Saturday, January 11, 2014

Plated Review

I'm not a Birchbox gal because I know I would never use random beauty samples up, but I'm definitely intrigued by these custom curated subscription boxes that seem to popping up everywhere. I'll tell you my reviews of Graze and Conscious Box soon, but today I'm kicking it off with Plated!

Plated delivers to you the ingredients to make (at a minimum) two servings of two meals that you choose from the weekly menu. Their chefs create the dishes, and then put together the exact ingredients you need to prepare them - in 30 minutes or less (their words). Through facebook, I signed up with a free first box (just pay the shipping) deal. Since I'm a pescetarian but truly not interested in preparing my own fish, I looked at the vegetarian options. There seem to be three each week, and one was already sold out. I selected the two remaining veggie options and waited for my box to arrive. It's supposed to arrive on Tuesdays, but due to the awful weather, I got an email saying it would instead arrive Wednesday - but that my ingredients would no doubt be as fresh as ever.

Wednesday came and went and I ended up receiving my box late Thursday (like 7pm). Everything seemed to be fresh, although the Swiss chard was a little questionable. It was my first time ever using chard, but I think it was slightly past its peak. No matter, I was still really excited to try out my recipes!

After work on Friday, I started to make the goat cheese and quinoa stuffed Swiss chard, covered in marinara. The instructions were straightforward, with six steps in the process. On the recipe sheet, it said it would take between 30 and 40 minutes.

I first cooked the quinoa, and as that was cooking, chopped up my various veggies and spices to saute. The quinoa, veggies, and goat cheese was mixed together to be stuffed. I blanched (a new term for me) the Swiss chard and then all was ready to roll, literally. I felt like I didn't have a perfect Swiss chard to stuffing ratio, but the stuffing was delicious on its own, so we had the remainder on the side. While stuffing, I did feel like maybe I could have had a better bunch of Swiss chard, as many of the pieces I ended up with had holes (not ideal for holding stuffing) or were small. That is my biggest complaint with this meal.

After I made as many rolls as I could with what I was given, I placed them in a cooking dish and poured the marinara over. According to the recipe, I put them in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Andrew and I loved the result, though (a couple more complaints) - it took me a little over an hour (not 30-40 minutes), and the rolls weren't very hot, so I would have cooked longer than 15 minutes had I known. I am making my other meal - tofu, cashew, and snow pea stir fry for dinner tonight, so I imagine that will be a bit simpler.

Overall, it was fun to make a new meal without having to go to the store and buy all the ingredients individually. I think the price is probably great if you live in a bigger city, but honestly, if I had paid full price for this shipment, Andrew and I could have gone out to eat somewhere in Grand Rapids and had a pretty nice meal. I was going to order another box for next week, but all three vegetarian options were sold out! I will probably only order from Plated again if there is some sort of discount. EDIT: I ordered another box for next week because I had a $10 off code. I'm a little bit addicted, I guess! Anyway, if you want to try Plated, please use my referral code - we both get two plates if you do!

Have any of you used Plated? What was your experience?

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