Despite the warm weather, we loaded this week’s Home Chef selections with comfort food. 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 water-dissolvable cooler padding, atop ice packs. The bottom padding piece usually gets a little squidgy from condensation, but our food has always arrived very cold.
The food is segregated in bags, and 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 rather than expecting you to have eggs on hand — 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 out without fishing around.
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 $69.60. The following pics of prepared food show one of two servings, unless otherwise noted.
Italian Sausage & Peppers Rigatoni With Parmesan Garlic Bread. 30-40 minutes, medium, 939 calories per serving.
This dish was like a deconstructed Italian sausage sub with some ziti thrown in for good measure! This recipe made tons of food. The picture above shows only one of the two servings, and we actually split it between the two of us. A simple but very satisfying meal, this dish gave us our pasta fix, and it had lots of sausage and veggies mixed in. We had leftovers for lunch the next day, but that didn’t even finish off the heap of food! This was super simple to put together, the only minor hitch being the pre-browning of the sausages, which requires the oft messy task of slicing hot, but only partially cooked sausages. Still, this is a tasty and hearty dish that comes together quickly and can feed a crowd if so desired.
Crispy Italian Chicken And Creamy Parmesan Rice With Roasted Asparagus. 25-35 minutes, easy, 983 calories per serving.
When I looked at the recipe card for this meal, I assumed that the chicken was the main entree and the rice was a side. After preparing it, however, it became clear by portion size that the cheesy rice was actually the entree, as it outsized the chicken (which wasn’t itself particularly skimpy). The rice was very delicious and super rich, as it was bathed in a cream sauce thickened with cheese. The chicken had a beautifully crisp coating that complemented the tender gooeyness of the rice. Each was very easy to make, as the breading was simply spooned onto the chicken, requiring no wash or dipping (yay!), and the cheesy rice started with freshly cooked rice rather than needing constant attention a la risotto. A nice helping of roasted young asparagus finished the plate.
Flat Iron Steak With Bleu Cheese Butter With Green Beans And Roasted Fingerling Potatoes. 40-50 minutes, easy, 650 calories per serving.
This steak was very welcome at our table. No dish is quite as satisfying as meat and potatoes. The pan-fried steak was moderately tender, but it was a flavor powerhouse, particularly when smothered with blue cheese and scallion butter. The fried green bean and tomato medley was a good veggie accompaniment, as it added a touch of acidity and green without going full broccoli. The standout component, however, was the rosemary roasted fingerlings — they were creamy and tender, with a pleasantly browned face. This dish was shamefully simple to prepare, yet it would command premium dollar at a restaurant.
Summertime Fruit Basket With Grapefruit, Mango, And Fuji Apples. Nice to see a mango thrown in the fruit basket to mix things up. As always, the fruit was impressively perfect — HC does an incredible job of delivering fruit just as it approaches optimal ripeness, so it is delicious whether eaten upon arrival or a full week later. The apples were particularly nice — we served them with a cheese plate, and our guests surmised they were honeycrisp, as they were so sweet and firm.
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 it is the undisputed portion king of the meal kit subscriptions! They have also been adding some more exotic and adventurous offerings to the mix, with Indian, Southeast Asian, and African dishes appearing as choices. I think they did a great job with these offerings, providing both quality and novelty. In addition to great dinner options, they also offer breakfast selections and a fruit basket (we got the latter this time around).
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