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Home Chef Subscription Box Review + Coupon – May 2016

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HomeChef-May-2016-Box

Home Chef is a subscription meal delivery service that sends a weekly box of “perfectly portioned, premium ingredients, spices & sauces, and easy, step-by-step recipes.”

Boxes contain “fresh ingredients” and “chef-designed, restaurant-quality” recipes.

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You can skip a week whenever you like.

My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

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The Subscription Box: Home Chef

The Cost: Meals start at $9.95 per serving, and delivery is free for orders over $40.

COUPON: Get $30 off your first box from Home Chef. No coupon required, just use this link.

The Products: Fresh ingredients and chef-designed recipes— everything you need to make restaurant-quality meals at home.

Ships to: 60% of the US and expanding. (You can check to see if Home Chef delivers to your zip code here.)

Check out all of our Home Chef reviews and find other meal boxes in the Meal Subscription Box Directory!

Keep Track of your subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

HomeChef-May-2016-Quiz

When you first sign up for Home Chef, you take a short quiz about your meal preferences and dietary restrictions.

Based on this quiz, the Home Chef algorithm selects meals for you each week. If you’d rather receive different meals, it’s easy to swap them.

I found the website very user-friendly, and I was thrilled with the meal options. Home Chef had 10 dinner options available, 1 breakfast, a smoothie, and a fruit basket!

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When my box shipped, I received an email with tracking information.

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Home Chef sends ingredients bundled by recipe.

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Unfortunately, one of the items I received was wilted. I reached out to Home Chef customer service about it, but I haven’t yet heard back.

Meal #1- Shrimp Pad Thai

Calories: 681 per serving

Prep Time: 25-35 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

HomeChef-May-2016-ShrimpCard

I love Pad Thai (doesn’t everyone?!), so I couldn’t resist adding it to my Home Chef box this week.

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My box arrived fairly early in the day, so I decided to make the Pad Thai for lunch.

HomeChef-May-2016-ShrimpPrep

I began by rinsing all of the produce and mincing garlic, quartering a lime, slicing green onions, and chopping peanuts. (I omitted the cilantro for this dish, since arrived in bad shape.)

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Next, I cooked the rice noodles. When they were soft, I ran them under cool water to prevent them from over cooking.

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I then seasoned and cooked the shrimp.

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When the shrimp was cooked through, I wiped out the shrimp pan and cooked carrots, garlic, and green onions.

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I then added the noodles and shrimp into the pan with chili oil, sweet chili sauce, and fish sauce and mixed everything together.

I plated the meal in two bowls, topped each one with scallions, and served each one with a lime wedge on the side.

HomeChef-May-2016-ShrimpPlated

This was a pretty tasty lunch, but it’s wasn’t Pad Thai. I like sweet chili sauce (don’t get me wrong), but that’s pretty much all I could taste in this dish. I’ve never made Pad Thai with sweet chili sauce before, and I’m used to the dish being less sweet and more complex. I don’t want to be too harsh. I mean, it tasted nice, but I was disappointed that Home Chef didn’t deliver the flavors I was expecting.

Meal #2- Chicken Quesadillas

Calories: 980 per serving

Prep Time: 25-35 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

HomeChef-May-2016-QuesadillaRecipe

The following day I made Chicken Quesadillas. For me, quesadillas are a solid fallback meal for when I don’t have anything but tortillas, cheese, and random veggies hanging out in my fridge. I’ve made them a number of different times at home, and I’m also pretty comfortable whipping up salsa and guacamole from scratch. I don’t really need a recipe for any of those things, but I wanted to pick this dish to see if Home Chef might have some new tips or twists I could incorporate into my future cooking.

HomeChef-May-2016-QuesadillaPrep

To prep for cooking, I cleaned and prepped onion, jalapeno, tomato, and limes.

HomeChef-May-2016-QuesadillaMaking

I cooked the chicken in Home Chef’s seasoning blend and then assembled the quesadillas. (Note: the ingredient list for this dish listed that I should have received 6 tortillas, but I received quite a few more than that. Bonus!)

HomeChef-May-2016-QuesadillaPress

Every time I’ve made quesadillas, I’ve cooked them in a sauté pan on the stove top; however, Home Chef had an interesting (read: bonkers) method for cooking them in the oven. They recommended assembling the quesadillas on a baking sheet, spraying the tops with baking spray, laying a piece of foil on top, and topping them with another baking sheet to help weigh them down. I mean… what? This seemed unnecessarily complicated, but I’m a good sport so I gave it a shot. I put them in the oven, set a timer for 18 minutes, and moved on to the next steps.

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While the quesadillas baked, I mixed up the pico de gallo and guacamole.

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The avocados were just a little underripe, but they were still workable.

When the oven timer went off, I plated the quesadillas alongside the pico de gallo, guacamole, and some sour cream.

HomeChef-May-2016-QuesadillaPlated

As you can see from the photo, the quesadillas cooked unevenly. Frankly, I’m a little baffled by this cooking technique. I think cooking quesadillas on the stove (and pressing them down with the back of a slotted spatula) is more effective. It’s also probably quicker… Cooking technique aside, the quesadillas were tasty. I liked the filling, and I thought Home Chef’s pico de gallo was really good.

Meal #3- One Pan Charred Vegetable Farfalle

Calories: 692 per serving

Prep Time: 25-35 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

HomeChef-May-2016-PastaCard

The last dish I selected for this week’s box was One Pan Charred Vegetable Farfalle.

HomeChef-May-2016-PastaPrep

I got started on this dish by cleaning all of the provided produce and mincing garlic, trimming beans, chopping bell pepper, and slicing carrots.

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In a hot pan, I added the beans, pepper, and carrots and allowed them to cook until they developed a char. I then added some garlic and stirred it in for about 30 seconds.

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I transferred the veggies to a plate and added uncooked pasta, vegetable base, water, and marinara to the same pan. I brought the mix to a boil and let it simmer, uncovered, for about 12 minutes.

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The water absorbed into the pasta and left a fairly thick sauce. When the pasta was al dente, I stirred in the vegetables and some Parmesan.

(I mixed the remaining Parmesan with olive oil and garlic to make garlic bread!)

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I served the pasta family-style.

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This dish was the standout winner from this box. It was homey and comforting, and I loved the addition of the charred vegetables. The garlic bread was delicious, too!

The Verdict: Home Chef offers over 10 meal options every week, and I absolutely love their large selection. In terms of value, Home Chef is very competitively priced in the meal box subscription market. Their meals start at $9.95 per serving, which is cheaper than Plated ($12 per serving) and on par with Blue Apron ($9.99 per serving) and Hello Fresh ($9.90 per serving). Unfortunately, this box from Home Chef was a little hit and miss for me. The farfalle dish was really good, but I had issues with the other two. I think the recommended cooking technique for the quesadillas was very strange, and the pad Thai simply wasn’t pad Thai. It’s also a little disappointing that I received bad produce. I’ve enjoyed previous boxes from Home Chef, so I’m hoping I just got unlucky this week.

Have you tried Home Chef?

Written by Lindsey Morse

Lindsey Morse

Lindsey is a professional baker by day and a subscription box junkie by night. She first subscribed to Birchbox in 2013 and her addiction grew when she signed up for Graze, PopSugar, and Knoshy. Her favorite part about being a subscription box addict is discovering new products- especially gourmet goodies, beauty products, and kitchen tools!
All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.

8 Comments

  1. I have never been able to achieve that restaurant quality pad thai taste at home! I’ve tried all sorts of recipes, and they invariably end up tasting like chili sauce or fish sauce…never that perfect balance like in a restaurant. It’s always disappointing. I would assume Home Chef had you cook the quesadillas in the oven because when you’re cooking for a family, you usually have to make one quesadilla at a time (unless you have extra frying pans). Sometimes we throw them on the grill to save time. So their method is a bit more complex, but I could see it working well for a larger family. Maybe their instructions could have given two options about how to cook the quesadillas?

    • my guess would be that they cook them this way to save on calories. Cooking them in a pan requires butter or oil in most cases, and 1 tbsp of either will add 120 calories to the recipe. Since they have many folks who request low calorie recipes they probably try to cut down on calories for all their recipes where they can.

  2. I loved the Pad Thai but I’ve only had it a few times at restaurants. I had plenty of leftovers for lunch too!

    We also really enjoyed the quesadillas but ours were dark in the bottom too. I’m a novice so didn’t realize it was an odd way to cook them.

    Our 3rd dish was the breakfast – sweet potato, bacon & goat cheese skillet. Yum!

    All 3 were hits with us last week. 🙂

  3. I got the shrimp pad Thai last week too and thought it was delicious! It was a little sweeter than I expected, but i enjoyed it!
    I also got the steak salad with honey caramelized onions, and that was a winner too!
    The Hawaiian pork skewers were my favorite. I really enjoyed the coconut rice with it!

    • We got the Hawaiian pork skewers, the pad thai and the steak salad, also and loved all three. I love the variety of the Home chef boxes and I haven’t had any issues with bad produce.

      • The variety is one of my favorite things about home chef!! Sometimes it’s hard to pick just 3 ?
        I’ve had some herbs that didn’t look in tip top shape, but that’s the nature of delicate herbs. I had some missing ginger for one recipe, but they offered me a little credit on my next box.

  4. We loved the quesadillas! I thought they were awesome, mine didn’t come out that dark though, rather light. We didn’t care for the pasta though, the sauce was like water, it didn’t thicken at all. I’ve never not cooked the pasta first and just boiled it with sauce and water.

  5. Thank you for the time and effort you put into your reviews. Based on your reviews I have discovered some great subscriptions which I am enjoying.

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