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It's Summertime, and the Living's Easy with Dream Dinners

When one hour makes 36 servings, you know you've found something good.

Scientists say that 10 a.m. Tuesday is the most stressful time for office workers.

A recent poll claims that 8:25 a.m. is the most stressful time of day for the modern mom.

But for me, the time of day that makes my palms sweat is 4 p.m. when I realize the cupboards are bare and I have no idea what to make for dinner.

That's where Dream Dinners comes to the rescue.

From clients to owners

The Rochester Hills Dream Dinners is owned and operated by husband and wife Ricardo and Skotti Hernandez. After three years as Dream Dinners customers, they were true believers in the system that saves families time and money while letting them eat healthful meals in the comfort of their own homes.

"We were Dream Dinners customers for years, and it saved us from eating out — bad food, bad service," Ricardo Hernandez said. "When it became available, we said, 'Let's go get it.' "

The couple has been helping Rochester-area residents make dreamy dinners for the past two years. Ricardo and Skotti greet most customers by name and are on hand to help in any way needed. They also provide a sneak peek at one of next month's menu offerings for you to sample while you work.

Let's get started

I enjoy cooking as much — or as little — as the next person. But the part I can really do without is the grocery shopping and the food prep. (Translation: chopping. I am dangerous with a knife and not in a good way.)

Dream Dinners takes away those hassles — and the cleanup — and leaves you with preheating the oven.

I'm not kidding. It's that easy, and this is how you get started:

  1. Go to the Dream Dinners' website and pick your nearest location. I recommend our own Rochester Hills location at 1994 Star Batt Dr., off Crooks just north of M-59.
  2. Select the monthly menu. It offers 14 entree selections, including classics and "best of the best" favorites. Because it's summer, many entrees are for the grill. It's also nice to note that 70 percent of June's menu had entree choices totaling less than 400 calories.
  3. Pick your dinners. To help with your selection, icons let you know which choices are "heart healthy," good for the grill or ready in less than 30 minutes. You need to select a minimum of 36 servings. You may order meals in three- or six-serving sizes. Most meals fall in the range of $3.80 to $5.65 per serving.
  4. Book your date and time. There are morning and evening times on a variety of days to fit anyone's schedule.

Guiltless girls night out

I recommend asking a girlfriend along and making a night of it. You can even bring your own bottle of wine. 

While the wine is optional, BYOC is a must. That's "Bring Your Own Cooler." It may arrive empty, but it will leave with weeks' worth of meals.

When I got to Dream Dinners at 6 p.m., there was a basket waiting with all the recipes and cooking instructions for the meals I selected online.

With clean hands and a Dream Dinners-provided apron, it was time to get to work. 

I found the station for my first meal and used the recipe there to start assembling. My first meal was Teriyaki Burgers with Pineapple Salsa.  The recipe lays everything out in perfect detail, with color-coding to "dummy-proof" the measuring. One quart bag got the marinade, another the pineapple salsa. I bagged them with the frozen burgers and buns, added the cooking instruction card and presto! In minutes, I was done with that meal.

I put the burgers in the allocated freezer space and moved on to meal No. 2. For me, it was Build-Your-Own-Calzone, which I customized with my and my husband's tastes. Minutes later, that meal was wrapped and ready to go, too.

And so my night went until I had a cooler full of meals to take home, and not a single dish to do.

When all was said and done, it took about an hour to prepare 36 servings.

A pretty productive night, in my book.

Barb L July 29, 2011 at 07:42 PM
This is really awesome, thanks! I have it bookmarked to try. I think it would be great to do before I have surgery, so my caretaker won't have to worry about cooking so much!

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