Dream Dinners will host an open house and book signing at their new headquarters in Snohomish November 18th from 5 to 7 pm at 610 First Street. The event will feature delicious food, wine tasting, door prizes and more.
Dream Dinners founders Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna wrote the New York Times #1 best-selling book The Hour that Matters Most. The book aims to help families get back to the dinner table by providing practical tips and information to make the most of meal times.
Founded in 2002, Dream Dinners, Inc. is the recognized originator of the $300 million meal assembly industry. Dream Dinners provides clients with monthly menus to select from, then procures and prepares all ingredients in advance, so guests can assemble meals for the month in about an hour, then take the meals home to freeze. The Dream Dinners service saves guests both valuable time and money, and focuses on bringing families back to the dinner table with healthful, delicious, easy-to-fix meals.
Stephanie Allen, Dream Dinners Co-Founder and President, explained the history of Dream Dinners, “I first began making fix-and-freeze meals for my own family in 1995. Through trial and error and by preparing and freezing dinners using fresh raw ingredients, I started developing a collection of specialized “dream dinners” recipes perfect for this process. As a mother of two, I knew firsthand the trials of busy family life which became the inspiration to create Dream Dinners as a solution to the dinnertime dilemma.
After sharing the fix-and-freeze concept with some friends, I started to receive numerous requests and when the demand became overwhelming, I enlisted the help of long-time friend and experienced business manager Tina Kuna. We hosted the first series of large-scale meal assembly sessions in 2002, which became the catalyst for opening the first Dream Dinners store, and the rest is history! Today we have roughly 100 franchise locations throughout the U.S.”
Before launching Dream Dinners, Stephanie owned and operated a successful Seattle-area catering business for more than 12 years. Tina Kuna, her co-founder had 20 years of professional experience as a controller and business manager.
Stephanie discussed their purpose for publishing their most recent book, The Hour that Matters Most “Our goal in publishing The Hour that Matters Most was to spark a revolution among families to re-embrace the lost art of the family dinner. Studies upon studies have show how regular family dinners are a key factor in child development, affecting everything from physical health and literacy levels to behavioral issue. Dream Dinners’ goal has always been to bring families back to the dinner table and this book was reinforcement to our call to action.”
Stephanie shared her favorite recipe for The Hour that Matters Most, “The Smoky Sausage and Cheddar Potatoes. I would make this ahead of time, freeze it and take it camping when the kids were little. Camping is a great inexpensive way for families to bond and this make -a -head dinner takes the work out of feeding the happy campers.” When asked if all their recipes in their latest book were original as well as their Dream Dinner recipes, Stephanie replied, “The Hour that Matters Most features 12 delicious, original recipes that have never been published before. In addition, almost all Dream Dinners recipes have been developed by our staff to fit the fix-and-freeze model and to best answer the demands and needs of our customers. The only exceptions are recipes developed by high profile chefs such as Emeril Lagasse, Martha Stewart and Bob Greene, which we’ve partnered with in the past, and recipes developed by our own loyal customer as part of our National Recipe Contest.” Stephanie told her favorite Dream Dinner recipe in general, “Being born and raised it the Northwest, I am a seafood lover and our Seafood Cioppino is the best I have ever had! Better that any 4 star restaurant in town, definitely my favorite Dream Dinner.”
Aside from their most recent book, Stephanie and Tina also published Dream Dinners: Turn Dinnertime into Family Time with 100 Assemble-and-Freeze-Meals which was launched in 2006 with the goal of helping even more families to enjoy easy, home-cooked meals around the dinner table. The book includes tons of delicious recipes, including many Dream Dinners favorites that can be made ahead and kept in the freezer until ready to enjoy.
When asked what many people may not know about Dream Dinners in general, Stephanie replied, “Some people feel our meals are more expensive than doing it themselves, or that they are not overly healthy. In fact, all of our meals are made from fresh, raw ingredients and we use low fat and no fat options wherever possible – most meals contain less than 400 calories per serving. In terms of pricing, guests actually report saving money through Dream Dinners because they are less likely to eat out, less likely to make unnecessary impulse purchases at the grocery store, and less likely to have any food waste. Plus, coupled with the amount of time we save people, it’s a definite win-win.”
Stephanie discussed who she recommended purchase Dream Dinners, “Dream Dinners is the perfect answer to the dinner time dilemma for busy families and individuals everywhere. Anyone with a busy schedule and the desire to eat healthy, home cooked meals can benefit from our service. Dream Dinners does all the shopping, prepping and cleaning, saving guests more than 40 hours each month! Many guest have seen their grocery bill decrease, because with Dream Dinners meals (approximately $4 per serving), there is virtually no food waste and people limit their grocery purchases to only what they need. “
When asked her future goals/plans for Dream Dinners, Stephanie replied, “There are over three billion people in America and we would like to help them all eat a home cooked dinner three nights a week! Studies show everything from obesity, diabetes, mental and physical health, productivity and children’s GPA can be improved if they eat a home cooked dinner two to five nights per week. We have a lot of work to do!”
For more information about Dream Dinners, please visit: www.dreamdinners.com
By Carly Calabrese, Tacoma.com staff