This week’s Home Chef was a blend of new, exotic recipes and old favorites. 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 like that they now put all the meat in giant bag to protect against leakage and to let you get the meat without touching it or the ice packs.
The recipe cards display prep time, difficulty, a “best cooked by” time frame, and even a spice level. There is also a list of stuff you may need from your own kitchen, like cookware and salt and pepper.
The back of the card has the actual recipe guidance, complete with pictures and boldfacing of ingredients. The recipes are accompanied by pro-tips and explanations of cooking terminology and techniques. The tips appear in a sidebar so they don’t clutter the actual recipe.
The order of preparation abandons strict adherence to mis-en-place, instead instructing you 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 $99.50. The following pics of prepared food show one or two servings, unless otherwise noted.
Grains Of Paradise-Crusted Sirloin With Mashed Sweet Potato. 25-35 minutes, easy, 924 calories per serving.
This spin on steak au poivre uses grains of paradise to offer a warmer, slighty floral bite in place of the pepper. The sauce, which included the pan drippings, was similarly flavored. This dish was easy to make and had very satisfying textures and flavor. The simply-prepared sweet potato was particularly delightful when paired with the rich sauce. The steak was very good, and the grains of paradise made for a very intriguing sounding dish, even if they taste generally like mild peppercorns. This dish was really good as leftovers, with all the flavors jumbled together.
Berbere Chicken Thighs With Apricot-Almond Couscous And Green Beans. 25-35 minutes, intermediate, 506 calories per serving.
We loved the flavor of this seasoning. The berbere packed a nice kick of heat, but it also had a bit of sweetness solely due to the melding of the cinnamon with the rendered fat from chicken thighs. Surprisingly, the apricots were not very sweet at all, but they lent a nice bit of texture to the couscous, along with the plentiful shards of blanched almonds. The green beans were also deliciously coated in the berbere. I don’t know that this dish earned an intermediate rating, as the couscous is actual about as difficult to make as instant oatmeal. Simple and delicious, the richness of the chicken thigh paired with the wonderfully flavorful berbere created a very craveable dish.
Butter Chicken With Chicken Thighs, Basmati Rice, Fresh Jalapeño, And Curried Tomato Sauce. 25-35 minutes, easy, 892 calories per serving.
This was probably my favorite dish of the bunch on straight up flavor, though it lacked the visual appeal of the berbere or steak. Again, chicken thighs were used to gain instant richness and flavor. A bed of basmati rice created a nice palette upon which the flavorful sauce played. Creamy and very rich, the sauce was a beautiful blend of tomato, yogurt, and curry that took on a character separate and unique from any of the parts. This dish was a bit like a French sauce heavily infused with curry spices, a truly indulgent treat. Very easy preparation, too.
Memorial Day Special “Juicy Lucy” Stuffed Beef Burger With American Cheese And Seasoned Salt Fries. 35-45 minutes, intermediate, 900 calories per serving.
The Juicy Lucy is a great go-to burger when you want something indulgent, yet very easy to make. The cheddar filling becomes a pocket of deliciousness, as it comprises both melted cheese and trapped juices from the burger itself. Paired with seasoned-salt russet steak fries, this was a truly satisfying classic. A brioche bun and traditional tomato, onion, and pickle accompaniment (plus a pinch of arugula), made for a simply dressed, elegant — but slightly messy — burger.
Classic Veggie Lasagna With Zucchini, Mushrooms, And Garlic Bread. 45-55 minutes, intermediate, 671 calories per serving.
This is actually a repeat of a previous recipe that we loved and ordered again (on purpose!). Read the review here. As this dish makes a lot of food, I prepared it with the whole family in mind. This time around, I chopped the veggies into a very fine dice before cooking — the kids didn’t notice them and loved the dish!
Home Chef tends to be the most mainstream of the meal kit subscriptions, featuring dishes that are familiar and comforting. Home Chef has always had a huge selection of meal options to choose from each week, and the portions are very generous! Its nice to see them offer more exotic flavor combinations and incorporate Indian and African inspired dishes to the menu. I think they did a great job with these offerings, providing both quality and novelty. They offer breakfast selections, and there is even an option to get a fruit basket (BTW, we’ve gotten the fruit several 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