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 large, 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).
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.
DEAL: Get $30 of free food when you sign up – just use this link to get the deal!
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.
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All of the provided ingredients for our three recipes this week. Each recipe was packed separately, and neatly, in its own bag, except for the meat (which is shipped in a separate section of the box, surrounded by ice packs). Unless otherwise noted, each of the pictures of prepared food below shows one of two servings made by each recipe.
Steak Moutarde With Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges And Mustard Cream. 30-40 minutes, easy, 618 calories per serving.
This dish has a very classic steakhouse feel, but with some simple twists on the flavor profile. The steak and sauce were flavored with a potent, whole grain mustard, and the sauce had a surplus of butter and some bright parsley in place of tarragon or thyme. It was super-rich and went well with both the tender steak and the garlicky sweet potato. Incredibly easy dish, with the only challenge being slicing the sweet potato. The steak cooks primarily in the oven, making it incredibly tender – probably the best textured meal kit steak we’ve had in a while.
Pork Shumai Meatballs With Ponzu Dipping Sauce, Snap Peas, And Rice. 25-35 minutes, easy, 622 calories per serving.
Easily prepared, this dish made four giant meatballs per person, with elegantly simple rice and snap pea sides and a ponzu dipping sauce. There was very little chopping needed, as all the seasoning apart from garlic and green onion was in sauce form or pre-crushed. This meal had a light feel to it, but it packed big flavor and was very satisfying.
Italian Sausage Parma Rosa With Herbed Ricotta And Tomato Sauce. 25-35 minutes, easy, 776 calories per serving.
Brandy totally loved this dish, and I thought it was pretty perfect, too. Pictured is the entire, two-portion recipe – it fits on one giant plate, but it is still a lot of food. The sausage, veggies, and herbs made this dish very flavorful, and a big dollop of herbed ricotta added a creaminess that made this a hit. Lots of textural interest, big flavor, and a nice, thick pasta.
This week’s meals were one of the best trios we’ve had in a long time. It had hearty, flavorful meats and very complementary carbs. I loved that each dish was very different from the others – three great meals with no boredom or repetition.
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 they usually 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?