• The TUGBBS forums are completely free and open to the public and exist as the absolute best place for owners to get help and advice about their timeshares for more than 30 years!

    Join Tens of Thousands of other Owners just like you here to get any and all Timeshare questions answered 24 hours a day!
  • TUG started 30 years ago in October 1993 as a group of regular Timeshare owners just like you!

    Read about our 30th anniversary: Happy 30th Birthday TUG!
  • TUG has a YouTube Channel to produce weekly short informative videos on popular Timeshare topics!

    Free memberships for every 50 subscribers!

    Visit TUG on Youtube!
  • TUG has now saved timeshare owners more than $21,000,000 dollars just by finding us in time to rescind a new Timeshare purchase! A truly incredible milestone!

    Read more here: TUG saves owners more than $21 Million dollars
  • Sign up to get the TUG Newsletter for free!

    60,000+ subscribing owners! A weekly recap of the best Timeshare resort reviews and the most popular topics discussed by owners!
  • Our official "end my sales presentation early" T-shirts are available again! Also come with the option for a free membership extension with purchase to offset the cost!

    All T-shirt options here!
  • A few of the most common links here on the forums for newbies and guests!

Have you used a make-it-ahead meal service?

pjrose

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2005
Messages
8,739
Reaction score
15
Points
473
Location
Central PA USA
Next week my friend and I are going to use a Groupon to go make a bunch of meals to take home and freeze. We picked our choices from a list of ten for the week, and my understanding is that we'll go chop and dice and mix and season, put each meal in big foil pans, and bring them home for the freezer. Then whenever we want an easy meal, just pop it into the oven (I assume not microwave, since these are packed in foil and not pre-cooked.)

I will be making Bruschetta chicken bake, Beef Stew (for the crockpot), pineapple pork, brisket with glazed vegetables, and chicken pot pie. Each of these is supposed to serve six, which for us should translate to dinner for three plus leftovers.

glypnirsgirl mentioned using dream dinners, which I guess is the same kind of thing?

It sounds like fun - the only problem is finding freezer space in my top-freezer refrigerator LOL

Has anyone else done this? Did you like it? Funny stories? Suggestions?
 

Twinkstarr

TUG Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2007
Messages
7,269
Reaction score
0
Points
36
Location
Ohio
I don't have the room either, no extra freezer.

We have one of those meal places here in town, don't know which franchise it is. It's in a strip mall on the frontier of town(developement hasn't gone as fast as expected down US RT 25) so I think a lot of people don't know it's there. Nor do they advertise either.

From what I have heard, people thought it was pricey and the germophobes were just totally grossed out by it.

The only people I know that have tried it got a gift certificate for a present or it was a raffle gift. Majority wouldn't go back if they had to pay for it themselves.
 

Pens_Fan

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
605
Reaction score
22
Points
228
We did it once before the place went out of business.

It's cheaper than going out to eat, but more expensive than making it from stuff at the store.
 

Weimaraner

TUG Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
1,475
Reaction score
23
Points
398
Location
Michigan
I've used Dream Dinners and Main Dish and have liked both. Unfortunately several franchises opened at same time and they've closed so now just one left standing. Nice to have the variety every night. You won't be chopping and dicing...most food is prepped like a salad bar and you add ingredients. It's very easy to put meals together.
 

pkyorkbeach

TUG Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2010
Messages
533
Reaction score
0
Points
16
Location
CT
I have two different friends who did this. They said it was costly upfront but not over the weeks. The food was delicious. Let us know how you like packing the dinners and how you enjoy the food.
 

MichaelColey

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2010
Messages
4,914
Reaction score
108
Points
299
Location
Mansfield, TX
I've seen them, but have had several concerns:

1) Portion size is probably smaller than we like and one "meal" probably wouldn't feed our family.

2) Some of the ingredients might not appeal to our family.

3) The selection wasn't that great.

4) The cost is quite a bit more than if you just came up with "freeze ahead" menus yourself.

Instead, check out "dump chicken" recipes, where you dump ingredients and chicken (or some other meat) in a gallon ziplock and freeze it, then dump it in the crock pot when you're ready to cook it.
 

presley

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
6,313
Reaction score
1,121
Points
448
I've been doing Dream Dinners for a little over a year.

Pros: everything is out and ready to be put together
Nice people to socialize with
Prices are reasonable, considering the vast ingredients available
Flexibility when putting my own together - leave out stuff we don't like - add more of what we do like
Easy to cook at home, comes with directions

Cons: Takes up a lot of freezer space
Portions too small for my husband, he will eat 2-3 servings vs what they call 1
Most don't come with side dishes - still have to do that all alone


For me, the pros outweigh the cons. However, I am sort of locked into monthly. I will lose my discount status if I skip a month and I do plan on skipping a month or two very soon.
 

Twinkstarr

TUG Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2007
Messages
7,269
Reaction score
0
Points
36
Location
Ohio
Portions too small for my husband, he will eat 2-3 servings vs what they call 1.

You have this problem also:hysterical: . With DH and DS15, I may have a single serving leftover that I could eat for lunch the next day.
 

Twinkstarr

TUG Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2007
Messages
7,269
Reaction score
0
Points
36
Location
Ohio
Our make it ahead place finally put an ad in the paper

Super Suppers is the name of our local place. Finally put an ad in our local weekly paper.

This was for cooking classes, with a small blurb about the meals.
 

amycurl

TUG Review Crew
TUG Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2011
Messages
3,048
Reaction score
3,067
Points
449
Location
Greensboro, NC
There's a bunch around here, but the one we used to use the most is Let's Dish. We found we could easily split each entree (serves 6) into two (serves 3) for freezing, which was best for us for numerous reasons. We liked the quality, and the ease.

As has been said, it's cheaper than eating out (and healthier, too, because you can control how much fat, salt, etc. gets to go into the dish,) but less cheap than truly cooking at home. I've found that it also gives me great recipe ideas. I make one dish now--goat-cheese stuffed chicken tenders wrapped in prosciutto--that's based entirely on a Let's Dish dish. I made it there and realized how easy it would be to make at home myself. I can even go online and look up the cooking instructions from Let's Dish if I forget.

(Also, the times we used it, they donated a portion of the proceeds of the session to local nonprofits we were affiliated with.)
 

jlp879

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
1,147
Reaction score
338
Points
443
Location
SF Bay Area
I'll admit to using these great pre-fab dinner places when I've been stressed for time. Close to me are Dream Dinners, Deelish and another smaller, local chain called Sous Kitchen. I've loved them for their convenience and also the fact that they've been school fundraisers for the local communities. Get a group of ten together and you've got the prep place to yourself for the evening plus 10% profit to your school. You bring the wine and they supply appetizers. Sounds like a win-win to me! Plus I get to bring nice meals home to my freezer!!

If you are tight for money, try Leanne Ely's (Dinner Diva) http://savingdinnershop.com/menus/freezer-menus/

Menus are close to the dinner prep places but you do it all yourself. If I could do this at home monthly with friends, it'd be the perfect solution to weeknight dinner dilemmas!
 

pjrose

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2005
Messages
8,739
Reaction score
15
Points
473
Location
Central PA USA
It was kind of fun and the results are pretty good

My friend and I went last night. I made all the meals listed in the first post. As pointed out above, I was mostly just assembling the ingredients - essentially dumping them into big zip bags.

I've already made the brisket and the chicken pot pie. For the brisket, the original idea was to just dump everything raw into the crock pot, but I couldn't bear to not brown the meat first. We were supposed to just dump in whole unpeeled large carrots, but I peeled them and chunked them up. The sauce is really really good - I hate to admit this, but better than my brisket that I've been "perfecting" for years.

The pot pie was a combination of pre-cooked diced chicken, frozen mixed vegs, and two cans of condensed cream of chicken soup, with biscuits on top. It was actually pretty good for such pre-fab ingredients, but only the top of the biscuits cooked; the bottoms were gooey dough.

Some of the people there come every week to make five meals and raved about saving time shopping, and always having something ready to shove in the oven or crockpot. I don't think I'd do it without a Groupon; I don't have a houseful of kids to feed and shuttle off to activities, and the regular price of $16 for a big baggie of ingredients is high (depending on whether it's canned soup etc, or real meat and veggies).

The other three meals are in the freezer for next time I'm not inclined to cook from scratch.
 

glypnirsgirl

Tug Review Crew: Rookie
TUG Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2007
Messages
2,814
Reaction score
33
Points
433
Location
Fort Worth, Texas
Next week my friend and I are going to use a Groupon to go make a bunch of meals to take home and freeze. We picked our choices from a list of ten for the week, and my understanding is that we'll go chop and dice and mix and season, put each meal in big foil pans, and bring them home for the freezer. Then whenever we want an easy meal, just pop it into the oven (I assume not microwave, since these are packed in foil and not pre-cooked.)

I will be making Bruschetta chicken bake, Beef Stew (for the crockpot), pineapple pork, brisket with glazed vegetables, and chicken pot pie. Each of these is supposed to serve six, which for us should translate to dinner for three plus leftovers.

glypnirsgirl mentioned using dream dinners, which I guess is the same kind of thing?

It sounds like fun - the only problem is finding freezer space in my top-freezer refrigerator LOL

Has anyone else done this? Did you like it? Funny stories? Suggestions?

At the place that we regularly went to, the slicing, dicing and chopping had all been done. Each meal had a "station." All of the ingredients for that particular meal were at that station. They had the recipe posted and we just measured ingredients and layered them in the foil pans per the instructions. Really easy.

I did not have a cooler large enough to fit our meals into so I brought 2 laundry baskets --- they were about the right size.

They also allowed us to make 2 small pans for 3 servings each instead of one large pan. This worked great for us. Jordan took half home to his apartment, I took half to our house. The smaller pans were easier to find space for.

I really had fun doing this with Jordan. We were doing it shortly after the point that he had moved into his own apartment. He only knew how to make scrambled eggs, meatloaf and spaghetti when he moved out. Going through the process made him much more confident that he was capable of following a recipe. I believe making his own food and seeing how it went together made him a much more adventurous eater. Before then, he really did not like any type of "mixed up" food. It needed to at least look like it was plain

He loved having girlfriends over for dinner --- he felt that it was much more impressive than taking them out and certainly was much easier on his budget.

I would do this again if I had someone to go with me. I think that y'all will have a great time.

elaine
 
Top