Every Plate Meal Kits – The Experiment Begins

Meal #1 – Tuscan Herbed Chicken Linguine

Let me start by saying: I would never have made this dish on my own. I would have looked at the list of ingredients I needed to acquire/gather, and the steps involved, and discarded it as “too difficult.” It looked interesting though so, here we go.

I started out by collecting the ingredients from the box. Everything is labeled just like on the list provided on the accompanying card.

For this meal, I received one Roma tomato, a bulb of garlic, one lemon, a packet of “Tuscan Heat Spice,” chicken breast strips, linguine pasta, cream cheese, and shredded parmesan. The only ingredients I had to add from my pantry were oil, butter, and salt and pepper.

One of the features I liked about this kit is that I get only as much of each ingredient as I need. For example, if I was making this recipe from my pantry, I would have to purchase containers of basil, rosemary, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne, and ground fennel to make the “Tuscan Heat Spice” or spend as much as $11.00 on Amazon for a 5 oz. packet. I received just the 1 tablespoon needed for the meal. Instead of buying a whole bar or tub of cream cheese, I received a small container of just the right amount of cream cheese (it was in a little tub similar to what you get butter in when eating in a restaurant). The chicken was already cut up. The only thing I received more of than I needed was the bulb of garlic (I only needed 3 cloves). I wonder if chickens like garlic? Oops, Google says “no!” I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

The directions were sufficiently detailed to provide confidence for preparing a new recipe. Click on the picture to see what clear instructions they were. I did have to put on my reading glasses to read the card but that’s my norm.

The only thing I didn’t do as instructed was to “slice” two cloves of garlic and “finely chop” a third one. I wasn’t having any of that when I have a perfectly good garlic press — it’s around here somewhere … {rummage through seven drawers} … ah there it is — that I’ve had since the nineties and have never used. Huh, works great.

In the end, the plated dish looked just like the picture on the front of the instruction card.

The Results: We really liked it! The proportion of pasta to chicken was perfect. The size of each serving was a little bigger than we could comfortably eat but I have no problem eating leftovers for lunch. This isn’t a meal I would have often but it’s certainly a nice change from my norm.


Meal #2 – Sweet Ponzu Beef Bowls

This is another dish I would not have tried if I found it on the internet or in a cookbook. I included it in this week’s selections because it seemed like it would provide just a little stretch for my palate.

The ingredients for this kit included ground beef, white rice, garlic, carrot, Persian cucumber, scallions, wasabi, mayonnaise, Ponzu sauce, lime, and an onion. From my kitchen came oil, butter, sugar, salt and pepper. The cucumber was totally limp so, before starting, I soaked it in water for a bit to stiffen it up.

As before, the directions provided were excellent. Slice, dice, chop, etc. Once the cucumber was sliced, I added lime juice, sugar, and salt and set it aside for a quick-pickle. I mixed the mayo, a bit of garlic, a squeeze of lime, and the wasabi paste to make an aioli. The beef was browned, the rice was cooked and when everything was assembled in the bowls, it presented a nice picture.

The Results: Meh. It was okay. It had a lot more prep work than I like to do. It was a nice thing to try but I don’t need to try it again.


Meal #3 – Diner-Style Chicken & Gravy

For this meal, I received 2 chicken breasts (a normal portion size, not the monster ones being sold in the store now), 5 small Yukon Gold potatoes, fresh peas, a lemon, chicken stock concentrate, shallot, sour cream, 3 cloves garlic (now I have only about a 1/3 of the whole bulb they originally sent leftover, so not so much that I can’t use it up). My pantry provided salt, pepper, oil, flour, and butter.

This time, I had Oscar make the meal. He learned to make basic stuff before leaving his parent’s home but not really how to put a whole meal together. I made him read all the instructions through before beginning and then unload the ingredients. Since this was the last meal in the box I didn’t realize that could be turned into a difficult thing until he brought the shallot to me and asked “what is this?” I said, “what does it say under the picture on the ingredient list?” Oh. By the time he got to hacking at the shallot and he couldn’t proceed because “it hurts my eyes” though, I knew I’d have to be more than part of the furniture and I got more involved. That’s okay, this is something he has to learn and one thing I’ve learned is that if something’s the least bit outside of one’s experience, most people won’t willingly try new things. I provided additional instruction to what was on the card like the reasons for doing certain things. I showed him how to “finely chop” the shallot properly, how to peel a clove of garlic and use the garlic press, and I generally just kept the process going.

I liked that he could learn how to make mashed potatoes a different way than he had previously learned (using sour cream instead of milk) and that they had us make gravy from scratch (something many people never learn).

Between the two of us, dinner was on the table in about half an hour. Portions were perfect. The chicken was cooked just right (something I personally always have problems with).

The Result: What a nice Sunday dinner we had! One thing I need to remember if we get this dish again is not to follow the instructions when it repeatedly has us add salt and pepper. The chicken, in particular was a bit too salty.


Overall, I have a high opinion of the Every Plate meal kit. I like that I can try new things without buying whole containers of ingredients that I might never use again. I like that the ingredients are perfectly proportioned. I love that the portion-size is appropriate.

I think meal kits can be a good option for couples. It’s certainly healthier than eating out and, considering restaurant prices, is cost effective in comparison. It would be really good for newlyweds who have not had much cooking experience and/or the opportunity to learn to make very many different dishes. It would be good for empty-nesters who, after so many years of feeding children, may have trouble breaking out of preparing family-sized meals. It certainly provides a means for trying new things and would be good for anyone who is in a rut with meal prep.

I would not recommend a meal kit plan for families with children, either in the price category or portion category (too much for younger children, not enough for teens). Checking the website to see what’s being offered though would certainly help develop a repertoire of meals to make more frugally in a family scenario.

I have not yet decided if I will continue with Every Plate after the three-week reduced price trial but this first week has certainly left a good taste in my mouth.


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