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    Dream Dinners recipes

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    Wed May 07, 2008 5:31 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I recently did Dream Dinners with a friend and ordered about 20 meals. I chose the healthier options (skipping their sides) and use them as "food pill" entrees for nights when chopping an onion just ain't going to happen. Essentially, the meals I chose were marinated meats for about $10-13 per 3-portion meal. This seems like a fair deal, considering the things I chose were healthy, or healthier than what I would could or take out in a pinch, and they were healthier and cheaper than going out to eat. At first glance it seems economical...

    However, food quality ain't all that. the portions are small (I don't think I could buy chicken breasts that tiny at my local grocery) and the steak portions were odd sizes, small and raggedy. They cooked unevenly and were sloppy on the plate. They only offer salmon entrees, and if it is wild or farmed no one could really answer. The spices and herbs are all bulk dried, not fresh. Onion flakes instead of an onion? C'mon!

    Given that normally when we go out to eat there are leftovers for another meal, or when I cook myself there are leftovers for another meal, and that the $12 DD entree doesn't include any sides... not as economical as portrayed.

    But they are as tasty as a generic entree from most chain family restaurants, and you do get to see the nutritional values of the meals (though not the sides -- scared of those mashed potatoes!) and it really does help with portion control. I place greater emphasis on the sides I prepare, so we're getting in more vegetables and whole grain sides that we would on a normal take-out night, too.

    Overall, Dream Dinners is *okay*, but I am hoping to try a few other varieties and see if there isn't something better. Once I get a routine going I anticipate freezing my own portioned meals with better quality ingredients for less... I just gotta find the time! It's the Catch-22 that makes Dream Dinners seem not-so-bad, not-as-bad... But not great.
    Wed May 07, 2008 5:46 pm Groupie
    Easymealprep places are selling convenience and feel-good-about-feeding-the-family. They aren't selling grocery value. I know some families that would not feed good meals to their families if not for these places, and are willing to pay less than restaurant (for like entrees), but more than grocery, to have all the ingredients prepped and recipes and pans already there. They enjoy the experience and being with their friends. Also, let's face it, most of the folks in there don't cook, or are too busy now to cook, and this gives them the feeling that they can still feed the family a healthful meal.

    I've made some DD recipes from their book and site, and they're okay. My fam liked them, but didn't gush over them. I served some things from where I worked, when I worked there, and some were hits, some were misses. Just like with any recipe here at Zaar, you don't know till you try it.
    Sun May 11, 2008 8:47 am Groupie
    You know, every now and then I think I am going to just go to DD and spend the money just for the experience and convenience. Then I get online and look at the menu and I just can't do it. Most of their recipes I could figure out and do at home just as easily and for less money. Also, almost every offering they have is sweet-based and we don't do sweet entrees.
    Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:29 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I've been to DD 3 times in the past 1.5 years. I can't afford to go every month, but love to "treat" myself by going once a year or so. It's true, you can prepare the meals cheaper yourself, but I like to try new recipes (and try to retain them and try them again at home!).
    Here's one of our favorites from Dream Dinners - it may not be the exact recipe, but pretty close based on my memory and tastes good - we've been recreating this one for over a year!

    Tex Mex Pork Wraps
    1 C. tomato paste
    1 c. stewed drained tomatos
    2 tsp mollasses
    2 tsp worcheshire
    3 tsp minced garlic
    1/2 c. mild salsa
    1/2 c. BBQ sauce
    2 tsp beef stock base
    chile powder, cumin, and pepper to taste
    3 1/2 C. cooked shredded pork (I usually slow cook a tenderloin and shred with a fork)
    Mix all ingredients together and store in ziploc bag. You can also add black beans and corn if you prefer. When ready to cook, let thaw for a day in the fridge, then simmer cook for about 20 min on the stove and serve inside warm tortillas with rice, grated cheese, and a little sour cream. SO DELICIOUS!
    Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:41 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    p.s. there's a Dream Dinners recipe book available on Amazon - put together by the creators of the franchise. I've tried a few of the recipes, and they're okay. Not all the monthly recipes you see on their menu are represented in the book, but some of them are. My favorite is the cheesy, chicken rice recipe.
    Chef #1224157
    Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:12 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I'm looking for the recipe for the Dream Dinners Mexican Meatballs. Does anyone have it?
    Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:11 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I know the ingredients for Mexican Meatballs - not nec. the amt. But here's what I wrote down from memory after I made them there...

    SAUCE: salsa mixed with BBQ sauce
    Taco Seasoning
    Coarse salt
    minced garlic
    frozen corn
    chili powder
    Chef #1224157
    Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:28 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Thanks. I'll give that a shot. It is pretty similar to what I thought it was as those are the ingredients in my chili.
    Patti O'Furniture
    Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:24 pm Groupie
    I was an ardent Dream Dinners fan - and untily recently I had gone for about 2 years without a miss.

    What worked for me:

    Convenience !
    Fun thing to do and socialize
    My non cooking DH - would actually " cook" the preprepped entree's. It was all in the bag and he would follow the instructions.

    What I didn't like:
    Small portion size
    Recipes were often times a little "odd" and you could not tell that from the order form.
    Use of convenience products instead of fresh

    Why I did it in the first place.

    I was working long hours and was burned out on cooking.

    Why I am not doing it now.
    Costs are climbing - average entree is $28 - 30.
    Portion sizes are pretty ludicrous
    Quality is going downhill REALLY FAST.
    Recently - anything with chopped chicken - I've had to toss due to gristle factor. YUCK !
    6 serving size - not convenient for us. I'd rather have 8 or 4.

    It just doesn't make financial sense and frankly - the food isn't that great anymore.

    So - I am now doing a modified OAMC. Each week - I stock up on sale meat and do 4 freezer dishes on Friday night.

    This week - I am doing marinated chops, marinated steaks, meatballs and garlic bread. DH is doing clean up.

    I am copying the instructions to Word and printing on an index card to put in bag.

    ALSO - I;ve read some really bad reviews of the coookbook - that the recipes were not well tested and are flawed. I trust the 'Zaar myself.
    Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:28 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I have been going to DD for about 2 years now. It has worked well for our size family. We have 2 adults and three small children (6,5,2). The two older ones are extremely picky eaters! If they don't like the way it looks or smells, they aren't eating it. To begin with DD was a place for me to go that was time away from the family that I didn't feel guilty about because I was still providing for the family at the same time. We got 3 serving sizes and we added more meat to it. I liked it because I could put whatever we wanted or didn't want in the entree. We have a ton of food allergies so the owner is wonderful and helps me with making changes (buttermilk instead of eggs, etc). Then for some reason my son (the oldest child) went with me -- he asked could he help me make the meals -- so there went "mommy only time" to Mommy and Me time! The interesting thing -- he started eating more things. He was ablt to make it with mom and then come home and cook/grill it with dad or mom. He thought that was great. The first time this happened I was an avid blogger. Within 2 days of the blog with his pictures of going in the location with me and grilling with dad and the amazing story about how he started eating pork chops for the first time -- the owner of Dream Dinners commented on my blog. At times I wonder if it saves me money or not....but I know it saves me time. I can go in and make 72 servings in about 1-1/4 hours. I am pretty fast at it. If I have a child with me it takes a little more time but I am usually the last one there and the first one gone. The older two kids love the fact that they can go pick out what we are going to order next month, help prep the meals and then help cook them at home. It is teaching them so much. I tend to buy chicken breast and pork chops in bulk so I can throw in some extra meat when I get home (this gives us enough for our dinner and one left over lunch for the next day). Of course sometimes the kids love it so much that they eat more and dad doesn't have lunch but that is fine too. I am not thrilled with the recipe book but I have used it some. I like that I don't have to prep the ingredients and I don't have to clean up. Plus I pretty much have my month of meals decided for me.
    So I would say to make you $$ go further, the day before you go get some family size packs of chicken breast, shrimp and chops and whatever your meats are add extra to it when you get home before you put them in the freezer.
    I have now even found that if I am in a pinch to get everything done, I throw the entree in the Pampered Chef Deep Dish Baker and put it in the microwave and it is wonderful and I don't have to stand over the grill or the stove top -- I can cook a wonderful meal at the same time of helping with homework and chasing a toddler! It is great!!

    I think that DD has saved me money because it allows me to try different recipes without having to pay $5 for that far of spice that I will only use 1 tsp of and then never use it again. That was my thought process when I first started and my husband sees how much it helps to get it. It was also a lifesaver to have a freezer stocked when at the last minute right before Christmas we decided to take on 3 foster children....granted I had to come up with extra sides to make it go further but we did and it sustained us for longer than I thought!
    Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:34 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I have the Dream Dinner cook book and have NEVER had one of the Dream Dinners that I've made at their store in the book. There are some good recipes, but not the same ones that the stores do.
    Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:39 pm Groupie
    Kelley, that's because they change their menus to offer current, seasonal and varied items. No one wants to make/eat the same old same old, and savvy businesses know that. That's why I like this site, and this forum -- you get the best of the best.
    Chef #675927
    Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:55 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    This one is pretty spot on for their Chicken Mirabella -

    Also if anyone knows the Baja Fish Taco recipe they've used in the past year, pleeeaaassseee let me know! The hubby LOVED it and I can't remember the ingredients or preparation.
    Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:15 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Does anyone have the recipe for Dream Dinners Santa Fe Shredded Pork Burritos or a recipe to make a similar dish? The Dream Dinners in my town just closed down and this was on of my family's favorites. I have purchased the Dream Dinners cookbook, but that recipe is not in there.
    Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:52 am
    Forum Host
    If it's a local franchise owner, they may be willing to give you, if not the actual recipe, maybe a list of ingredients, at least.
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