If the sound of those three words sends you reeling or, worse, straight to the nearest fast-food chain or take-out joint, then relax. Dream Dinners will change all that forever.
With their new cookbook, Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna, founders of Dream Dinners, bring the successful philosophy behind their hundreds of assemble-and-freeze-meal stores across America into home kitchens. Dream Dinners offers up one hundred recipes for flavorful meals made with easy-to-find ingredients.
The premise is simple: Scoop or pour ingredients into baking pans or plastic bags, then store the uncooked dishes in the freezer. Later in the week or month, when dinnertime rolls around, just pop one of the frozen meals into the oven. Each recipe is provided two ways: One, prepare just one meal for the night, or two, prepare enough for three meals and freeze the other two. Dinner after sports practice, music lessons, and play rehearsals has never been easier!
In addition to recipes for hearty, family-pleasing classics such as Baked Pesto Ravioli with Chicken, Beef and Zucchini Casserole, and Cider-Braised Pork Loin Chops, Stephanie and Tina give a wealth of time-saving shopping tips and cooking pointers. More than for convenience, eating dinner together provides benefits for the whole family. Study after study shows that mealtime matters. Families who dine together form stronger bonds, and kids get better grades and develop lifelong healthful eating habits. Dream Dinners makes it easy for families to gather around the dinner table and share the ups and downs of the day.
With Dream Dinners, you will spend less time stressing in the kitchen and more time connecting with family and friends.
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About the Author
Two busy working mothers trying to balance professional and home lives, Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna founded Dream Dinners in 2002. Today there are hundreds of Dream Dinners stores across the nation. Stephanie and Tina have revolutionized dinnertime in America, providing an inexpensive alternative to takeout and bringing families together around the table. Dream Dinners has been featured in the New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, and Time, among others. Stephanie and Tina live in Snohomish, Washington.
Read an Excerpt
Dream DinnersTurn Dinnertime into Family Time with 100 Assemble-and-Freeze Meals
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Zondervan
All right reserved.
Caribbean Pork over Rice
This dish calls for jerk seasoning, which can be found in the spice section of most grocery stores. You can buy shredded cooked pork in your supermarket's meat department, but it's easy to make it yourself: place a lean pork loin in a crockpot, cover it with canned low-sodium chicken broth, and simmer for eight hours on low. The pork will shred easily when you pull the meat apart with two forks.
4 cups (1½ pounds) shredded cooked pork
2 cups canned chicken broth
½ cup light unsweetened coconut milk
2 teaspoons jerk seasoning
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup uncooked white rice for serving
½ cup (4 ounces) sliced almonds for garnish
12 cups (4½ pounds) shredded cooked pork
6 cups canned chicken broth
1½ cups light unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons jerk seasoning
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3 cups uncooked white rice for serving
1½ cups (12 ounces) sliced almonds for garnish
Putting the dinnertogether
Prepare the rice according to the package directions. In a large bowl, combine the pork, chicken broth, coconut milk, jerk seasoning, and orange zest and stir until incorporated. If you are preparing a triple batch, divide the mixture into three equal portions. Set aside one portion for tonight and divide the other two portions equally between two 1-gallon resealable freezer bags.
For dinner tonight
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat mixture and bring to a boil. The pork should be heated through. Serve over the rice and garnish with the sliced almonds.
Place ½ cup of the remaining sliced almonds into each of two 1-quart resealable freezer bags. Place 3 cups cooked and cooled rice in a 1-gallon resealable freezer bag. Place the bags of almonds, rice, and pork into a 1-gallon resealable freezer bag. Repeat with the remaining almonds, rice, and pork. Label, date, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before cooking as directed above. To reheat the rice, put the rice and ½ cup broth or water in a dish. Cover and cook in the microwave for 1-minute intervals until the broth is absorbed.
Pork Tenderloin with Pears
Pork, pears, and onions are seasoned to perfection in this dish; just add rice or pasta and you have an elegant dinner party perfectly suited for a small dinner table. Serve this with the Pumpkin Icebox Pie (page 232).
Nonstick cooking spray
6 (1½ pounds) 1-inch-thick slices pork tenderloin
2 cups yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 15-ounce can(s) pears with syrup
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup white wine
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
18 (4½pounds) 1-inch-thick slices pork tenderloin
6 cups yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 15-ounce can(s) pears with syrup
2 tablespoons minced garlic
¾ cup dried cranberries
1½ cups white wine
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
Spray one (three) 9 X 13-inch baking dish(es) with nonstick cooking spray.
Putting the dinner together
Place 6 pork loin slices in the prepared baking dish(es) or in a crockpot.
If you are preparing a triple batch, divide the remaining slices equally between two 1-gallon resealable freezer bags. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated. If you are preparing a triple batch, pour one-third of the mixture into the crockpot or baking dish, and divide the remaining mixture equally between the two bags filled with the pork tenderloin.
For dinner tonight
If you are using a baking dish, preheat the oven to 325°F. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 2 hours or until the internal temperature of the pork reads 160°F on a meat thermometer. Alternatively, slow-cook the pork in the crockpot on low heat for 5 to 6 hours, until the pork is tender.
Label, date, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before cooking as directed above.
Excerpted from Dream Dinners by Zondervan Copyright © 2006 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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