Plated served me several targeted Facebook ads before I decided I would check them out. Being someone who doesn’t like going to the grocery store, doesn’t really have a lot of cooking experience, is single and short on time, I am exactly their type of customer.
Plated delivers (almost) all the ingredients you will need two-serving meals right to your door. It eliminates the need to go to the grocery store to pick up all the ingredients for a healthy, and in my opinion, fancy home-cooked dinner. Their prices are reasonable –with a monthly membership ($10/month) and ordering about 4 meals a week, or 16 per month, the average cost per meal comes out to about $13/serving. Not bad, considering it is delivered, there is no waste (assuming you eat your food) and the ingredients seem to be very high quality, considering they are shipped.
For my first box, I decided to order 2 servings of Garlic and Lemon Roasted Chicken with Spinach and Asparagus. This is something that I would never have undertaken to cook myself, had not all the ingredients been bundled together. There are a total of 8 ingredients for the recipe, which, buying at the grocery store, would have amounted to much more than $26 ($13/serving).
I was thrilled when my first box arrived at my doorstep and was excited to see if it would really be like they said on the website. When I opened the box I was impressed by the organization and how well insulated it was. Of course, you would hope this was the case since they were delivering raw chicken, but you never know what you’re going to get when you order something off the internet.
I decided to cook the chicken meal first since it has ingredients that will go bad faster. The recipe card comes one very nicely printed piece of 8 ½ x 11-inch paper. On one side, you will find the recipe and on the other, cooking tips and a glossary of cooking terms used throughout the recipe. When I signed up for the program, I knew it would help me eat better and cut down on my pasta intake, but I didn’t realize that I will also be learning valuable cooking skills as well.
Step 1 on the recipe was to Prepare Ingredients. This was easy, the hardest part was chopping rosemary, i would have to sacrifice freshness, but I think I would rather have that come pre-chopped, primarily because my knives are sharp enough to chop that type of plant very well.
Step 2: Sear Chicken
Chicken has always somewhat intimidated me because it can make you so sick if you do it wrong. They also noted in the directions that it was natural to have a slight “odor” to your chicken after it has been vacuum packed. They were right, it smelled sort of like the vinegar we use at Easter to dye eggs. I decided to trust them on this one and go with it. And, with the helpful cook instructions, I felt like I could be successful. The worst part was handling the raw meat. Call me “chicken,” but uhgggg.
There were a couple other challenges as well. First, I didn’t have any olive oil. I know, at this point you are probably asking yourself, who is this girl? Stick with me. I did have coconut oil. So, I used that knowing that my version may come out tasting a little more tropical than the chefs at Plated imagined. Second, I don’t have a “large oven-proof pan.” I think all my pans are from Ikea. Likely not oven-proof. So I had to improvise a little. Regular pan + some sort of oven dish (I need a glossary for my ovenware too).
In the end, the chicken seared a beautiful golden brown.
Step 3: Make Sauce
Ah yes… really this should be step 2.5 since you need to be doing it while the chicken is searing. I, on the other hand, was writing the introduction to this blog. So, I found myself in a bit of a pickle when the chicken was done searing and there was no sauce yet made. In Plated’s defense, they did specifically call out that I should read the whole recipe before beginning. They tried to warn me. Instead, I just moved the chicken off the burner and made the sauce. Seems like it was okay, no burnt chicken and no missing sauce.
One thing to note here as well, the sauce did call again for olive oil, which I again replaced with coconut oil. Granted, coconut oil is not a liquid, which made the next step more interesting…
Step 4: Roast Chicken
Remember how I mentioned that I don’t have an oven-proof pan? I had to somewhat wing this step with my make-shift oven dish. The main issue with not using the pan is that the sauce kind of runs all over the place and isn’t well contained around the potatoes and chicken. The other issue was the fact that I was using coconut oil which is clumpy at first. I just spread the lumps around hoping it would melt somewhat evenly while in the oven. What ended up happening is the sauce sort of burned around the pan, but it still smelled delicious. When the timer went off at the minimum time recommendation of 15 minutes, I pulled out my dish, and checked the center of the chicken for pinkness. I didn’t see any, but because I am afraid of chicken I put it back in for two more minutes.
Step 5: Cook Vegetables
This means, transferring potatoes back into the original pan and adding the rest of the prepared veggies. I was a little concerned because their photo showed a lot more liquid in the pan and since I burned all mine off, I thought I may need to add more. But, after the spinach wilted, it looked a lot better. Their directions said it would take about 3 minutes, but since my asparagus was really thick, much thicker than any asparagus I have gotten at the grocery store, I left it on for a few extra to try it to soften. Overall, a very easy step.
Step 6: Plate Chicken!
Sounds easy, right? Well, their photo looks amazing while I had asparagus rolling around and spinach flopping. I cleaned up the dish a little and I think it turned out pretty appetizing. Sure smells that way!
Unfortunately, I had a family birthday dinner I had to attend that night so I couldn’t eat all of one serving. I did taste it and am amazed at what I have created with the help of Plated (also, no hint of coconut)!
Truly, this is something I would normally never have considered for just an average day dinner. I am so happy with how this first dish turned out. My inner chef has been unleashed! And, I bet I can tell you who is going to have the best lunch in the office tomorrow!
- Saves time by eliminating need to go to grocery store for dinners and it only took me about 50 minutes to cook the whole meal
- Saves stress by planning your meals and delivering all the ingredients and easy directions to your door
- Saves money by eliminating waste due to inability to purchase small enough quantities for just one to two servings of a meal
- Increases nutrition by providing balanced meals with high-quality ingredients
- Makes cooking fun and easy with short recipes and helpful photos
- Increases cooking confidence and skill by showing hands-on how to use ingredients and walking you through the cooking process
- Makes dinner much more yummy by getting me to eat something more than my unenlightened pasta with fake cheese and cut up sandwich ham (don’t ask)
- There are a lot of dishes to clean up (but I think it’s worth it)
- I didn’t have all the ingredients, but in this case substituting turned out just fine
- As part of the packaging, Plated sent two giant freezer packs that I have no idea what to do with now. Am I going to get these every week? The customer service is closed on Sunday, so I will have to chat with them tomorrow and find out. **UPDATE** After talking with the customer service, they informed me that the ice packs are non-toxic so they can be tossed.
Will I do it again?
Definitely! I am thrilled with my first meal and cannot wait to make my second, Zucchini Papparadelle Arrabbiata with Chickpeas and Almonds (that’s a fun one to type). I have also set my account to auto select my meals based on my menu preferences. I am lactose intolerant and don’t really like spicy foods so I eliminated those from my meals. Looking forward to what comes next Saturday!