It’s not that I don’t like cooking; I do, actually. It’s just the frequency. Dinner happens every. Single. Night. And usually, I’m short on time. And ideas. There is an ideas issue too… and then of course the ingredients.
So basically, dinner takes more time, energy, and brain power than I have on a Thursday night when I get home from work at 6:30…my husband is already half way out the door and my 3rd grader is saying something about some paper I need to sign, and at least the kindergartner needs to be bathed and the 2 year old just wants me to hold him.
In short: I needed this moment I’m having right now.
It’s noon on a Friday morning and I have the next 3 busy weeknight meals ready to go. My kitchen is virtually untouched from when I cleaned it last night.
I have Lemon Chicken with Feta, Beach Street Shrimp Scampi with Pasta and Outlaw Chicken Marinara all waiting to be popped in the oven or heated on the stove top (by my husband before I even get home from work) right when I need it. Over all, my meals are 400 calories and under, made with fresh ingredients, no preservatives or additives and came out to under $5.50 a serving (that’s cheaper than McDonalds) – plus, there’s no mess in the kitchen and no wasted ingredients.
The secret to my spectacular display of domesticity?
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked in, but everyone was really friendly while showing me the ropes. It’s part cooking show, part assembly line, and it’s a surprising amount of fun.
A station is set up for each meal – fresh ingredients are completely laid out at each station and the directions are super simple to follow (they even color coded it). I zipped up to the first station and was done with my first dinner in just about 10 minutes; no washing, no chopping, no prep work -and my favorite: no clean up! Each station is kept super clean by the staff (which is great for me because I’m a notoriously messy cook). Moms, retirees, people going solo and groups of friends bustled around the store laughing and talking and assembling meals… but it didn’t seem over crowded at all; it was actually quite inviting, the employees seemed to know everyone by name (yep, kinda like Cheers).
Dream Dinners makes it easy to customize your meals, which allowed me to go easy on spices I knew my kids won’t eat, and add a little extra cheese or garlic. The portion sizes were reasonable too; in fact we might get more than three servings out of the Outlaw Chicken Marinara. On the top of the bag sits your heating instructions so you don’t have to remember anything (except what’s in your freezer, but don’t worry, you’ll get a sheet of paper and a fridge magnet for that too).
Want fries with that? Dream Dinners has stocked the freezer full of great sides to go with your recipes – purchase your recipes as is or add a side dish or two. Need a fast breakfast? It’s in the freezer. Dessert? Got that too. You can even pick up a few meals from last month’s menu, freshly frozen and waiting for your dinner plate. If you’d like to sign up for next month, the menu is waiting for you and you can schedule your next visit and get an email reminder when it’s time to come – they even let your rate your meals online so if you loved something (or didn’t) it will tell you the next time it comes up on the menu.
So here I sit, already loving life, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it even more on Wednesday night when a fresh and healthy dinner is waiting for me when I get home.
Will I go back? You bet! I love that I can try different meals without being stuck with a ton of left over ingredients, and I get to avoid that deep depression I get when I find a bag of mush in the crisper that contained some sort of vegetable I bought… Besides, the February menu has Parmesan Pesto Salmon with Cheese Crisps on it… sign me up!
Live in the West End but don’t want to miss out on fresh dinners? Have meals made by Dream Dinners staff delivered to the Daily Grind, select a Thursday 3:00 pm session and use the password ‘short pump’ (case sensitive).
Dream Dinners just opened in their new location
12006 Southshore Pointe Rd.
Midlothian, VA 23112
Visit Dream Dinners online to check out the menu and book your time.
Dream Dinners provided me with 3 meals so I could come out and give them a try. The opinions, and subsequent Dream Dinners addiction, are all my own.