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.
When you open your box it has the recipe cards on top and special packing to keep it insulated. This is more environmentally friendly than styrofoam and is just shredded cotton clothing wrapped in plastic. You can slit the plastic and throw the contents in the trash or compost and then recycle the plastic. For some reason mine was already slit but now I know what the packing looks like!
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. Meals for your box are suggested based on your preferences, but you can change the selections any time. 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).
I picked an extra and decided to go with the seasonal fruit. The box was smushed but the fruit was fine.
DEAL: Get $30 of free food when you sign up – just use this link to get the deal!
I received two huge Gala apples, two red pears, and an orange.
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 kitchens such as cookware and salt and pepper. You have to have a basic kitchen set-up (stove/oven, cookware, etc.), but a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil and salt and pepper are usually the only ingredients you must 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 recipe cards spelled out exactly what I would find in my box.
I glanced at the instructions to see what I would need to do – you can see all of this info online ahead of time too, so if it’s too hot to bake or you don’t feel like cooking at all you can choose accordingly. I found at least two no-cook meals available for each week.
The back of the card has the 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 prep is done in a sensible order – items with long lead times are started first. The recipe cards have pre-punched holes so you can store them in a recipe binder, so you can make it yourself if you want, or just wait until it’s offered again if you loved it.
The ingredients are separated by meal into individual bags, with the meat packed separately, and all of it was packed into a big, padded box with several ice packs. The bags used to bundle the food are recyclable but they also have a handy resealable zip closure. They stand up in the fridge, keeping everything together, and the clear side and labeling make it easy to identify which meal is which. You can reuse the ice packs for lunches or coolers, or first aid!
With two regular meals for two people and a seasonal fruit basket, the price of the box shown was $49.70.
Thank goodness the meat is packed separately because there was “juice” all over the bag, but it didn’t leak outside of the bag.
Acapulco Steak Quesadillas with Cheddar Jack-Cheese and Pico De Gallo – (40 minutes, Intermediate, 864 calories per serving) I’m giving my oven the summer off so I went with meals that can be cooked on the stove top or on a grill. Quesadillas are pretty family-friendly.
I needed a non-stick skillet, olive oil, and a few other basic ingredients and cookware.
I started by reading the instructions, which told me I would need to slice half of the onion and dice the rest. I prepped the rest of the ingredients.
I made fresh pico de gallo and since I love it so much I went ahead and added a tomato that I had on hand to stretch it out.
The steak was already cut into strips, I just had to saute it for a couple minutes and then set it aside, to finish cooking in a couple minutes.
I sauteed the sliced onion and some of the diced jalapeno in olive oil.
I added the seasoning packet and some water and let the meat finish cooking.
To save time I decided to grill all the quesadillas at the same time, rather than just a couple at a time in the skillet.
I added some extra cheddar and jack cheeses to make mine extra cheesy.
Flip over and cook until the other side is as crispy as you like it.
There were 6 tortillas and each one was cut into halves, making 12 triangles of quesadillas. This is a picture of a full serving (6 triangles) but I only ended up eating 4 triangles. In other words, I served 3 people with this recipe meant for two. We were all full after eating, but you could also serve it with rice and beans or a salad on the side. I had an avocado hanging around so I served that too. We all agreed that this was delicious and I would certainly order it again.
Next up is Jalapeno Popper Pork Chop with Mojito-Lime Corn-on-the-Cob (35-45 minutes, Easy, 568 calories per serving). Mexican-inspired food is some of my most favorite food out there!
One of the zukes had a weird dent and the jalapeno was busted. I cut out that part of the squash and just ignored the cut on the pepper, it was obvious that my box was jumbled around during shipping.
I prepped everything as directed.
Mixed up the sauces. They even sent butter for the vegetable topping.
Brushed the veggies with oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
Grilled the pork chops. This took a lot longer than expected. I don’t usually cook pork chops (except for a crock pot recipe) and the thermometer kept saying they weren’t done. I ended up microwaving them just to be sure.
Then I grilled the veggies and placed everything on the plate. I topped with the sauce (which I added extra sour cream to earlier) and then brushed the butter sauce over the top. The pork chops were ok and the corn and zucchini were very good. I liked the flavors but will most likely skip pork chops in the future, I’m just not happy with how they turn out for me, no matter which recipe I follow.
I have been so happy with my Home Chef boxes, they always turn out well and the flavors are delicious. The favorite meal this month was hands down the quesadillas. They turned out better than I thought they would and I hope they show up on the menu again!
Have you tried Home Chef? What did you think of your meals?