Wandering with a Purpose

Tag: dinner ideas

Plated – another box of meals!

Another meal box down, and funny enough, this was the first box I had ever heard about. I love the TV show Shark Tank. If you don’t know what it is, please research it and watch a few episodes. The show has been on for several years, and I think has done a lot to promote entrepreneurialism and the American dream. I love this show and what is represents. Anyway, the first time I heard about meal subscription boxes was when Plated was pitched on Season 5 (early 2014). I thought it sounded really cool, but sure enough, a lot of competitors have come up since their invention.


IMG_1448Since Plated is what got me interested in these boxes, I couldn’t wait to try it. Unfortunately, this is also a very expensive box, so I prioritized other brands who also had a bigger, first box discount. Plated meals cost $12/person. A box for two people with three meals costs $72/week, which I think is a bit pricey. Their initial offer is two free meals per week.

The website is very easy to use and meals are posted 5 weeks in advance, which is very friendly if you plan on using this service regularly. The overall brand and pictures are also the more “trendy” compared to competitors. It makes the company look cool and friendly.

I ended up buying two weeks of boxes since the recipes seemed interesting. The first box I received was a bit damaged, but all of the food was included. It made me nervous since it’s hot here in NC and the food needs to stay cold. Luckily, it was okay.


I made 6 meals in total. Some were really good, some I wasn’t a fan of. This is probably the first box I ordered that there were recipes I truly didn’t enjoy, but there were some I liked a lot. The ingredients were also very fresh and seemed of high quality.

  • Barbecue Salmon Burgers with Fingerling Potato Salad
  • Moo Shu Chicken with Pancakes
  • Grilled Vodka Sauce Pizza with Goat Cheese and Grilled Vegetables
  • Charred Eggplant with Quinoa Tabbouleh and Creamy Tahini
  • Chicken Shawarma
  • Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti

The Barbecue Salmon Burgers were one of the best dishes I made as part of this experiment. They were easy to make and very delicious. I am also not a fan of potato salad, but this was made with Chobani yogurt, mustard, lemon, and olive oil. It was so good, and I IMG_1546hope to make this again soon.

IMG_1560My other two favorites were the pizza and charred eggplant. The pizza was easy enough to make on your own. I never thought to use those ingredients on a pizza, but it was really good. This was the first time I ever made eggplant. I think eggplant is the funniest looking vegetable; there is no way you can look at it and not laugh. This was also my first time eating and making quinoa. Overall, I really enjoyed this dish. I liked it even more as leftovers. It was also incredibly simple to make after you cut up everything.

This was the first time I ever made eggplant. I think eggplant is the funniest looking vegetable; there is no way you can look at it and not laugh. This was also my first time eating and making quinoa. Overall, I really enjoyed this dish. I liked it even more as leftovers. It was also incredibly simple to make after you cut up everything. All you have to do is make the quinoa, cut the eggplant and put it in the oven with salt and cayenne pepper (I used too much for me). Then you make the tahini dressing and viola! dinner.

The other dishes weren’t my favorites. I was sad about the Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti because I’ve made similar dishes in the past, but this one lacked flavor.  Something about the sauce wasn’t rich enough for such a basic dish.



Overall, Plated was fun. I love Plated’s brand. I think it does a lot to sell the company and make it cool. However, if I was to choose a meal subscription box to use regularly, I wouldn’t choose Plated. The price point is out of my budget, and many of the meals weren’t my favorite. If I ate pork/beef, it may be better since the salmon burgers were delicious.

I also like how they engaged on social media. They would like and comment on my Instagram posts about their meals. I think that goes into the brand and being “cool.” Nice touch!

Home Chef – A World of Choices

I’ve really enjoyed receiving and trying meal subscription boxes. Going to the grocery store is overwhelming and trying to pick a meal in addition to the shopping…well, it’s just a bit much for me. Next, it was time for me to try Home Chef. Home Chef is intriguing because there was a much larger selection of meals (9 compared to 5 or 6 in other boxes). The minimum number of meals you can order is 3 meals for 2 people, but you can order up to 5 choices each week (first time I’ve seen this). There is also an option for fruit and dessert add ons. Because of their marketing deal, I actually did two boxes ($20 off the first box, $10 off the second)…then did a third for fun.IMG_1037


Home Chef sends all of the food in an insulated box. Each meal comes in its own bag, with the protein packaged separately. It is very important to store the chicken on a plate in your fridge! Mine leaked in the fridge which caused quite a problem and took a while to clean.

In your first box, you will receive a binder so you can make your own cookbook of Home Chef recipes. I thought that was a clever idea. I have accumulated quite a few recipe cards, soIMG_1036 this was perfect to store all of them together. The ones from Home Chef come pre-punched, as well. Just add it and go. I decided I really like when the ingredients for each meal are packaged together.
It makes it easier to cook when you’re ready, and you don’t have to worry about losing something. The produce was relatively fresh. It wasn’t what I would have picked out in the store, but it was okay and it lasted for several days.



I love meals that start with a lot of color – especially PIZZA!


This is how Home Chef packages their meals. Almost everything is in a bag with a recipe label. Larger ingredients and protein are separate.


Between my three boxes, I had a total of 9 meals. Since I don’t eat much meat, most of these meals were from their vegetarian list, which were all quite good. I didn’t have a single meal that didn’t turn out well or that I thought didn’t taste right. Best of all, you can make all of these items at home. (Pictures are in order of the bullets below)

  • One Skillet Lemon Orzo Risotto with Asparagus
  • Margherita Chicken Breast with Parmesan-cauliflower fritters
  • Old-School Baked Ziti
  • Neapolitan Pizza Margherita with fresh mozzarella, basil, and balsamic dressed arugula
  • Breakfast for Dinner: Mini Artichoke and Mozzarella Quiches
  • Linguine Carciofi with artichokes, pecorino cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes
  • Chicken Scaloppine with Mustard Cream Sauce
  • Pine Nut & Goat Chees Bucatini Alfredo
  • Chicken and Garlic Peanut Sauce

IMG_1040 IMG_0093 IMG_1051 IMG_1093 IMG_1097 IMG_1238 IMG_1251 IMG_1259


Instead of boring you with all of the details of each dish, I’ll give you my highlights.

  • Chicken with Garlic Peanut Sauce was delicious and something I think I will make all of the time. It was easy and so good. The sauce is just 2.3 oz of peanut butter, 1 TBSP. rice vinegar, 4 TBSP. of water, and 1 TBSP. soy sauce whisked together. You can put this on chicken, rice, broccoli, and viola! Yumminess. It also recommends 1TBSP. of Chili Garlic Sauce, but I didn’t use it because I don’t like spicy food.
  • The spinach salad from the quiche dish was also easy and healthy. Basically, you put 2 tsp. olive oil over medium-high heat on the stove and add shallots and grape tomatoes. You cook them for 4 minutes. During that time the shallots will caramelize and the tomatoes “blister” and start to burst. Season with a little salt and pepper, then throw into a bowl with the spinach. Once you mix it around, it will start to wilt a little bit. That’s your dressing.
  • The entire meal for Margherita Chicken Breast with Parmesan-cauliflower fritters was delicious. I had never cooked cauliflower before, but it was easy (big theme with me!) and quite good. They also warmed up well for leftovers.

I did learn about one new food in my first box. Sweety drop peppers. Had never heard of them before, but they were quite interesting…



Home Chef seems to be the most “normal” option. Because you have so many more options to choose from, it seems like it could be your best choice for a weekly service (if you’re a picky eater, like me). What I don’t like about it is I would choose these recipes from a cookbook. Nothing about these meals was unusual or made me get out of my comfort zone. That is what I’ve liked about some of the other boxes – I have tried food and flavors I normally would not have tried. Even though their price is more affordable, I think you could buy ingredients for some of these meals chapter than $10/meal since the dishes are so simple.

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