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Dinner in a Dash: solves the problem of what's for dinner

Taren Weyer, creator of Dinner in a Dash, will be offering the class to moms and female guardians of Westside students this fall.

Dinner in a Dash has a dash of education. A dash of relationship building. A dash of empowerment and confidence boosting.

And yes, a dash of making dinners.

Dinner in a Dash is the brainchild of Taren Weyer and recently she was awarded a $2,000 foundation grant from Allina Health.

Dinner in a Dash will be offered to moms and female guardians of students at Westside Elementary School.

It’s especially geared for people who don’t plan dinners ahead of time and then stress out at 5 p.m. trying to get something thrown together while the kids complain of being hungry.

“The program wants to eliminate that nagging question of  what am I going to make for dinner tonight?” Weyer said. “It removes all menu planning, shopping, prep-work and clean-up. It makes it less stressful and gives people more time to enjoy the things they love.”

Participants in Dinner in a Dash will prepare 19 freezer meals. Most are meant to be cooked in a crock pot and each will include lean meats, fresh vegetables, whole grains and some added fat.

Classes will meet from 6 -7 p.m. six times in September through December and is open to about 20-30 moms/female guardians.

During the class, Weyer will have informal discussions on topics such as quick-serve lunches, dinners-on-the-go and picky eaters. At the end of each session, participants get a packet that includes all the recipes.

Weyer will also send an email with tips discussed during the session and ideas on how to use the leftovers.

Getting the grant means Weyer can keep the cost down. Dinner in a Dash will cost $200 which includes all the food already prepared. That comes out to be about $13 per meal to serve six people.

The grant also allows for scholarships for those who may need some help. The cost for them will be $125.

Weyer says it’s not all about cooking.

“It’s also about getting to know one another and forming new relationships, making connections.”

Weyer says what she really loves about facilitating a class like this is the changes she witnesses in the participants.

“It’s about people experiencing something new and when they get it,” Weyer says, “I can see it in their eyes. Their eyes sparkle.”

Weyer claims when the moms/female guardians learn meal preparation, it’s good for the whole family.

“Kids can see that maybe mom has been stressed out in the kitchen. She goes through the class, the kids see the changes and that makes them want to try something new too. When parents gain confidence it transfers to the kids.”

Weyer will send an email to Westside parents in August to announce the class and how to register. The announcement will also be printed in the Westsider, the school’s newsletter.