Sherman's Food Adventures: Chef's Plate

Chef's Plate

Seeing how I usually gather up ingredients from the supermarket to make home-cooked meals, I never really considered ready-to-cook meal kits as an option.  Maybe call it stubbornness or pride, but to me, it always seemed like cheating to go that route.  However, I was ready to see for myself as Chef's Plate came calling and asked if I wanted to give it a go.  Sure, why not, I'm always up for new things and honestly, I've been so busy with life in general, trying to go shopping and then meal plan for the week has been tough.

So I was able to pick 3 different dishes for Sunday delivery to my doorstep for the week.  The thing about these meal kits is that although all of the ingredients are included, the veggies generally still need to be cut up.  That is actually a good thing as it ensures freshness and it keeps longer.  There are some items that you will need to have on hand, but they are common - like salt, pepper, oil, butter and milk.  Otherwise, the meats and seasonings are neatly portioned for the recipe (for 2 or 4 people).  Generally, each recipe took around 30 minutes to prepare.

The first dish we tried was the Harissa Salmon with Moroccan couscous.  This was possibly one of our favourite dishes where the salmon was fresh and when cooked to the recipe's specifications, came out moist and delicious with harissa really coming through.  We felt there was probably too much couscous (but I guess more is better?).  It was fluffy and was accompanied by roasted cauliflower (with curry spice), onions, tomatoes, toasted almonds, feta and lemon juice.

Although simple in appearance, the kids loved the Bavarian Pork Chops with roasted potatoes, broccoli and remoulade.  Once again, following the instructions, I coated the pork chops with mayo and then a breading blend.  Cooked it for the time suggested and it came out moist and tender with a crispy coating.  The remoulade consisting of mayo, dijon and garlic was tangy and flavourful.  Potatoes were tender and the roasted broccoli still had a bite.

The last dish we prepared was the Pork Pomodoro Pasta with pesto pull-apart bread (we omitted the pesto since the kids didn't want it). Due to the absence of pesto, the bread was a bit plain in appearance.  It was fluffy inside though.  As for the pasta, it was fully-loaded with pork and zucchini.  Really could taste the sweetness of the onion while the Italian herb spice blend was nicely balanced.  Again, the instructions were on point with al dente pasta.  One doesn't need to be super-skilled to make this dish.

So we were quite impressed with the meal kits and I had a new appreciation for the convience of it all.  Therefore, I put in a personal order for the following week consisting of 4 different dishes.  I prepared the Creamy Beef Penne with mushrooms first.  Again, the pasta was al dente and there was more than enough beef to make it hearty. With the use of cream cheese, this was indeed rich and creamy. Interestingly, the combination of beef stock reduction and soy sauce provided just enough salty meatiness for the dish.

Something a bit familiar but with a few differences, the Breaded Pork Chops with roasted broccoli and cheesy orzo was still its own dish.  Like last time, the pork chop came out perfectly juicy and tender.  The mayo mustard dill sauce was tangy with brightness.  With an ample amount of orzo underneath, this was a filling meal.  Only thing that could've been better would be more cheese for the orzo.  Despite that, it was still plenty flavourful.

Possibly one of the plainest-looking dishes was the Chicken & Creamy Mustard Pan Sauce with garlic mashed potatoes.  However, it happened to be one of the tastiest.  The deboned chicken leg was prepared in a way that it sported appealing browning while still remaining juicy.  That pan sauce took all of the reserved chicken juices and combined it with shallots, butter, dijon, chicken stock, cream and sour cream.  Rich and full of umaminess.  Only thing is that this was the least filling of all the dishes (most are more than enough food).  Maybe use 2 chicken thighs rather than the leg?

We left the Oven-Fried Fish Tacos with avocado salsa and lime slaw til the very end.  Turned out this was another favourite with flaky fish and a crunchy (and healthy) coating.  The crunchy slaw was so refreshing and tangy.  Coupled with the ripe avocado and lime mayo, this had lots of brightness.  Really enjoyed these tacos.  In fact, there wasn't a dish we disliked amongst the 7 we had.  Chef's Plate is definitely a go-to solution if we are short on time and still want a home-cooked meal.  Usually I do the cooking, but sometimes, I'm not at home due to events I have to attend.  With everything ready-to-go, Viv ended up making dinner with these kits.  We ultimately ordered another week (I didn't take pics of those) and enjoyed those dishes too.  Will definitely order more in the future when my schedule gets hectic.

*The first 3 dishes were complimentary*

The Good:
- Fresh ingredients, portioned out for you to cook at home
- Overall, good recipes
- Delivered right to your door

The Bad:
- Most recipes are more than enough food, even for big appetites, but there are some that are not as filling, just need to choose carefully depending on your family 



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