Home Chef Review + $80 Off Coupon – February 2019
Home Chef is a meal kit subscription 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 Marne customized that includes a mix of beef, fish, poultry, and vegetarian options (starting at $9.95 per serving) for two people, with two meals a week ($39.80) + a smoothie ($4.95 per serving) and a 5 minute lunch ($7.99 per serving)for a $65.68 total. Delivery is free for orders over $45. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $45.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About Home Chef
The Subscription Box: Home Chef
The Cost: Meals start at $9.95 per serving, and delivery is free for orders over $45.
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.)
Home Chef February 2019 Review
When you first sign up for Home Chef, you take a short quiz about your meal preferences and dietary restrictions. They ask what you like to eat, as well a what you tend 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. There are also some “Add-On” items like fruit, smoothies, or quick lunches that you can choose to include in your box.
It seems Home Chef implemented some packaging upgrades since the January box.
This month’s box was cushioned and insulated with packaging comprised entirely from recycled water bottles. The whole lining can be placed in a curbside recycling bin, in locations that accept RIC 1 recyclables. Easy enough!
Beneath the insulated flap lies all of this month’s meals, neatly packaged into individual, recyclable bags with convenient handles and slide-zip closures.
Underneath the ingredient bags is a cardboard divider that keeps the meats separated from everything else. The dark stain is from a Greek yogurt container that sort of exploded—more on that later.
And beneath the cardboard divider is a reusable/recyclable ice pack, which keeps the chicken breasts and steaks nice and chilled. Also, check out the handy insulated lining!
As previously mentioned, every Home Chef meal comes in a plastic bag, except for the meat, and some ingredients that are too large (such as ears of corn).
The bags are also labeled with the title of each recipe for clarity. They really thought of everything!
Calories: 411 per serving (though there was no indication of what constitutes 1 serving)
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 20-30 minutes
Actual Time to Table: 24 minutes
Cook within: 5 days
Spice Level: Spicy
In case you were wondering, life has thrown me a few curveballs recently. I was excited to whip these lettuce wraps up for dinner because they seemed like a nice, lighter take on comfort food, as well as a nice departure from all of my emotional pasta dishes.
To start, I added 1/2 cup water to a medium-sized non-stick skillet, along with the two chicken breasts and a “pinch” of pepper. My idea of a pinch is pretty generous. From there, I brought the water to a boil on medium-high heat, then covered the chicken to cook for 8 minutes.
As the chicken was cooking, I removed the roots from the lettuce, rinsed it thoroughly, then patted it dry as best I could. I separated the leaves until this large, loose pile formed. Although this step was technically first, I figured it was a better use of time to prep the lettuce while the chicken cooked. It was!
The chicken hadn’t quite finished, so in a small mixing bowl, I combined the shredded carrots, the packet of ranch dressing, and the entire bag of bleu cheese. “Add bleu cheese to taste,” the recipe advised. I wanted to taste all of it, so I did.
After 8 minutes, I sliced each breast in half to make sure it was cooked through. Then, I shredded them in a mixing bowl and tossed them with the entire bottle of Frank’s Red Hot.
And here’s the finished dish, beautifully topped with crispy jalapenos! I started out with two lettuce wraps for my first serving, then quickly went back for seconds. And thirds. Man, these were good. Because there was so much lettuce to go around, I layered my wraps with two leaves each but could have probably gone for three. The crispy jalapenos made the dish indulgent and somewhat elevated—they really were a game changer. Overall, these lettuce wraps weren’t too spicy, just creamy enough with the ranch and bleu cheese mix, and perfectly crunchy thanks to the carrot salad. I can’t believe how quickly it all came together, and above all, how emotionally satisfying it was.
Calories: 644 per serving
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 5-10 minutes
Actual Time to Table: 7 minutes w/o broiler, 12 minutes w/ broiler
Cook within: 5 days
Spice Level: Not Spicy
For the sake of full transparency, I must tell you—Marne shared her box with me this month. I pride myself on eating most things, with the only exception being tuna. It just isn’t for me. Luckily, my ever-generous boyfriend, Blair, is a real tuna enthusiast. He was more than happy to step in and help me out with this one.
I quickly rinsed and dried the arugula, then divided the leaves into two servings. The ciabatta bun was mostly halved already, much to my delight. A gentle coaxing with a serrated knife separated it easily. I slid a slice of cheddar cheese over the bottom bun, as advised. When the broiler was ready to go, I stuck both halves of the ciabatta into the oven for a quick toast ‘n’ melt.
Meanwhile, Blair mixed one pack of tuna together with one pack of mayo.
Here’s everything all melted and ready for assembly.
Ta-da, a tuna sandwich! Blair excitedly devoured it in less time than it took to put it together. He said it was good, but it didn’t blow him away. The flavors were mild and expected, and would have benefitted from some seasoning, or perhaps some mayo with a kick. The convenience was unmatched, though, especially before a busy night of grad school meetings. Plus, the two servings gives him the opportunity to customize the next one to his liking.
Calories: 282 per serving
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 5-10 minutes
Actual Time to Table: 15 minutes
Cook within: 7 days
Spice Level: Not Spicy
As I mentioned earlier, the Greek yogurt from this recipe managed to leak all over the inside of the entire box. It was everywhere, on everything. As I unboxed all of the meals, I patiently toweled up as most of the mess as possible. I suppose that’s the occasional peril of meal kit subscriptions.
I massively failed at peeling the orange, which is why there are no photos of the prep included for this portion of the review. That’s also why I managed to tack on quite a bit of extra time. If you’re good with oranges, this will take you far less time. To the blender, I added my mangled orange, all three honey packets (because much like the bleu cheese from the lettuce wraps, I wanted to taste it all), the can of pineapple juice, the frozen mangoes, and what was left of the Greek yogurt. I’d say about 1/3 of the yogurt was missing, but it didn’t affect the end result.
Once all of the ingredients were nicely pureed, I tossed in 2 cups of ice and a packet of chia seeds I had from a previous Degustabox.
It took about 2-3 minutes for all of the ice to incorporate, but it was well worth the wait. I never make smoothies at home, so having everything already on-hand was nice. The tart mango flavor paired well with the smooth honey and creamy yogurt. This was a great way to start the day, and for my next order, I’ll be sure to take Marne’s advice of adding a smoothie to push over the free shipping threshold.
Calories: 693 per serving
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 35-45 minutes
Actual Time to Table: 40 minutes
Cook within: 6 days
Spice Level: Not Spicy
This is the second time I’ve ever cooked a steak in my life. Can you believe it? The first time was for a Blue Apron review back in November, and I was delighted by how simple it was. Spoiler: this time was not much different. Hooray!
To start, I preheated the oven to 425 degrees, set the butter on the counter near the stove to soften up, rinsed and dried the broccolini and potatoes, and lined a baking sheet with foil. This did not count toward my overall cook time, but if it did, I still would have finished within the specified timeframe.
I was so excited about the pre-peeled garlic! Usually, with meal subscription kits, I tend to waste a lot of time prepping the garlic, so having that step already done was much appreciated. In a small foil pouch of my own making, I placed the 4 garlic cloves with a drizzle of olive oil, then set it to one side of the baking sheet. The sliced potatoes were placed on the other side, which was also given a drizzle of olive oil, then sprinkled with salt and pepper. The pan went into the oven for 15 minutes.
As the potatoes and garlic were roasting, I made quick work of chopping the broccolini, peeling the shallot, and slicing said shallot into thin rounds.
Before patting each steak as dry as I could get it with some paper towels, I started to heat a medium-sized non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. That way, when the steaks were done being dried, they’d be ready to go in the pan. Upon being dried, I sprinkled the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides.
If you’re thinking, “wow Sav, that’s quite a lot of olive oil in the pan,” you’re right. I had a little flub and misread the 2 tsp of olive oil direction as 2 tbsp, but hey, it happens to the best of us. I seared each steak on one side for 3 minutes. Right as I was getting ready to add the steaks to the pan, the potatoes and garlic were ready to come out of the oven. Great timing!
As the steaks were searing, I flipped the potatoes and topped them with cheddar cheese. The 2 oz. serving wound up being really generous for the small potatoes, but who am I to complain about extra cheese? Once the steaks were done in the skillet, I moved them over to the sheet pan, seared side up. The sheet pan went back into the oven for 10 minutes.
With everything in the oven again, I mashed together the room temperature butter packs with the roasted garlic and a sprinkle of pepper. Mmm.
I left the skillet hot, and upon completing the garlic butter mixture, I tossed in the broccolini for 5 minutes to become tender. Then went in the shallots for about 3 minutes. Once everything was cooked to my liking, I removed the skillet from the heat. Rather than get another bowl dirty (and because there was still quite a bit of leftover oil in the pan from my previous measurement snag), I added the ranch seasoning mix directly to the vegetables in the skillet.
I did my best to plate the dish as shown on the recipe card. Overall, this dish was pretty tasty. I was pleased with how it came together within the specified timeframe, as this typically a rarity for my meal subscription kit adventures. The potatoes were super cheesy and a little bit crispy. The veggies were tender, but I couldn’t quite detect the ranch flavoring. That’s okay, though. As for the steak itself, it was a little on the tough side and took a bit of work to cut through, but the flavor was excellent.
Verdict: My first Home Chef experience was overwhelmingly positive. I really appreciated the thoughtful, recyclable packaging for every part of the box, along with the clear organization of the ingredients. The recipes were incredibly easy to follow, and I very much enjoyed the tidbits on the website from the chef that created each dish. My favorite meal was the buffalo chicken lettuce wraps. Well done, Home Chef!
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Since Home Chef menus change weekly and you must choose them ahead of time, you won’t be able to order these dishes unless they are offered again in the future.
Value Breakdown: At $65.68 for this box, each dinner was $9.95 per serving, and the smoothies were $4.95 per serving, and the salad was $7.99 per serving (with free shipping). It’s always a good idea to get at least one add-on since it pushes you over the free shipping threshold.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What did you get from Home Chef this month?