I finally followed through on my threat, and went to my first uh... assembly session? at Dream Dinners yesterday afternoon. Two weeks ago, I started an account online and signed up for the intro offer. I picked my appointment and showed up.
The young man who helped me showed me a tray to put my stuff in, the apron I'd wear, and the printout with my selected dinners. Then he mentioned I could enjoy a complimentary wine, beer, or soda. I was enjoying it already.
The setup is kind of like a salad bar, but you assemble ingredients into Ziploc baggies for either 3 or 6 portion sizes. There are several stations arranged in a big rectangle, one station for each dinner. I followed the posted directions, put my baggies in the big cooler where my name was already written, and washed my hands dutifully between assembling most dinners. One thing I like is being able to control ingredients and portions. Extra cheese? No problem. Less chili powder? I'm in control. Plus, there's nothing going into these dinners that I wouldn't put in there if I was making it from home. When I was done, I enjoyed a second glass of wine and ordered the next month's dinners.
The dinners are mostly entrees only, though some come with a side of fries. Examples are marinated chicken breasts, sliders, pasta dishes, and flank steak. Sides and desserts are extra, though reasonably priced. The pricing for the dinners is slightly more than fast food, far cheaper than dining out. As I was selecting my next appointment, the employee noted that I could choose a date where they would assemble my dinners ahead of time for me. The price for that service is a mere $20. But I'm most interested in what I'm saving -- hours of shopping, chopping, marinating, and cleaning (and how much is that time worth?). What I'm gaining is more time to spend with my family on weeknights and less resulting stress.
I had only one question: "Can I still enjoy a glass of wine?"
"Absolutely!" was his reply. Apparently they have several customers who do just that.
I'll definitely be back.