Home Chef is a subscription meal delivery service that delivers you a weekly box of the pre-portioned ingredients you need to make two to six meals that feed two, four, or six people. Home Chef advertises easy recipes that can be made in about 30 minutes. They say their ingredients are fresh (though they don't provide a lot of information about their sourcing practices), and they offer vegetarian, gluten-free, and calorie/carb-conscious recipes.
This is a review of the plan I customized that includes a mix of beef, fish, poultry, and vegetarian options (starting at $9.95 per serving) for two people, three meals a week ($59.70 per week). Delivery is free for orders over $45. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $45.
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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.
The Products: Fresh ingredients and chef-designed recipes— everything you need to make restaurant-quality meals at home.
Ships to: 90% of the U.S. (You can check to see if Home Chef delivers to your zip code here.)
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
When you first sign up for Home Chef, you take a short quiz about your meal preferences and dietary restrictions. I like that they ask what you like to eat, as well a what you like to avoid. Based on your answers, Home Chef will choose recipes for you to get each week. As is the case with most meal kit services, you can log in and hand-select the recipes you'd like to receive. Note though, that the more particular you are with your diet, the fewer options you'll have. I'm pretty open to most proteins, so I currently have 11 different options for next week. There are also some "Add On" items like fruit or smoothie picks that you can choose to include in your box.
Salmon with Brown-Butter Tomato Relish
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 25-35 minutes
Actual Time to Table: 25 minutes
Each Home Chef meal comes in a plastic bag, except for the meat, and some ingredients that are too large (such as ears of corn). As you may know by now, salmon is one of my favorite foods (to eat, as well as prepare), so I was pumped for this simple recipe.
The front of the recipe card has nutrition, prep and cook time, spice level, difficulty level, and a unique stat: how many days you have to prepare this meal for optimum quality and freshness. Many times I forget to take a peep at this, but it's a pretty handy thing to have. Fish falls in the "three days" timeframe, so I try to eat those meals first.
The other side has the step-by-step instructions on how to prepare the meal, as well as chef tips and other important info.
First things first, we started the rice since it will take the longest. Super exciting photo, I know.
Next, I prepped the salmon with salt and pepper...
...while (per usual), my boyfriend prepped the veggies and herbs.
The salmon went in a pan with olive oil, skin side up for 2-3 minutes. After that, they were transferred to a baking sheet to finish in the oven.
While the salmon was baking, we started making the relish. This smelled insanely good (I blame the parsley and garlic)!
After about 7 minutes, we took the salmon out. The directions always give an internal temperature it should be, but I don't actually have a thermometer. I should probably get one to be sure, but so far I've been ok.
Here is everything plated, and garnished with parsley. I love the way the relish looks!
Everything tasted great and felt super light. It was just the right amount of food for me. Rice pilaf is my go-to for salmon, but I never would have come up with the tomato relish on my own. I normally just do lemon, garlic, and capers. 😉
Sirloin Steak with Garlic-Chive Butter
Time to Table According to Home Chef: 30-40 minutes
Actual Time to Table: About 45 minutes
I try to not eat a huge amount of red meat, but I love both burgers and steak. I didn't look closely at the recipes when they first arrived, so it wasn't until I began cooking that I saw these came with biscuits, not mashed potatoes.
The first step is to slice the zucchini and add them along with tomatoes to a baking sheet, tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper.
One of the ingredients is a bag of biscuit mix that you combine with water, then make into four balls, super easy!
Next, I cooked the meat. I never want to overcook beef, so I did the minimum of five minutes on each side.
The veggies and biscuits cooked for 18 minutes, so I had a little down time (which is rare) after the meat was done. Here's how they looked out of the oven.
...and the biscuits- lightly browned.
The last step was the garlic-chive butter. Garlic anything- yes, please!
My roommate (who enjoyed this meal with me) noted that he thought the pairing of the biscuits was a bit odd, and even though I love biscuits, I kind of agree. Call me old fashioned, but I'd rather have a potato as a side here.
I think the veggies were a little overcooked but still tasted great. I normally don't go for roasted tomatoes, but they've been showing up a lot in my meal kits, and I'm coming around. The steak was PERFECT. I like it on the rare side, and it was really buttery, not to mention that the garlic-chive butter really made it spectacular.
Balsamic Shrimp Skewers with Grilled Veggies, Parsleyed Rice, and Tomato Relish
Time to Table According to Home Chef: 35-45
Actual Time to Table: About 35 minutes
I'm happy that they included the skewers since that's not something I'd normally have around.
I love shrimp, but grilling shrimp isn't something I'd normally do unless outside on a grill. I'm also too lazy to fire up the grill for a small amount of food, so I used my grill pan indoors. If you don't own one, I strongly suggest it because I've used it a lot with meal kits!
Since rice takes a while, it was made first. I added parsley, olive oil, and salt.
After washing and chopping the yellow squash and red peppers, they went into the grill pan. I always strive to get nice grill lines on things. 😉
I am normally a tornado in the kitchen since I'm super hungry by the time I get home from work and try to cook as quickly as possible. Sometimes I go out of order, like today. While the veggies were cooking, I made the glaze.
...as well as the relish. This was really simple and a good example of something I could make on my own for a meal.
Once the veggies were cooked, I cut them up on a cutting board into bite sized pieces.
As frequently as I use this grill pan, I feel like I'm not completely sure how to use them. Like other cast iron pans, I know you should keep them oiled and not really wash them, but I'm always having trouble with some meats sticking to it. Even though there was oil in the pan, and the shrimp was coated in cooking spray, they still stuck a bit.
Once they came out of the pan, I drizzled them with the balsamic glaze.
Here's everything together, with the rice, relish, and grilled vegetables. Truth be told, I wasn't really feeling this meal once it was made. It all seemed like separate parts that didn't really go together.
I ended up passing this meal to my roommate, who literally eats ANYTHING that I give him. It's actually my favorite part about him living with me because nothing gets wasted. He loved the entire meal and said it was great. I ended up eating pizza because I am crazy.
Verdict: Home Chef had two hits and a miss with me this week. Maybe I am just shrimped-out (I have been eating it a lot)? 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 ($9.99 per serving). I've been a bit busy lately, so I'm going to drop down to two meals instead of three per week. It's great to have that option as my schedule gets more or less hectic. I hate to have anything sit in my refrigerator too long. You also have the option to change how many people will be eating your meals, so if you're having guests visit, you can always change per delivery if you need to.
How were your Home Chef recipes?