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Home Chef Subscription Review + Coupon – September 2019

unopened box

Home Chef is a meal kit subscription that delivers a weekly box of the pre-portioned ingredients needed to make 2-6 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.

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This is a review of my customized delivery that includes:

  • A mix of poultry and vegetarian dinner options (starting at $9.95 per serving) for two people, with two meals a week ($39.80),
  • A 5-minute lunch ($7.99 per serving), 
  • And a smoothie ($4.95 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.)

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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.

COUPON: Save $80 off your first four boxes! No coupon needed - just use this link.

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 September 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.

Let’s take a look at what was in our green “delicious deals” envelope:

 

Holy promos, Batman. Away luggage, Grove Collaborative, Hers, Spot & Tango, Vitacost, and Geico all made an appearance.

So, about the packaging situation…

 

If you’ve been here before or are already a subscriber to this meal kit, it’s business as usual. If you’re new here, welcome—and allow me to explain! The 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. How easy is that?

 

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 meat chilled. 

 

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!

chipotle chicken alfredo baked penne ingredients laydown

Chipotle Chicken Alfredo Baked Penne

Calories: 756 per serving

Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 30-40 minutes

Actual Time to Table: 47 minutes

Cook within: 5 days

Difficulty: Easy

Spice Level: Medium

 

My Home Chef delivery arrived while I was in the midst of suffering through a pretty terrible illness, so I was worried about when I’d have the energy and ability to get any of the meals together. Lucky for me, by the time I started feeling better, everything managed to keep in the fridge pretty well for a whole 5 days or so! This was the first dish I made, which wound up being perfect for my extremely limited energy. I became a fan of the oven-ready meals from a previous delivery and figured this one would be a hit as well.

 

To start, I preheated my oven to 425 degrees. I then mixed together the chicken, pasta, alfredo sauce, corn, chipotle pesto, and 1/4 cup of water into the provided aluminum pan. Upon smoothing it into an even layer, I sprinkled the top with the shredded cheese. This all took about 8 minutes or so. My oven took another 10 minutes to reach the desired heat.

 

Everything baked uncovered for 30 minutes and was bubbly and golden brown once I removed it from the oven. The aroma was incredible—almost irresistible to my re-emerging appetite. After letting it cool for 5 minutes, I sprinkled the crispy jalapeños over the top

chipotle chicken alfredo baked penne plated

This meal was fantastic, and I deeply appreciate how easy it was to throw together! The portion size was perfect, the mix of creaminess and spice was divine, and the combination of corn and jalapenos added some great texture and flavor. If I can figure out how to make (or where to purchase) chipotle pesto, I’ll be making this again really soon!

 

Kale Caesar Salad Flatbread with Porcini Cheese Sauce

Calories: 738 per serving

Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 30-40 minutes

Actual Time to Table: 43 minutes

Cook within: 7 days

Difficulty: Intermediate

Spice Level: Mild

 

This meal had an excellent shelf life. The kale stayed hearty, the porcini mushrooms were dried so I didn’t have to worry about them getting weird, and everything else remained in fine condition until I was ready to whip it all together.

kale caesar flabtread kale drying

To start, I rinsed and dried off the kale while one cup of water came to a boil in a small pot off to the side. I also preheated my oven to 400 degrees.

kale caesar flabtread dried porcinis in bowl

Once the water had come to a boil, I used it to the rehydrate the porcini mushrooms for no less than 10 minutes in a small, heat-safe bowl.

 

While the oven was still heating, I minced a small mound of garlic (four pre-peeled cloves to be exact—mmm!), stemmed and coarsely chopped the kale, and sliced up the whole onion. When the mushrooms had enough time in the hot water, I carefully drained out the water and minced half of them. The other half of the mushrooms was left whole. My oven can be a bit slow to heat sometimes, so this time it gave me the perfect window to get all the prep work completed before moving on to the next step.

kale caesar flabtread baking flatbreads in the oven

I baked the flatbreads in the oven for 8 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other. So golden brown!

 

To my largest non-stick skillet, I drizzled in some olive oil and cooked the onions over medium heat for 4 minutes until they began to soften. Then I added the kale and let it mingle with the onions for another 2 minutes until just starting to wilt. At that point, I tossed in two tablespoons of water and let the veggies simmer while covered for 7 minutes. They received an occasional stir.

 

On the other burner, using the same pot I boiled my initial 1 cup of water for the dried mushrooms, I heated another drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. The minced garlic mound sauteed until fragrant for about a minute until I tossed in the whole porcini mushrooms for another minute. To this mixture, I poured in the cream and brought it to a boil. After a minute or two of boiling, I removed the whole mushrooms. The recipe said to discard them, but that’s such a waste of perfectly good ingredients! I carefully transferred those whole mushrooms back to the cutting board and gave them a quick chop, then reintroduced them with the other chopped mushrooms to the cream, along with a generous pinch of pepper and the grated parmesan cheese.

kale caesar flabtread parmesan clumped sauce

Unfortunately, something went wrong. Rather than reduce the heat and gradually introduce the grated parmesan, I just tossed everything into the pan and when I went to whisk it, instead of forming a creamy sauce, everything formed into clumps almost instantly. Sure, I could have added water to smooth everything out, but in an effort to avoid doing more damage, I removed the pot from the burner and committed to using what I’d created—a porcini paste. It still tasted delicious, it just wasn’t the consistency the recipe suggested. That’s okay! No harm done. As far as cooking fails go, this one hardly qualifies!

kale caesar flabtread seasoned veggies in pan

When the vegetables had about 3 minutes left of their 7-minute simmer time, I removed the lid to help some of the moisture cook off. I stirred in the seasoning blend, red pepper flakes, and a little bit of salt when everything was finished.

kale caesar flabtread plated

I patiently spread my porcini paste over the bottom of each flatbread, then topped them with the seasoned veggie mixture, and finished it all with a generous topping of shaved parmesan. It was delicious! The porcini paste had a ton of flavor and the unplanned consistency didn’t detract from the dish at all. The vegetables were soft and flavorful thanks to the tasty seasoning blend. I could’ve dialed it back on the red pepper flakes a bit because this was pretty spicy, but that didn’t take away from the experience one bit. Also, it may not look like much, but I found it to be an excellent portion size for dinner. This was really great!

 

5 Minute Lunch: Cowboy Ranch Chicken Salad

Calories: 488 per serving

Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 5-10 minutes

Actual Time to Table: 12 minutes

Cook within: 5 days

Difficulty: Easy

Spice Level: Mild

cowboy ranch chicken salad recipe

Salads typically bore me. I don’t necessarily avoid them, but I am rarely enticed by them. When I saw this particular salad on my Home Chef menu for the week, it held my interest, so I went for it.

cowboy chicken ranch salad lettuce drying

I was most concerned about the shelf like of the lettuce for this recipe as I had to wait for several days to recover before making it. Only the two outermost leaves from each romaine head were a little weird by the time I was able to whip this salad together, which I don’t consider a loss at all! The rest of the leaves were crispy and delicious. I rinsed and dried them before doing anything else.

cowboy chicken ranch salad lettuce chopped

Then, I gave both heads a rough chop. So green!

 

In the microwave, I heated the chicken through for about a minute before mixing it with the taco seasoning. I mention this in most of my reviews of the 5-minute lunches, but I’m a real fan of the chicken Home Chef uses for these dishes. Sometimes when chicken is reheated, it has a really odd flavor, but HC’s chicken is always pretty tasty and never gets weird. I greatly appreciate that.

cowboy chicken ranch salad plated

To serve, I drizzled on the buttermilk ranch, sprinkled on the warm chicken, then finished everything off with the colorful tortilla strips and shredded cheese. Look at all that color! This is a salad I’m more than happy to get behind as it was filling, tasty, and never felt the slightest bit boring.

 

Strawberry Colada Smoothie with Coconut Milk and Honey

Calories: 273 per serving

Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 5-10 minutes

Actual Time to Table: 5 minutes

Cook within: 7 days

Difficulty: Easy

Spice Level: Not Spicy

strawberry colada smoothie recipe

And, as usual, I got another smoothie this month. They’re a lovely treat and I’m always happy to have everything ready to go in the fridge.

 

Admittedly, the pineapple was looking a little suspect by the time I got around to making this smoothie, but I continued on. I tossed all of the ingredients into the blender: the coconut milk, strawberries, honey, Greek yogurt, and sketchy pineapple pieces.

 

Those ingredients blended up in less than a minute. Then I added two cups of ice and had everything nice and smooth in about a minute and a half.

strawberry colada smoothie finished

Pretty cute smoothie, right? While this drink had visual appeal, the taste wasn’t my favorite. I couldn’t figure out what was somewhat off about it—maybe it was the yogurt? It had an odd sort of tang to it that I didn’t care for, but I drank it all anyway because that wasn’t enough to deter me from wasting such a nice looking treat.

Verdict: I was really worried about my Home Chef ingredients not keeping in the fridge while I recovered from being pretty ill, but aside from a few soggy lettuce leaves and some odd pineapple, everything stayed very fresh which I very much appreciated. I think that’s a great testament to Home Chef’s delivery timing and the quality of the ingredients they send. Although the smoothie wasn’t my thing, the two dinners and the lunch I received were delicious and generally easy to put together, especially for someone like myself with very limited energy at the moment. Considering the convenience, quality, and how tasty everything was, I find the $65.68 box cost to be fair, but only as a supplement to my monthly meal rotation. I couldn’t swing it every week financially, but for every few weeks—especially when life gets a little chaotic—Home Chef is certainly worth it.

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. If you see any oven-ready meals, I highly recommend them!

COUPON: Save $80 off your first four boxes! No coupon needed - just use this link.

Value Breakdown: At $65.68 for this box, each dinner was $9.95 per serving, the chicken salads were $7.99 per serving, and the smoothie was $4.95 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.

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

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Written by Savannah Sprowls

Savannah Sprowls

Savannah spends her days testing the creative limits of an all-black wardrobe, rattling about years spent overseas, and whipping up carb-heavy meals at home. Degustabox was her first foray into the world of monthly subscription boxes, and she still gets wildly excited every time a package arrives.

Posted in Food & Drink Subscription Boxes, Home Chef Reviews, Meal Kit Subscriptions, Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: Home Chef | 0 comments

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