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PLATED: How I discovered I love leeks #RedDirtMama

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OKLAHOMA CITY - So I was tired of the same old same old for dinner and out of ideas.  I have tons of cookbooks but I wander through the grocery store and buy the same things every week and cook the same things every week.  I even get cooking magazines and check out recipes online but when it comes down to game time I go back to the tried and true.  Probably because I am short on time and absolutely hate to try and read a recipe that feels like I am studying for a math exam with all the 1 tsp. and 1/2 cup etc.  But most of all I have kids that I need to get something good and healthy on the table quick each night.  

Don't get me wrong, I love to cook.  I wish I had all day to cook and explore new recipes, make mistakes start over etc.  I dream of cooking in a huge kitchen with exotic ingridents with no deadlines. Back when I had more time and less kids (these things are directly related) I loved to watch Chopped on the Food Network.

So back to reality.  In January, I made a resolution to try new recipes.  And I have to a degree worked in some new recipes.  But, by and large, casseroles are my "go to."  I know "how 1950's of you."  Hey don't judge...I am a working mom. 

But then I came across a new food service called Plated.com.  It sounded perfect.  You pick out the meal and the day you want it delivered.  You can choose meat, sea or veggie. It all comes portioned out.  No shopping.  No complicated recipes.

I have recently attempted to purchase more organic foods and antibotic-free meets, eggs and dairy.  So, I did investigate this a little with Plated.  The Plated website states: "We like knowing exactly what is going into our meals by seeing, holding, chopping and cooking the raw ingredients. Still, we're all about leaving a few things out, which is why we only use meat raised without antibiotics or added hormones." So good on that front.

However on the organic side not all of the produce is organic.  The website states: "We believe food should be really fresh and really real. For us, living well means eating healthy, high quality foods that are fresh and full of flavor. We keep our ingredients whole to ensure everything arrives in ideal condition."  

So, after all that I choose 'sea' and order that "Caper-Crusted Redfish over Spring Vegetables in Butter Fondue."  Let me tell you this sounds much fancier than King Ranch Casserole - a staple at my house. Maybe I should just start calling my meals fancier names and call it good.

So, my delivery came today.  I orginally planned to make it on Friday or Saturday night when I had more time.  But I didn't have a lot of other dinner options other than an emergency Amy's Pizza, in the deep freeze, in the basement.

So, I broke into the box and was suprised to find eveything very cold and fresh.  All the ingredients were well-labled, a big bonus for "exhausted mom brain" at six o'clock.   All the ingredients were measured out and easy to prepare.  I only had to provide salt, pepper, the cooking pots and the wine (optional but helps with sanity).

The recipe card has helpful pictures that remind me of Pioneer Woman's cookbooks (which are the only ones I actually use and love and are crusted over and dogeared) with detailed step-by-step instructions.  I need to stop right here and say I love you Pioneer Woman! My sisters and I pour over your cookbooks and everything in them is delicious!  Plus, extra bonus, a fellow Okie! But I digress...

The other thing I loved about this recipe card was that it would be very easy for the whole family to cook together by picking different tasks.

So, the meal I chose consisted of leeks.  Let me tell you, I see leeks in the produce aisle.  I eyeball them when I am attempting to branch out and I think, "I want to know about you leeks, but I don't know how to cook you." And I end up with an eggplant instead. Anyway, today I was forced to deal with the leeks. So I followed the instructions: 1. Trim and discard dark green tops. 2. Halve length wise. 3. Cut into 2-inch pieces. 4. Soak in a bowl of cold water.  5. Cook in the Plated.com delicious beurre monte sauce which is really fancy for "water and butter."

Not only were the leeks easy to cook as was the rest of the meal,  they were delicious.  So leeks you do not scare me any longer.  I will buy you at the grocery store and I will cook you! My kids loved the leeks and red fish.

That being said, I do have a few complaints about my first experience with Plated.com

My recipe called for butter and mustard.  Plated.com sent butter pats and mustard packets.  I felt like they came from a fast food restaurant.  I gave up on using the butter pats and used my own butter.  I did use the mustard packets that came in the package.  However, they were very frustrating to use six packets to spread on top of the red fish.  I felt a little ridiculous. I thought "Paula Dean is not using mustard packets". However, she probably could find use for the butter pats.

Each recipe can be ordered in two serving quantities. The ingredients are packaged in two serving sets. So for my family I ordered four servings. So, our asparagus for four came in two packages. I felt like this was additional packaging that could be reduced.  While it was a concern of mine I will still order in the future.

I could see a few features they could offer.  Some of the recipes have very adult flavors, so maybe offer a kid or family section.  The price is $12/serving.  So, for a family, you wouldn't want to do this every night but it is a fun activity for the family on a weekend.  It is also great for a stay-at-home date night.  Even if you aren't a great cook believe me you can pull this off and impress everyone.  This service would be great for a dinner party or special occasion. It is also great for people on a tight schedule that don't have time to shop...like busy moms and dads.  

I would also like to see some dietary options beyond the meat, sea, veggie to include gluten free and low carb.  

My last suggestion, based on my love of cookbooks, but my inability to actually cook using them, is that I would love to see Plated.com partner with famous chefs so that we could order their recipes.  I think Pioneer Woman would be a great starting place....

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About the Author

Marie Mentesana

Marie Mentesana is a second-generation American of Sicilian descent who started out as a...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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