It was one of our family rules to eat dinner together every night. It didn’t matter if Stacy had soccer practice at 7 and I came home late from rowing practice. We sat down together at the kitchen table for a meal, even it was a quick 15 minutes before rushing off to our various activities and obligations.
Seemingly every day my mom would ask the inevitable, “What do you guys want for dinner?” It honestly drove me crazy! I couldn’t think about dinner before school had even started and I never had any original ideas. Well, mom… I’d like to apologize for every eye roll and every “no idea” I gave you. Coming up with dinner ideas is hard!
When Garrett and I lived in the city, we ordered a lot of Seamless. It was a somewhat costly habit, but it actually was cheaper than grocery shopping in the city and having tons of food go to waste. (Maybe I’m just a bad grocery shopper, but I think getting ingredients for two people without having produce go bad is really challenging.)
Not to mention, I had the city’s tiniest “kitchen” and only one thing (a bowl or the cutting board, not both) could fit on the counter at a time. When we moved, I knew I wanted to take advantage of our big kitchen and, well, I also knew the takeout options were much more limited.
I’ve been experimenting with recipes. Some of our favorite “go-tos” so far are our slowcooker meals on Sundays, hamburgers with salad, and panko baked chicken (recipe found in this cookbook, which I love).
But I also decided to sign up for Plated. We had tried a competitor while living in NYC and thought the recipes were super boring and tasteless. I was hesitant to try a new company because I didn’t know how different it would be. After a couple of weeks of “what’s for dinner?” and grocery shopping during the after-work rush and a refrigerator of wilted lettuce, I decided to bite the bullet and at least try.
Game. Changer. Here’s why I love it:
1. It’s a great value. It seems sort of expensive when you see it initially (we do $72/week), but honestly at least for our budget it ended up being a great deal. At $12 per plate it’s much much cheaper than eating eat out or getting delivery. And I’ve found that when I grocery shop for fancy dishes I find on Pinterest or in cookbooks, the price per person is at least $15-$18. So that’s a win in my book.
2. We know what we’re eating three nights a week. We do our slowcooker once a week, and a few simpler/easy meals when we have busy schedules, and we probably eat out once a week… but on those days when we want a great dinner but aren’t sure what to make? Plated to the rescue. “Oh! We have new Plated meals on the way!” is one of my favorite things to remember!
3. No grocery shopping. I hate grocery shopping. I’m terrible at it. My mom is a pro and knows where everything is but I tend to wander and have to backtrack a million times because I forgot something two aisles over. As I’ve mentioned before, I also hate having to waste food. It drives me insane when I want to make a salad as a side and the leftover lettuce wilts, or half the tomatoes go soggy before I get the chance to use them again. The concept of Plated is great because the ingredients are pre-meassured. It’s economics at its finest. Plated can get the best prices on everything due to the scale of which they’re buying it… and we get exactly what we need. No need to buy a $7 jar of a spice you only need 1/2 teaspoon of! You get exactly that 1/2 teaspoon!
4. The meals are really delicious. Most importantly, the meals are REALLY good. We’ve only had one that we didn’t care for. Every other plate we have loved. The meals tend to be fancy and definitely not something I’d pick on my own, which makes it fun. Sometimes it feels like a downright adventure. They have tons of flavor and lots of color. Plus, you can pick from various options before delivery so you know you’re getting dishes you’ll enjoy. And every meal comes with a recipe card so you can make it on your own later if you want!
5. I’m gaining confidence in the kitchen. Along with trying new recipes, I’m learning how to do various skills I never thought I was capable of. I cooked a steak the other a day. A steak! I never thought I was even capable of doing it. For me, I’ve found that eliminating the grocery shopping and measuring and even the deciding what to eat allows me to focus on the actual preparation. It takes some of the pressure off!
Some of the favorite recipes we’ve done:
Basil Pasta with Tomato Sauce
And our absolute favorite, will be making every week I think… Chicken Paillard with Farro. (I love radishes!)
Has anyone tried Plated before? What’s your favorite go-to weekday dinner recipe?