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What I ate: Monday edition

Since it is Spring Break (I know, I sound like a broken, bragging record), I have the advantage of cooking lunch at home. When I don't have time to cook/eat at home, I usually will make my lunch in the form of leftovers (which I actually LOVE) from dinner the night before. I have had a lot of "spring" expenses sneak up on me in the past 2 months, so I am really trying to stick to my budget and what I have on hand before going out and grabbing what I don't truly need. I am also trying to get Vegas ready and lost those lovely 8 pounds that crept up on me over the last year or so. (My username on MyFitnessPal is: erper83, if you want to find me) ANYWAY, today's lunch was in the form of a Dream Dinner. I know that I have touched a bit in the past on Dream Dinners, but I hope to explain it a little deeper today...
SO, Dream Dinners are dinners that are prepared (but not cooked) by you at a Dream Dinners location. You prepare 36 (or more) servings at each session. You may come as frequently as you choose. Since I am single, I typically prepare 12, 3-serving, meals monthly at the beginning of the month. The Dream Dinners location I go to allows you to also pay $20 to pick up your meals already prepared. I actually prepare all of my own because it feels like I am on a cooking show, and I like to see what is put into my meals. I typically take about 60-90 minutes to put them all together. For a month's worth of meals! Here is the deal: you take them home, put them in your freezer, and when it is time to make a meal, you take the bag out of the freezer the morning of (or night before) and defrost in the refrigerator. The meals typically take about 15-25 minutes total to cook. It is SUCH a time saver because I am not trying to figure out what to eat for 20 minutes, and I am not actually a huge fan of the monotony of crock pot meals. My mom likes them because she thinks they are "dummy proof!" She is not a fan of cooking, so it is cool to see her excited again about her dinners. Since signing up in July, I have had over 10 friends also join and make this a part of their lifestyles. AND, most of them are teachers and SWEAR it saves them SO much time between sports, music, after school activities, church, etc. I really like how affordable it is for me. Typically, I spend about $170/month on my meals. Which is less than I would spend on groceries a month. And I really only get TP, creamer, Dr. Pepper, and milk at the grocery store.
SO, do you have questions? Here are a few questions I've heard:
I am gluten/dairy/meat/nut free...Can I order here?
In my experience, I have seen Dream Dinners offering MANY different substitutions to accommodate allergies and preferences. Also, if you don't like it, you don't have to put it in, and DD is helpful in providing ideas for substitutions.
How about side dishes?
DD offers many "Take Home" side options. They vary from store to store, so check your local DD store.They even have dessert, YUM!
What if I don't like one of the meals I eat?
You can become a PlatePoints member for free and rate your meals as you prepare and eat them. This is saved in the system for the future, so they can adjust future menus accordingly. I have NEVER had a meal that I have hated.

I also love PlatePoints, because I can get free stuff with my points. Who doesn't love free stuff?
There are many FAQ's answered on the Dream Dinners website here

I have included a few pictures from today's lunch: Chicken Costoletta. SO yummy!!

 Almond Green beans

Don't mind my FILTHY oven!

Almost a month's worth of meals!

Today's YUMMY lunch; Total time: 24 minutes

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