Dream Dinners – Make Your Own Take-Out?

I was surfing Food Network last night and caught a show spotlighting a place called Dream Dinners. They provide you a kitchen, recipes, and pre-measured and chopped ingredients to prepare your own meals, which you then pack up, take home, and put in your freezer. When you’re hungry, you just stick it in the oven. Their menu changes monthly and looks pretty tasty and healthy.

I’ve been analyzing how much it actually costs to buy a meal from the grocery store and make it and it can get pretty expensive. 2 lbs. Chicken – $6. 4 tomatoes – $2. 2 green peppers – $1.25. 1 lemon – 50 cents. It all adds up! This place will sell you 12 dinners for about $200, with each dinner being 4-6 servings. They even let you split the meals in half, which works great for our two-person household. So that’s 24 dinners – about $8 for a meal for two. Not dirt cheap, but it’s better than McFastFood for sure. I’m intrigued – Anyone tried them?

Comments

  1. I think I saw the same “show” a few months ago, which is odd since I don’t normally watch the Food Network. I considered it, but I’m a household of one, and therefore not quite their target. Averaging 5 servings on each of 12 meals, and if I limit my dinners to only 1 serving, $200 for 60 dinners is close to how much I already spend on dinner groceries (assuming 60 dinners = 2 months), and my gf eats with me over the weekends.

    So… long story short (too late), probably not worth it for the single guy unless the single guy eats out a lot and can use this plan to force himself to eat the meals.

  2. I’m also intrigued. Although like Flexo, my girlfriend only eats with me over the weekend and it probably wouldn’t make sense for me to try it out. Otherwise I might consider doing so for a month just to see how it is.

  3. Jane Dough says:

    Heard about this on my local news channel. I have not tried it myself, but as Flexo says not really the best option for a single person. This link has the story and video of the local news story. Seems that it is really geared toward the two-income middle-class family.

    http://cbs4boston.com/food/local_story_298173912.html

  4. I’d read about them a little while ago…I didn’t even realize they were in the Boston area. I’m intrigued…would be fun to experiment with.

  5. We have something like that locally here. Convenient and doesnt cost too much. What’s stopping me is I’m not sure if I have enough freezer space is to store so much food. I might get a friend and split one package up between the two families.

  6. I’m concerned about freezer space too. Where will my frozen chicken nuggets and tater tots go?

    Splitting them sounds like a good idea, I should look into that.

  7. We have the same thing here in Atlanta but it is called “Super Suppers”. I like it, my wife doesn’t. She thinks the quality of the ingredients is low, I don’t know what she is talking about and thought the quality was no different than what we’d buy ourselves. We tried it two months ago and it was fun. We got the 6 meal deal for $125 and split each of the 6 items. Even with a family of 4, the split meals were most times enough so we ended up with approx 10 meals total for $125. It was fun to do to, we did it together and had a good time. The served food and wine (sangria) and it was very low stress.

  8. IMO, there’s absolutely no reason to buy chicken at $3/lb! Boneless, skinless chicken breasts go on sale at least one a month for $1.99/lb or less. If you have the freezer space for 12-24 meals, stock up on the cheap meat and vegetables when they’re on sale and prepare those meals yourself!

  9. I’m sure that it will always be cheaper to buy the ingredients yourself and make your own meals etc. But I think that this is an interesting alternative for people who don’t feel like they really know how to do that.

    And I even think it can be a transitional step for folks who just eat out all the time (which HAS to cost more than this option) and are intimidated by cooking or don’t know where to start.

    Clearly, if you are comfortable cooking most (if not all) your meals at home, I don’t think you’re the target market. But if you don’t know where to start, this type of service *may* be useful despite the markup on ingredients.

    To me, this fills a need in that it seems to be teaching some fundamentals of meal prep, and making meals as a team — we didn’t all leave home knowing how to cook for ourselves and our families 😉 — I am very interested to see if they are really onto something.

    I’m picky about ingredient quality too, so it complaints about that would deter me.

  10. Also there’s the time for buying the groceries, chopping / peeling / dicing / straining and so forth. I think we’re definitely going to try them out, maybe next month after we clean out the freezer a bit. I’ll report back on the quality of the ingredients.

    I like that you can alter the recipes as you like. Don’t like garlic? Leave it out. Like extra cheese? Add more. Kids don’t like onions? Only put them in half!

  11. I’ve been to Let’s Dish in MD, and some of the items are good, while some of them aren’t as good. However, its great for quick meals – I might do it again.

  12. I had seen this on the local channel in Boston several months back as well. Another option would be to get a group of friends that each make a few meals that are freezer friendly and either put them in single serving containers. You can even see if your local church will allow you to use the space for the night.

    Theresa 🙂

  13. Your groceries sound a bit high. I bet you still shop in mainstream markets or Whole Foods or something. I cut my bill by 60% by shopping at mom and pop places and ethnic places. I get tomatoes for $.69/lb, chicken breast $1.99/lb, green bell peppers $.49/lb and lemons 8/$1.00.

  14. Single or double (married, no kids) people should definitively try to cook in quantity – saves time and money. We pre-pack our food portions and freeze them. Those are our lunches, and our meals when we do not feel like cooking.

  15. I found the ingredients at Dream Dinners to be better than the Super Suppers ingredients. You should try both and compare. The recipes and quality is better with Dream Dinners.

  16. sergioheidi says:

    My son and I are going to try the place out tomorrow morning. The actual price for our 12 meals is $233, we decided against a seafood stew and they let us double up on a different recipe. Hope this is worth it!

  17. We have one of these here in Iowa and we love it. I just have my son and I to cook for and 12 meals lasts me for over 2 months for the few nights we are actually home to cook anything. Food quality is great and so are the recipes. We have done this several times and the place that we go had to double their location size inside of year to keep up with the demands.

  18. Use Dream Dinners all the time. I actually save $$$ this way. 5 of us. (3 teen boys) Fresh food, Fast to fix. 12 meals takes me 1.5 hours there. Yes, you can add more Vegs and take out the dislikes too. Take a look at Dream Dinners Nutritional breakdowns, very good for you too. We do not eat fast food so this is our fast food. I am trying Dinners Done Right this month too. ( they prepare it for you, a + $30.00 if you want. You just pick it up and go on home.)

  19. There are many of these all over. In Texas, I go to Easy Made Meals. It is great. It saves me time and worry. They assemble also for $25 for 12 meals and $15 for six meals.

  20. Our family uses this and we split the meals in half since it is only me, my husband and a 4 year old. It works out really well. I come home with 26 meals (if you sign up for the next month at the class you get a free meal). The meals are usually more than we need so my husband takes the left overs for lunch or we have them the next day. I don’t have to actually prepare an entire meal at home all month. Love it. And they have many ways to get free meals. Check out their website.

  21. I love Super Suppers and prefer them over Dream Dinners. They let me come in anytime and make meals as well as I don’t have to be stuck paying a premium for making 6 entrees. They also let me make less than 6 or buy from their Grab N Go. The owner of the one I go to on Bethelview Rd in Cumming, Ga was featured on the Food Network too-Recipe for Success. It aired back in January.

  22. I just wanted to say for those who were skeptical about the entire concept, you shouldn’t be. Take it from me, my father owns a Dream Dinners franchise in Naperville,Il. It saves time and also saves money. For those frightened people who have kids/or no kids it answers “What’s for dinner?”. It takes about 2 hours to make 12 meals or 1 hour to make 6 meals. I have tried to prepare meals at home without using this concept and it take about 30-45 minutes maybe even more just to make one single dinner, in that time at Dream Dinners you could have made 3-4 meals. We do the chopping, shopping for you all you have to do is customize your meals to your families taste. Each dinner serves from 4-6 people, if you choose to split your meals it will serve from 2-3 people depending on how much a person eats.
    Does it save money?
    Yes it does. It costs anywhere from $3-5 per serving. Which adds up to about $220-$240 for 12 meals and $130-170 for 6 meals. Can you find a nice sit down resturant with it not costing you over $8?
    The recipes are almost gourmet. For kids they might think that Mango Indian Salmon(a meal for the month of June) may not sound tasty, but how about Rosemary Chicken(another meal from the month of june). It has sliced chicken with a creamy mushroom and rosemary sauce with cheese served with penne pasta. I know for a fact this is a hit with my family, my little brother who is eight loves this dish.
    Healthy for you?
    Oh, yes. We have a lady who is on the weight watcher’s diet and uses the points and finds it great for her and her family. How about our Arroz Con Pollo? A signature dish at Dream Dinners. It has full sized chicken breast, laying a bed of rice and topped with fresh vegtables all with a bit of Mexican flair to it.
    There is a variety in the meals, from breakfast dishes to dinner to desserts.

    The website is: http://www.dreamdinners.com

  23. Carrie Howell says:

    I have been going to Dream Dinners every month for the last 2 years. Ours was one of the first in the franchise. I was hooked after the first month I tried it. Even when my husband and I had to get rid of some things in our lives for a budget he decided Dream Dinners was NOT one of the things we would eliminate. We eat 4-5 times a week together now and spend much less on eating out. I just take out 3 meals every 4-5 days and let them thaw in the firdge till I am ready to cook them they even give you a list that tells you what would be good to serve with the meals and how long it will take to cook and shopping list so you can prepare for the week ahead before you go shopping. We love it. I also like it better than Souper Suppers and Dinner Station because the meals are more exciting something you wouldnt make yourself because who has time to get out 10-12 different spices each time they go to prepare a meal.. Also it is nice when you need to take a meal to someone and you just take it from the fridge and cook it then add a salad and bread and you have a great meal for the new mother or family who has someone ill in the hospital. You never know till you try it and right now I believe they have a deal where you can try 3 meals for $49.50. Its a great deal and you cant loose.

  24. went to dream dinners yesterday. it was lots of fun. ingredients seemed to be high quality. receipes looked yummy. i was extremely impressed with the emphasis on hygeine…handwashing/proper use of gloves, etc. can’t wait to see how it all tastes!

  25. I went to Dream Dinners yesterday and made 14 meals in 2 hours. This is going to revolutionize the way we eat-no doubt. I prepared the Crispy Sesame Chicken this evening with some stir fired veggies I got at Safeway. The kids ate it and my husband loved it. Very low fat, since the only added fat was the Pam cooking spray I put on the bottom of the baking dish. I spent roughly $230 on 14 meals. We spend that eating out 4 or 5 times…and here I’ve got 14 dinners. I promptly signed up for next month and pre-ordered 17 meals. I love to cook, but I just don’t have the time or energy to pre-plan and prepare everything like I used to when the kids were smaller. The whole two hours, I imagined I was Rachel Ray on The Food Network…she makes 4 things in 30 minutes because everything is chopped, grated, sliced and measured for her before she begins…tell me how this is any different! We just moved to this town 6 weeks ago, and the previous town we lived in didn’t have a Dream Dinners. Everyone I’ve told is more than intrigued and wants one of these places in their town too…

  26. Alexandra says:

    The food is awful. So if bad for which is easy is what you’re going for great. But really the food is horrendous.

  27. I have been doing Dream Dinners for 2 months now and even hosted my own “Sneak Peak” party for my friends. It is fun and the food is fantastic! In my opinion it is resteraunt quality. They use meat that has not been injected w/hormones or other garabge, they use fat free cheese, etc. So not only is it good it’ s healthy. When you are preparing it you can put in a little more, less of something. And if it calls for something you don’t like don’t add it! If you don’t have much time to cook in the evening this is for you. I love it!

  28. Alexandra….whose food was horrendous? You didn’t say. Anyway, I went to Dream Dinners today and made a lot of meals. I don’t even remember how many, I just know there were 56 servings altogether (some were large entrees and others were medium). WE just moved and we are living in a corporate apartment for a few months. We don’t have much to cook with…just one pot, one pan, a tiny cutting board and one knife. So far we have found it difficult to make anything beyond spaghetti. So I thought I would try Dream Dinners. We usually rack up a pretty large grocery bill by buying things we think we will need and then we end up being too busy to actually cook whatever it is so it sits in the freezer forever. I haven’t eaten my first DD meal yet, but I think I will like it. The ingredients seemed very good. It was easy to do. I like the fact that we don’t need much equipment in our kitchen to be able to cook the meals now that they are prepared and we shouldn’t have any waste either because everything is already done pretty much. The women that were there at the same time I was were all repeat customers and seemed pleased with it all.

    Holly

  29. I have been a customer for three years. I have one in my town and loved it. My 4 kids love the food and I love how easy it is. I custom make every meal for my family. It is both economical and never boring. The recipes change monthly. If I make a mess somebody cleans up after me… Love It.

  30. Just tried Dream Dinners for the 1st time this month. All food very tasty, however not enough food for my family of 4 which includes 6 foot teenage boy. I bought an extra lb to lb1/2 of meat, enough seasons to stretch for us since we don’t like lots of sauces or salt. just ran into Supper Supers and will probably try them next month.

  31. Tried Dream Dinners today. 13 meals and one Apple Crisp. It was fun and NO CLEAN UP!! yeah! Use their pans for cooking. They had spices I have never had. I have one in the over right now. Food looks fresh also.

  32. Oh, forgot, my total for bill was $181.00 for 14 meals and 30 servings!

  33. I love Dream Dinners. Do it every month. Food changes and everything is different. My son loved the Coconut Chicken so I made more than one of those. Takes the same amount of time as grocery shopping at Walmart and you already have it all together. Some preparation at home but so easy to decide it is shrimp and sauage jambalaya tonight!

  34. Alexandra the food is awful? I disagree.

    I just starting going to Dream Dinners last month with my husband. We are expecting twins and I hate to cook now since standing is no easy feat. My husband also tends to over spend at the grocery store. We have found that we save money going to Dream Dinners and the food we create is much healthier than trying to put a last minute meal together at the grocery store. After the twins are born I assume my schedule will get hectic and cooking will take a backseat to caring for babies. We will continue to go to DD. We are very happy with the quality of the food and the cost.

  35. My wife & I have used Dream Dinners & have found it to be less expensive and healthier than eating out all the time – It also gives us the opportunity to spend some time with our daughters each night after work since we are not running around trying to prepare dinner and figure out what to eat, not having the ingredients, etc. Also, they have nice sized portions. We are trying to watch what we eat and it is not always easy. The dream dinners location we go to even figures out the weight watchers points for us in advance so we have an idea of what we are ordering! I highly recommend it!

  36. I’ve been using dream dinners for the past 6 months. I will never go back to shopping and preparing my own food again. My kids love the food. It’s healthy, low cal, low carb, and tasty. My oldest child comes home from college once a month and picks 7-8 3-serving meals (so 21- 24 dinners) and usually has enough food for the month; plus we spend time together making it.

    My 3-yr old daughter sometimes actually licks the plate!!! For me, it’s much quicker and less expensive to use dream dinners than it is to purchase stuff at the store that I end up throwing away.

    I generally pick enough food for the entire month (about 24 dinners/ + 7-8 for my son) and the entire cost is generally about 350/ month (way less than the 150 / week I spent at the store and did not even feed my oldest child). It usually comes out to about 3.33 / serving, which is better than pizza or fast food. We’ve only had a few dinners that we did not like.

  37. ileanonthehill says:

    i did the introductory offer at dream dinners. For $49.50, I got 18 servings. I live alone and it is fast and easy. I wont be using dream dinners for all of my meals as that would be very expensive. But I do intend to do it again next month. A friend said that I can go with her and I can get my meals at the price she pays. For 72 meals it will cost about 240 dollars. I would get 36 meals for about half that, by going with her. and they don’t limit you.

  38. i want to add that, at dream dinners, you can take wine with you and share it with others. i had a lot of fun.

  39. The Meal Blogger says:

    From a customer standpoint, the meal assembly industry is great. It isn’t possible to create the same quality and quantity of food in your own kitchen. Making 12 meals each that serve 4-6 people in 2 hours at home is impossible.
    Think about how long it would take in your own kitchen to prep 12 family size meals, and then clean up afterwards. I saw one post in a blog about this topic once where the person was proud of the fact that it only took her 5.5 hour to make 12 meals at home, and then she had to clean up.
    Think about the cost, have you priced spices lately. When you go to a meal assembly location, you pay for just the amount of ingredent, etc that actually make up your meal. Not the cost of the entire bundle of herbs, bottle of olive oil etc. No matter how you want to slice it, the meal assembly industry is good for the consumer.

  40. skeptic says:

    interesting that all 2007 comments name Dream Dinners…. a little PR by the company and its franchisees perhaps?

  41. The Meal Blogger says:

    In response to skeptic.
    I’m sure you are correct. No different than the comments made by other people mentioning Super Suppers, Easy Made Meals, Let’s Dish, etc. You’ll notice my original comment did not mention any specific location/franchise.
    The meal assembly industry is experiencing some severe growing pains right now. Way too many stores have been opened and many markets are oversaturated. I stand by my original comment, the industry is good for the consumer, unfortunately the stores are killing the market they wish to serve.

  42. Jessica says:

    Meal assembly franchises are the “next best thing to sliced bread”. Does anyone know if any of these franchises are listed on the stock market? I want to get in early! Anyway, I picked up my order last week from Dinner on Demand near Charlotte, NC, and I’m absolutely ecstatic that I can prepare a home cooked meal in about 20 minutes. No more McFatty food for us! The price of the food is just a couple dollars more than fast food and a much cheaper than eating out. I ordered (12) 2-3 serving meals for $109.00 plus tax, and paid an additional $25 to have them assemble the meals. For 12 meals I would’ve spent more at the grocery store and let half of the items go to waste like tomatos, onions, lettuce,etc. If you’re considering trying it out, I say go for it! What do you have to lose? How about spending an hour at the grocery store, or 15 minutes at the grocery store after work to pick up something you forgot the first time, or an hour and a half cooking dinner. Not much to lose if you ask me!

  43. Rick Reeder says:

    My parents own a Dream Dinners franchise in Frisco, TX, and it is for sale… it is too much for them to handle. If you are interested in owning a franchise, you can contact them at PrestonRolaterTX@dreamdinners.com

  44. For a single guy like me, who spends under $30/week on food, this is not a feasible option. But I could imagine that if parents were trying to juggle a lot, it could be a quick way to knock out dinners. Plus it’d help your budget, b/c you wouldn’t be making a dozen unplanned trips to the grocery store. Those are some pros. On the con side, I’m more old-fashioned, & still believe in do-it-yourself. Personally, even as a single guy, I make my lunches for a week.

    Get whole grains, & you have a low-cost, fiberous base to your diet. Rice & pasta are very cheap, especially in bulk, & they take up a lot of space in your stomach. Even though there’s a current anti-carb fad, hopefully it’s just a fad. Whole grains help your heart, clear out cholesterol, and give steady energy! If you’re worried about low metabolism, add certain spices like garlic that raise your metabolic rate!

    Some people do the crock pot thing, and that seems to work well – cut it up, dump it in, leave it alone, & dinner’s ready the next day! Not much mess to clean up, & all you have to do is add some toast or a roll to have a meal!

  45. Time is money for me, Ive been preparing Dream Dinners for almost 2 yrs now. They work for us and our busy schedules. we don’t have a DD meal every night, but it’s SO wonderful to pull a bag from the freezer at 6am and know what I’m going to do for dinner when I roll in from a long teaching day. Try it, you might like it!

  46. There’s a DD near me here in CLT & I’ve scheduled a visit in a couple weeks. I’m single, so haven’t felt it would be economical for me to use but I’m scheduled for elbow surgery on my right arm on 11/1. Since I’ll be somewhat out of commission thought this would be a good time to try it and stock my freezer with what I hope will be healthy food for easy hot meals. Will let you know!

  47. I love dream dinners for my family of 5. I can usually stretch a 3 serving meal to serve all of us since my kids are all little. I don’t mind the absence of sides because we eat a ton of salad and fresh fruits and vegetables. That said, they do often include some sides such as rice, pasta or a frozen vegetable. I find it to be economical, high quality, healthy, and yummy. It saves me a lot of precious time (which is money). I also enjoy the variety that it provides me in my sometimes redundant repetoir. It reduces my trips to the supermarket and has practicaly eliminated take-out. I try to make 8 meals a month (2/wk) and this has really worked out well for my family. It is also nice to save a 6 serving meal in the freezer in case of unexpected company. The frozen meals also travel well for when we go out of town and will have a kitchen where we are going. Can you tell, I love dd.
    k~

  48. Cooking Accomplished! has been a great find for myself and several of my friends. The concept is simple; you go online, pick the entrees you want and the date you want to assemble them. The difference between Cooking Accomplished! and several other businesses like this in Portland, is quality! The owner is a trained chef. They have a commercial kitchen where all the ingredients are prepped by Shelley and her staff. Many of my friends, prior to joining me for meal assembly sessions at Cooking Accomplished!, admitted to serving and eating frozen or pre-cooked meals several times a week and to dining out two or three times a week. We decided since we are worried about nutritional value and using quality local ingredients we would research meal assembly as a solution to reducing time spent shopping and preparing dinners with the goal of eating healthier. The only assemble-your-own meal company that we found in Portland, that had great selections, high quality local ingredients and prepped all their food in-house is CookingAccomplished! in Lake Oswego. Since I started preparing meals at CookingAccomplished! I’ve also signed up for a couple of great cooking classes. My son attended a kids class as well and he can’t wait until the next one. Shelley has done a fantastic job of creating a quality experience!

  49. Well..no deceptions here. I’m a manager of a Dream Dinners and it was very interesting reading everyone’s comments above. I just sort of “fell into” this two years ago making some extra cash as part of the customer service staff and eventually became a manager. I’ve not personally been to any of our competitors, but listen to what customers have to say. I’ve heard that the Dream Dinners’ “quality” is better. I’ve heard our prices are higher. I’ve heard that the convenience of not scheduling a session with some competitors is an advantage over Dream Dinners. But ultimately what I recognize–even from customers who have been going to Dream Dinners stores closer to their homes and switch to our location which is further for them–is that the relationship built with the customers is what keeps them coming back. The concept is simple and almost anyone with money can open a store in this industry, but customer service and attention to the “little things” goes a long way. If you’ve never tried this before, definitely give yourself a trial run. (Whichever store you choose)

    P.S. I’m single and never used the kitchen before working here. Eating out was an everyday expense. I’ve saved so much money by preparing meals. (And not just because of my nice discount either 😉

  50. I have tried 3 different make and take home, Dream Dinners is the best. I found Super Supper quality not nearly as good as Dream Dinners.

  51. I have been using Dream Dinners for two months, and am planning to go tomorrow night. I am currently using it for all my meals–i got 36 servings (12 different meals) for $145, which has more than lasted a month. I cook it for dinner one night, then eat leftover for the next few lunches. All of the food I have had has been fantastic, and as someone with GERD, has all gone down and stayed down. That is really a miracle.

    This gives me a variety of options that I cannot afford at the grocery store–I can’t afford to buy four different types of spices for one dish, or an onion i will only use half of. This allows me to only pay for what I use, which is great. I am planning to continue indefinately, as I have not had to go to the grocery store for anything but cottage cheese & triscuts (breakfast) since I started this. It also allows me to bypass temptations like the ice cream & bakery–I don’t miss what I don’t see!

  52. I just had a sneak peak at Dream Dinenrs…and we HATED it!! We had lots of fun that night, but the one dinner THEY picked for us to do was entirely too salty. I expected the recipe they picked would be a grand slam. Well, the reality was far from it. If we had ordered this at a restaurant, it would have been sent back to the kitchen. I like the concept. It is not a substitute for cooking yourself, and I personally don’t believe it saves that much time either.

    I’d give your local one a try, but read the preparation instructions first, and ask lots of questions about exactly “what” is seasoned.

  53. I think this is a fantastic idea, and I don’t see why someone single would not think so as well. First of all, when I was single, I never ate out at restaurants more than 2x a week. Restaurant food is not healthy no matter what it costs. The expensive restaurant sauces and additives are bloating, fattening, and full of salt, butter and cream and calories. The cheap restaurant food will kill you over time. I can not even imagine living a life of eating out all the time, single or not. It is worth the time and money to cook your own whole, healthy and unadulterated food, and this concept saves you the time shopping, shlepping, prepping, and cleaning, which is the reason most people hate to cook….it’s not the cooking itself that is such a deterrant. The cooking part is fun, so this is fantastic, healthy, efficient, and time saving.

  54. Just wanted to put my 2 cents worth in. I’ve been going to Dream Dinners for just under 2 years now. With just my husband and I in the house now, it works out beautifully for us. There is just enough in the 3 serving portion for the 2 of us and we get such a variety. I usually do the equivilant of about 24 meals at each session and it takes me about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to assemble. It has made my life sooooo much easier and when we’re done with a meal my husband always says “Another good one!” I tried one other company and although I only tried 2 of their entres I was greatly disappointed. Yes, you almost certainly can create comparable meals for less money for the actual items. When I factor in the time searching for the recipe, making a grocery list, cruising up and down the aisles at the store, standing in line, writing out the check, gas back and forth to the market, gathering up the food and tools for preparation, clean up, and the food waste I always feel like I’ve come out ahead of the game. The comment about the personnel also comes into play. The Dream Dinners that I go to (Granada Hills, Southern California) is owned by a wonderful woman that totally gets customer service. She is always willing to accomodate my needs and wants. And….no I do not own a Dream Dinners.

  55. We have been going to Dream Dinners for more than two years now and it has changed our lives.

    $$ Savings – We don’t eat out anymore, so we are saving a ton of money. I don’t want to cook, neither does my husband, and with Dream Dinners we get to stay home now. Plus, I no longer buy spices that eventually go bad because we didn’t use them up.

    Time Savings – Fewer trips to the grocery store, less time spent there when we do go, and two hours to prepare 18 -20 meals (yes, we do that many every month), not to mention the time saved not having to decide on what to eat, how to fix it, and finding out we didn’t have the necessary ingredients.

    Tears Savings – A picky eater in our house made dinner time miserable every night, Mom and child in tears more often than not. That is now a distant memory as he loves Dream Dinners.

    And for Pippi – too salty? That is the best part, in preparing the dinners we decide how much to add or not add – leave out the salt!

    Oh, yeah … we did try Super Suppers one month – and we were disappointed in each of the meals which surprised us because we thought they would be the same quality as Dream Dinners.

  56. I go to Dream Dinners in Livonia, MI sporadically for the last two years and cannot say enough good things about them. This past year I even prepared Christmas dinner for 24 using their Holiday menu! It was wonderful and saved me lots of time and clean up. My husband loved that! My dad couldn’t stop raving about how delicious it was and everyone made short work of it. I do have a Super Suppers closer to my home but I have never tried it as I am so pleased with the quality of the ingredients and the friendliness/helpfulness of the staff at Dream Dinners. I highly recommend giving them a try.

  57. I am thrilled that Dream Dinners came to town! I love to serve nice meals with variety. Their recipes are all ones I would have seen in a cookbook and thought “I want to try that”. The big family meals at Christmas were easy, easy and a big hit with everyone of all ages. Day to day I find it fun to feed the two of us without spending all my time in the kitchen. We often eat two DD’s in a week (packaged for 3 servings) and then have the two leftover servings on another night. The portion sizes are just right, not at all skimpy but not too large, and the recipes are mostly healthy with wonderful quality ingredients – better than some I can buy on my own. I enjoy leaving out the grocery shopping, the chopping and slicing and dicing and the clean-up- the things that take sooo much time. I can go with a friend and make a ton of meals in two hours (scheduled so there is no crowding and no running out of the meal you want). And I can use them for entertaining so I have plenty of time and energy for more frequent dinner parties. I solved the freezer problem by winning one at their Grand Opening!

  58. ChefGeorge says:

    What are the odds that just about everyone names Dream Dinners in their posting? Hmmmm.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Rebecca – I’ve seen your exact same post on three different blogs pimping Cooking…! You might want to vary your wording (or at least the posting name) so it’s not the exact same post that you cut and pasted to the ones I’ve seen. I haven’t been to the store you are promoting but if the food is anywhere as un-original as your postings, I’ll pass. (As a joke, I’ll go in and post this same response to the ones you posted already… ; )

  60. I just tried them last week. It was very tasty. The food is fresh the store was neat and clean and the meals were easy to put together which made for tasty dinners. The best part is that it took me 1 hour to make 6 dinners ranging from 3 to 6 servings. The other best part is that I didn’t have to go grocery shopping nor clean-up – they do! It’s great for working moms and I love to cook and my husband have made the dinners with the easy instructions. I read some of the other postings and I agree that it can be too salty or seasoned too much so next time I will adjust the sea salt and seasonings to 1/2. Where can you make a week of dinners in 1 hour. It’s a great idea.

  61. I’m sold on Dream Dinners. I’ve been booking sessions once a month for about a year now at the Tri-City Center store in Redlands, Ca. I love the convenience of having a month’s worth of meals ready to eat in my freezer. The meals are tasty, interesting and geared toward a “heart healthy” diet. The staff at the Tri-City store is friendly and helpful and it’s always a fun time to prepare the meals.

    If you haven’t tried the Dream Dinner’s Chicken Mirabella, I highly recommend it and it’s on the April menu.

  62. Kitzyababa says:

    aloha,
    I’m looking at opening a make-and-take franchise. I live on the tiny island of Kauai (Hawaii) We have over one million tourist a year, many with families who stay in Condos. Dinners out here are very expensive, well all food is. Milk can run $8 per gallon. My husband, daugter and I can’t seem to go out for dinner under $50, and we get the local discounts.

    Question: if you were going to vacation in Hawaii, would you be willing to spend 2 hours making meals for the week? Condo’s arent always well stocked, minimal equipment and they seldom have condiments (salt, pepper, soy sauce, etc)?

    Or would you just want to go out every night? Thanks

  63. To the people wondering why so many comments mentioning Dream Dinners. This thread is over two years old, but it comes up as the 10th hit on google when you search for Dream Dinners. It’s on the first page of searches. That’s how I found it.

  64. To Kitzyababa
    I was in Kauai this past October. We did indeed stay at a condo and because my baby was very young (3 months)we found it difficult to go out, we ended up getting take out almost every nite. Now, I don’t know how many people go to Kauai with kids (I didn’t find it to be as kid friendly as the other islands unless you count chasing chickens a fun kid activity)but I think your concept could be useful if there was a way that your franchise would offer the option of you assembling and delivery to the condo factored in. I am a big dream dinners fan and would have eagerly signed up on vacay, but not if I would have to spend the time assembling them myself. I know my dream dinners here in southern Ca offers the option of assembling meals for you at an added cost. Good luck with whatever choice you make.

  65. My mother has been going to Dream Dinners for about a year, and I went for the first time a couple of months ago. What I really like about it, is that you know EXACTLY what the meal is made out of, and how it was prepared, just like if you prepared it at home. I recently had a baby, so these meals were great, because they kept us from eating out all the time because of convenience. Another reason I like it is because you don’t have to buy a whole package of something that you will use for a tsp, or cup in one recipe and never use again. Anyway, I really like DreamDinners and it is worth at least trying it out.

  66. I’m actually a bit surprised the DD concept is still going, and no I have no stake in the company. My ex was pressuring me to start a franchise, and I gave it a little thought. Friends gifted us a month of DD, and after just a couple of weeks, I was sick of the recipes. A few were tasty, but others less so. Personally, I didn’t think it was that cost effective…I call it a restaurant where you pay to make your own food–where’s the fun doing other people’s recipes? What time is actually saved is only some shopping/preparation as you still have to drive down there and fill up a bunch of ziploc baggie. As a business, I find any food-related enterprise a bit scary, especially a fad concept where you might not even break-even. It’s an easy $400K up front…to satisfy a market for bagged dinners. Hmm….I’m skeptical, especially as the economy scales down.

  67. Just got back from my first Dream Dinners outing with some friends…WOW..I was a skeptic, but it was great fun, fast, easy, and I have easy meals with instructions that will actually make dinnertime preparation something to LOOK FORWARD TO. What a great concept.
    The things they provided for tasting (several menu items that we could choose from a list) were GREAT, beautifully presentable, and took literally MINUTES to throw together. Since there is no bulky packaging (meals are prepared in ziplocs and labeled), it takes up FAR LESS space in my freezer than the prepared foods I usually buy from Costco or wherever. At about $4 per person it doesn’t even compare to fast food. This could change the American diet and obesity if it catches on. Healthy meals that taste great and are easy. Sounded too good to be true to me until I tried it. Had never even heard of them so I had to get on the internet when I got home tonight and find out what was out there! I have already scheduled my session one night next month to make some November recipes. What a more productive use of my time than shopping, driving to various stores, chopping, washing dishes and utensils….this just makes SENSE.

  68. I’m considering the purchase of a DD franchise that is for sale in our area, but I’ve yet to find out why the previous owners are selling. Can anyone here who owns one of these give me a list of the pros and cons, perhaps a number of years to break even, even the profit margin if you’re willing.

    Thanks.

  69. joel,
    DON’T BUY THE STORE!!!!!!!!!!! I just saved you a life time of hard earned money, stress, marriage etc.
    They are selling because they are losing their shorts. Trust me, I owned one and I lost my shorts, time with my family, retirement, I finally had to file BK. I’m not alone in this, google “meal watch” and you will see tons of info on the Dream Dinners law suit.
    I don’t know you or where you live, but one thing I know is don’t buy this store or any other meal assembly store. It’s the worse thing I’ve ever done in my life.
    Besides, if they were making money- they wouldn’t be selling the store. At the end, I even tried to give away my store for free I was so desperate to get out. I’d love to know what they are asking for their store. Unfortunately they will find some poor schmuck to buy it that hasn’t done their home work or due diligence.

  70. By the way, Dream Dinners does in fact use the cheapest quality food Sysco offers. Everything is canned or frozen. I was surprised and disappointed when bought the store that we HAD to use such awful ingredients. Oh well, most people don’t know the difference since they are used to prepackaged frozen grocery store meals anyways.
    It’s great for some people that don’t know how to cook.

  71. Good Eater says:

    You know, Caitlin, and a few others of you…it’s not really that “we don’t know how to do that ourselves” (cook)…so I don’t think you need to belittle people. I find you rather rude, and I am very sick of people like you making those types of comments. Just because some one does something you don’t does not mean you have to talk about them like they’re idiots. Good luck with that attitude. Has it served you well so far?
    Furthermore, when you work two jobs, have three children, and an all-around busy life and little time to put together decent meals, these types of places are very handy. This way, we spend the money on a decent dinner, and not fast food (the way you might).

    It may pay to think about what you are saying once in a while.

  72. Christine says:

    Good Eater
    I so agree with you. I know how to cook and how to cook well. I am just very busy and find Dream Dinners helpful in putting a decent meal on the table before the night is over. It is about convenience and making time for my family. Just because you choose to go to one of these places doesn’t mean you can’t cook. I may mean you don’t have time.

  73. For working moms who want a home cooked meal on the table every night, DD is a lifesaver, the recipes are excellent and I agree they are restaurant quality. Super Suppers relies way too much on cheese, and their meals are nothing special, and the store I went to was empty and disorganized and didn’t have things set up for my session. My family eats dinner together every night, and I owe that to DD and also my crock pot.

  74. For those of you out there looking for easy preparation, just a few extra ingredients (usually less than 4), no PRESERVATIVES AND NO SALT ADDED, try the line of slow cooker dinners and soups from Delicae Gourmet. Dinners feed 6 – 9 and soups feed 10 – 13 and are all high quality and economical!

  75. Miami mom says:

    I started DD 2 months ago an I love it. I am a mother of a busy toddler, and I spend the majority of my day running around with her to the park, zoo, etc. Before we had her I would make very involved meals for myself and my husband, and I would spend a lot of money on ingredients, and a lot of time in Publix supermarket shopping for food. A lot of spices in my cabinets would go bad, and I always had leftover food in the fridge that would spoil. Since I started DD I have more time to spend with my family and less time preparing. (it is hard to pay attention to an almost 3 year old and cook at the same time). The only thing I have to buy from the market is side items, veggies, and fruit.

    I have also seen a lot of people take there children, and have them help out making the meals. It is very cute. I go in, get my coffee, and get started and in an hour I make 12 meals (36 servings). My DD even has a freezer with already made items in it for the same price from the previous months menu. They also have this new thing going on where you get anywhere from 5% to 25% off there meals when you sign up for there plan. My store also gives me a free side item when I prepaid my meal in the 1st week of the month.

    So, far I have liked all of the meals that I have chosen.

Trackbacks

  1. […] addition, there are also the make-your-own-takeout places like Dream Dinners and Super Suppers, which I have never tried before because I never had that kind of freezer […]

  2. […] pizzas, and various home-cooked food from the in-laws. Which is why I still haven’t tried out Dream Dinners. To the right is an actual picture of our […]

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