By Sherry Jennings, Dream Dinners
Not everyone has the opportunity to be raised with parents who love to cook, who know their way around the kitchen and enjoy sharing that passion with their families. Some of us had that opportunity and we’d be brought into the meal making process at various times to stir, chop, taste, or simply salivate during the wait.
I was raised in such a family. My mom was Italian and spent long Sunday afternoons stirring pots of sauce even in the summer. My dad, an Englishman, enjoyed cooking just as much, although he cooked things he truly had a passion for. His family baked daily so the muffins and breads were on a seemingly endless cycle. He also loved hot sauces and would grow his own peppers and spend hours canning his well-known and sought-after “hot source.”
From fish to pasta, vegetable bakes to anything grilled, my parents kept me involved and I grew up loving home cooked meals shared with my family and friends.
Sure, today’s family schedules are jammed packed and events are endless. That’s why Dream Dinners is the perfect partner to keep families connecting, sharing and bonding through the power of the dinner table. I’m pretty sure my mom would have appreciated the effortlessness dinners Dream Dinners could have provided when we spent our summers at the lake house in Pennsylvania.
Football fans can find their emotions in a knot this time of year. As the sport’s ultimate game preparations head into the final plays, fans are both elated at the prospect of a dynamic matchup on the field, or flattened, knowing that once the Super Bowl credits are running and the confetti is floating to the ground, that’s it: game over for a year.
For some fan supporters, the last game is welcomed with Sunday honey-do lists piling up. There will be no more excuses not to clean the gutters.
Dream Dinners loves football, its fans and its party hosts. Our dinners are the perfect start to an MVP award-worthy appetizer spread. The best part is you already have the ingredients in your freezer and can spend less time in the grocery store with the other party hosts a few days ahead of February 4.
The January menu has loads of great recipes that can be remixed into appetizers. You can always serve bowls of the Down Home Texas Ranch Chili with Cheddar Corn Cakes, easily prepared on the stovetop or in a crock pot. Then there is the Garlic and Balsamic Marinated Flank Steak you can slice thinly and weave onto skewers. How about cutting the Crispy Coconut Chicken into chunks and serving them with toothpicks? Or serving the Crunchy Oven Fried Chicken Tenders with Sweet Potato Puffs on toothpicks? Easy peasy!
Meatball Marinara Stuffed French Bread is also another easy way to turn a Dream Dinner meal into an appetizer.
In 2018, our Sides & Sweets Freezers at the stores are packed to the gills with appetizer favorites.
It’s May and that means, it’s National Burger Month. We have two burger options currently on our menu, but we want to help your family celebrate with four more fun and healthy ways to turn your traditional meals into creative burger- style alternatives everyone can enjoy.
- Simple Burger Just add a bun to our Sweet Cider BBQ Chicken for a quick, and easy way to transition you meal from a traditional chicken dinner to fun family favorite in seconds. Top it off with your favorite cheese (we recommend cheddar) and serve alongside our savory sweet potato fries.
- The Next-Day BurgerCreate an Herb Crusted Flank Steak burger and utilize your leftovers. Serve slices of our tender steak on a toasted rustic roll for a burger with a distinctive flavor your family will enjoy. Enjoy this one on its own or round out your plate with any side salad. Add a little something extra by mixing up some homemade seasoned mayo—combine Italian seasoning and a bit of garlic to the mayonnaise of your choice.
- Inspirational BurgerCreate a burger with a theme, flavor palette or seasonal inspiration in mind. As summer fast approaches we recommend creating an Asian inspired burger with our Soy Glazed Salmon. Serve on a toasted brioche bun and top it off with fresh coleslaw for a light and refreshing summer meal. Seasonal Fun—Serve with fresh or grilled pineapple for a pop of color on your plate and extra flavor for your palate.
- Not-quite-a-Burger, BurgerDon’t be afraid to think outside the box when creating a dinner alternative for your family. Our last “burger” does just that. Swap out the Jasmine rice for a soft hoagie roll and you’ve created our Chipotle Shrimp “Burger.” Load up your roll with our perfectly cooked Chipotle Shrimp, top it off with the Mango Salsa and serve. Fun fact—May 5th is also National Hoagie Day!
Create wonderful memories with your family by taking risks and remixing your dinners for something new and exciting!
Share your creations and remixes with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (#RecipeRemix,) we love to hear your stories and see your pictures.
Did you know that kids learn about food and eating at a very young age? That getting your kids involved in the kitchen can help shape their eating habits for the rest of their lives. Positive experiences about food early on in a child’s life may help them develop healthy eating habits in the future. A recent study found that children who are exposed to cooking through culinary classes or aiding a parent or family member in preparing their meals in their home will be more likely to choose healthier foods not only in your own home, but when they are outside of your home, too. Researchers also found that the children who were involved in meal preparation had a higher intake of fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber and an increased willingness to try new foods.
Need some fun ways to get your kids involved in the kitchen? Try these tips for all ages:
Sample preparation schedule for your Dream Dinners Holiday Roasted Turkey and sides.
- 3-5 days before: Thaw all of your holiday items in the refrigerator
- Approximately 3 ½ hours before: Bake your Holiday Roasted Turkey. Remove holiday sides from fridge, bring to room temp.
- 2 hours 15 minutes before: Bake your Holiday Parmesan Green Bean Casserole 40-45 min., then remove lid and bake an additional 10-15 min. until golden brown and crispy with turkey in oven. ** hold
Isn’t it nice to walk in the house after a busy day of work and activities to smell dinner almost done? Especially on a cold, rainy fall day where you just want to warm up with a bowl of soup. Well to make your life even easier, we have come up with some easy alternative cooking instructions, so you can make your Fully Loaded Chicken & Potato Soup in the slow cooker. Now it will be ready to go when you get home!
Grilling this spring? Try these tips:
- Clean your grill. First rub the grate with a ball of aluminum foil. Turn it to high and burn off any remaining food residue.
- If your grill is prone to sticking, oil your grill when cool.
- Make sure your grill is hot when you place your meat on it to sear the juices into the meat.
- Pre-season steaks either with a marinade or with salt and pepper. Soak meat in marinade per cooking instructions (usually several hours), or for a steak, pat dry, season with salt and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking to absorb the flavors. Use about 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt for 1 pound of meat.
- When forming hamburgers, shape about 3/4th inch thick, slightly thinner in the middle, to allow for swelling.
- To get a seared crust, pat marinated meat dry before cooking.
Preparing meals involve a lot of abilities from knowing how to cook to choosing what goes well together. The last thing you might be thinking about is timing. With a well-timed meal, your hot food is hot, cold food cold, and nothing is overcooked or mushy. This takes skill! Besides looking at your cooking times and counting backwards, here are some general principles that help me:
No matter the season, more and more of us are cooking outdoors. During the warm summer months outdoor cooking and dining are even more popular. Here are some steps you can take to stay healthy and reduce your risk of illness during the summer months.
When meat and other protein foods are cooked at high temperatures, chemical compounds can form that are believed to increase risk of some types of cancer. To decrease formation of these compounds use a lower flame on your grill, trim away fat on meats to avoid flare-ups and marinate meat prior to cooking.
January is National Slow Cooking Month. Using a Crock Pot, or slow cooker, is a great way to save time and make a delicious meal. Just set it up in the morning and you’ll have a delicious-smelling, hot dinner waiting for you when you get home – perfect for busy weeknights!
Both the Old Fashioned Pot Roast with Baby Bakers or the Honey Chipotle Pork Roast with Almond Green Beans from our December menu are great meals to make in a slow cooker. Plus both come with a side, so you’ll have a complete dinner with no extra prep work.