Nov 8, 2006

Dream Dinners: The Verdict

As I posted previously, I purchased three different meals at an introductory price from Dream Dinners, a company that prepares all the ingredients for you so that all you have to do is show up, assemble a meal, take it home, freeze it, and cook it at your convenience. The meals I selected were Four Cheese and Meatball Calzones, Chicken Enchiladas, and Braised BBQ Beef with Buttermilk Biscuits.

The final verdict is a thumbs up. Although I was skeptical, the meals all tasted quite good. Here's a quick run down of each meal:

  • Four Cheese and Meatball Calzones with Marinara Sauce: The oddest part of this meal was that although it is supposed to serve six, you only get four calzones. I baked two and still have two in the freezer, since the directions called for putting two calzones each in two baking pans. We did get three servings out of the two calzones, but that was only because I wasn't very hungry and ate only a part of one. I also made extra marinara sauce since the small container of sauce provided really wasn't enough.
  • Chicken Enchiladas: I liked this meal quite a bit, although I do prefer shredded chicken to diced, which is what was provided. The sauce, which was simply a combination of jarred salsa and sour cream, was surprisingly good. This dish would be extremely easy to re-create on my own, and I just might do that before the baby comes.
  • Braised BBQ Beef with Buttermilk Biscuits: This was probably the overall favorite. The directions called for searing the meat and then simmering it on the stove for 2 1/2 hours, but I threw everything into the slow cooker for the day instead and it came out quite tasty. The biscuits were delicious when fresh out of the oven but not nearly as good the next day.

My biggest complaint is that it can be difficult to plan ahead so that there is enough time for each meal to defrost before cooking. I wish the meals could go straight from freezer to oven, which I know is possible for at least some meals (like my meatloaf).

We've decided that it's worth going back for a full session later this month. Although the meals aren't as healthy as meals I make from scratch, they are healthier and cheaper than fast food or take out, and I definitely won't be cooking from scratch every night for quite some time. You can find Dream Dinners' current menu here.


Anonymous said...

Oh man, there's one of these things just down the road from me. Must... resist... urge... to make yummy... food!

Anonymous said...

I love the ease and convenience of Dream Dinners. It has made a huge difference to my family's dinner time routine. I love that I can tweak the spices to my family's preferences and I love the ease of it all. I really love that the dinners fit very nicely in my Weight Watcher's point system and my whole family is eating healthy and they don't even realize it! This is a must do for any busy mom.

Unknown said...

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!