Daily Dupaco

Friday, August 10, 2012

Local meal program helps families save time, cut costs

With another school year about to kick off, busy lives are about to get even busier.

For families who rely on drive-through meals when hectic schedules take over, there's a new option in town: Make-Ahead Meals.

Hy-Vee's Cooking Club, which launched this year at the Asbury Plaza store location in Dubuque, allows participants to spend a few hours preparing a week's or month's worth of fix-and-freeze affordable meals. Participants typically pay less than the cost of dining out.

Megan Horstman, a registered dietitian at the Asbury Hy-Vee, says the goal of the program is "to provide our customers with healthier meal options that are ready to serve the family with minimal preparation." It also encourages family meals at home, she says.

Here's how it works: Participants form a cooking club with friends and family, and meet at Asbury Hy-Vee to prepare multiple meals to take home and freeze. Hy-Vee takes care of the grocery shopping (buying Hy-Vee brand when possible to save you money), kitchen set-up and clean-up.

The cooking club chooses from a database of more than 200 easy recipes, and typically meets every four to six weeks. Meal preparation takes about two hours, a fair exchange for a freezer full of quick and easy meals.

Horstman says the program is attracting enthusiastic followers.

"We have several groups that book their cooking dates several months out and love it," she says.

If you'd like to form a cooking club, contact Horstman at (563) 582-5463 or mhorstman@hy-vee.com.


By Emily Kittle

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