John & Charlene had been getting the Plated service for a while and liked it a lot; they offered me a couple of free meals to try it....you can bet I took them up on that really quick! So I got on the website and chose three meals, each serving two people. What is nice about this is that you can change preferences as often as you want, from 2 meals to 3 and back again, for instance. You can skip weeks and you can add desserts! Yes!
They don't assume you own anything more than a couple of pots and pans, a knife, some olive oil, salt and pepper and water. Everything else is in the box!
The box arrived around 8pm on Friday; we'd already eaten dinner, so I took everything out of the compost-able recyclable packaging and stuck it in the refrigerator. According to the literature, it should stay fresh in the box for up to 24 hours and once refrigerated should last for the week. That gives you a little latitude as to when you choose to cook it. Everything is grouped together by the meal you are going to cook, so it's very easy to pull out just what you want when prep time comes.
We were really busy over the weekend, so I made the first meal on Sunday night, the Seafood Spaghetti with Spicy Tomato Sauce. There were crab claws, calamari and pollock, garlic, parsley, a Thai chile, fresh spaghetti, an anchovy filet, crushed red pepper, a can of crushed tomatoes and fresh grape tomatoes. It was delicious, but not as spicy as planned because I totally wussed out! I took a very tiny bite of that Thai chile, burned my mouth and only put in a little bit. I should have trusted them and just put it in! In spite of my mishap, it was very good and maybe my favorite of the three.
One thing that surprised me about the three meals is how generous the portions are; each of our meals could have served 3 easily (even though we ate it all anyway!) and probably 4 with the addition of a salad or another side dish. Also, each of the three dishes turned out looking just like the picture, which amazed me because presentation is so not my thing. I just want to get it on the plate and to the fork!!!
I meant to take pictures during the preparation of the Seafood Spaghetti and the Chicken Marsala with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, but I got into the whole cooking thing and never picked up my camera until the end. By the time I thought to take a picture Monday night when I made the chicken, this was all that was left!
Next I made the Seared Steak with White Asparagus and Red Potatoes.
...including butter, white wine, a great big shallot and fresh thyme and chives. There were 12 ounces each New York strip steak and red potatoes and 6 ounces of those big stalks of white asparagus.
Started the potatoes boiling,
Then put the asparagus in a skillet with the butter, white wine, a couple of tablespoons of water and a little salt and pepper.
While they steamed, I thinly sliced the shallots, stripped the thyme leaves from their little stems and chopped the chives.
This is one beautiful steak! I seared it for 4 minutes in a tablespoon of olive oil, then flipped it and added the shallots and thyme.
After 10 minutes, took the lid off the asparagus skillet and let the white wine and water evaporate away, then divided it between two dinner plates.
And this is what dinner looked like plated!
All three meals were delicious; I asked Dan tonight which was his favorite and he said he thought all three were excellent and didn't really have a favorite. If I had to rank them, I think I like the chicken best, seafood next best and the steak would be third, although that asparagus was pretty awesome. But that's only if I HAD to, all three of them really rocked. I'm skipping next week's delivery because I'll be in Oklahoma City and Idaho, but have already picked two meals for the following week. Meal selections change weekly and there are a six or seven to choose from, including vegetarian options, that are considered the "standard", which is $48 for two meals + $6 shipping or $72 for three meals with free shipping. And, as I stated, each meal will serve 3 or 4, at least at our house. There are also additional meals to choose from, such as the seafood spaghetti for which there is a slight upcharge.
The good news is that the food is very high quality and you can definitely tell that there is a chef behind each dish. The problem is that this could really spoil me for "normal" cooking -- I was reading a recipe today that had about twenty ingredients in it and found myself thinking "I wonder if I can get this from Plated!" It would be a whole lot easier! So I guess I was hooked from the first bite!