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Plated review April 6, 2014

Posted by bettyjoan in Uncategorized.
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It is no secret that I love to cook.  Heck, I used to write a food blog (RIP, Trouble With Toast) that centered primarily on my home cooking adventures.  However, you all know how it goes – in the hustle and bustle of life, it’s not always easy to shop, prep, and cook tasty (and hopefully healthy) meals for me and the hubs.

A friend started posting on Facebook about his experiences with Plated – a company that provides “chef-designed recipes and fresh ingredients delivered to your door.”  I have to admit, I was pretty darn skeptical.  But, he gave me a promo code for 1/2 off my first order, so I figured I’d give it a go.  And, it was nice that by placing an order, I was able to score my friend 2 free plates for himself.  What goes around comes around!

Generally, when you order from Plated, you pick from their weekly selection of meals/menus, and then you pick your delivery day.  If you don’t select your meals far enough in advance, they can sell out of particular ones.  I picked a delivery date pretty far in the future, so I was able to get two recipes I was genuinely interested in tasting – Citrus Soy Chicken Thighs with Soba Noodles, and Pan Fried Redfish with Lemon Caper Sauce.  It cost me $30 for 2 meals (each portioned for 2 people), which would normally have cost $60.  If you sign up and pay a membership fee ($10/month for a month-to-month membership, and $8/month for an annual membership), meals that normally cost $15 per person would cost $12 per person.  A bit steep, if you ask me, but more on that later.

The box was delivered when promised, and everything was properly refrigerated.  All of the ingredients are pre-portioned and labeled, and each recipe comes with a step-by-step instruction guide, with photos.

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I made the chicken dish first, on the same day I got the box, and I must admit that I was very impressed with the quality of ingredients.  All of the produce was super fresh, and the meat looked great as well.  The instructions were easy to follow – to be honest, I didn’t have to look at the directions much, as the recipe seemed very intuitive to me since I have made similar dishes on my own.  The finished product was, in fact, very very tasty.

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One of the main pluses of Plated is that there is ZERO waste in terms of food – since everything is perfectly portioned for each diner, you never run the risk of buying (and then throwing away) too much of any one ingredient.  That doesn’t matter so much for things like soy sauce and soba noodles, since they aren’t perishable, but produce is another story.  I confess that I often buy more than I need (sometimes intentionally, sometimes not) and then struggle with how to use the excess.

On the other hand, though, Plated creates a lot of other waste.

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There were multiple plastic bags/bottles left over at the end of the process, and while they can be recycled, it still gave me a bit of pause.

My order came in on a Tuesday, and I intentionally waited until Sunday to make the second dish.  To my (pleasant) surprise, all of the ingredients survived the extra time in the fridge.  The instructions for the fish dish were just as simple, and the end result was just as tasty (even earning raves from my normally fish-averse hubby).  Unlike the chicken dish, I probably wouldn’t have cooked something like the redfish on my own.  The lemon-caper sauce in particular made me think, “Duh, why haven’t I made something like this before?”

So, would I order from Plated again?  It WAS nice not to have to deal with grocery shopping – when work is busy or when we are traveling, Plated could very well provide a nice alternative to going out or ordering take out.  However, the normal cost of $60 for two meals for two (I would never commit to a membership for something like this) seems very spendy.  My time is definitely worth something, but I’m not sure it’s worth THAT much, especially since I live on top of a Harris Teeter.

Bottom line, I think there is a huge market for Plated, and I hope they have continued success.  I think next time we order from them, I’m going to insist that my kitchen-wary husband prepare the meal – now THAT would be an experiment!

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