The Rosy Wanderer

Wandering with a Purpose

Tag: food subscription

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.

ORDERING AND PACKAGING

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.

THE MEALS

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.

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OVERALL RECOMMENDATION

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!

Green Chef

Green Chef is another meal subscription service, but with an organic twist. Like other services it provides 3 meals/week for 2 people. The price is a bit more expensive, but definitely some of the best meals I’ve made.  You can order based on your diet (vegetarian, omnivore, carnivore, Paleo, and gluten free). This diet will affect the price of the box. The vegetarian is the cheapest at $62/box and Paleo is most expensive at $90/box. First time buyers can get 2 free meals.

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THE PACKAGING

This has been my favorite packaging by far because it’s color-coded. Who can’t love that?! Blue Apron was a box of ingredients and you had to determine which one went with which recipe. Green Chef had all of the ingredients in one box, but they each had a color label on them (goldenrod, red, orange), which matched the recipe card it was for. Such a better way to organize it.

All of their packaging is also recyclable. You had to read on the website how to recycle each part, but it was good to see their recognized how wasteful this could be if you received a box every week. They also pre-made sauces and some ingredients, so they had numerous small, plastic jars. I saved some of these to use in my lunches later.

THE MEALS

I ordered the omnivore box. You could choose from 6 meals (two or three veggie, chicken, beef, and pork, I think). Everything was high in calories (480-790 calories), which I think is because of the sauces and olive oil. My meals were:

  • White Bean Cakes
  • Shrimp Scampi
  • Greek Chicken & Potatoes

All of these were very delicious and made for good leftovers. My biggest complaint is that I enjoyed IMG_0839these recipes but couldn’t make them again because the sauces were already made. For example, the White Bean Cakes came with white bean puree (not sure if this is something I could make or if you need to buy it) and “mint-pea pesto.” Not sure what was included in these and what would be needed to make them. The instructions were easy to understand, but I should have made the hard-boiled eggs  the way I normally would (bring to a boil for 1 minute, then simmer covered for 13 minutes). This suggested it site for 12 minutes, but it wasn’t cooked enough for me.

Shrimp Scampi was also delicious, and I like that they included a salad with the meal. This one I can make on my own again. Shrimp scampi is one of my favorite things to cook normally. IMG_0840This was a pretty standard recipe; I liked how it flavored the shrimp. It used garlic and lemon. It also had Brussels sprouts. I love Brussels sprouts; the first time I made them was with my Blue Apron box. This was a completely different way to make them, and I like them. It gave the scampi a nice crunch and added a healthy food to the meal. I tried to add some wine in (I feel like this is just one of those recipes that needs it), but I was out of white wine! How is that possible? Lessons to learn…

Finally, the last meal I made was Greek Chicken & Potatoes, and it was my favorite of the three. There is something I like about a side of potatoes. This was the first time I made fingerling potatoes, which IMG_0857were delicious. I was surprised I liked this recipe because it included canned artichoke hearts. I love steamed or boiled artichokes, but I’m not a big fan of them when they are canned. Too salty or something for me. This dish had a great blend of flavors; the arugula is what brought it all together. I wish I could make this again, but the creamy sun-dried tomato sauce was pre-made. It says it included feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, but I’m not sure what I means. A nice step that can by used when cooking in the future is the marinate for the chicken. I let it sit for 2 hours, but it says it could marinate for 5 minutes. It was only lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, cilantro, and marjoram. How easy and good. Then it gets cooked on the pan. If you have this option in Green Chef – I highly recommend it.

OVERALL RECOMMENDATION

I can appreciate organic, but I am not an organic eater and cannot appreciate an increased cost for eating in this manner. This box is about $20/week more expensive than other boxes. I didn’t see a quality different in the produce or protein, so I wouldn’t buy this box again. The food was delicious, but in the competitive world of subscription boxes, this doesn’t have enough compelling features to sway me into the Green Chef camp.

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