Dinners on a trial basis and they’re going to help with one month of dinners.

To begin, I visited Dream Dinner’s website. They have two Chicago locations, Wicker Park and Roscoe Village. Step one: choose your menu.

Dream Dinners Online Menu

There are over two dozen meal selections, with a variety of meat, poultry, fish and vegetarian dishes. I choose a couple of each, with my focus on meals that are low in fat and require less than a 30-minute cook time. I placed them in my virtual shopping cart and checked out; $210 for 13, 3-serving meals – less than $6 a serving.

Step two: choose a date and time to prepare meals.

Dream Dinners Online Calendar

When I arrived at Dream Dinners (slightly nervous) the welcoming staff greeted me like I was an old friend. There was upbeat music playing in the background, scented candles burning, people mingling and prepping. Kate – an Active Moms’ Club alum! – helped me get started with my meal preparation. Just as I did with Kate at her first AMC class, she took my hand and led me through my first DD experience. Everything is labeled at Dream Dinners – it’s like Garanimals for the kitchen. I had a personal drawer with my name on it, with the recipe cards for each meal I purchased inside. These cards would go inside my prepared meal bag and serve as label & cooking instructions.

Dream Dinners Recipe Cards

Hands washed, apron on, plastic gloves ready for prepping.

Dream Dinners Aprons

Kate helped me through my first meal prep. Each meal has it’s own station, and instructions for a 3-serving or 6-serving-sized meal sit on top of the counter. So simple for me to follow!

Dream Dinners Food Station-Recipe

Every food container is labeled and appropriate color-coded measuring spoons in each container. Really, this couldn’t get any easier! My first meals, Mango Glazed Salmon (two of them!) were prepped in 5 minutes. I zipped up my finished bags and placed them in the fridge, on the shelf with my name on it. No chopping, no clean up. I moved on to the next station.

Dream Dinners Glazed Salmon Meals

As I moved through each station, I was impressed with how streamlined the process was. Some women were drinking wine (Yes, it is BYOB!). There were groups of friends chatting while they worked. It was a friendly and inviting atmosphere.

Dream Dinners Meal Prepping

I prepped 13 meals in 90 minutes and I’m sure it will go even faster next month. For those short on time, for $25 Dream Dinners will even do the meal prep work for you, just schedule a time to pick up.

Dream Dinners Prepared Meals in Fridge

When I finished, Kate packed all of my meals in two bags while I ordered December’s dinners and scheduled a date to return. A menu planning sheet is provided when you leave for added convenience, offering a side dish recommendation for every meal I prepared. Now I have my menu, and a grocery list.

Dream Dinners Menu

For added convenience, Dream Dinners also offers “Finishing Touches”, add-on side dishes and sweets.

Dream Dinners Finishing Touches Cooler

Dinner time just got a LOT easier in our house! I am very impressed with the entire process; and I’m actually excited to cook these meals for our family. Stay tuned, I’ll be sharing my cooking adventure with you too. Give it a try! Sample their menu with Dream Dinners’ introductory offer, 3-6 meals for just $75.

Share your dinner-time experiences with us. Do you use Dream Dinners, what’s your favorite meal? What would make prep easier for you?