Overall, I was very happy with Plated and would come back to it once I try all the competition and know how they measure up. I have discovered 10 different meal services I'm going to be trying and reviewing: Blue Apron, Chef Day, Green Chef, Hello Fresh, Home Chef, Marley Spoon, Peach Dish, Plated, Purple Carrot and Sun Basket. All have something similar to Plated where you get the cold packed ingredients straight to your door with 3 recipe cards for 2 people for around $10-$12 per meal. Plated has an option to choose between 11 different meals plus you can add 2 different desserts. They all have promotions for your first time trying their service if you look online or at their websites. Plated has a $30 off your first delivery which brought these 3 meals to a total of $42 after tax including delivery.
These services are great for busy people like me who are trying to simplify their life, end up going out to eat a lot because the grocery shopping hasn't been done, tired of the same few go to meals or have sensory overload with recipes and don't know where to start. If you're comparing it to grocery shopping, it will be more expensive, but compared to going out to eat it will almost always be cheaper. You're also a lot less likely to eat extra calories and sugar (in my case less chips and salsa, margaritas and sopapillas if were sticking with a TexMex theme).
General Plated Impressions:
The box came cold and had recycled materials for the insulation, so I thought that was cool. The packaging seems pretty minimal until you start making the individual recipes and realizing it's more than it looked like.
I loved the recipe cards with pictures but for some of the 'prepare ingredients' steps I would rather rearrange to speed up the process. For example, halving the lemon and making garlic paste for Caesar salad while the meatballs were in the oven and finishing the salad all in one step instead of jumping back and forth between meatball and salad steps and having nothing to do while the meatballs cooked. Other prep steps worked better but generally the timing of the recipes could have flowed better. Each took within the listed time frame (except the spaghetti squash but that was due to an unrelated mishap-see below).
I wish things like eggs were included in the box but luckily I had one in the fridge. Other required ingredients I always have on hand and don't have to worry about checking so they didn't bother me (olive oil, salt, pepper).
Beliw is take on each recipe (all were good and I would probably make them again with the meatballs being highest on the list since I have a freezer full of venison to swap with the beef):
Saucy Meatball Sliders with Classic Caesar Salad: Delicious. I already love making meatballs but this is the first time I made them with a sauce and put them in a sandwich. Also, first time I put some ricotta or marinara inside my meatballs- both great!
The meatballs would have burned if I didn't flip halfway through so including steps like this would be important for people who don't cook often or their meal might be ruined.
Chicken Swarma with Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Tahini: Easy recipe with a great flavor. I had never made a tahini sauce before and really enjoyed this simple recipe with a flavorful taste. I like how each recipe has the calories listed so you can cut it in half like I did if you don't need the whole thing and then suddenly you have 4 meals instead of 2.
Spaghetti Squash Amatrciana with Crispy Pancetta: Everything was going well with this recipe until I put the squash in the oven and hadn't checked to make sure the oven didn't have any spills. So poof the oven caught on FIRE and I yelled to my husband there was a fire. We frantically looked around our new home for the fire extinguisher and Justin grabbed it from under the sink. Not to worry though, I frantically got the oven mits and saved the squash before it was consumed by the flames or the fire extinguisher. After the alarm automatically sent for a fire truck came and the fire alarm went off for an hour it turned out to be a tasty meal too. I promise I don't normally catch the house on fire when I use the oven! I will admit I still like regular spaghetti better but this was a nice alternative and definitely better than zucchini noodles in my opinion. I would caution people from putting all of the spices in if you have a low spice tolerance. I like food spicy and thought with all the crushed red pepper in the packet it had a nice bite to it.
Next up, Blue Apron! We got a 2 week meal plan gifted to us from our wedding registry on Zola so the next review will come in 2.5 weeks! Stay tuned for more on my progress towards Project 333 and becoming (more like) a minimalist.