Dream Dinners 2019 Mother’s Day Contest Winners

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We’re excited to announce that we have six amazing women who are the lucky winners of our recent Mother’s Day contest! The moms who were nominated win, as well as the people who were sweet enough to nominate them. Thank you to everyone who entered. You warmed our hearts and inspired us with stories of some truly incredible moms. We’d like to share the winning stories to celebrate these super moms. Their entries are below, although fair warning: you might want to keep a box of tissues close by!

Kori S. – Beth

KoriMy sweet friend Beth is a working mom of three littles, all under the age of 4 including a set of twin 2 year olds. Her husband Mason is a police officer and in the Army Reserves. Several times throughout the year, he is gone for drill weekends and then for extended times during the summer. A couple of years ago Mason was diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer and Beth was by his side, through his treatments. In the past few months, they have experienced three deaths in their family, within just a matter of weeks. Through it all, Beth has persevered with a smile on her face. She is the first one to come to the side of anyone who needs help, even if just a shoulder to cry on, but NEVER asks for help for herself. One of her coworker’s sons was diagnosed with cancer. Beth along with her coworkers have organized fundraiser after fundraiser to help alleviate the costs of the little boy’s treatments. Beth is just a genuine person who is a great friend! She deserves a break from having to prep meals. 🙂

Mickey G. – Maxine

MickeyAfter my daughter passed away we had to leave the Ronald McDonald house. I had separated from my husband during Miranda’s Leukemia and faced the harsh reality of being homeless. Our little van and the belongings within are all we had. My husband had stopped giving me money and locked us out of our house. It was so hard to face the loss of my daughter and feel my whole life come apart. As I drove feeling desperate and alone there was only one person to call – my mom. Her love and compassion were a lighthouse to our family. She took us in even though she lived in a tiny apartment with no extra rooms or beds. We camped out in her front room for nearly two months. It was me and my three kids taking over her only living space outside of her bedroom. She fed us and helped us through the most difficult days we had ever faced. Just weeks after Miranda passed away I was served divorce papers. My mom saw my estranged husband’s desire to have full custody and she took action. She had little money herself and few resources but she went and took out a loan and got money from a close friend. She told me I had to have an attorney. It was a tough divorce but because of her actions we were blessed and I was able to keep my children and I received alimony that I never would have received without an attorney. She protected us and changed the outcome of my trial by sacrificing with love. We moved out of her apartment and we paid her back the money she had borrowed on our behalf. But we can’t repay her for the love she gave us it is ours to keep eternally. For me there will never be enough expressions of gratitude for what she offered us during those months. I am grateful for who she is and how she loves.

Shanna S. – Julie

ShannaI would like to nominate Julie, a woman I admire. As a young, single mom of two children (Josh – a baby, and Brandi – a toddler), living in a one-bedroom apartment, Julie did not hesitate to take in her toddler nephew, Austin, who had a lot of medical issues and was in a full-body cast due to the poor choices of his own mother. Julie obtained custody of Austin and raised him as her own, treating him exactly the same as her own children. Eventually, Julie was pursued by Danny, but a relationship was not on her list of priorities when she had three little ones to care for. Danny was persistent and, in time, won Julie’s heart. Together, they built a life for the children, and brought a 4th one, Madelyn, into the world. Although money was tight and their 3 bedroom home was small, the children were always well taken care of and never went without necessities, and the home was filled with love. All of those children are now wonderful young adults beginning their own families, except Madelyn who is a teenager. In addition to raising such amazing young men and women, Julie was a second mom to many of her children’s friends, and kids in the neighborhood. Her home has always been open to anybody needing a good meal, a shoulder to cry on, or a helping hand. She is known as Mama Jules because she treats them all like they are her own children and has even taken in one or two kids when their home lives were terrible. No matter how rough or overwhelming things get for Julie, she always has a smile and a positive attitude and will never turn her back on somebody in need. She has such a huge heart and great compassion and love for people that is rarely seen in this world and I think she deserves to be recognized for her selfless, giving nature.

Congratulations to all of these amazing winners! These moms, and their love and compassion, are an inspiration. We applaud them for their kindness and courage.

Hosting a holiday dinner doesn’t need to be stressful

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Entertaining, Holidays | November 6, 2017 | By

Dinners with family have been our company’s focus for 15 years now; however, entertaining was a focus for our company’s founder for many years before 2002, during Stephanie Allen’s pre-Dream Dinners life as a caterer. Even today, Stephanie is the “the hostess with the mostest.” She invites groups to enjoy at her home and before people know it, there is a spread of food that could feed an army. 

The mystery is that you never see her leave the gathering. She spends so little time in the kitchen and so much time with her guests, you have to ask yourself where she hides the elves. Surely, she has a merry band of chefs working with her behind the scenes. No, she doesn’t. She’s Stephanie. She’s learned through the years that it’s absolutely possible to focus on her guests because she’s taken the time before her gathering to prep and pre-cook what she can.

She once wrote that guests can pick up on a host’s mood quickly. If a host is stressed, the guests can’t really relax. Stephanie exudes a sense of relaxation that can only be emulated by pages in a lifestyle mag, where everyone is smiling and every plate and glass is filled: Cheers! Always laughing and with an ear to listen to the many stories, Stephanie quietly goes about the final touches. She is eating with her guests, laughing around a fire pit and cracking crabs at the beach because she’s taken steps ahead of time to make sure she’s not stressing and is focused on her guests.

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Bruschetta Chicken Skewers

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From weeknight dinner to holiday appetizer in a flash.

We’ve learned a few tricks to turn Dream Dinners into dream appetizers during the busy holiday season. Founder Stephanie Allen loves to entertain, so she is always looking for fun ways to remix our recipes into appetizers when the holidays roll around.

One recipe on our November menu is Grilled Bruschetta Chicken Skewers. The skewers are perfect for dinner over rice, but when guests come knocking at the door, you can easily create a tasty appetizer when you bake the chicken, cut it, then place them on garlic crostini instead. Drizzle the chicken-topped crostini with the sauce.

Here are our instructions for this quick dinner, which of course, can be served as an appetizer, as well.

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Appetizer – Coconut Shrimp Skewers with Tropical Chili Sauce

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Simply delicious, tender shrimp coated with a sweet coconut crust served a Tropical Chili sauce.

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Appetizer – Pacific Rim Glazed Steak Bites

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These steak bites come from aged sirloin marinated in soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame and green onions. Served on top of a gorgeous salt and pepper wonton.

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Appetizer – Sausalito Chicken Flatbread Triangles

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These whole wheat flatbreads are topped with thinly sliced seasoned chicken, creamy Florentine sauce and our special cheese blend.

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Appetizer – Southwest Chicken with Ancho Hummus and Pita

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All-natural chicken breasts seasoned with an aromatic blend of Southwest spices kick up the flavor on this quick and easy appetizer served with our smoky Ancho Hummus and pita.

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4th of July Entertaining

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It’s officially last minute.

4th of July is less than a week away and if you’re planning to attend an Independence Day event, showing up empty handed is usually not an option— this is a great weekend to bring your Dream Dinners along.

June’s menu has some great backyard BBQ recipes including:

We also recommend taking a classic dinner and remixing into an inspired single-serving and shareable appetizer.

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Holiday Cookie Remix

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We’ve already shared a great way to make homemade ice cream sandwiches for your holiday shindig, now it’s time to add a little extra flare to your holiday platter using these simple cookie remix ideas. 

It doesn’t take much to bake up something special for your friends and family, here a few ideas:

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Appetizer — Sesame Glazed Meatballs

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Holidays can be stressful, don’t let the need to entertain push you over the edge this year. Try something new by using your Dream Dinners Sesame Glazed Meatballs with Jasmine Rice to create the perfect entertaining appetizer.

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