So as some of you know, I love to cook. I usually made most of the dinners but since I've been on my own for the past year, it's become more difficult. Plus, I have well expensive and sometimes healthy habits but when I go non-healthy it's usually pricey food (like a giant rib-eye). When you add in the kids sports schedule, homework, etc it is a little rough especially when I have to run out to get ingredients; yeah if I planned in advance, but I don't do that.
So I clicked on some Facebook ads for Plated and read through the setup. It seemed pretty easy - you pick from menu items - veggie, meat, fish, you remove items you don't want (I removed nuts, peanuts, and pork), they send you fresh ingredients and the recipe. You cook it yourself. You have to order a little in advance and pick your delivery day.
The basic cost is $10 per month + shipping ($20) + $12 per plate.
You can order 2, 4 or 6 plates and they ship it to your door. I did get a cool offer which was first month free, first 4 plates free, just pay shipping and handling.
My first item arrived August 12 and I ordered a salsa verde red fish dish. Inside the box was all of my ingredients except for olive and vegetable oil + salt and pepper. Everything else was measured out and neatly organized. It all looked fresh to me - radishes, fennel, cilantro, tomatillos, jalapenos, scallions, and of course the fish which was nicely filleted. Also, they sent sugar and sherry vinegar and those items were already properly measured so you didn't have to think or worry about how much to use.
The recipe was pretty easy but it did say 30-40 minutes of prep time. However, I did discover that that was 30-40 minutes PER 2 plate order. The entire meal from beginning to end took me about 80 minutes to prepare because there was a ton of chopping - all of the veggies plus then the cooking. It's not that 80 minutes was a problem but I should have read the recipe earlier in the day so I could have prepared parts of the meal in advance - oh well maybe next time.
The next problem I ran into was a minor one. Some of the fish fillets were a bit frozen not because they were shipped that way but because they were underneath or on top of the ice packs. That was easily solved by running them under cold water. After that, as usual, the recipe called for 1 TB of oil to fry the fish in. I don't know about you but when I use a non-stick pan, the oil seems to disappear so I had to add more oil in. Again, no big deal as long as you kind of know what you are doing in the kitchen. If you followed the recipe exactly, your fish and coating would have burned.
Well next came the final part, the plating and the eating. Surprisingly, there was plenty of food for everyone. Nobody was hungry. There were some trades because some people didnt like the fennel while others were not crazy about the radishes. So, I ate whatever anyone didn't want but it was all really tasty.
So, we became Plated fans. It does seem a little more expensive then what I would normally cook at home; however, it was worth what I paid for because I didn't have to get the ingredients, I didn't have to select the food products, I already had a good recipe, and it tasted great. My only warnings for people are that you probably should leave yourself more time than what the recipe calls for especially if you order more than 2 plates AND you have to have some skills in the kitchen.
One other glitch that I just found out. If you do sign up, watch out for the auto ship option. This means that every week they automatically ship you an item based on your preferences and charge your card. That might be a handy option for some but if you want to pick your meals, make sure it is off. Mine wasn't and so I was going to receive to full meals this week. Their customer service was really helpful and corrected this.
I'm only doing Plated once per week. I still want to grill and then make some of our family favorites. I put my order in for next week - jerked fish tacos and it cost me $48 total (shipping and handling were waived). So if I were you, I'd give it a try especially with some of their offers that they are running. I'm glad we did.