Having healthy, home-cooked meals is a struggle for us since I decided there are better things to do with my limited time than cook after work. Last year we used a meal delivery service that was good and reasonably priced but they changed their business model.
A few months ago I bought a Living Social deal for a local franchise of Dream Dinners and in my usual procrastinating ways waited until the last weeks to use it. This past Saturday was the day to use it (I forgot to get a picture so the one above is not me!).
Dream Dinners Experience
When I arrived at the store, I was greeted, told where to store my freezer bag, purse and directed to the aprons and hand-washing area. While waiting for the others to arrive I had a cup of coffee and delicious scone.
This session was limited to people who had bought the Living Social offer so the menu items were limited. Although there was a lot of chicken entrees in our special menu I did choose the two seafood menu items and one beef entree. Selections are made when you reserve the session so they have the proper ingredients ready.
We were given instructions on how to assemble the meals, where to store completed ones and set free to get busy. Half the group were making six serving sizes and the other half 3-serving sizes so we had to make sure the assembly directions were turned to the right side but other than that they were easy to follow.
Within an hour I had six 3-serving meals prepared and ready for the freezer or fridge for those we planned to eat within a few days.
Pros and Cons of Dream Dinners
I didn’t leave thinking this was something I had to do right away despite the staff’s attempts to have attendees make reservations for the next session. Instead I’m still mulling over the advantages and disadvantages before deciding.
Here are some of the pros of using Dream Dinners to assemble meals:
- I don’t have to plan the menu
- No shopping for ingredients
- No clean-up
- The staff was extremely helpful (almost overly so)
- It saves time
- They had calculated Weight Watchers PP for each menu item
Here are some of the reasons I’m not sold on Dream Dinners:
- Some meals don’t include any side dishes
- Some meals require more prep at home before cooking (the mini meatloaf needed a lot more than I wanted to do)
- It’s expensive (averages $6-8 a serving)
- The minimum order is 36 servings
I think I’ll look for other options for easy dinners on a regular basis but keep this solution in my arsenal. They also sell pre-assembled meals for pick-up to save even more time. Have you ever used or would you use a meal assembly business?
Sarah S says
Never heard of this service, sounds a great idea
Kathy Radigan says
I have often wondered how these places work out so thanks for the great overview. I’m not sure if I would love the fact that I have to cook it myself, if I’m going to pay for a service I think I would rather just pick it up or have it delivered. Thanks so much for posting this!!
I like batch cooking and I LOVE the idea of someone cleaning it up for me. The cost of this might be a deterrrent but I may try to recreate this at home with friends (after I remodel my kitchen) Thanks!
Lois Alter Mark says
I don’t cook but I always thought this would be interesting to try so I was intrigued to read this. Thanks for pointing out both the pros and cons. If there’s a deal in my area, maybe I’ll try it. I’m laughing because I use my Living Social vouchers on the last day almost every single time, too!