Home Chef Subscription Box Review + Coupon – July 2019
Home Chef is a meal kit subscription that delivers a weekly box of the pre-portioned ingredients needed 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 my customized plan that includes:
- A mix of poultry and pork 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. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $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 July 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.
There was no green envelope full of promo materials this month, so let’s get straight into the packaging situation:
This month’s box was cushioned and insulated with packaging comprised entirely of 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 and top cardboard divider 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 another cardboard divider that keeps the meats separated from everything else.
And beneath the cardboard divider is a nest of reusable/recyclable ice packs, which keep the meats and chilled. Also, check out the view of that 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). Most things tend to fit, though.
The bags are also labeled with the title of each recipe for clarity. They really thought of everything!
Calories: 582 per serving
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 10-15 minutes
Actual Time to Table: 23 minutes
Cook within: 4 days
Spice Level: Not Spicy
I recently returned from a brutal music festival camping experience and had extremely limited energy to prepare any kind of meal, so I was pretty pleased with having ordered this quick and seemingly easy option in advance.
To get things started, I sliced the green onions on an angle, separating the whites from the hollow green ends. While my pan heated, I also mixed together the dijon with the sweet and sour sauce.
Once my non-stick pan with a drizzle of olive oil was heated and ready to go, I threw in the ground pork, the white parts of the green onions, a little bit of salt, and some pepper. The recipe suggested cooking everything for 4-6 minutes, but my unreliable stove needed closer to 8 minutes. After all the pink had cooked off the pork, I stirred in half of the ponzu sauce, waited for the sauce to absorb, and transferred everything to a bowl.
To the same pan, I threw in the slaw mix with a little more salt and pepper to cook for 2 minutes, until tender but still crisp.
The ground pork and onions rejoined the party, only to then have the pan removed from the heat. To the meat and veggie mixture, I added the sweet and sour mustard sauce from step 1 and the remaining ponzu sauce.
Voila! I was so pleased with how easily this meal came together, and was so grateful as I was completely exhausted while making it. To garnish it, I added the rest of the green onions, the crispy wonton strips, and the provided peanuts. You can’t tell me this isn’t a beautiful dish. As for the taste, it was excellent. I made a similar recipe about a year ago and it wasn’t nearly as outstanding as this one, and I think it’s because the Home Chef iteration had a lot of excellent sauces going on. Plus, you can’t go wrong with all those garnishes. A win in my book!
Calories: 640 per serving
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 10-15 minutes
Actual Time to Table: 35 minutes
Cook within: 4 days
Spice Level: Mild
I’ve had grits maybe twice in my life, and have not once cooked with it. One thing I like to do with Home Chef is challenge myself with new dishes, because they make it really hard to mess things up. It’s like going bowling and having the bumpers put up. Sure, it’s less challenging than real bowling, but you still get the points in the end. Anyway, this isn’t about bowling, this is about grits, so let’s get into it.
As with most recipes, my first step was cleaning the produce. For the mushrooms, it was removing debris with a damp paper towel, and for the green onions and cherry tomatoes, it was a rinse in the sink. Please excuse the green stains on my kitchen towels left over from squeezing the water out of some frozen spinach. It’s been laundered since then, I promise.
After patting the chicken dry, I added it to a skillet heated to medium-high with some olive oil. I’ve mentioned this in previous reviews, but I love when Home Chef includes diced chicken. It’s a small thing, but it’s the kind of convenience I really appreciate from a meal delivery kit. The chicken cooked in the skillet for about 10 minutes while I continued on with the other steps.
I sliced up the mushrooms and made quick work of chopping the green onions. The prep for this recipe was so easy. Off to the side, I heated 2 cups of water in a medium-sized pot.
I added the sliced mushrooms, all the green onions (despite being directed to leave some for garnish—I was hungry, excited, and had limited patience for frivolous things like decoration), the tomatoes, and the entire pack of seasoning blend to the chicken. The recipe suggested letting this all cook together for 3-5 minutes, but I let it go for quite a bit longer in order for the tomatoes to properly break down, and for the mushrooms to cook to my desired doneness.
Once my two cups of water had come to a boil, I stirred in the grits and a generous pinch of salt. Then, I reduced the heat to low and constantly stirred the grits for 4 minutes until everything was nice and smooth. Upon removing the pot from the heat, I whisked in the white cheddar, butter, and some pepper. I couldn’t help but sneak a taste, and it was really good. Though, you can douse anything in white cheddar, butter, and pepper, and I’ll still give it 5 stars without a second thought.
After I finished up the grits, I added the demi-glace and 1/4 cup of water to my chicken and veggie mixture. This cooked for another few minutes, until the sauce had started to thicken.
Looks pretty delicious, right? It was! The chicken and veggies had a great depth of rich flavor, while the cheesy grits were the perfect vehicle for all of that savory goodness. I don’t think I really missed anything by forgetting to reserve some green onions for garnish, because it all wound up the same place in the end. Grits are super easy to make and even easier to whip into something pretty delicious. The only thing that confounded me with this recipe was its suggested cook time of 10-15 minutes, but I tend to take my time and be really careful when cooking a dish for the first time, especially when there’s meat involved. I’m glad I went for something outside of my typical home cooking repertoire, because it’s a gamble that really paid off. So good!
Spice Level: Not Spicy
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again—I love Home Chef’s 5-minute lunches. Truly, I do. Another thing I really love? Korean food. Lucky me! I was super excited to try this sandwich recipe out.
To start, I halved and juiced the lime, stemmed the cilantro, and tossed the slaw into a mixing bowl. The slaw was looking kind of sad and grey when I unboxed it, and a few days in the fridge certainly didn’t help its pallor. A quick mix of mayo, lime juice, salt, and pepper masked its previously unpleasant shade. When in doubt, just cover things in mayo?
I microwaved the chicken for a minute and a half until warmed through, then tossed it in the Korean BBQ sauce. Of course I snuck a small taste of the sauce, and it was incredible—deep, savory, a little sweet, and just spicy enough to keep things interesting.
What a sandwich! The cilantro kept things really bright and fresh, the slaw turned out fine despite its sad origins, and the BBQ chicken was so tasty. I skipped a step and didn’t toast the bread because I was pretty spent from being up terribly late the night before and just wanted to eat lunch, but that was probably a mistake. My boyfriend said the bread had a stale consistency in the way it came apart while eating, which might’ve been easily remedied with a quick toasting, but it didn’t bother me much. Overall, I was pretty happy with this dish.
Calories: 242 per serving
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 5-10 minutes
Actual Time to Table: 11 minutes
Cook within: 7 days
Spice Level: Not Spicy
Ah yes, the good old Home Chef smoothie add-on, one of my favorite weekend treats.
For prep work, all I had to do was peel the orange, bust it up into slices, and prepare 2 cups of ice. It really doesn’t get any easier.
I blended the pineapple pieces, passionfruit puree, and orange slices together for just shy of two minutes. Then I added in the 2 cups of ice, and let everything rock in the blender for 2-3 minutes.
This didn’t turn out as smooth as some other smoothies I’ve made previously (possibly too much ice? Too little time in the blender?) but the peaks it formed in the glass still made me smile. It wasn’t my favorite Home Chef smoothie I’ve ever had, but it was still a healthy, delicious way to kick off a long Sunday.
Verdict: My Home Chef experience this month was, once again, wonderful. It continues to be my favorite meal delivery kit I’ve tried. From the organized, recyclable packaging, to the easy and approachable recipes, Home Chef has yet to let me down. Plus, I’m a huge fan of the 5-minute lunches and the smoothie options. The meals themselves don’t cost less than picking up the ingredients at a grocery store, but they do cost considerably less than takeout. The convenience has also been great for my somewhat ridiculous schedule as of late (international and domestic travel, a massive EDM festival, general debauchery—I need all the help I can get over here). My favorite meal was the cajun grits, but everything was truly delicious. If you’re going to try a meal delivery kit, I definitely stand by this one. Bravo, 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. However, if you see the egg roll in a bowl pop up in your menu rotation sometime down the line, GO FOR IT.
Value Breakdown: At $65.68 for this box, each dinner was $9.95 per serving, the smoothie was $4.95 per serving, and the chicken sandwich was $7.99 per serving (with free shipping). Per Marne’s advice, it’s always a good idea to get at least one add-on if you’re only ordering 2 dinners 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?