Dream Dinners: A Busy Mama's Dream-Come-True

Tonight I pulled already-prepped calzones out of my refrigerator for dinner. I put them on a baking pan, set a timer, and let the savory smells of cheese, pepperoni, olives, and ricotta fill our house. No stress. No fuss. No hassle.

dream dinners logoThanks to Dream Dinners, a meal-prep place that "provides everything you need to assemble delicious dinners for your family to store in the freezer and serve in the weeks ahead."

I went in to the store on a lazy Saturday afternoon in early March (one week before I had my baby), spent one hour prepping meals, and left with 6 dinners in a cooler. And these were healthy dinners with plenty of fresh ingredients: Sonoma Grill Steaks, Yancey Pork Roast, Chicken Marsala, Build Your Own Calzones, Garlic Balsamic Marinated Steaks, and Tuscan Turkey Medallions with Garlic Vegetables.

me-at-dream-dinnersThe experience at the store itself was exceptionally pleasant. The owners were kind, the countertops were immaculate, the ingredients were fresh, and the whole process was organized and easy. I simply moved from station to station in a Dream Dinners apron and followed simple "recipe cards" - adding the already-chopped onions, the red wine, the grated cheese, etc. During the sessions, the owners brought out one meal from the current month's menu and one meal from next month's menu for us to sample, along with the store's famous homemade lemonade.

Best of all, I went home with 6 meals that I didn't have to think about or grocery shop for. I just pulled my meal of choice out of the freezer, followed the simple directions on the attached label, and put a scrumptious meal on the table!

The menu changes every month and accommodates all different kinds of palates - whether your family loves pasta, poultry, steak, casseroles, or comfort foods. I'm already eyeing the Firehouse Three Cheese Pasta with Meatballs from the April menu and the Balsamic Blackberry Chicken from the May menu.

You can choose to make 3-serving or 6-serving meals...and I didn't think the prices were half-bad. The cost comes down to between $3-6/serving - which is much cheaper than your typical restaurant fare and comparable to meals that you cook for yourself at home. If you factor in the time that you save (you don't have to make a grocery list, drive to the grocery store, chop the garlic, etc.), it actually might just be a smokin' deal.

It's important to note that a "serving" doesn't necessarily mean a "person." Each meal is different, but if you have a family of big-eaters, teens, or adults, the 6-serving dishes probably won't be enough on their own (you'll need plenty of side dishes).

IN SUM: Will I return to Dream Dinners? YES! Despite the fact that the store is 35 minutes away from my house. It was totally worth it!

Want to join me? Well, you can't technically join me unless you drive to Arizona. But you can find a store near you and experience the dream-come-true-experience of having dinners ready at 5 o'clock. There are 163 locations in 32 states so hopefully you'll find one in your neighborhood.

DISCOUNT CODE: When you go online and make your appointment, you can get 10% off by entering this code: 66METROMDD (10% off first time orders of 36 servings or more; limited to one per family and new customers only.  May not be combined with any other discount offer.  Guests go to dreamdinners.com (Menus and Sessions page) to start the process.  The coupon code is entered on the payment page to receive the discount). The code expires May 31st so set up your session today!

Still not convinced?

  • Watch the Dream Dinners experience video to see exactly how it works.
  • Or order the Menu Sampler, "an abbreviated menu that gives people a chance to try a little of everything before committing to a larger order." Prices for the sampler vary a little store to store, but most start at $75.

WIN IT! One winner will receive a $75 gift voucher to a Dream Dinners (be sure to check to make sure that there is one near you before you enter). To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Wednesday, April 15 at midnight (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.).

*UPDATE* The winner is #79 Jen@BigBinder. Congratulations!

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166 comments on “Dream Dinners: A Busy Mama's Dream-Come-True”

  1. Hi Everyone! I would just like to share as a mom of three children. Dream Dinners changed my life. I will tell you right up front, so much, that I now own my own store. Like I said, three children, husband, my own business, sports, pets, appointments...I am sure that I do not have to continue. Dream Dinners is "feeding your family 2009". Times are different...money is tight, free time is even less available, and yet most of us still would like to provide the tradition, stability, family time of a home cooked meal. Granted some of mine are sitting on the stove, grab what you can, on the run meals. They are still prepared by me, made with love and above all..balanced and nutritious. This would not happen without Dream Dinners. I promise you..with all of my heart, that the owners of Dream Dinners are moms just like you who have decided that they were going to be the ones to share this concept...share what we have discovered to be life altering and make it happen for areas that have not been touched by Dream Dinners yet. Try it, speak with the owners about your own personal goals, how you need help, why you need Dream Dinners..is is financial, emotional, a goal to waste less? We are here to help...not as an advertisement, but as another mom who has been in your shoes and discovered something amazing! Laura, Branford, CT

  2. With one daughter into sweet potatoes with butter and the other into watching her fat and no one having time to prepare meals this place would be a great alternative to fast food.

  3. What a cool thing to win and I have 2 within a four mile radius. I need to eat better, and if I won this I could - at least for a few meals. Thanks!

  4. There is a Dream Dinners 15 minutes from me, and I've never gotten off my butt to try it! I need to...the dinner options look so yummy. I do have a kid with a peanut allergy...I wonder what their practices are? I'll have to give a call.

  5. My wife just asked me what we were going to have for dinner, right after my daughter, miss picky, said she wasn't hungry, and my son, the garbage disposal, said he would eat the same as my daughter. Except that he was hungry, but hungry for a lot of junk. My wife and I work opposite shifts, so she has my three year old most of the day, and both when my daughter gets out of school. Factor in Dance, trips to the library, and sleeping, there is not a lot of time left over.

  6. how great to try this out!
    we have two young kids and this would be so convenient and helpful, one location is only 15 min. away

  7. My best friend has been raving about Dream Dinners for a while now and I still haven't tried it out! Sounds great and there is one really close to my house. I'll definitely have to stop by soon!

  8. my grandma and me have been wanting to go out for a nice dinner but she got really sick and lost her job from being off for so long. I dont have much money either. It would be great if we could have the chance to do something nice togeather.

  9. There is a location about a half hour from me too! The meals sound great, thanks for the giveaway!

  10. I didn't know that there was a Dream Dinner's so close to my home. I think that this sounds like a fun idea.


  11. Their food sounds so good!!! I can't wait...though they don't sound very healthy lol...i think i'll survive though =)

  12. Found a Dream Dinner's about Five Miles away - and both their April and May Menus look scrumptuous! I know my husband would love the Chicaken Enchiladas, Pulled Pork, BBQ Beef and Chicken Cordon Bleus - for starters!

    Sometimes we really enjoy having restaurant quality meals in the comfort of home (not to mention the savings on beverages and tips!) and with out all the time-consuming and messy prep and clean up!

  13. i think this is a fabulous idea! there are no locations where i live.. but theres one 4 hours from here where we typically go on vacation. i will definitely do this the next time we go!

  14. I'm a terrible cook, so Dream Dinners would be a great alternative for planning a special dinner or two for upcoming birthdays and anniversaries with my significant other - I took a look at my local location's offerings, and I found a lot of great dishes, including a really terrific pairing of sesame crusted pork chops and jasmine rice. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  15. I'm due in August and this would be a fantastic way to get some dinners in the freezer for right after baby comes!

  16. I love Dream Dinners! I've been able to save up enough up to go twice now. I really like the California Chicken. Don't you wish everything was that easy to put together at home?!

  17. I have really been wanting to try this and there is one just a few miles from me. I am a fan of anything that simplifies life a little bit. A family member of mine has tried this and had nothing but good things to say. Thanks for the chance to win!

  18. Thankfully there is a Dream Dinners relatively close to me in the city of Chicago! I'd love to try this service as I sometimes am loathe to prepare meals (like tonight.. ugh!) There are days where I'm starving but too unmotivated to wash and chop and fry and all that nonsense :) Crossing my fingers that I win!

  19. My daughter, like her mother, is not a gourmet cook, and she is working , has a 12 mo.old and getting another in September!

  20. I have never heard of this place before and its just down the street from me. How sad is that? I would love to try something like this out. Give me a break from cooking. Thanks for the giveaway.

  21. OMG this is amazing! I can't believe that I never heard of them before and there are 4 location in VA one of which is nearby. I have 3 kids and this would really make things easier for me! It's wonderful!

  22. OMG! How cool! I have NEVER heard of this before! hmmm!
    ANd there happens to be one 45 min away from me!!
    Im excited and feeling lucky!

  23. I can think of so many times recently when this type of service would have been very much appreciated.

  24. I just recently discovered Dream Dinners...the food is awesome! My hubby and I were in a rut and eatting a lot of fast food or hamburger helper...Dream Dinners has helped so much. It was so easy to go and put the meals together.

  25. Oh wow, there is one near me! Well, sort of. 30 miles away but it's in a city I know and wouldn't mind visiting for something like this!

  26. I would love to do this! I'm cooking for 5 all on different schedules, and this would make it easy for everyone to have something they like hot.

  27. There is a store just 5.6 miles from me. This would be just perfect for my busy life style. I can't wait to try it.

  28. I've thought about doing this so many times, I'd really be excited to try something like this :D It would be so awesome to have all that planning/thinking done for a few days!

  29. One just opened up near me and the title, "Dream Dinners" intrigued me but I never bothered to find out about it. Thanks for helping me figure out what it is! This sounds like something I will be needing soon as I prepare for baby #2 in June! Thanks for the chance to win!

  30. Even 5 months after baby #3, I'm still having trouble getting healthy meal on the table every night! This would be great for those nights that I really need a break. :)

  31. I've wanted to try this for a while now. There are at least 3 or 4 similar shops that have popped up in our area and I'd love to compare recipes to see which is the best.

  32. Wow, this is an excellent idea! I'd love to try it. Too bad I'm in Florida and I can't join you in Arizona :)

    katie brown

  33. There is a Dream Dinners about a mile from my house,Everytime I pass it I wondered how good the food is and thought it would be to expensive,from your description its delish and the cost seems pretty reasonable,plus you do not have to buy ingredients and it would be so nice just to get it out of freezer and pop in oven.I would love to try them for myself,thanks for offering the chance.
    darbie1962 at yahoo dot com

  34. Yes! There's one on Pasadena CA and if I won you would be my FAVORITE blogger! You're already one of my FAVS! What a great idea! I love not having to cook sometimes and just reach in the freezer. I can taste it as I type! LUV IT!

  35. I love this concept and have tried something similar. It would be great to provide more healthier but easy options since both my husband and I work.

  36. I'd love to try out the Dream Dinners that is near my home. I enjoy cooking, but I HATE cleaning up the mess after I finish. Going to Dream Dinners would be the best of both worlds.

  37. What a great give away. I tried Dream Dinners right before having my son and loved the meals. We have one close to us, but our budget does not allow for this. We eat game meat and I loved DD because I got to have chicken. My favorite was a chinese chicken.

  38. I would absolutely love to win this. There is one in my town. It would be so nice to have meals all ready to go for my husband when he returns from Iraq in July. It's challenging making numerous meals around being by myself with my 13 month old daughter!

  39. When a co-worker had surgery last year, a friend and I went in on a Dream Dinners package for her and I was so impressed I would love to have the chance to try it for myself. As a single mom, I've just been reluctant to spend the money without knowing whether my kids will like it. A GC would give me a chance to try it guilt-free, which would be awesome!!

  40. Any busy mother would love this! I would definitely drive the hour on a weekend to pick this up for some of the very busy days I have between now and the end of school.

  41. Ooh, there is a Dream Dinners just 6 miles from my house! I am about to go back to work after six years and this would so come in handy!

    Thanks! foxsquirrelrabbit at gmail dot com

  42. I priced out a place like this in our neighborhood about a year ago, but still haven't tried it. This would be great! Thanks! thebubbledies(at)gmail(dot)com

  43. I used to have a "Whats 4 Dinner" that I used to go to...I miss them. There is a "Dream Dinners" not too much further from me which I was unaware of...I would love to have another option like this. I makes dinner planning a dream! Please let me win!

  44. This is such a great idea! I can always use a way to save time and spend more time my family (and eat healthy too!)

  45. Please put me in this drawing! We had a Dream Dinners, and I wanted to go, but it closed down for a few months. It just reopened under different owners still a DD, just a different franchise owner) and I am itching to go check it out!

  46. Wow! Thanks for the great review! I love hearing first-hand how great the food is! I checked out the April menu for the Solana Beach, CA location (only 3.6 miles from my house!!!!) and I think my family would love all of it...especially the SESAME CRUSTED PORK CHOPS WITH JASMINE RICE!!! YUM! Thanks again! :)

  47. We did Dream Dinners a few times and LOVED it, but for some reason stopped. Thanks for the reminder that they're still there! =)

  48. I was surprised to see that there are three locations somewhat close to me. I'd love to have this. Thanks!

  49. I have done the Dream Dinners thing before and loved it. It was fun to do and the food was great. I like being able to customize it to fit my taste. Halve the salt, double the pepper. Extra mushrooms, no green peppers, etc.

    Thanks for having the giveaway!

  50. I had never heard of this before now and it turns out there's one only 20 minutes away! What a great idea! I love this!

  51. I stocked up at Dream Dinners just before we brought our first baby home. It was the smartest bit of preparation I did. Unfortunately, there's not a DD location in our new hometown. But I have two sisters in different states, both pregnant right now. And I just confirmed that there are DD locations near both of them. I'd love to win this of one of them. Thanks!

  52. I hate getting unhealthy takeout, but it's so hard to find time to cook some days. This would be wonderful!

  53. I LOVE the assembly stations part of getting my Dream Dinners!!! Being able to choose my sauces and seasonings for my meal is very enticing!! With easy instructions right there and having all my ingredients precut and measured, makes me very happy and self-assured! Dream Dinners is a fantastic idea! Thank you for the contest!

  54. I am salivating over the Dream Dinners May menu. The Balsamic Blackberry Chicken and White Chicken Lasagna sound amazing!

  55. We have several of these type places near us, but the closest Dream Dinners is closer than I thought (and right next to my best friend's house).

    I'm a little too close to my due date (Monday) to make the hour trek now, wish I had thought of it sooner - the menu who mentioned sounded divine!

  56. This would be so helpful as I have a hard time coming up with creative meal ideas. This would be a fun outing.

  57. I cannot count the number of times that I have visited the Dream Dinners website. I always plan out the meals that I will make and chech the schedule, but for some reason, I don't finish the transaction. This is the opportunity to finally try this great service. Thanks for the chance.

  58. Wow, this sounds like something I need to have on hand during baseball season! Between games and practice, it seems like I am never home long enought to cook a real meal!

  59. I love Dream Dinners and when I had my second baby I went and made meals there for my family and we loved them so much. We have one near our house and reading your post reminded me of how much I loved having those meals already in my freezer and that I should check them out again! Thanks!

  60. We have one close to our house and I've been wanting to try them out. I wonder if they have vegetarian options...probably!

  61. We have one right next to us and I have been contemplating scheduling a party for me and the people I work with. This would be a great deal sealer. I have talked to others who have tried it and they totally love it. Thanks so much. r

  62. This would definitely keep me from eating whatever I can find in the fridge when I get home every night b/c I would find healthy prepared dinners. That would be much better than pb on tortillas.

  63. someone else was telling me what a great idea this was, and now i know there's one within ten miles

  64. I get together every other month with another mom and make freezer meals. Is is fun, but I would love to go to Dream Dinners and have all the cooking already done for me! I have friends who have done it and say the meals are great. It is a little pricey for my family right now.

  65. There is one right here in town. I want to use this to jump start my husband and I learning portion control and not constantly asking what's for dinner.

  66. My daughter uses these, I'd love to try them and was surprised that there is a store fairly near to our small town.

  67. I am so happy to read you all had a wonderful Dream Dinners experience. It is the ultimate buy in bulk and save way to have a home cooked dinner and does cost less than buying the same ingredients at a grocery store. It is also very eco friendly, so much less packaging when you buy in bulk. We actually have children on our tasting panels; it is amazing to see what kids will really eat. We put kids in a box when we only feed them "white foods". Don’t miss our new Dream Rewards program, where you will receive gifts and other specials. You can get even more ideas on my blog Take care. http://stephanieallen.wordpress.com/

  68. There is a Dream Dinners only 4 miles from my house! I'm not known for my cooking skills so a tasty home-cooked meal for my family would bring about big smiles!

  69. I was actually surprised to find there was one of these only about 30 minutes from my home. Not bad at all. Sounds really interesting, and something that could make life a little easier. Thanks!

  70. Wow - the menu looks really interesting and diverse. From the May menu, the meal I want to try most is the Blackberry Blasamic Chicken! Sounds scrumptious :)

  71. Thanks for sharing! I totally didn't know about this place until your post and, even better, I found out there's one less than 2 miles away! I'm definitely going to try this out and would love to win. Some of the recipes look so delicious like Salmon & Crab Pinwheels and Enchiladas. Thanks!

  72. My husband is the cook in our family. I would love to win something like this so I could let him have some nights off! Thanks for the giveaway!

  73. My schedule these days is "upside down". Dad (95) is in a nursing home, and I am there with him every afternoon and sit with him while he has his evening meal. After visiting with him, I have to go home (35 min) and prepare supper. It is rushed and draining and not always the best meal I would normally prepare. This sounds like a great "vacation" from cooking for a bit. The food selections sound great from gourmet to comfort food like meatloaf, etc.


  75. Wow! I've never heard of this before!! I just checked out the website and there are a few locations nearby. :O) I have no idea how to cook but I would love the make my hubby a wonderful dinner... this might be exactly what I need!!

  76. I love the idea of having something there ready to go for on the days I just can't get a real dinner ready for my family. Sounds so much better than ordering pizza.

  77. I love the entire concept of Dream Dinners, and would love to win. I find it difficult to be consistent with my meals, some days I make a great dinner, others, I totally wing it, depending on how busy the day was. This takes all the guesswork out of meal planning.

  78. This is really cool. I don't enjoy cooking. To have meals prepped and ready to go sounds wonderful! I find that if I do the prep work for dinner the night before, it makes making dinner sooo much easier, even if it's not really a lot of work.

  79. There's one in Wilsonville, OR, a quick 25 minutejaunt down I-5 from my home in Portland! I'd love to try this out. Dinner planning/shopping/preparing is sometimes a joy, but usually a thorn in my side.

  80. Ever since I heard of Dream Dinners I've been dying to go! We're waiting for our little adopted newborn, and I can't tell you how much I'd love to stock up on freezer dinners. Thanks so much for reviewing and the give away! :)

  81. How great to be able to prepare the meals yourself but not do all the work. Dinner ready in the freezer is wonderful. There's one close by. I've always wanted to try it.

  82. I'm still in the terrible stage of "morning sickness" but I know this would be a dream come true for after the baby is born! I did something similar with my first baby and I loved it.

  83. I had a friend do the same sort of thing in CA, but it was not in our budget. I'd love to win a gift card and try out Dream Dinners. It would be so nice on days when I work and forget to throw something in the Crock Pot!

  84. That's awesome!! I'd never heard of them, but there are 2 locations in the Seattle area, yay! Would be fantastic for baby #2. Similar topic, but have you heard of Meal Baby? A registry for your friends to bring you meals after baby is born. Such a great idea. Again, totally planning to use them for baby #2. https://www.mealbaby.com/

  85. I have been waiting for someone to try it out first! Thanks for the great post. I have always wondered how expensive they are, whether or not the meals are good and what the whole experience is like. If you go again, I would love to join you! My husband and I hate going to the grocery store, so this is right up my alley!!

  86. there was a similar company when i lived in orlando, and i definitely wanted to give it a try. unfortunately, we moved before i could convince my husband we could make it work with our budget. what a great idea to do this before a baby arrives. i know this would make the monday-tuesday dinner scramble at our home so much easier.

  87. WOW! I would like to try this for my family. Anything that helps cut down on meal planning and preparation can't be bad. And the entrees sound scrumptious!

  88. The best thing I ever did before I had my baby was making a ton of freezer meals! The only issue was I had to buy everything, prep it all and make it myself. Dream dinners truly sounds like a dream! It would sure cut down on my time! Looks like there is one right by me! Awesome!

  89. I found one sort of near my house but not too far. I know lots of mom who use these type of places when expecting. I have always wanted to try it.

  90. Okay, this sounds awsome! I have been way too lazy to cook lately. Let me know if you are going again, I would give it a try.

  91. I've been wanting to do something like this FOREVER, but didn't want to spend the money. Seems like it's worth it though. Would love to win this!

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