Cooking for Dummies

If you've been reading here for awhile, you know that I don't cook. As in, hardly at all. As in, toast is a major feat for me. And so is cereal. In total, I probably make about five things that one would consider actual meals, among them, this Chicken and Beef Taco Ring Thing, which has actually become a weekend staple in my house.

So the hubs and I have been subsisting on the leftovers of the weekly Sunday dinner at my great aunt's house, which can last until Tuesday, at times (Score!), and on things that come in bags or boxes, which can then be cooked in the microwave.

Until now! Because on Sunday, a friend and I went here and now my freezer is stocked with enough meals (and I'm talking real meals here. Meals that don't include the words "Remove the cellophane wrapper" or "Microwave on high for five minutes" anywhere on the package) to last for weeks! I think I'm in love.

Here's how it works. You sign up to make either 6 or 12 meals, selected from a menu that changes monthly, on their website. You arrive at the "kitchen," don an apron, and move from station to station, each of which is set up with all the ingredients you need to make whichever meals you signed up for. Not only is everything pre-measured (so, for instance, if what you're making calls for 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes, the scoop that's in the container of tomatoes is a 1/2 cup scoop), but the second you're done with the spatula, bowl, or spoon used to prepare the meal, an employee whisks it away from your station. There's no clean-up! Once you're finished making a meal, you stick it in a fridge on a shelf labeled with your name, and you move on to the next meal station.

And, that's not all! The employees wander around offering fresh-from-the-oven and still-warm cookies to you as you work. There's also free coffee. And their lounge? Has two huge comfy sofas, and a wall-mounted flat screen TV. Playing what, you ask? Well, the Food Network, of course! And ya'll know how much I love the Food Network.

When you're done, you load up the box or laundry basket you brought with you to store all your meals, an employee carries it out to your car for you, and off you go. Once you're home, you stock your freezer with your stash of food, all of which comes with labels for preparation, and you have meals for weeks. Weeks, people!

I had such a blast. I made Calzones, Beef Stew, Pizza Meatloaf, Marsala Chicken, Beef Stroganoff, and Baked Ravioli Casserole. And who cares that I'll only eat three of these (given that I don't eat red meat)! The hubs has dinners for quite awhile, considering that each meal serves 4-6, and so far, there are only two of us with teeth in our household. So, in two hours, I made six meals, which actually translates into at least 12 meals.

From what I understand, this is a chain, and they have these places (sometimes under different names) in other cities across the country. If there's one where you live, and you're cooking-challenged like me, or if you're pressed for time to make dinner during the week, I'd highly recommend doing it.

This sorta counts as the cooking normal people do, right?

12 Responses to “Cooking for Dummies”

  1. # Blogger The Princess

    Okay, I've gotta ask:

    How much do they charge?

    These days with the house and the would be nice if the price was right!  

  2. # Blogger Marie

    This sounds SO cool Kristi!! Hmmm. Have you had any of it yet?

    Is it basically assembly there? or do you cook on their stove too?  

  3. # Blogger sunShine

    I wish you lived closer, I would teach you some really easy things to cook. That meal thing sounds great though. I was wondering too, is it expensive?  

  4. # Blogger Anne Marie

    That's so cool that there is a group like that in NY - I'll have to see if there is one near Buffalo. I know other people who have done this in other states and they had so much fun doing it. $200 for 12 dinners (plus leftovers for each) I don't think is that much. Plus it gets you out of the house!  

  5. # Blogger l

    There are a couple of chains that offer this service. We have Dinners Ready out here. The cool thing is, after doing this several times, you'll start to get the hang of what it takes (portions, ingredients, cooking time) to make a lot of other things. Pretty soon you'll be cooking on your own in your kitchen with that gorgeous stove of yours.  

  6. # Anonymous sher

    That's so cool that you did that!!! I've seen newspaper articles about this and it always gets raves from the people who do it. If you do it again, maybe you could take pictures? This will be wonderful for you because you have those meals all prepared. Good for you!  

  7. # Blogger Christine

    That's such a great idea, was it crazy expensive? I wonder if they would have worked with dietary needs and substituted out ground chicken for the beef?  

  8. # Blogger Michelle

    I've done this as well. The ones around here will also do all the work for you for an extra charge. So, I have placed my order and then just picked it up.
    They opened a new one by our house...and they serve wine while you work! :)  

  9. # Anonymous Chantel

    I love those places. IN VA we have MY Girlfriend kitchen. there is also Dream dinners.  

  10. # Blogger Damselfly

    Cool! There's a place like that near my house that I've been meaning to try. If they offer free cookies, well, that seals the deal for me.  

  11. # Anonymous kross-eyed kitty

    I've recently heard of this in the Toronto area too. It sounds like a great idea if you're not into cooking, and also a great night out.  

  12. # Blogger Kristi

    Princess-It wasn't expensive at all, in my opinion. It was $120 (no tax). Each meal serves 4-6, so the average cost per meal was around $3.00. A good deal, I think!

    Marie-Rich had the Pizza Meatloaf last night and he loved it! And yeah, it's assemble there, freeze at home, and then you cook it at home.

    Sunshine-I wished we lived closer too! Not expensive either. See above.

    Anne Marie- Yup-if you do 12 meals, it costs $200. Definitely a good deal, and yes, it gets me out of the house, which I desperately need!

    L-I never thought of it that way. I sure hope that's the case for me!

    Sher-I remembered the camera too late, because I intended to take pictures. I'm going to do it again and this time, I will take photos.

    Christine-Not expensive at all. $120 for 6 meals. And as far as the meat goes, I don't think they would have substituted, but you could omit (or add more of) any other ingredient you chose.

    Michelle-We can pay an added fee and have them make the meals too. And wine? That's very cool.

    Chantel-It's such a cool concept, isn't it?

    Damselfly-Definitely try it. And the cookies were awesome too.

    Ramona-If you weren't such a good cook yourself, I'd say give it a try. It was a lot of fun!  

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