We recently tried Plated.com. Don’t get me wrong; Chris cooks like a pro, but sometimes you want some variety, and sometimes you just need a meal that doesn’t require a lot of brainpower to put together. Like, in case I have to do it.

It’s a cool service. We set up 3 meals per week, and tried it for 3 weeks. They pick meals for you, but you can swap them out in advance from a library of a dozen or so options, which are constantly changing. That’s distinct from BlueApron, which we might also try, which has zillions of selections. Too much choice.

Anyway, each meal comes with most everything you need – except pantry items like oil and salt – in a bag. There’s a page-sized recipe card (with photos!), and they give you a calorie count and estimated prep time. We found pretty much everything to be spot-on, with only a couple of oddities in the recipes, and even then on very minor items (like what to do with the chopped parsley, one time). The food was super-tasty and felt very market-fresh. The price is what it is – cheaper than a restaurant, more expensive than buying food yourself. But, we can obviously keep the cards, and some of these items will be repeats in the kitchen, and we’ll shop for the ingredients ourselves. The nine meals we had were all great, all but one was very filling and satisfying, and they were all pretty easy to prepare – even with some complex recipes.

Curious if you’ve tried any of these services, how your experience was, and how the service worked for you? We’re going to try a different one next week and see how they compare. I’m not sure this would be a forever option for us, but I can see for some folks how it’d totally be the bomb.