Tag Archives: plated

Trying Something Gnudi


Gnudi (nyOO-dee) is a bit like gnocchi, only made with ricotta instead of potato. It’s like a “nude” piece of ravioli – just the filling. I learned about gnudi through Plated. With two free plates left, I put an order in to give it a try. Get your two free plates here.


Ricotta Gnudi with Asparagus, Peas & Mint
940 calories (30 – 40 minutes)

The gnudi was pretty easy to make, but I had trouble getting it to a non-sticky consistency. I had to add a little more of my own flour. They definitely reminded me of gnocchi!

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gnudi in the pan!

Other than that, making these from scratch was pretty darn easy. I just wished I could get a better sear on the little dumplings, like I like my gnocchi. Although, maybe potato just sears better than ricotta?

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Ricotta Gnudi with Asparagus, Peas & Mint

I liked the gnudi, but it just seemed like so. much. food. There was also a lot of green going on in this dish!

What we learned after our second Plated dish with mint: Keep the mint out of our food. I’d rather save it for a good mojito. I think basil would have done this dish better.


Thai Basil Beef Bowl with Quinoa Stir-Fry
710 calories (30 – 40 minutes)

I’d only made quinoa once before, but was all messed up with the rinsing. I had little pieces of quinoa everywhere. I decided to give it another go. And this quinoa didn’t require me to do any rinsing prior to cooking, so I thought that would make it easier. I still had quinoa everywhere.

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And that was just the pot after my half-attempt to scrape everything out of it. I found much more on the stove and in crevices between the stove and counter. Why doesn’t anyone talk about this when they blog about all of their wonderful quinoa dishes? Is it just me?

I did like the idea, though, of using quinoa instead of rice as part of the stir-fry:

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And the finished product with the marinated steak was beautiful:

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Thai Basil Beef Bowl with Quinoa Stir-Fry

Again, this was a ton of food. I loved the smell of the Thai basil when I was chopping it. But because there was so much food, it got lost in the shuffle. I actually forgot about it until I tasted it just once in the dish. Both of us bit on something hard and sandy. Was that the quinoa, perhaps because it was not rinsed?

The beef marinade was excellent and an easy one. To give the dish more flavor after tasting it, I squirted it with a healthy dose of extra sriracha and stirred it right in.

And now for next week:







I can’t believe we are on week 7 of the couch to 5k. I have to admit that week 6 was pretty rough for me.

  • Monday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 7, Day 1
  • Tuesday – Yoga
  • Wednesday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 7, Day 2
  • Thursday – REST
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 7, Day 3
  • Sunday – Recumbent Bike/Yoga

Do you cook with quinoa?

Got any tips for easy cooking or less mess?

Favorite quinoa recipes?




Scaling Back Generous Portion Sizes


It’s supposed to be 60-degree weather this week here in Minnesota. YAY! It’ll make for great outdoor running weather. And with that I want to send my well wishes to all of the Boston Marathoners today. I know it’s going to be an emotional run. Cheers to all of you participating!


Last week, I made this Beer and Beef Risotto. It was only my second time making risotto; but I think it turned out pretty well. It seemed to consist of more beef than risotto. But I think I prefer that.

Beef & Beer Risotto

Beef & Beer Risotto

The only changes I made were that I used an amber beer instead of a wheat, beef broth instead of chicken {you know, that whole fins and feathers thing}, two cups of baby portabellos instead of one and three cups of chopped spinach instead of four. Oh, and I added a sprinkling of shredded parm on top because, I mean, who doesn’t like that? I think the beef broth may have given it some added depth. It made four servings clocking in at about 610 calories each. The portion sizes were generous. It could definitely serve six.

When portion sizes are generous, break ’em up into more portions.

Speaking of generous portion sizes, we tried our second round of Plated this past week because we had two free plates coming. Get your two free plates here. For my full review of Plated, click here.

The Plates
Fontina Polenta with Roasted Spring Vegetables
770 calories (30-40 minutes)

I was really surprised when my husband agreed to a meatless meal. When he gave the approval, I jumped on it! We had our first polenta in Italy and fell in love with it. This was my first attempt at making it.

Before making this dish, while I was amidst my Couch to 5k run that night, I wondered what would happen if a Plated customer was missing an ingredient. I mean, because warehouses make mistakes all the time, right? We’ve all had missing items from online orders. Missing an ingredient could make or break a dish! And what if you had no backup plan?

After I began chopping and separating the veggies, I noticed that there were no carrots for me to chop. How could this be that I the night I thought about it, I’d be missing an ingredient?!

I finally accepted that our roasted vegetables would be sans carrots; but it was not a make or break ingredient. So I began unwrapping the other items. DOH! The carrots were in the same bag as the asparagus, just hiding on me. So it ended up that we weren’t missing any ingredients. In fact, we were plus one shallot!

My trouble making this dish was that my polenta wasn’t turning smooth and creamy, like the recipe card stated. Instead, it was a sticky, massive clump. I am wondering if I should have measured the polenta. Maybe I shouldn’t have made the assumption that what was in the bag was what I needed. My solution was to add more water throughout.

I should have used a bigger dish for this massive amount of polenta and roasted vegetables. How could this serve just two people?!photo 4

I don’t know if adding more water to the polenta to smooth it out increased the size/amount of polenta that was yielded; but even when I put it on the plate, it looked like so much food! I even left some polenta in the dish and just scraped out all of the roasted veggies.

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Rob thought the polenta tasted more like grits. The flavor was fine, but neither of us ate all of it. It was just too much. But we did gobble up the veggies. If there is any one thing we’ve learned from Plated, it’s that we do love roasted veggies! This blend of carrots, peapods, cremini mushrooms, grape tomatoes, green onions and asparagus was the perfect mix for me, tossed in a vinaigrette and roasted for 15 minutes on 450. We will be having those again!

This dish could have made three or four servings, with the amount of polenta I made.


Lemongrass Pork with Vermicelli Noodles
800 calories (20 – 30 minutes)

When we received the ingredients for this dish, I couldn’t believe the amount of vermicelli that arrived for just two people. I didn’t understand. Did it shrink when cooked?  I don’t think I’ve ever made this style of rice noodle before.

But I was right, there was waaaaayyy too much vermicelli. Enough for at least four people. I dished up huge portions on our plates and still had this leftover:

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No worries. I put it into a container and plan to add some peanut sauce and some sort of protein to it this week. But it still left a lot on our plates.

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Rob was disappointed because in his mind, the sauce wasn’t really a sauce. I knew it was going to be a runnier sauce, of which he is not a fan.

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But that wasn’t the issue. It was the fact that you could barely taste the sauce because it didn’t cover the mound of vermicelli on the plate. All of that being said, the pork was so tender, juicy and just perfectly seasoned. I must say that Plated really knows how to do a pork marinade. That’s 2 for 2 for us!

So in sum, here’s what we learned this week:

  • We love roasted vegetables.
  • We love marinated pork.
  • Plated offers generous portion sizes and we should break them down into three or four portions if need be.

I wouldn’t count on getting three or four portion sizes every time you order two plates, though. Instead, think of it as a bonus and just be mindful when plating.


And now, for this week!



*Another Plated week for us! Get your first two plates free (minimum order of four plates) by clicking my referral link here! To read my Plated review, click here.


  • Monday – Another Meatless Monday! Ricotta Gnudi with Aspargus Peas and Mint from Plated.
  • Tuesday – Having some girlfriends over for dinner. I’ll be making this Greek Turkey Casserole (thanks to Racheal’s suggestion!). For dessert, I’ll be making Easy Homemade Mango Frozen Yogurt, based off this recipe.
  • Wednesday Basil Beef Bowl with Quinoa Stir-Fry from Plated.
  • Thursday – Our Anniversary! You’ll probably find us here. But it is Dining Out for Life night, so it would be probably more appropriate to dine at a restaurant that supports the cause.
  • Friday – TBD
  • Saturday – TBD
  • Sunday – TBD




I wanted to share a Yoga Downloads deal I got the other day: Just $18. Yes, you can find lots of free yoga apps online. I just need a real routine and to start from the beginning to go back to where I was pre-back surgery. Plus there is a lotincluded. I think it’s going to be #worthit. Trying it out this week!

  • Monday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 6, Day 1
  • Tuesday –Recumbent Bike/Yoga
  • Wednesday –RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 6, Day 2
  • Thursday –REST
  • Friday –REST
  • Saturday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 6, Day 3
  • Sunday – Recumbent Bike/Yoga

Plated – Have You Tried it?


Last week, I had the pleasure of trying Plated for half-off.

Plated is a service that delivers all of the necessary fresh, ingredients {except for a basic few that you should already have on hand} to your door along with the recipes. I’ve been watching it for months now, but wanted to make sure there were two meals that I could make for my husband before testing it out. I also got 50% off my first two dishes for two people. You can, too, by clicking here.

First, you pick your delivery date.

For my zip code, the choices are Wednesday and Saturday. You do not have to be home to receive the items. I chose Saturday because I’m more likely to cook Monday, Tuesday than I am on Thursday or Friday! All items are shipped same day or next day air.

Then you pick your Plates.

There are about seven choices each week and you can pick as many as you want {with a minimum of four, which can mean two dishes each for two people or one dish each for four people.} There are Land, Sea & Veggie options every week. Dishes are also marked with the following so that you can pick meals according to your dietary restrictions or preferences:

  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Low Calorie
  • Low Cholesterol
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Spicy

They also indicate what minimal ingredients you’ll need at home for each dish. They are basic pantry ingredients or things they can’t ship like olive oil, salt and pepper or eggs. Each dish is also marked with the difficulty of prepartion as well as how long you should expect to make it. {However, I don’t think it’s ever taken me as long as they estimate. And I’m not exactly a swift chef in the kitchen!}


A la Carte cost is $15 for every two plates. You must order at least two plates of each dish. The minimum order is four plates total. Thus, minimum cost for those four plates is $60. This includes shipping.

Membership cost is $12 for every two plates, with the same minimum requirements per order. Your monthly membership cost is $10. If you plan to use Plated often, you can save some money with the membership option.

To test it out, you can get your first two plates free by clicking on my referral link here. At the time of this writing, this reduces your minimum four-plate order from $60 to $30.

Ingredient Arrival at My Doorstep

The box was bigger than I had anticipated:

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But everything was packed well and insulated:

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I took all of the ingredients out to examine them. Included are the recipe cards for each dish and a kool-it pack to keep the ingredients fresh. The ingredients are clearly marked and separated according to dish.

The Plates

Dijon Pork Tenderloin with Broccolini & Smashed Potatoes
560 calories (30 – 40 min)

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time or know me at all, you know that I detest broccoli. Just the smell of it cooking makes me gag. But I chose this dish because it was pork, which Rob can have, and because he likes broccoli and I never make it for him. Also, I adore potatoes. But Rob only likes them in chip or fry form. In my mind, this was a compromise.

The first thing I really loved about Plated is that all of the ingredients are pre-measured, so you only receive what you need for the dish. I often buy pork tenderloins that make several servings. Rob doesn’t really care for leftovers. So either some gets wasted or I end up eating dried up pork for lunch three days in a row.

The marinade for the pork was recommended for 10 minutes to 2 hours. When I got home from work, I put the marinade ingredients {fresh ingredients – not a mix!} in a bag and added the pork. I put on my workout clothes and hopped on the treadmill to complete my session of the Couch to 5k. After a little stretching and a shower, my marinated pork was ready!

The marinade made the pork look really dark, almost like beef!

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I was thinking broccolini was just little broccoli or something. But it is actually a hybrid of Chinese kale and broccoli.

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According to my Plated recipe card, “Its long slender stalks and small florets cook quickly, and have a delicious sweet flavor.”  The broccolini did cook quickly. All I had to do is toss it with a bit of olive oil, garlic (provided) and salt and pepper and toss it in a 425-degree oven for ten minutes. But as for the flavor, I’d be the judge of that.

photo 4(4)


As for the smashed potatoes, I used garlic-infused olive oil to give them a bit more flavor. Rob ate some of them, but not all. That was success enough for me. {And there were a lot of potatoes.} We both raved over the broccolini. Okay, so it’s not broccoli, but it’s a start! If I can find it in the supermarket, I’ll be making it again soon.

What I also loved, were the directions for this meal. With all of the components, the timing of getting everything done to bring the dish together at the same time was spot on!

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I’d make this dish again in a heartbeat. And now I know not only the recipe, but how easy it is to throw together and that we both love it. Rob couldn’t stop raving about how tender and perfectly seasoned the pork was and we both were blown away by the simple broccolini.


Beef Bibimbap
730 calories (40-50 min)

I didn’t really know much about this dish except for the fact that it was beef and that the ingredients were all those that Rob could have.

According to my Plated recipe card, “Bibimbap, or ‘mixed rice’ in Korean, is a traditional dish usually meant to incorporate leftovers. Rice is served in a hot pot to create a crust, and topped with individually prepared meats and/or vegetables.”

For that reason, there were a lot of little bits of different ingredients for this dish!

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My final dishes didn’t look nearly as good as the the photo on the recipe card:

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But it tasted superb. Another dish I’d make again! I did learn quite a few things before, during and after making this dish.

  • It didn’t take quite as long to make as I had anticipated, so it was done before Rob got home.
  • The cremini mushrooms were absolutely sensational. Rob isn’t a fan of spinach, but he ate them with the mushrooms!
  • I never knew Rob was allergic to cucumbers. I thought he just didn’t like them. They jumped out of his bowl and into mine.
  • I only gave Rob a few sprouts because I thought he didn’t care for those either, but apparently he loves them!
  • Rob doesn’t like a runny egg as much as I do.
  • The steak ended up a bit more rare than I like. It was chewy, too. I put mine back in the pan after I cut it up and seared each of the sides a little bit. I was trying to trust the sear on each side for two minutes and rest for five technique. I’d need to cook a little longer next time.
  • I totally forgot the sriracha! That would make this dish even better next time.

The only bad part about this dish is that…

I totally charred my favorite pan!

My mother-in-law gave me us a set of cookware some time ago and this non-stick skillet is the one I use the most. I love it because I can put it in the oven, too, like when I make my San Marzano Pasta.

I know this happened while searing the steak. The recipe did not have me adding any oil to the pan when sauteing the mushrooms with the spinach, nor when using the pan afterward to sear the steak. I found that a little strange, but trusted the process. Besides, the steak marinade had oil in it, too.

I’ve tried everything to save my pan. Soaking it, baking soda, etc… Do you have any suggestions? It may be time for a new stainless steel baby or a cast iron skillet. Any recommendations on brands and where to buy? Still, if I can save my fave, I will!

Despite that, I’d definitely make this dish again. Next time, maybe with ground beef.


Final Thoughts

We absolutely loved our experience with Plated! The cost may seem a little high. $60 for two-night’s meals for two people did to us. I could certainly get many more groceries for $60.

But consider the experience…

  • Trying Something New – I would have never made these two dishes otherwise.
  • Improving Cooking Skills – I now know that we like these dishes and I have the confidence to make them again!
  • Quality – Everything you receive is fresh. You receive ingredients like protein, vegetables, rice, soy sauce, mustard, etc. You don’t receive seasoning packets or mixes. This is not Hamburger Helper!
  • Taste – Take it from a girl who wants you to Season It Already!, the dishes we had were flavorful and better than what we expected.
  • Portion Size – They are generous. Although I think the calorie counts are a little high (600-900 per serving), you aren’t going to go hungry. You won’t get as much as ridiculously-portioned American chain restaurants serve, but you aren’t going to get a Lean Cuisine-sized meal either. It’s somewhere in between. No one will walk away feeling hungry. I thought that each meal could have probably served about three instead of two.
  • Healthy – These ingredients are fresh and for the most part, non-processed. If you are following a program where you want to eat clean or real foods, this will suit you. Weight Watchers Simply Filling followers rejoice! If you are concerned about calorie intake, you can choose a “low-calorie” dish or split the dishes into three instead of two portions.
  • No Waste – Everything is sent to you pre-measured. Normally, if you find a recipe that includes an ingredient that you don’t normally use, you will either 1) skip the recipe, 2) pay for an entire container that you’ll only use a portion of once and waste the rest, or 3) buy a perishable item that you only use a portion of and have to figure out how to use the rest before it spoils.
  • Service – Groceries are delivered to you and you do no meal planning for the meals you order. You don’t even have to think until you read the directions to cook!

We definitely are going to use Plated again. Not every week, but when we are needing a little inspiration or the dishes look incredible. I seriously think I could eat one of every dish from the April 12th delivery!

Want to try it now?

At the time of this writing, Plated just appeared on Shark Tank and are offering a four-plates-for-free for the first 500 people who sign up. If you choose to go that route, you will pay $20 shipping and you will be signed up for the Membership for $10/month.

Your other option as a new customer is to get two plates for free (minimum four plates, shipping included) by clicking here. This is my referral link and good anytime!

*I received half-off of Plated through another customer’s referral program. Plated did not provide me with any product nor compensate me in any way to write this review. All opinions are my own.


Now it’s time for…





  • MondayLazy Girl’s Chicken Enchilada Casserole (with pork)
  • Tuesday – Blue Cheese & Bacon Mac & Cheese – I saw this and pictured my husband swooning! I hope it turns out. It’s a bit high-cal (but also high protein), so I’ll be serving myself a smaller portion, probably over spinach and topped with tomatoes!
  • Wednesday Zoodles with Meat Sauce. Or noodles. Depends if I can pick up some good zukes.
  • Thursday – Leftovers
  • Friday – Poker Night
  • Saturday – TBD
  • Sunday – TBD


  • Leftovers
  • Quick & Easy Bowls I didn’t actually make these last week because I was out of tomatoes – GASP! I did make one salad though with garbanzo beans and Caesar Dressing and it was to die for! Now that everything is right with the world and tomatoes are in the house, that Roasted Tomato Dressing will get made!
    1. Base – handful of spinach or other greens
    2. Grain/Starch – I was going to add 1/3 cup of pasta, but I’m thinking if I do a cold salad, I’m going to just double the protein
    3. Protein – 1/2 can garbanzo beans, drained
    4. Veggies – 1/3 can Italian diced tomatoes, drained and 1/3 onion sauteed with 1 zucchini
    5. FatFeta – using a light cheese because my sauce is made with lots of olive oil!
    6. SauceRoasted Tomato Dressing
  • Snacks – fruit, string cheese or nuts and dark chocolate



  • Monday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 4, Day 1
  • Tuesday – Recumbent Bike/Yoga
  • Wednesday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 4, Day 2
  • Thursday – Recumbent Bike/Yoga
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 4, Day 3
  • Sunday – REST

Have you tried Plated yet? If so, what did you think?

Any suggestions to clean a charred non-stick skillet?


Wine Pairing with Korean Food


Happy Wine Wednesday!

Have you ever made Korean food before? Not me!

Once upon a time, my friend Ceci and her family had Rob and I over for a Korean feast. We loved it so much that I suggested we do it again. {Which was essentially inviting myself over. Bad friend!}

But last night, I got to cook my own Korean dish for the first time in my life thanks to Plated! I made us some Beef Bibimbap:

Sooooo not pretty, but oh so good! I’ll be doing my recap and review of Plated on Monday. Our dish was made with marinated flank steak, but here is a general recipe for Bibimbap with ground meat for you.

While eating this dish, I got to thinking…

What kind of wine does one pair with Korean cuisine?

Generally speaking, I’ve used the old standby of slightly sweeter wines with Asian food because the sweet counteracts spicy dishes. But that is like saying there is only one type of wine for European food! And we all know that’s ridiculous thinking.

So I gave it a little bit of thought based on my limited experience with Korean food and did a little research on The Interwebs, as well.

Here is what I discovered:

  • Pairing a sweeter wine with Korean food is a rookie mistake because it takes away from the flavors of the food.
  • Don’t pair with a big, heavy, bold or tannic wine because there are too many flavors already going on with sweet, spicy, umami and fermented components.
  • Korean dishes are served together, often with contrasting flavors, so the wine needs to suit every piece. Something light or palate-cleansing is preferable.

With that, here would be my top wine picks I’d like to try with Korean food:

  • Dry Riesling (I love the ones from Alsace, France!)
  • Dry Rosé
  • Pinot Noir

Nowhere did my research recommend Champagne; but knowing how the dry bubbly is a perfect palate cleanser that can stand up to many strangely textured and hard-to-pair foods, I think it’s one on which I’m willing to gamble, too.

For more info, check out these sources:

Luckily, I now know I can make something Korean, thanks to Plated, which gave me the confidence to do so. And I’ve also learned that we have a Korean Restaurant in the Twin Cities that’s located in the “south of the river” ‘burbs. That way, I don’t have to beg Ceci to invite me over again… 😉

What’s your favorite Korean food?

What wine would you pair with it?