This was not something that I had on my resolution list, however, it was a culinary adventure that I went on, so I figured I would share it!
I feel like I am constantly getting advertisements on social media and Spotify and TV commercials for food delivery services. Blue Apron, Plated, HelloFresh, and so many others. But, as a wannabe chef, I never really considered them. They seemed to be geared more towards people who see planning their meals and cooking as a bother, and I love both of those things. Sure, sometimes we eat cereal or grilled cheese for dinner because I just don’t have it in me to cook a full meal. But for the most part, I really like cooking, especially lately with trying so many new things!
However, my friend Sarah subscribed to Plated and was raving about how delicious and fresh and easy and wonderful it all was, and offered to send me a free box (thanks, Sarah!). I figured I would discuss my experience and share the yummy recipes that I received.
So… I signed up and picked my meals. Well, to be honest, Plated picked my meals for me because they only had 3 vegetarian meals available and I had selected the 3 meal box. However, they all sounded really tasty so I was happy with it! For you omnivores, there were more options (sorry, I don’t really know how many. Didn’t really pay attention to that… But a good bit!)
My box arrived, with tons of delicious, fresh food all portioned out and labeled – and there were some recipe cards with pictures and instructions for each of the three recipes.
Meal 1: Quinoa and Burrata Bowl with Arugula, Roasted Carrots, and Blood Oranges
This meal was incredible – I love a good “bowl” type meal. I had no clue what burrata was and had to google it, but basically it’s a fancy soft mozzarella-like cheese and it’s delicious. I don’t typically LOVE arugula either, but all these other yummy flavors it was actually quite nice. This salad was bright and beautiful and filling and I was definitely make it again on my own. I can also trace my current OBSESSION with blood oranges back to this very moment when I first ate this salad. Since then I have legit been eating one nearly daily.
Meal 2: Bok Choy Fried Rice with Butternut Squash and Sriracha
Hooray! Another bowl meal! This meal was pretty great, but not amazing. I loved MOST things about it, but I committed a fatal flaw that sort of caused this recipe to meet it’s demise. I assumed that all of this produce had been washed, since most of it was so beautifully packaged and prepared. So, I didn’t wash the bok choy or the arugula. Once I made this meal, it was really flavorful and tasty, but it was gritty. Like I had one or two grains of sand in each bite. So it lost so much of it’s enjoyability. However, this recipe is one I would certainly repeat on my own because it had SO much flavor and so many colors! Fried egg on top was a really nice touch. I even thought I hated butternut squash. Turns out, it’s pretty dang good!
Meal 3: Vodka Sauce Pizza with Roasted Vegetables and Pesto
This pizza was FIRE. I made this to accompany a large-ish meal I made for my husband and inlaws (all omnivores) so that I could have something to eat other than just salad, and they could all try it out if they wanted to. The sauce was a little spicy and the crust was perfectly to my liking (just firm/crisp enough but soft on the inside… not too thin…didn’t collapse under my toppings…). I would also for certain repeat this meal. My omni guests also really enjoyed it, which is always a win! I have, however, let you down. Because (for once) I did not take a photo of this one! Since when am I not photographing my food?! But the stock image is there and you can see how pretty and yummy it is.
My Honest Review on Plated
This is a great service. The recipes were extremely creative. They all had above-average, fresh ingredients that came together to make three incredible meals, in both aesthetics and taste. Everything kept really well in the fridge, as I cooked the meals over the span of a week. If memory serves me correctly, I received the box on a Wednesday, cooked one meal that night, one meal Saturday, and one meal Monday. I had a great amount of food to get two, full meals from each recipe. Overall, it was a really nice experience, taste-wise.
All that being said, I will be completely honest with you: I did not keep my Plated subscription after this. I loved all three recipes a great deal, but at the end of the day, this service is well out of the price range of my budget. Yes, the ingredients probably cost a good bit, and yes it was all portioned and recipes provided to me. But for me, that honestly took some of the fun out of my normal wannabe chef experience. And I still had to grocery shop for my other meals and for my husbands meals, because it wasn’t enough food for a whole week, yet the price is high enough to be my entire grocery budget for a week.
Lessons learned from this:
- Meal subscription service Plated is a wonderful experience, if you can afford it and you need help cutting down the time you spend planning and prepping your meals.
- Always wash your produce even if it says it’s been washed!
- Don’t be afraid of ingredients you think you don’t like. Give everything a second and third chance before you consider excluding it all together.