Home Chef Subscription Review + Coupon – October 2019


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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, six, or eight 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 beef, shrimp, and vegetarian dinner options (starting at $9.95 per serving) for two people, with three meals for the week ($59.70).

Usually, I opt for a 5-minute lunch (one of my favorite Home Chef features) and a smoothie, but those options weren’t available on my menu while I was making selections for this month, and that bummed me out quite a bit. Hopefully it’s a temporary omission and those choices will make a return soon!

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.

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

Ships to: 98% of the U.S. You can check to see if Home Chef delivers to your zip code while signing up.

Home Chef October 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. As I mentioned before, the “Add-On” items like smoothies and quick lunches weren’t available this month. Instead, there were a few massive packs of costly assorted meats I could have chosen, but that had little to no appeal for me.

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

  • promo materials front

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  • promo materials back

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    So many promos! We have appearances from Spot & Tango, Thirdlove, Geico, Naked Wines (which Megan can tell you all about), Grove Collaborative, and Vitacost.

    So, about the packaging situation…

    interior view with cardboard divider

    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?

    • interior view showing ingredients bag

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    • interior view showing cardboard protein divider

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    • interior view showing ice packs

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    • interior view showing proteins

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    • interior view showing bottom of box and insulation

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      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 proteins is a nest of reusable/recyclable ice packs, which keep the meat chilled. 

      • shrimp florentine ingredients bag front

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      • shrimp florentine ingredients bag back

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        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!

        shrimp florentine ingredients laydown

        Shrimp Florentine Pasta with Garlic & Parmesan

        Calories: 578 per serving

        Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 25-35 minutes

        Actual Time to Table: 41 minutes

        Cook within: 3 days

        Difficulty: Intermediate

        Spice Level: Mild

        • shrimp florentine recipe card front

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        • shrimp florentine recipe card back

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          Home Chef gave me the confidence to begin cooking shellfish at home because they make the experience incredibly easy, and I’ve yet to be anything less than thrilled with the end result. Spinach and pasta are also a favorite combination of mine, so selecting this recipe was a no-brainer.

          shrimp florentine prep work

          Before we get into the prep work, I’d like to note that I stored my spinach in a paper towel-lined container after unboxing everything. Keeping greens cooped up in a plastic bag is a great way for things to get slimy, wilty, and downright gross, and I’ve learned that lining a container with towels (either paper or the regular kitchen variety) is a great way to get more mileage out of leafy produce. Normally with Home Chef items, you can just throw ’em in the fridge and they’ll keep, but with greens and other items, I take no chances.

          Anyway, to get things started, I peeled and minced up the shallot, coarsely chopped the spinach, and minced the parsley and garlic.

          • shrimp florentine spaghetti boiling

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          • shrimp florentine drained spaghetti

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            While busy with the prep work, I brought a salted pot of water to a boil and cooked my spaghetti for 6 minutes. The recipe card suggested 8-10 minutes, but I prefer my noodles to be truly al dente (I eat a lot of pasta) so I usually shave off a few minutes. Before draining, I reserved 1/4 cup of the pasta water to help make a sauce later on.

            shrimp florentine seasoned shrimp on a plate

            On a clean plate, I laid out all of my shrimp, patted both sides dry, and amassed a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.

            • shrimp florentine shrimps in saute pan

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            • shrimp florentine shrimps in saute pan with shallots and garlic

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            • shrimp florentine in pan with spinach

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            • shrimp florentine in pan with spaghetti

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              In my largest non-stick skillet that was heating off to the side this whole time with just a touch of olive oil, I sauteed my shrimp on medium-high heat in two batches, letting each side cook for 2 minutes. This is where some of the extra time got tacked on if you compared my total cook time with that of the recipe. Once my second batch was on its last side, I tossed in the shallot and garlic and cooked everything together until wonderfully aromatic. Alliums rule.

              Upon reducing the heat to medium, I threw in the spinach and wilted everything down for close to 4 minutes. My shrimp had reached the desired temperature of 145 degrees, and at that point, I added the cream, half of my reserved pasta water, the mirepoix base, and my cooked pasta to the pan. It didn’t take long for the sauce to come to a simmer, probably 1-2 minutes. It did get dry pretty quickly, though, so in went the rest of the pasta water. Once my sauce reached its desired consistency of velvety perfection, I removed the pan from the burner and sprinkled in the red pepper flakes, plus a little bit of salt.

              shrimp florentine complete

              This dish was unreal. At a restaurant, I would have easily paid upwards of $18 without a second guess. The red pepper flakes gave so much zing and interest to the creamy, garlicky sauce, while the parsley kept everything nice and bright while cutting down on any heaviness. My dinner partner and I practically inhaled this meal and were both left wishing we had leftovers. I may or may not have ensured every last drop in my bowl was savored by replacing my fork with a miniature spatula toward the end. My only complaint was the portion size—when I went to bed later that night, my stomach was definitely growling. Though, all things considered, I’m used to eating pasta in massive, emotionally-compelled portions, so perhaps a person with a more regulated appetite (and more self control) would have found the portion to be more satisfying than myself. This is something I’ll definitely be making again in the future as the weather continues to cool and all of my dates will move inside to the cozy comfort of my home.

              • steak and rice bowl ingredients bag

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              • steak and rice bowl ingredients laydown

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                Creamy Salsa Verde Steak Strips with Mexican Rice

                Calories: 518 per serving

                Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 10-15 minutes

                Actual Time to Table: 26 minutes

                Cook within: 4 days

                Difficulty: Easy

                Spice Level: Medium

                • steak and rice bowl recipe card front

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                • steak and rice bowl recipe card back

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                  I did a double take when the suggested cook time was 10-15 minutes for this dish. Challenge accepted!

                  steak and rice bowls prep work

                  Prep for this was super easy. I diced up the green pepper, gave the cilantro a quick mince, dried both sides of the steak strips with a paper towel, and seasoned them with the provided seasoning blend.

                  • steak and rice bowls rice in bowl before microwave with a damp paper towel on top

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                  • steak and rice bowls rice microwaved

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                    The rice couldn’t have been simpler, either. It came mostly cooked and already seasoned, so all that was left for me to do was place it in a bowl, cover it with a damp paper towel, and microwave it for two minutes.

                    • steak and rice bowls green peppers in saute pan

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                    • steak and rice bowls green peppers and beef in pan

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                    • steak and rice bowls steak and peppers in pan with wine and demi glace

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                      In my trusty, large, non-stick skillet, I heated a tiny bit of olive oil and threw in the green peppers with a little bit of salt and cooked them until tender for about 4 minutes. Then, I added the steak strips and stirred them frequently, working to flatten the strips and ensure all the pink cooked off for 3 minutes. The red wine went in afterwards, and took much longer to cook down than the suggested 60 seconds. Instead, it took an additional 4 minutes or so. Lastly, I mixed in the demi-glace to form a really nice sauce. Once everything was coated, I removed the skillet from the burner. 

                      steak and rice bowls sour cream sauce mixed

                      As I was waiting for the red wine to cook down, I mixed the cilantro, sour cream, and all of the tomatillo salsa together in a small mixing bowl with the sour cream. With meal kits, I’m adamant about using everything provided, and I have what I consider a mid-level spice tolerance. Little did I know how spicy that tomatillo salsa would be—even with the cooling sour cream!

                      steak and rice bowls complete

                      Here’s the finished dish! The rice was well seasoned and cooked up nicely in the microwave, so color me impressed there. The sauce from the steak and peppers was incredibly savory and a delicious complement to the very spicy tomatillo salsa. I was pleased with how the green peppers cooked up as well. Sure, it didn’t come together in 15 minutes, but if I had cooked on a higher heat, I could’ve shaved off more time. Was this dish still easy to put together? Absolutely. However, I found the portion size to be even more sparing than the shrimp florentine and almost ate the other serving a few hours after I enjoyed the first serving, as I didn’t have a guest for dinner when I cooked it. Instead, I opted for a snack and reheated the leftovers for dinner the next night, which were just about as good as they were the day before. Maybe some more rice would have made it more filling?

                      • pizza bianca ingredients bag

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                      • pizza bianca ingredients laydown

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                        Pizza Bianca with Zucchini Ribbons & Rosemary

                        Calories: 617 per serving

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

                        Actual Time to Table: 46 minutes

                        Cook within: 7 days

                        Difficulty: Intermediate

                        Spice Level: Mild

                        • pizza bianca recipe card front

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                        • pizza bianca recipe card back

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                          I’d like to mourn the lack of 5-minute lunches and smoothie options for this delivery for the third (and hopefully the last) time. As I mentioned earlier, the only add-on item available was a pack of assorted meats, so I opted for a third dinner instead.

                          pizza bianca washed produce

                          It’s important to always wash your produce, even from meal kits, so I started there while the oven preheated to 400 degrees.

                          pizza bianca prep work

                          Another storage tip for you: instead of leaving tomatoes in the fridge, store them at room temperature so they’ll keep longer. I lined the small mixing bowl you see in this photo hosting the zucchini ribbons with a small, clean dishcloth and left the tomatoes in there on my counter until I was ready to use them.

                          Using a peeler, I shaved the zucchini into long, thin strips before adding them to the bowl and mixing them through with a pinch of salt. The zucchini sat to the side for a minimum of 10 minutes to draw out extra moisture. During that time, I minced up the garlic, stemmed and minced the rosemary, and sliced the tomatoes into thin rounds.

                          pizza bianca parbaked flatbreads

                          I parbaked the flatbreads directly on the oven rack for 7 minutes: 4 minutes on one side, 3 minutes on the other. Home Chef doesn’t suggest flipping the flatbreads and letting them cook on both sides, but I’ve found through making their flatbreads previously that they benefit from a quick flip. It’s not the end of the world if you choose not to turn them over; it’s just my personal preference.

                          • pizza bianca toasting pine nuts in pan

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                          • pizza bianca garlic saute

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                          • pizza bianca making cream sauce

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                          • pizza bianca cream sauce complete

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                            In a small, dry, non-stick pan, I toasted the pine nuts until aromatic, which took about 3 minutes. I set the pine nuts aside on a plate, then drizzled some olive oil into the pan and added half of the garlic for about a minute until nice and aromatic. To this, I added the wine and cooked it until the liquid reduced by half for 2 minutes. Then went in the cream, rosemary, half of the red pepper flakes, and half of the asiago. I was very pleased by how quickly the sauce formed: about 2 minutes until it was slightly thickened. From here, I turned off the burner and stirred in a little pinch of salt.

                            pizza bianca drying zucchini strips

                            I spread my zucchini strips out on a kitchen towel to aid in dying them off, and wow, the amount of moisture that was drawn out was incredible! Salt is amazing. I patiently patted them dry.

                            • pizza bianca sauced flatbreads

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                            • pizza bianca flatbreads with zucchini

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                            • pizza bianca flatbreads with cheese and red pepper flakes

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                              Each flatbread received half of the sauce, followed by the zucchini ribbons, the other half of the asiago, and the rest of the red pepper flakes. They baked directly on the oven rack again for 6 minutes until everything melted. The foil-lined pan sat beneath the flatbreads to catch any rogue drips.

                              pizza bianca marinated tomatoes

                              As the flatbreads were getting melty and delicious in the oven, I marinated the tomatoes in the zucchini ribbon mixing bowl with the remaining minced garlic and some salt and pepper.

                              pizza bianca two flatbreads after the oven

                              Is your mouth watering yet?

                              pizza bianca complete

                              Ta-da, my finished flatbread! To serve, I drained the liquid from the marinated tomatoes, added them to the top of each pizza, and finished everything off with the toasted pine nuts. I’ll admit, when I added this meal to my order in place of a 5-minute lunch and smoothie, I had my doubts, but honestly, it really blew me away. The fresh rosemary in the cream sauce was the star of the dish, giving a rustic, flavorful quality to the fresh vegetables and light flatbread. The portion size was perfect for me as well! In fact, my meal partner and I had these for lunch and could only finish half, so we saved the other half for lunch the following day. I’ve come to learn that Home Chef‘s flatbreads are deceptively filling, and I really recommend trying them out if you’re considering subscribing or are already a subscriber, but are not yet a flatbread believer.

                              Verdict: My meals from Home Chef this month were so delicious—it was one hit after the next! Though 2 of the 3 dishes still left me feeling a bit peckish later into the night, I won’t dock any points, because everyone’s portion needs are different and my appetite is still recovering (read: returning with a vengeance) after being really sick last month. The ingredients were all very fresh, the recipes were pretty easy to put together, and I’m once again wooed by the convenience and quality of this meal kit. For three dinners, my total came to $59.70, which is far less than I’d spend on takeout for 6 dishes. Though I couldn’t financially swing a delivery every single week, I think Home Chef is certainly worth it as a monthly supplement to my regular meal rotation.

                              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. I highly recommend a flatbread recipe if you see any of them offered!

                              Value Breakdown: At $59.70 for this box, each dinner was $9.95 per serving (with free shipping). Per Marne’s advice, it’s always a good idea to get at least one add-on (or a third dinner) if you’re only ordering 2 meals 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 | 3 comments

                              3 Comments

                              1. Emotionally compelled portion is a very real state. I giggled.

                              2. Home Chef is my favorite too! It amazes me how a seemingly simple meal becomes special with the sauces, seasonings, and cooking methods. I’ve learned a lot of techniques also. The chefs are inventive but I’ve learned to seek out my favorites in the meal descriptions.

                              3. I love Home Chef! Thank you f o r the great review.

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