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Make freezeable dinners

I have heard lots about gatherings where you assemble 10-15 dinners in freezeable containers. I can't remember where, the names, when, cost.... has anyone heard of specific dinner-making operations? Do you find that you're able to fit the dinners in your freezer? Are the recipes tasty and delicious and healthy?

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I don't know if anyone has written before about Dream Dinners, the Portland franchise that offers a kitchen-prep site where you go and assemble 12 dinner entrees (each feeding 4-6) to take home and put in your freezer. We tried it for the first time last week and it was a pretty cool operation. I thought I'd share this, in case it helps anyone out and to see if anyone wants to do this together to make it a social evening too.

It works like this: You choose 12 entrees from a menu selection that changes monthly - pretty tasty stuff like chicken/broccoli/tortellini bake; beef sirloin (or other meat of your choice) in one of 3 gourmet marinades; shrimp corn chowder etc. You arrive at the kitchen site and move through work stations that have a recipe card and all necessary ingredients right in front of you for the entree you've chosen. All the food and spices is chopped/prepared and ready to go. You assemble all 12 entrees in 2 hours and the aluminum pans and ziploc bags are provided. Staff are available to aid the process, refill ingredients and to clean the work stations after you are finished preparing.

The idea is that you are able to offer your family a home-style meal and you save time shopping, cooking and in cleanup -ideal for working mamas who don't always have the time or energy for tasty suppers. Average cost is $200; because we are only 3, we chose the half-size pans and made each entree two meals, yielding 24 meals. If we are careful with our grocery expenditure for the remaining unplanned days of the month, plus staples like eggs, milk, bread, etc. we might even end up saving money.

The website is www.dreamdinners.com - you can pre-order and book your session from the timeslots available for the month. we used the SW location on Barbur, near the Fred Meyer. There is another one, I think further out toward Tigard.

If anyone would like more info about my experience or if you want to do this together sometime, you can email me.

A friend of mine used to work with LoveFood, but I just checked their website (a href="http://www.lovefoodportland.com)"http://www.lovefoodportland.com)/a and they don't seem to be up and running.

Anyway, the premise is the same: 3 hours, bulk price, 10 meals for the freezer, about $150. LoveFood, when I heard about them last summer, operated out of a church basement on NE Fremont around 33rd (?). Also, they prided themselves in using organic products.

I'd never done it, but have a good friend who did. She definitely supported the premise but didn't necessarily say that it was the most delicious thing she'd ever eaten.

I have colleagues who have done "Dinner Voila". Here is the blurb on it:

Happy New Year!!! At Dinner Voila we provide a fun and productive environment to assemble make- ahead meals. We promise quality ingredients and great family-friendly food. We do all the planning, prep-work and cleanup. You assemble the meals. Add what you like, leave out what you don't. Stock up your freezer and Voila! You have real dinner ready on time!

Our meals serve four to six people: four with leftovers or up to six adults. Sessions last a little over an hour. You walk away with six entrees for $87. Or, you can also split the meals with yourself or with a friend and walk away with 12 entrees for $87. That's only $7.50 to $14.50 a meal to feed the whole family with very little effort!

Sessions are availabe in Portland and Eugene. To sign-up or for more information zap us an e-mail at our new address: reservations@dinnervoila.com or give us a call at 503-753-1239 (Portland) or 541-912-4306 (Eugene).

Thanks!
Cathryn Stephens Marsh Sarah Stephens
Dinner Voila™ It’s a snap!™

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