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 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 option a week that’s a premium meal and costs a little more, though).
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.
They’ve recently upgraded the bags used to bundle the meals! The new bags are, of course, recyclable, but they also have a handy resealable zip closure. I find this really useful, as the old bags would not always survive initial opening intact. These new bags stand up in the fridge, keeping everything together, and the clear side and labeling makes it easy to identify which meal is which.
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.
We loved this take on cornbread pie. The filling is a simple mix of seasoned chicken, onions, and BBQ sauce. The topping is a jalapeño and cheddar infused cornbread. The sauce thickened quite bit, making the filling much thicker than we’ve seen in other shepherd’s pie or dumpling style recipes. Prepared sauces are usually too sweet for us, but between the onions, chicken, and cornbread, there was enough to balance out the flavors nicely. A truly enjoyable meal with fairly quick prep and a bit of baking time involved – it was a good meal to finish in the oven while preparing other stuff for the kids.
An elegant, café style dish with bold flavor. The steak is finished with a slathering of mustard and parsley, and the sweet potato steak fries are tossed in a heap of fresh garlic just prior to baking. Both the meat and fries were started on the stovetop and finished in the oven, giving them both a browned exterior and perfectly cooked middle, with the only trick being timing the steak properly relative to the longer-cooking potatoes. The sauce is a horseradish cream sauce — incredibly rich! This was a simple dish to prepare, and I loved the way the oven finish allowed me to make the sauce and have everything ready at the same time.
We loved all three meals this week. The Korean noodles and the cornbread were fantastic, innovative dishes with huge flavor while retaining a homestyle feel. The steak cooked perfectly and, when paired with the homemade horseradish cream sauce, more than held its own with the other dishes. As always, they’ve managed to match great flavors with good sized portions – Home Chef is typically the heartiest of the meal kit subscriptions we regularly review, both in portion size and composition, though they’ve toned done the extreme size of the portions for most dishes. 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?