Home Chef is a meal in a box subscription – every week, you choose from a variety of recipes and have all the ingredients and preparation instructions delivered to your door. The basic concept is the same as other weekly meal delivery services, but it has its own unique features and recipes. Their meal options include include many great Asian, Indian, African, and South American inspired dishes, along with more traditional American home-style and steakhouse fare.
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).
DEAL: Get $30 of free food when you sign up – just use this link to get the deal!
The food is packed in puffy, padded cooler pads, with each meal packed in a separate bag containing nearly everything needed to make a complete meal. The box is always packed with several 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 such as cookware and salt and pepper. You have to have a basic kitchen set-up (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 – they even include liquid egg (instead of expecting you to have eggs on hand), and oil for shallow-frying when a recipe calls for more than a few tablespoons worth.
The back of the card has the actual recipe guidance, complete with pictures and bold-facing 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. I love that they include a heads-up for when ingredients are divided and used in different parts of the dish.
The prep is done is a sensible order – items with long lead times are started first, chopping is done all at once when it makes sense to do so, but they’ll also have you do some of the latter stage prep while other food is cooking, shortening the overall prep time. The recipe cards have pre-punched holes so you can store them in a recipe binder, but we usually prefer to just wait till the recipe is offered again instead of attempting to gather the ingredients to recreate it ourselves.
All of the provided ingredients for our four recipes this week. Each recipe was packed separately, and neatly, in its own bag, except for a few larger items. Unless otherwise noted, each of the pictures of prepared food below shows one of two servings made by each recipe.
Fennel Pork Meatballs With Polenta, Marinara, And Cheesy Ciabatta. 40-50 minutes, intermediate, 742 calories per serving.
This dish was a nice change from your typical spaghetti and meatballs. The pork had fantastic flavor and cooked up with a wonderful crust. The toasted fennel seeds gave them a classic Italian sausage flavor. The polenta was very creamy and made us appreciate a dish we often aren’t crazy about. Very easy to make, this meal was a fantastic combination of textures.
Seared Sirloin And Twice-Baked Potato With Cheddar And Sour Cream. 40-50 minutes, intermediate, 786 calories per serving.
This combo captured the steakhouse vibe perfectly. The steak was firm and flavorful, with the demi-glace based sauce adding even more for good measure. The twice-baked potato was the real star. I did the initial cooking in the microwave, cutting down the prep time immensely. Stuffed with Cheddar, sour cream, and green onion, this potato had all the creamy goodness you could want! Extremely easy to prep, too!
Sirloin Steak Pad Thai With Peanuts, Lime, And Cilantro. 25-35 minutes, easy, 688 calories per serving.
This hearty dish played a bit with the typical approach to pad Thai, using oyster sauce and sambal as the base for the sauce. The result was more of a Chinese style flavor profile, until the fresh ingredients were piled on. The cilantro, green onion, and peanuts (honey roasted!) evoked the Thai character we expected. Pictured is the whole recipe.
The steak was a great addition. It was partially candied, as the sauce (made with sugar) was built on top of it. Tasty, very filling, and easy to make.
Tex-Mex Turkey Taco Salad With Corn, Avocado, Pickled Onions, And Sour Cream. 25-35 minutes, easy, 620 calories per serving.
This salad was a welcome bit of green. The kit came with plenty of seasoning, so the turkey was very flavorful. The onion was pickled in lime juice, which seemed to only intensify the flavor, so a little went a long way (I actually ended up using the rest of the batch as a sandwich topper). The avocado was in great shape, as was the fresh cilantro. Though some tortilla strips would’ve made the dish perfect, it really hit the spot. The prep was simple, and the flavors were nice and bright.
Home Chef is the heartiest of the meal kit subscriptions we regularly review, both in portion size and composition. Veggies make it into the recipes, but most are not the basis of the dish – the focus is on the meat and carbs. With easy preparation and approachable flavors, it is a great subscription for fans of homestyle meals.
Have you tried Home Chef? What did you think of your meals?