Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Plated Review (A Meal Subscription Service)

In our household, we cook dinner at least 4 times a week.  And by cook, I mean from a recipe, not something frozen or from a box. I've never been much for cooking before, but in the past year I've come to really enjoy making new recipes and trying new foods.  That being said, even with Pinterest, sometimes it is hard to find new recipes to try (send me your links if you have any recs!) I had been curious about meal subscription services before, but never wanted to spend that much on a meal that I don't even get leftovers out of, but when a friend said she had Plated meals to give away, I jumped at the chance to try it out.

Meal 1: Green Chile Chicken Tacos with Mexican Street Corn (5/5 ★)

Even though I will eat just about anything if it is wrapped in a tortilla, I still thought these were exceptionally good. I had to toss the corn tortillas they came with since the were cracked in half when they arrived, but we had some small flour tortillas leftover from our last taco night that made great replacements. Also I’ve never known how to make Mexican street corn before, but now I’ve got a great recipe!

I was shocked that this turned out to be the perfect amount of food. I could only manage two of my tacos, so my boyfriend ate my third which left us both contently full.

Meal 2: Seared Steak with Bell Pepper Panzanella (3/5 ★)

The steak was tiny (probably because it’s an actual recommended serving, and not an American-sized serving) and honestly not that great. I used BBQ sauce with it (probably the only  time my boyfriend will let me put BBQ sauce on steak) and that help. The salad however was wonderful. It was made with arugula lettuce, roasted red and yellow peppers, capers, fresh Parmesan and croutons, and a vinaigrette made with olive oil and red wine sauce. I’m not a salad person, and no matter how hard I try I cannot get myself to enjoy peppers, but this salad was so good!

Although the steaks were small and the salads were huge, it was the perfect amount of food yet again (just proportioned differently than we probably would have!)

Meal 3: Duck Ragù Rigatoni with Peas and Mint (3/5 ★)

I chose this meal because it had duck in it, and I had never cooked duck before.  In fact, I had only eaten it once previously, and it was just a bite on our cruise this past February.  Overall this pasta didn't have a lot of flavor.  If it weren't for the drizzled balsamic vinegar and the occasional mint leaf, it wouldn't have had any flavor.  It's not a recipe I would make again, but it was fun to try! 

We ended up making/eating this on Saturday, a full week after it was delivered.  They recommend that you eat your meals within five days of delivery.  I just thought it was funny that I made this after the recommended amount of time, but it was the only meal where are of the ingredients were in tact!

  • You can put in your food preferences/allergies to get recipes that fit your tastes and needs
  • You receive the exact amount of ingredients needed which means NO FOOD WASTE
  • Fresh ingredients
  • New recipes that you may not have tried before
  • New foods that you may have not tried before
  • No leftovers (a pro if you don't care for leftovers)
  • Helps with proper portion control
  • A time-saver if you're super busy and struggle to find the time to meal plan, grocery shop, etc.
  • Great customer service! The tortillas for our tacos came broken.  I emailed the customer support, and they within two days they had credited my account $24, enough for one meal. Then, when I opened my second meal, I found one of the garlic cloves was moldy (luckily they had put two garlic clove packages in there by mistake) and when I sent an email about it, they credited my account $6 within the next day.

  • You only get a small selection of recipes (20 recipes) to choose from each week
  • Although they rotate recipes weekly, I noticed that when I looked at the recipe choices for next week, two of the three I tried last week were listed. It's not a big deal to someone who doesn't consistently use Plated, but if you subscribed every week you may get bored of the options.
  • It can be spendy, depending on how much you usually spend on groceries each week
  • No leftovers (a con if you like to take leftovers to work for lunch the next day)
  • Since each ingredient comes packaged separately, it seems like there is a lot of packing waste- especially when you live somewhere (ahem, the south) that doesn’t have recycling readily available.

Overall, if you're someone who doesn't like to cook, but wants to eat an actual home cooked meal, a meal subscription service like Plated could absolutely be beneficial. I would think that if you are looking to eat healthier it would be a good option because it does teach proper portion sizes. I've come to enjoy finding new recipes based on the grocery store sales and learning to cook them on my own, so I don't plan on keeping my Plated subscription personally. (That being said, I received an email from Plated with a 40% discount if I re-subscribed. With the $30 credit added that they added to my account, I can get three meals for twelve bucks, so I will be getting one more week of Plated!) Have you tried a meal subscription service before? If so, which ones? And would you recommend them?

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