Signing Up for a Session
1. What happens if I am running early or late for my session?
No worries! We ask you to pick the time you plan to arrive. However you are welcome to arrive 15 minutes earlier or later without a call. If that doesn't work, give us a call at (314) 968-8463 and we will find a time that fits your schedule.
2. I have changed my mind, but I can't change my order online. What should I do?
Call us! Since we prepare our products to order, we need to know when your schedule or meal choices change. You can often change an order during your session, too, presuming we have all of the ingredients on hand. Saturdays can sometimes be tricky. Be sure to ask -- we can usually accommodate your requests.
3. What do I do if the session I want to choose is grayed out and it won't let me sign up?
Give us a call at (314) 968-8463 and ask. In some cases we are able to accommodate these requests. To ensure that all customers have an enjoyable time, we do monitor our session numbers to prevent over-crowding in our facility. Furthermore, most of our ingredients are fresh, and we may have limited amounts available for assembly. If so, some items may need to come from our pre-assembled freezer inventory.
4. Can I bring a friend?
Please do! We'd love to meet your friends! If you want to split your meals with your friends, you are welcome to do so. If a friend is joining you, please enter his or her name in the notes section on the order form, so we can have an extra set of "take home" papers and a name tag ready. Please let us know if you plan to bring helpers (those helping you to assemble your meals but have not placed an order) so we can plan accordingly.
5. Can I bring my children?
We love children. TFD is a great introduction to cooking! Your child is welcome if he or she:
- Will enjoy measuring and assembling food for up to 2 hours. (children under 5 find that challenging.)
- Is free of a runny nose, cough or fever. (This goes for grown ups, too.)
- Is supervised by you to ensure that his/her hands stay out of the containers other customers will use.
- Has a book or game for entertainment should he/she get bored and be tempted to disrupt other customers' experience.
- Limit: one child per adult please.
1. How do I know I'm measuring correctly?
Just follow the assembly directions and measuring utensils at the preparation station. If a recipe calls for a level cup, gently shake the measuring utensil to remove excess ingredient, or level it using the leveler provided. Adding excess amounts may result in the dish overflowing the pan or altering results.
2. I am single, can I package my meals in a single serving?
Certainly! You can divide the dishes into smaller portions when you get home or ask for some of our smaller containers to divide the dishes in session. Keep in mind that the cooking time for all our meals have been tested, typically, for three servings. The pans, bags and labels provided are based on those serving sizes. Cooking time for smaller servings may vary. Use your cooking thermometer to ensure your dish reaches the internal temperature stated on the label.
4. Can I use fat free ingredients?
Our goal is to create delicious, healthy meals your family will love. We use low sodium soy sauce, lite dressings and any other low-fat ingredients that meet our high quality and taste standards. We have experimented with some fat-free products, including fat-free cheese and fat-free sour cream, and found the compromise the quality of our dishes. Fat-free sour cream doesn't freeze well. If you are more accustomed to and prefer these ingredients you may bring them and substitute them in your dishes. Feel free to contact us ahead of time to identify the amounts you will need to bring in.
5. I have a special diet and some meals don't fit in. How will I be able to eat your meals?
Time for Dinner meals can be adapted to most diets. The nutrition counts on each dish help with portion control. We also calculate Weight Watchers SmartPoints for each dish. You are welcome to adapt our recipes to meet your personal tastes or diets. By decreasing the cheese in a dish, for example, you will lower the calories, fat, and sodium content. You can also limit the amount of oil used to dredge chicken or make other adjustments. If you have allergy concerns, call us ahead of time for a list of ingredients. You may also bring your own special ingredients, such as gluten free bread crumbs, Splenda, etc, if you prefer. This will change the recipe's taste, but it is your food, and you can make it anyway you choose!
6. Why do I get inconsistent shaped chicken or meat pieces?
Because we use real, fresh products!! We weigh, cut, and prep all of our meats for you- this is why individual pieces have different shapes or sizes. All bags contain the same amount of meat by weight.
7. What are side labels?
Getting Your Meals Home
1. How should I carry my food home?
We recommend you bring a cooler, a laundry basket or two, Thirty-One Bags, etc. to transport your food home. Our pans fit best in coolers or baskets that are square, or with a width of at least 15". Should you forget, we usually have boxes, if not bags, that we can pack your meals in.
2. Why is it important to take home the paperwork from my shelf?
The paper work we give you when you check in is to mark you shelf. It lists your order and other information and suggestions found on the baking labels of the dishes you make. It is useful information that can be posted on your fridge door. Some of our customer's use it as a "Honey do" list, assigning names and dates next to the dishes to cook that night. The paperwork also includes the next month's menu for handy reference.
3. Why did my food leak into my basket?
Correctly packing of your cooler, basket or bags is critical. Time for Dinner staff will help you pack up safely. When assembling your meals, be sure your Ziploc bags are closed completely and double bagged when necessary. Alternate baking pans Lincoln-log style, when packing so the weight on the lids is dispersed. Pans should be similarly stacked at home. Defrost your bagged meals in a bowl or pan so the don't leak or sweat in the fridge.
1. Can I cook my Time for Dinner meals directly from frozen?
Usually. We've tested many of the recipes and most recipes in pans can be put in the oven frozen, with the lid on while the oven is pre-heating. Just to be sure to remove any sauce containers first! Once the oven reaches the required temperature, remove the lid and continue to bake the recommended time, adding 10 to 15 minutes if necessary. If there's a cheese topping you may want to tent the top (lightly cover) with foil for the last few minutes if the cheese starts to get too brown. Recipes in bags can be removed from the bag then placed directly into a pan, covered and pre-heated with the oven. When the oven reaches the required temperature, remove the cover, separate the meat, distribute evenly in the pan and continue to cook according to the directions. You may need some extra cooking time, depending on your oven temperature. Sandwiches and steaks can be put in a skillet frozen too! Just increase the heat a bit, cover the pan, and allow about twice the cooking time recommended on the baking label.
2. How long will it take my meals to defrost?
About 24 hours in the fridge, as a rule of thumb. Whole roasts and dense meals like lasagna take longer. Freezer and fridge temperatures vary by brand, owner preference, and the amount of food they contain. Hint: Defrost your bagged meals in a bowl or pan so they don't leak or sweat in the fridge.
3. Why do my meals take longer than the recommending time stated on the baking label?
The recommended cooking time is approximate. Ovens vary, and you may need to adjust cooking time for your oven. Also be sure to pre-heat your oven before cooking: the cooking time assumes the oven is pre-heated. Your dish is ready when the food's internal temperature reaches the temperature on the baking label.
4. Does Time for Dinner recycle?
We recycle all of our cardboard cases and paper, which we donate to a local school. We also recycle our plastic and aluminum containers. We are currently seeking an efficient way to recycle the large volume of steel cans we use. If you or your group is interested, please contact us at (314) 968-8463
5. How can I recycle?
Aluminum pans - Check with your recycling service to see if they can be recycled with your other aluminum. Freezer bags - These bags can be recycled at home. Just wash and reuse the bags for craft supplies, travel makeup kits, and other non-food uses. You can also remove the zip top and recycle the rest of the bag like normal. Reduce consumption - The fewer pans and bags you use, the better for the environment. While we don't limit the amount you use, we can offer other suggestions on how to assemble foods in ways that minimize your packaging needs.
1. Can I bring TFD Food when traveling?
Bringing your Time for Dinner meals on vacation with you is a great way to save money. Click here to learn how safely pack your food for traveling.