I don’t follow directions very well… but I suppose I have at least one excuse – I have to do most of my cooking in a friggin’ bathroom in the basement! When the directions say, heat the oven to 350F, I have to get a little creative… Thankfully I have a BBQ and I’ve figured out how to cook better with indirect heat.
I saw an offer for Chef’s Plate on Facebook – save $20 on your first order. Since I’m a little busy these days (and tired), I don’t really want to think a lot about what to cook for dinner. I’ve been keeping things simple and haven’t been very creative of late. So, this seemed like a great time to try Chef’s Plate. Very similar to The Jolly Table, which I tried and reviewed here, Chef’s Plate is a food delivery service where all the ingredients are provided, but you still have to do all the prep and cooking.
When you sign up for your first delivery, they set you up for an ‘auto-ship’ and in future weeks you have to either select the meals you want, or opt out for the week… you don’t want to forget to opt out for a week or they’ll send you food based on your preferences and you’ll get it whether you want it or not! The price of my first order, with the $20 promotion, was very reasonable. For $43.80, all in, I received 3 meals for 2 people ($7.30 pp per meal), and they were good-sized portions for sure. I didn’t need to supplement with anything to fill us up. At regular price, 3 meals for 2 people is $65.70 ($10.95 pp per meal), which is still fairly reasonable.
I’m not sure where the food comes from, but I got an email notifying me that my order had been shipped on Monday, although it was delivered on Tuesday by FedEx. The food is well packaged, well labeled, and delivered in an insulated cardboard box with ice packs. They don’t reuse the materials (since it’s shipped by FedEx), but they do provide directions on how to recycle all the packaging.
The Beef Japchae Stir-Fry was easy to make, with good flavours. The sweet potato noodles were actually really good, but something I’d never had before. Since I have no stove and was using the electric frying pan to cook the stir-fry, I had to cook the noodles in the microwave. Unfortunately I overcooked the beef strips because Jay was on the phone with our alarm company, complaining about the fact that not once, but twice, their technicians failed to show up to their scheduled (3-hour) window appointments, leaving Jay waiting around for no reason… with not even a phone call! Whatever happened to customer service and respect, eh? So anyways, the stir-fry with sweet potato noodles, shiitake mushrooms and broccoli was good, and it made a lot for 2 people. Jay didn’t eat lunch that day so he was starving and ate two large servings, and I even had seconds as well.
The Pork Chops with Maple Thyme Butter were a nice fresh treat. I stopped at Lina’s Italian Market on the way home from work where I purchased fresh roasted garlic cloves. I used these to create homemade garlic bread with the very large loaf of bread that came with the dish, instead of just slicing the bread into rounds. I cooked the garlic bread on the BBQ (well, Jay did, as I was downstairs busy cooking in the bathroom)… and everything else was easily cooked in the electric frying pan. I have to tell you, I’m not a fan of pork chops with bones, nor skinny pork chops… But, the dish was, again, very filling and very tasty. I think Jay was a bit surprised by the cherries in the corn but he quite enjoyed it. With two full corn cobs and a bunch of other ‘stuff’, the corn, red cherry and goat cheese salad turned out to be a hearty, filling side. Of course, the huge loaf of bread was filling as well. See the main photo at the top of the page for this dish.
The Jerk Chicken was quite enjoyable. With three drumsticks per person, it was a fair serving of chicken. There was enough rice & beans and pineapple salsa that we couldn’t finish it all. Jay quite liked the whole menu – the jerk chicken was just spicy enough, and the pineapple salsa was fresh and light and it cut through the heat of the jerk seasoning. I’ve spent some time in Belize, where rice & beans and spicy seasonings were a part of every dinner, and this very much reminded me of that. I was pretty impressed to have something different – flavours I don’t normally cook, and yet something that was pretty easy to make (and I could make it in an electric frying pan and rice cooker!).
All in all, I’m impressed with the portions that Chef’s Plate offers for 2 people. The portions were much larger than those that we received from the Jolly Table. Ordering through the website was quick and easy. My only gripe really is that on the website there’s no real description of what sides comes with the dish; I really didn’t know if I was going to have to supplement with a side salad or extra veggies… but given my first three meals, I’m going to have faith that there will always be enough for us without supplementing. If we weren’t such pigs (we do eat way too much!) we would have leftovers for sure. I think there’s enough food for a family of 3 (two adults and a kid) if the adults were better at portion control than we are.
The recipe cards that come with the meals are a think cardstock, full color, and very descriptive with photos of each step. The front of the recipe card gives a summary of the meal, along with cooking tips and the difficulty, prep time and calories per serving. I think the company could save money by printing on lesser quality paper (The Jolly Table emailed you the recipes to save on costs), but it does give a nice, professional look, and the cardstock holds up to splashes and wet fingers during meal preparation.
I’ll continue to use Chef’s Plate on and off… it’s a great idea during our renovations as I don’t really have to think about what to shop for and cook, and it’s healthy and fresh food (I just can’t choose anything that needs to be boiled on the stove, like pasta, until my stove is put back in place). I also think the prices are fairly reasonable – $10.95 per person for dinner is definitely doable, and much cheaper than eating out! Each meal this week took about half an hour to prep, which I think is about normal for a healthy meal with fresh veggies. When I finally get to do this prep in my new kitchen it will be so much more enjoyable!
If you’d like to give Chef’s Plate a shot, please use my referral link here so you can get THREE FREE Plates on your first delivery and I will get two free!