Home-cooked meals, like vacation slideshows, are best when experienced by family members over the course of several hours. Indulge in familial company with today’s Groupon: for $50, you get $100 worth of ready-to-assemble meals at Dream Dinners.
Dream Dinners’ registered dietitian and family physician duo provides cuisine crafters with the ingredients and directions necessary to assemble 12 or 14 healthy, palate-pleasing meals in less than an hour. Taste technicians can select a meal that serves 2–3 ($10–$15 on average) or 4–6 ($20–$30 on average) from more than 17 recipes on the ever-rotating monthly menu and dazzle dining-room tables with a gourmet assemblage of ingredients. For those with smaller watches and consequently less time, the Fast Lane menu offers dinners that only need to be cooked or baked.
All chopping, sorting, assembly, and recipe-dreaming is done in advance by Dream Dinners’ crew, with gourmet concoctions such as herb-dijon chicken breasts with garlic bread or cheese lover's manicotti needing only a quick tumble in the oven to be tabletop ready. Food wizards cart their bounty home, armed with easy-to-follow cooking instructions for piecing together the edible jigsaw puzzle without worrying about sharpening knives, cleaning stove tops, or converting grams into degrees Celsius.
Dream Dinners founders Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna want to help families gather around the table for delicious meals. Like many parents throughout the country, the two women tried to coordinate a family dinner, but their efforts were often thwarted by hectic schedules. As a dinnertime strategy, Stephanie began to prepare meals with fresh, raw ingredients and then freeze them so they could be quickly thawed and cooked during the week. This tactic became popular with her family. Before long, friends, friends of friends, and chimpanzee families that mimicked their friends wanted to learn her secrets. With help from Tina Kuna, she established the first Dream Dinners location, and the successful food-prep business has led to the creation of more than 90 stores in less than three years.
At each Dream Dinners location, customers find all the culinary tools to prepare a nutritious meal—everything from fresh ingredients to meal-packing materials. Each week Dream Dinners features a new menu of fix-and-freeze dinners that can be made for up to six people, providing customers with numerous options for planning quiet meals at home or dinner parties with friends. All ingredients are precut and measured to ensure an error-free fixing.