Home Chef featured wonderfully meaty dishes this week. Home Chef is a meal in a box subscription – every week choose from a variety of recipes and have all the ingredients and preparation instruction delivered to your door. It’s similar in concept to other weekly meal delivery services, but it has its own unique features and perspectives.
Meal selections are suggested automatically according to a profile you fill out noting your family’s preferences, but you can change your selections any time. Home Chef offers an incredible 10 selections available for 2, 4, or 6 people, a breakfast choice, a smoothie choice, and a fruit basket selection. The portions are huge, and this is currently the least expensive and has the most choice out of any similar major subscriptions (for 2 people).
Everything arrived within well-insulated (water-dissolvable) cooler padding, atop ice packs.
Each bag has nearly everything needed to make a complete meal. You have to have a basic kitchen setup (stove/oven, cookware, etc), but a couple tablespoons of cooking oil and salt and pepper are usually the only ingredients you have to have at home. Unlike other boxes, Home Chef includes liquid egg when needed — once they even included a bottle of oil for shallow-frying.
The meat is placed in the bottom of box and packed with several ice packs. I suspect there are enough to keep it cold for a long time, even when summer arrives.
The recipe cards have just been reformatted — they still have prep time, difficulty, a “best cooked by” time frame, and even a spice level, but they’ve dropped the drink pairing and just show calories instead of full nutrition info. The picture is much bigger, and they’ve combined the lists of your pantry and kitchen equipment needs into one. The cards look a bit like the Plated cards now.
The back of the card has the actual recipe guidance, complete with pictures and boldfacing of ingredients, and an inventory of everything provided. The recipes usually have a pro-tip or explain some cooking terminology. The reformat has streamlined recipes by pulling the tips out of the actual recipe and putting them in a sidebar.
The order of preparation has been streamlined, too — instead of chopping everything first, you are instructed to start the long lead time items first. Although this makes the chopping slightly less efficient than doing it all at once, it gets your meal to the table faster, and with everything finishing cooking closer to the same time. I like it for these reasons, and because it saves me from having a completely overflowing cutting board when I start cooking. The recipe cards have pre-punched holes so you can store them in a recipe binder.
Each recipe was packed separately, and neatly, in its own bag. Unless otherwise noted, each of the pictures of prepared food below show one of two servings made by each recipe.
Classic French Green Peppercorn Pork Tenderloin With Mashed Carrots and Roasted Asparagus. 25-35 mins, intermediate, 625 calories per serving.
I loved the peppercorn sauce — the green peppercorns had a more flowery flavor and were less biting than black, so it made a lovely and intriguing sauce. The vegetables were great — they were in excellent shape when they arrived (the asparagus even came wrapped separately in a styro meat tray, so it didn’t get banged up), and the prep was simple to showcase the natural flavor. I was also thankful for the giant pork tenderloin!
Healthy Takeout Szechuan Chicken and Green Beans With Brown Rice and Water Chestnuts. 35-45 mins, easy, 625 calories per serving.
This was quite yummy, and the portion actually rivaled what you would get from takeout! The sauce was moderately spicy, and I would’ve loved a bit more of it. This dish was pretty easy to put together — trimming the green beans was the most time-consuming task — so it wasn’t a whole lot more work than takeout!
Flat-Iron Steak Stroganoff With Creamy Mushroom Pasta, 25-35 mins, easy, 920 calories per serving.
Whenever I make a mushroom dish, I cook them on the side so they can be added at the discretion of the diner. Even without the mushrooms in it, the sauce was delicious. I had cooked the mushrooms and the paprika rubbed meat in the pan, so it had collected plenty of flavor. Shallots, beef base, thyme, and sour cream were all that was needed to create a rich and creamy sauce. The meat was fabulous — both tender and flavorful. It felt like we were getting two meals in one, since either the pasta or steak would’ve sufficed as a main course without the other. This meal packed a ton of flavor for very little effort.
This set of meals was very hearty and satisfying, and it would make a great Winter menu. We are very fond of this subscription — Home Chef has a huge selection of meal options to choose from each week, and the portions are very generous! They offer breakfast selections, and there is even an option to get a fruit basket (BTW, we’ve gotten the fruit a couple of times and found it to be really nice — sweet but not overripe).
The Description: Receive fresh ingredients and visual, step-by-step recipe cards on your selected delivery day every week. Cook like a seasoned chef in your own kitchen with ease.
The Price: $60.00 every week