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Super Supper - New to Our Area Concept

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Over the weekend I stumbled into a new shop that opened in our area and I found the concept quite interesting. They do all the prep work for a meal, such as chopping the vegetables, etc. There are several counters in the shop and each counter features two different meals. You select the meal you would like to purchase, follow the instructions posted at the top of the counter and take the appropriate amount and type of ingredients from the bins in the counter and put them into a foil type container. They give you the cooking instructions and you can take this home where you make the meal.

I know sometimes part of cooking is the fun of buying and selecting the ingredients etc. but if you are short on time and still want to have something home cooked this seems like the way to go. They even provide the meat. The bonus is the price - $10.50 for a meal that feeds three people.

I'm surprised no one has discussed this concept on this board in the past, or perhaps they have but I missed it. In any case, has anyone out there tried this and if so how did you like it?

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  1. I think the most famous company is Dream Dinners, but I don't think it's as cheap as what you've described. At those prices, I would give it a try.

    1. Well, you have to buy some minimum amount of dinners usually. But, since each one is a franchise, the owners may be trying to do it in this individual way, to get people to try one dinner and then if they like it, to come in and do a 6 dinner menu or somethnig...that's what it sounds liek anyhow.

      Price I see out here is $65-$70 for 6 meals and $125 for 12 meals with a $20 additional if you want one of themeals to be prime rib.

      Its an interesting concept, and maybe will at least get some families to sit down together at home to eat.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cathy

        This has come up in a thread somewhere, maybe the one about things people buy that you don't get? I've ordered Dinners Done for my SIL when she had her baby. Your place is a much better deal. It's $154 for 8 dinners at DD. You can separate each meal into two so for a small family, it is 16 meals. Much better than fast food and for people who don't cook, it's a way to expand their horizons.

      2. just curious: what is the quality of the food items--do they state sources or brands? say, as in, is the pork or chicken injected with a brine solution, preservatives, etc., or is everything generic? I would wonder about the quality in a for-profit operation like that.

        1. It's been discussed some, but generally looked down upon by most Chowhounds. We have several meal prep places like it in Kansas City, some franchised, but also some that are local. I think it would be nice to do it just to have some back-up meals on hand, but am leary about the quality as well. I plan to try it with one of the local companies soon. I also think it would be a great present for new moms. One of the local places near us will throw a baby shower for you where everyone pays to come and make one meal for themselves and one meal for the mom-to-be, so the mom-to-be ends up coming away with a dozen (or however many people are invited)meals... I think that's a great idea!

          1. Here's an old thread that may be of interest:
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            Haven't tried the one in my area because I like the "work" that goes into cooking, like to have control of my ingredients and recipes, and am a freezer phobe. If I'm too busy/tired to cook, then that's a perfect excuse to eat out!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Carb Lover

              Count me in on a freezer phobe as well... I guess we'll see! My grandma freezes EVERYTHING and it always seems to taste good no matter what! It's certainly something I'll have to report back on if I do it!

            2. Thanks all for your great comments. Sounds to me like the price of the place here is pretty good. I asked the owner if I could do just 2 or maybe one meal and she was more than willing to accomodate. Also keep in mind, this is not a place where you do the preparing, all you do at this shop is pick up the goods along with the cooking instructions then do the cooking at home. I can speak to the quality of the items since I haven't bought any dinners yet, but the owner seemed to be leaning toward the healthy/lower transfat direction. The meat I looked at, although I didn't look that close, looked OK to me. I think I have to actually try it to see. Thanks again for the comments.

              1. The Chicago Tribune recently compared/contrasted various local services: it seems most of them(at least the franchises) source from Sysco.

                1. As a cooking school owner and recipe developer, I shudder at the concept. I can't imagine that the final product tastes great. Proper cooking involves the layering of ingredients and flavours, the building of a dish using aromatics (such as onions/mirepoix) and flavour bases, each added at just the right time.

                  And do you know what's in the stuff they're providing? Do the sauces and spice mixes come out of gallon sized jugs? What about the sodium and fat content?

                  Cooking a great one-pot meal can take so little time, and be so much better for you.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: olivergail

                    hear, hear

                    1. re: olivergail

                      "And do you know what's in the stuff they're providing? Do the sauces and spice mixes come out of gallon sized jugs? What about the sodium and fat content?"

                      -- I think that's why the OP was asking about them... I really don't see how you can knock something until you research it further or even try it.

                      1. re: Katie Nell

                        My company has sponsored some Super Suppers get togethers and, within the limitations of the format, some of the food turns out to be surprisingly good (and at our subsidized pricing, quite worth it). Typical meal options include stuff like stuffed braided bread (both recipes we used were very good for this), chicken breast cutlets or fish fillets, coated in some form of breading (ex seasoned panko), layered in with vegetables, say spinach, and cream sauce and cooked in the oven and "cassoulet" - the last very tasty but a bit overseasoned with italian herb mixture. The last time I took home pork chops marinated in italian herbs, rosemary, etc and a separate bag of canned fruit, mustard, etc to cook it in. It lay in my freezer for a long time - I was dubious, I mean this recipe had canned pineapple, peaches and even fruit cocktail in it! It was also the most complex recipe offered and the only stovetop dish - since I had to first saute the chops and then simmer with the fruit mixture. (This meant I couldnt direct my husband to take it out of the freezer and cook it. Though I was exceedingly dubious, the result was really tasty and cohered well. I didnt eat up all the sauce, but the flavors came together. Weakest items have been attempts at asian flavors and the side noodles/rice that comes with some of the dishes. It can also be a fun evening, since they serve sangria and plenty of food samples.

                        Id say their meats are good quality - they are all frozen lumps when you are handling them - and the portions are ample - for us, it often comes out to more than the 6 servings per meal advertised. For me it was an eye into the commercial food service market and how institutional food might be produced.

                    2. my husband's family loves this concept. They give it to each other for holiday, birthday and shower gifts, & split up the meal packages (dozen dishes, the single aunt takes 3, the family of 3 takes 9) They sometimes get almost to the point where they ask us to join the fun, and then stop themselves: "oh yeah, you guys know how to cook." I don't mean to be super snobby, i really think it's a good concept for people who really hate cooking and only know how to do 3 or 4 things-- but if you DO know how to cook you'd be better served buying better ingredients with the $ you'd save, and get more satisfaction by going out to eat than eating someone's dumbed down amerifare. Sysco & U.S. Foods are not trusted to feed my family.

                      1. Well,they just opened one up here in Schertz and there is a Supper Solutions in the Forum at Olympia Parkway in Selma,just a couple of miles down the road from me.Haven't tried them yet
                        and wonder how business is.Super Suppers just opened,the other one has been around for a while. I just prefer to make my own,or go eat out once in a while being a single diner.