Let me say this up front. We do not represent this company. We just happen to be huge fans of it.
It started last November when our neighbors, Peter and Jenn Moore, insisted that we try a meal kit company called Plated. As you know, there are several similar meal kit companies — Blue Apron, Green Chef, Home Chef, HelloFresh and others. But Peter and Jenn had tested many of them and said that, hands down, Plated was their favorite. They sent us a free trial kit — three meals.
And the rest is history. We’ve purchased three Plated meals a week (each one serves two people) almost every week since. It costs $72 per week. And it has broken us of our habit of going to restaurants quite as often as we used to. And that has saved us a chunk of change.
We still love going out to eat, of course. But now it’s more intentional. We don’t just do it because we haven’t had time to go to the grocery store.
So, here’s how it works. A week in advance, Plated sends an email (or, you can use their app, which is what we do) with a listing of about eight meals from which you can choose. You tell them which ones you want, and a few days later a big box arrives. Inside are the carefully labeled ingredients you will need for those three meals. The meats or seafood are surrounded by ice packs. Pop everything in the fridge until time to cook.
The meals are delicious. They take about 45 minutes to prepare. One thing I like is that often the dishes are something I would never think to order or to make. So that’s expanded our cooking and eating horizons. And we’ve been introduced to new ingredients, too. The other day, one of our meals included something called furikake. I’d never heard of it, but it is a dry Japanese seasoning.
Well, this Plated thing has turned out to be something like a drug. Once you get started … When you subscribe, you get the opportunity to send free trial meal kits to friends, as Peter and Jenn did for us, and I have been “recruiting” new Plated fans that way.
My friend Bart Weaver was one of the first. Ever since he and his husband, Jim Landreth, got the free sample, they have been hooked. “We are learning a lot,” Bart told me recently. “It got us out of our cooking rut. We found before Plated that we were making the same things over and over again.”
Bart says that, like us, he and Jim enjoy getting exposed to new ingredients. “Like salsify,” he said. “I never knew that there was a vegetable that tasted like oysters!” They also like the portion sizes — plenty to eat, but not enough for leftovers. “The value is excellent,” Bart said. “It’s a great activity for a couple.” His favorite dish so far? Chicken Marsala with fingerling potatoes. (That was one of Alan and my favorites, too.)
Another convert: Margaret Rodgers. “I love to cook, but I hate going to the grocery store,” said Margaret, a busy wife and mother. “This is much faster. Everything is there. I don’t have to get a chair and search my spice rack!”
She also appreciates using new ingredients. “Sometimes the spices are things I don’t usually cook with — lemon leaves, lemon grass, fresh ginger. The meals are good. Delicious and spicy and appetizing.”
Hubby, Clifford, also is a fan. “My husband walks in and says, ‘That smells wonderful!’ I make things I wouldn’t normally make. The cost is good. There is value in not having to go out and buy the ingredients.”
So, there you have it. I feel like a Plated pusher. But you really should try it. To that end, I have a free sample kit I can send to someone. Let me know in the comments section or send me an email if you’d like your name to be put in a drawing for it. I’ll announce the winner here next week.
Thanks to you (the Plated Pusher) we tried Plated a while back. For us Plated has become a component of our weekly dining plans: part our favorite recipes, part restaurants, & part Plated Meals. We don’t use it every week, and we opted for the two meal instead of three meal option, which has proved to be a better fit for us. I’d say we use it 1-2 times a month. I look at our calendar & see what we have coming up in the evenings. We were already eating dinner at home quite a bit, and I enjoy cooking, but it is fun to try new things. I look at the weekly Plated offerings & see if something interests me. I like being able to use a small amount of something without having to buy a lot of it in order to make a particular dish. The portions are perfect. Sometimes I prepare something to accompany the Plated meal. I think we will use Plated less during the local growing season (i.e. NOW) because I want to take full advantage of the good stuff at the Farmers Market. I can see using it more in cold weather when I don’t want to get out as often & when good fresh produce is difficult to find. We had tried Blue Apron previously at a friend’s recommendation, & the meals were fine, but there was so much waste. There was A LOT of packaging waste, and they sent every little thing needed–olive oil, sat, pepper. Plated is much better in this regard. And without going into detail about what prompted it, their customer service is excellent.
Please put us in your drawing! This sounds perfect for us. Questions, though: How long will these meals keep before you make them? What if you’re out of town?
Gay: All that makes a lot of sense. Especially the part about slowing down on it during the summer. But I’m an addict. What can I say?
Mary: I usually throw the meat and seafood in the freezer and the rest in the fridge. I’d say it can stay in the fridge the better part of a week. If you are going out of town, you just tell them to skip that week.
I would love to try the Plated sample meals!!! Sounds like just the thing we need to save time, money and some of the effort of meal planning.
My neighbors use Hello Fresh and like it. I’d love to try this to see how they compare! Thank you so much for the offer, Cynthia. Please put us in your drawing!
Put me in for the drawing. I’m willing to try anything once.
I would love to give this a try!
As the food taster, I have to say we have enjoyed all the meals, and several have been really excellent. I haven’t even missed dessert not being included, and that’s a big statement for me.
feel free to send me a sample – would love to try!
I would love to try it!!
Cynthia: We tried Plated thanks to you and loved it for many of the same reasons you outlined. John’s brother and sister-in-law recently told us that they are using Blue Apron to teach their 16-year-old son to cook and so he can make dinner for himself and his younger brothers when they’re working late or have plans. I thought that was a neat idea.
We love Plated, too. My daughter has gone vegetarian, so this gives me three meals a week to learn how to cook interesting meals for her. Customer service is excellent….if an ingredient arrives that has spilled or is not fresh…or in the rare occasion where something is left out, they’ve responded quickly and appropriately. We’re hooked.
I wonder if they will deliver to Gleason…..
Sign Monique and me up. I need to get back to cooking. I like the flexibility of options which we did not really get with Blue Apron.
Sign me up for the drawing! Thanks Cynthia. I love and use Hello Fresh and have sent many free boxes too. I would welcome the opportunity to trying Plated! These food services make so much sense, especially for downtown residents. I know a lot of millenials who say they are using these services to teach themselves to cook. Love that –brilliant!
Please sign me up for your drawing, Cynthia! I like to cook, but definitely get stuck in a rut. Plus, our daughter is eating primarily vegetarian options and I could really use some help with good ideas for those meals. Win or lose…I will try Plated. Thanks for sharing!
Put me in for the drawing. Andy and I are willing.
Cynthia, I can’t tell you how much I appreciated this blog. I’m hoping Plated.com is national. I would love to sign up my parents who live in Colorado. My mom is a fantastic cook and loves to experiment. But shopping (and chopping) have become more difficult and she struggles with finding portions that work for just the two of them. So much wasted food! Thanks again for the great idea!
Please put me in for the drawing. I am not a cook person. Pat jobe
Please put us in the drawing. We are like everyone else — we like to cook, but life happens and often we find ourselves at home after long workdays with no plans for supper. This would be a great alternative.
Hey, everybody! Thanks for all the comments. We will put all the names in a drawing, which we will have on Monday. Please check back on this post – and on the Moxley Carmichael Facebook page – for the announcement of the winner Monday afternoon.
I would never have known about Plated. Terrific info, Cynthia. I love Blue Streak anyway but this one made me realize I haven’t had dinner. I wanted to dive into that grilled chicken Cobb!
Cynthia – add me to the drawing, please! I agree with Margaret Rodgers…love to cook, hate to shop. Thank you for this post!
Cynthia, please add me to the drawing. My husband and i have just started with Blue Apron (our second week box will be delivered today) and I would like to compare.
I am so tired of cooking the same old meals it would spruce up our taste buds to try different meals without having to plug through a cook book.
Please enter me in your drawing.
Cynthia, I am so glad you became a pusher! And I have enjoyed the comments as well. I was contemplating a Blue Apron trial as a birthday present for son Brian — but will have to try Plated instead. He loves to cook and is always asking me for recipes then calling from the grocery store at 8 p.m. (7 central) to confirm ingredients before heading home to cook. This will provide him with recipes and ingredients and save him a lot of time! I also love the idea for parents who have difficulty shopping and chopping. Super ideas here!
Entering everyone who asked in the drawing. You know, I said we would announce Monday, but that’s 4th of July. We will have drawing Tuesday. Sorry about that. We are closed Monday. Duh.
Tami: Excellent, excellent idea. Brian would love!
July 4 – Is it too late to be included for the drawing? I hope not. And I hope your holiday weekend included some get-away down-time and also good food! PS I am forwarding this Bluestreak on to several friends. xoxox
What does ‘moderation’ mean?
Hey, Fran: No, it’s not too late. Due to holiday, we are moving the drawing to tomorrow. So you are in! Thanks for passing on the Blue Streak!
Moderation just means I have to approve the post. We do it that way to cut down on spammers. You wouldn’t believe how many there are.
Please enter me in the drawing – I would love to try Plated!
Will enter everyone who asked in the drawing! Check here 2morrow afternoon – and on the Moxley Carmichael Facebook page – for announcement of the winner. Good luck!
Congratulations to Lisa Hall, the winner of the Plated sample meals. Lisa will receive three meals (each meal is for two people) to try out Plated. Lisa, check your email over the next two days for a response from Plated. (Also check your spam or junk folder. Sometime the first message from Plated goes there.) Enjoy!
An absolute life saver is a service we use called Gold Leaf Gourmet. You can subscribe and they send you DIY dessert kits. Easy to do, great fun to make them with the kids, and the portions are small so no one’s filling up on sweets. You can create beautiful high-end yet simple desserts in the comfort of your home. These quality ingredients are not available in stores and provide a wonderful culinary experience that you can proudly showcase at your next dinner party or event. Check them out: http://www.goldleafgourmet.com/
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