Pre-prepared meals a fresh idea

NORTH SHELBY &045;&045; These days a family&8217;s to-do list can stretch a mile, leaving little time to prepare a home-cooked meal.

In February, Pat and Myra Patterson, owners of Your Evening Meal, introduced a rather new idea to Shelby County&8212;a place to buy or prepare all your meals so they will be ready to pull out of the freezer and bake.

&8220;It&8217;s something people aren&8217;t used to,&8221; Pat said. &8220;We come up with recipes and they&8217;re specially formulated so you can put the foods all together and freeze them and when they are thawed out to cook, they don&8217;t turn to mush or cardboard.&8221;

Customers have several options for how they get the food. The first involves choosing dishes from the business&8217;s Web site, calling in your orders and setting up a time to go in and put the dishes together yourself.

Customers can also make an appointment for a prep party with friends. Each person chooses the number and type of dishes they want to prepare and everyone comes in together to make their meals and enjoy each other&8217;s company.

A third possibility is to order meals the Pattersons will prepare for you to pick up, and a last option is to drop by and choose from what meals are already pre-prepared in the freezer.

Kathy Paffumi has five children all under 7 years old. She said going to Your Evening Meal is a matter of convenience.

&8220;I often don&8217;t have time to prepare an entire meal,&8221; Paffumi said. &8220;Now, I always have something in the freezer and never have to worry about what I&8217;m going to have for dinner.&8221;

Some would ask why you wouldn&8217;t just run to the grocery store. Vann Dorn and his 87-year-old father, who live in The Narrows near Mt Laurel, stop in at Your Evening Meal at least once a week.

&8220;We tried to go to the grocery store, but things would go bad before you prepared them,&8221; Dorn said. &8220;It&8217;s wonderful. I&8217;m not a cook, so it&8217;s nice to have a good balanced meal that is basically gourmet.&8221;

Meal possibilities range from chicken and crawfish etouffe to Greek tilapia.

Paffumi also said for her family it is more cost efficient.

&8220;I spend less money for

a week&8217;s worth of meals than when I go into the grocery store, because I buy things that I don&8217;t need at the store,&8221; Paffumi said.

Half portions of meals at Your Evening Meal are priced at $12.50 and serve three people. Full meals serve six people and cost $21. The Pattersons change up the menu each month so there is little room for boredom.

For more information visit www.youreveningmeal.com or stop by the store at 5479 Hwy. 280 Arbor Place Suite 102; across from The Village at Lee Branch