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Personalization. I’ll tell you what it means to me. Simply, when you are a client of The Dinner Belle, dinner is made the way you like.

First, I give you a detailed questionnaire to fill out that lets me know exactly how you like to eat and any restrictions that you have. I will then tailor your menus exactly to your needs. Do you have 3 teenagers or 2 toddlers? Serving size definitely means different things to different families. Since I price my service fee separately from your groceries, you have serving sizes that work for you. On weight watchers? I’ll measure all your ounces so that you can track your points. Gluten free? Dairy sensitivity? I’ll make sure that your menus follow any restrictions while still being delicious and diverse.

Second, the service is flexible. Do you need meals each week, a couple times a month or just once in a while? I do not make my clients sign contracts like many meal service providers. I want to provide you meals when you need them and not over burden you with a freezer full of food to which you will never get.

Third, I will shop for the ingredients that YOU want to use. Some people only want grass fed organic beef.  Others value buying what brand is on sale. I individually shop for each client so that you have control over your food quality and costs.

Like I said, Personalization. It’s why I call myself a personal chef. Having my service makes your life easier not harder. Everything is done as you would do, if only you had the time. Contact me. I’d love to put together a meal plan for you so that you can try out my service. You’ll be amazed at how much you look forward to coming home in the evening when you know that someone else has already taken care of dinner!

Chef Cami Chaplick

Thedinnerbelle@me.com

303-898-4090

You’ve heard the idea that kids will eat what they cook themselves and having kids help in the kitchen is a great way to get them to try new things. Well, I have stumbled across the realization that this is true! I am somewhat of a kitchen hog and have not been good about inviting my children to help me except for the obvious cookie or pancake making. We tend to be busy in the afternoon, like most families, and I usually have dinner prepped and ready to go way before they are off the school bus.

Last week my 10 year old informed me that we are not spending enough time together. Really? ” Ok, why don’t you help me with dinner and we can chat?” He agreed. It turned into him doing all of the dinner and me sitting on the bar stool and chatting with him. Turns out he got the kitchen hog gene. My plan that evening was chicken pasta soup and a chopped salad. I had made the salad prior so it was the soup that was left to be made. I chopped the onion, carrot and celery and left the rest to him.

Now you must know that my son is not a soup guy. Too bad for him because his mom is soup crazy. I can really see owning a little soup cart somewhere and dishing out steaming bowls of goodness for hungry customers. I love all soups. I love the idea of soup and all the nutrition and flavor you can pack into one bowl. Soup is the ONLY reason I tolerate winter. Whenever we have soup for dinner, he has a few bites and then reverts to a peanut butter sandwich. He just doesn’t get it. Well that evening after carefully simmering vegetables, tasting the difference between a raw carrot and a caramelized one, building his soup and adjusting the seasonings himself, he got it!  He said ,” Wow Mom, this is really good!” That night he ate his whole bowl and didn’t go to the cabinet for peanut butter once. Amazing.

Here is the recipe for Chicken Pasta Soup. My kiddo added and adjusted the seasonings himself and didn’t measure, so I’ll try to approximate what went on.

Chicken Pasta Soup

serves 8

Chicken from one rotisserie chicken, chopped into small pieces (save the carcass for roast chicken stock)

1/2 onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 1/2 tsp dried basil

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cup frozen peas, thawed (or not, it really doesn’t matter)

1/4 cup soup pasta per person

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat and add onions. Cook stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and turn the heat down to medium low. Stir occasionally for about 25 minutes. Add the dried spices and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Meanwhile combine chicken and vegetable stock and heat on low. (no use adding cold stock to the soup) Add the stock and peas. Stir all together over medium-low heat. Cook for 10 minutes and add the chopped chicken. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed.

Boil water and add soup pasta for the time instructed on the packaging. You can use any type of pasta you wish. You only want to cook pasta for the number of servings you need. Any leftover soup will be saved without pasta being added because the pasta will absorb all of the liquid. Divide pasta between the soup bowls and ladle the soup over top.

Enjoy!

Recently, I was at a friend’s house and I noticed that she was thawing a dinner from one of those meal assembly kitchens. You know the kind, where you go and assemble meals from a handful of choices, place them in baggies and take them home to cook or freeze. I have been a patron of this type of business in the past and have had varying results from the meals but I understand the connivence it offers. Now that I am in the business of providing meals, I see the dinner thawing on her counter in a whole new light.

First let’s talk about the contents of her bags. In one was a handful of raw unseasoned chicken tenders, the next was a baggie of sauce and the third was a baggie of cashews. The instructions were worded well and easy to follow. They basically said to cook the chicken, heat and reduce the sauce, add nuts and pour the sauce over the cooked tenders. The price on this meal was $20. Now that sounds pretty good until you realize there was no side dish and my friend was required to do all the work! She had to cook the entire meal and then wash and clean up afterward. Her $20 was buying her the convenience of someone else portioning out raw ingredients and telling her what to do with them.

On the other hand, a meal from The Dinner Belle requires little to no work on my client’s part. Usually heating the oven and throwing away the container at the end of the meal is the most work required. I take the time to carefully prep, season and cook your meal to perfection. An example of this would be the Smoky Turkey Shepherd’s Pie that I made for a client this week. For this dinner, I shopped for the freshest ingredients, chopped, prepped and slow cooked all of the filling, cooked and hand mashed the potatoes and put it all together in an oven proof disposable pan. All my client needs to do is preheat the oven, put the dish in for the required time and serve it to her family. During the time that it is heating, she can help her boys with their homework and be truly present for her family. She’s not trying to multi-task while making sure she doesn’t burn the chicken tenders!

Experience the difference The Dinner Belle can make in your busy life. All the meal planning, shopping and cooking is done for you. Plus you can feel good about what you are feeding your family as I never used processed ingredients and everything is made from scratch. Contact me to see how I can bring peace back into your evening routine.

303-898-4090                 Thedinnerbelle@me.com