We couldn’t help ourselves, we just had to get four meals from Home Chef 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) – $9.95 per person per selection (they typically have one meal a week that’s a premium meal).
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 recently have 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. Due to our selections, this box cost us $79.60.
Here is the whole two-serving recipe served family style. The brown rice goes well with the richness of the peanut sauce, and it makes the dish both heartier and healthier. This dish was very easy to make, as the sauce was simply poured over the other cooked ingredients. I was a little worried that the sauce might be too salty or otherwise too flavorful for the dish, and I was reluctant to pour all of it onto the food — it ended up being very well balanced, and the potent sauce was a great complement to the lean chicken, rice, and broccoli.
Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps With Water Chestnuts and Sesame Dipping Sauce. 25-35 mins, easy, 576 cal per serving.
Asian lettuce cups are one of Brandy’s favorites going way back. These were called Thai because of the Sriracha and perhaps the lettuce cup format, but the flavors — hoisin, and sesame with water chestnuts — could just as easily be best described as Chinese inspired. The slaw was pre-shredded, and the Boston lettuce practically separates itself, so the prep was pretty easy. The meat and chestnut filling was sweet even before a drizzle of the sesame dressing, so the dish took on a candied character that reminded me a bit of bakkwa. The Boston lettuce and thickened sauce combo was superb for this application, as the leaves remained intact and the dish dripped much less than my previous experiences with lettuce wraps.
This was a heaping pile of food! The whole 2-person feast is shown — I have it in my trusty paella pan, which is over a foot in diameter. I think this dish actually had more food in it than the 2-person fajita dish at any Mexican restaurant. Everything was delicious — the steak was tender and flavorful, and grilling imparted a wonderful smoky flavor to the vegetables and meat alike. The meal came with four tortillas, which was plenty for the two of us, but the amount of fillings and fixings could have filled twice that number.
My attempt at a cantina presentation — there was too much food to get a good pic of all of it at once! Prep on this took a little while, due to the number of ingredients and the multiple cooking techniques, but it was sooo good and definitely worth the effort!
Note from Brandy: I thought Tom’s picture was so darling! He grabbed the tray from my POPSUGAR Neiman Marcus box and of course you’ve seen the paella pan before – it’s from our Hamptons Lane Paella box.
Southern Pimento Grilled Cheese With Kale Salad. 25-35 mins, easy, 763 cal per serving.
We (meaning Brandy, mostly) have a soft spot for pimento cheese, so we had to get this one, despite our reluctance to choose a vegetarian cheese sandwich served with kale as a meal kit meal. The sandwich was very tasty, the blend of cheeses being well balanced to create that bechamel-like quality in the melty filling. It definitely had the classic flavor and texture we were looking for, and the bread toasted to a perfect light and crisp crust. The kale salad was better than I had expected, and it benefitted from marinating in the dressing for a bit. It was also a quick and easy fix. The above pic shows the entire recipe.
This was another great week for Home Chef, and it even had some of our favorite restaurant meals. 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).
Have you tried Home Chef? What did you think of your meals?
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