Home Chef Meal Kit Review + Coupon – November 2019


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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, 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 pork, shrimp, and chicken dinner options (starting at $9.95 per serving) for two people, with three meals for the week ($59.70).

    Previously, I’d opt for a 5-minute lunch (one of my favorite Home Chef features) and a smoothie in addition to 2 dinners, but those options haven’t been available in recent months, which is a real bummer. I hope they make a comeback.

    Delivery is free for orders over $45. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $45.

    This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

    all contents

    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 November 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 still weren’t available this time around. Instead, there were a few massive packs of costly assorted meats, but those had little to no appeal for me.

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

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    • promo cards back

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

      So, about the packaging situation…

      interior view of box showing insulation and ingredients bags

      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 box view showing cardboard divider and insulation

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      • interior box view showing insulation, protein, and ice pack

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      • interior box view showing proteins and insulation

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        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 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 pasta ingredient bag

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        • shrimp pasta 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 pasta ingredients laydown

          Creamy Shrimp Cavatappi with Corn & Ciabatta Croutons

          Calories: 903 per serving

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

          Actual Time to Table: 37 minutes

          Cook within: 3 days

          Difficulty: Intermediate

          Spice Level: Not Spicy

          • shrimp pasta recipe card

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          • shrimp pasta recipe card back

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            I’ve gotten in the habit of ordering a shrimp pasta dish with almost every Home Chef delivery, and they have yet to disappoint. This one caught my eye quickly because of its promise of cavatappi, one of my favorite noodle shapes.

            • raw shrimp on a plate

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            • green onions chopped on a red cutting board

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            • croutons on a tray with raw shrimp on a plate to the side

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              The prep work for this dish was super simple. After setting the oven to 400 degrees, bringing a pot of water to a boil, and covering a baking sheet in foil and cooking spray, all I had to do was pat the shrimp dry, chop up the green onions, and toss the torn ciabatta bits in olive oil and parmesan cheese. Once the oven was ready, I baked the croutons for 10 minutes. Easy!

              noodles boiling

              The recipe card suggested cooking the pasta for 10-12 minutes, but I prefer my noodles to be truly al dente (I eat a lot of pasta) so I shaved off a few minutes and cooked them for 8 minutes instead. Before draining, I reserved 1/4 cup of the pasta water to help make a sauce later on, which is why you can see my measuring cup peeking out at the corner of the photo.

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              • shrimp on a red cutting board

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                In a large pan with a little bit of olive oil heated to medium-high, I cooked the shrimp in two batches, with each side searing for three minutes until the internal temperature reached 145 degrees. Once finished, I transferred the shrimp to my cutting board and gave them a rough chop.

                • sauce in pan

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                • croutons baked on a tray

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                  To the same pan, I added the cream cheese, seasoning blend, and container of cream to melt everything down and bring it to a simmer. Right around when I started making the sauce, the croutons finished in the oven. The parmesan didn’t really stick to the pieces of bread and burned to a crisp instead, which was a little disappointing. The olive oil wasn’t as reliable of an adhesive as I’d hoped.

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                  • ingredients mixed together in pan

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                    Once the sauce had thickened and I’d rescued the croutons from the oven, I tossed the remaining ingredients into the pan. It took about 3 minutes for the corn, green onions, noodles, and chopped shrimp to warm through.

                    shrimp pasta finished product

                    It’s no secret that I love carbs, but something about putting croutons on top of a pasta dish didn’t feel right. However, it wasn’t enough to stop me from devouring this meal. The sauce was creamy and flavorful, the croutons were crispy, and the green onions and corn provided needed texture, color, and flavor. I was much more pleased with the portion size this time around, but something felt askew about the recipe. My dinner partner suggested the shrimp could have been left whole, so maybe that was what threw me off. Even though I enjoyed it, this recipe didn’t wow me as much as the last few I’ve received from Home Chef. They set the bar really high with so many of my previous deliveries!

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                    • basil chicken ingredients laydown

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                      Chicken with Basil-Pecorino Cream Sauce and Roasted Red Potatoes

                      Calories: 624 per serving

                      Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 40-50 minutes

                      Actual Time to Table: 52 minutes

                      Cook within: 5 days

                      Difficulty: Intermediate

                      Spice Level: Not Spicy

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                        I’ve likely mentioned this in previous reviews, but I tend to prefer bowl foods, though something about this recipe seemed like a nice departure from my typical repertoire. Protein and roasted veggies—what’s not to like?

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                        • ingredient prep

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                        • veggies on a tray to one side

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                          After rinsing off and drying the red pepper and potatoes on a towel, I gave them a quick chop along with the shallot, then transferred everything to a foil-lined baking sheet misted with cooking spray. Everything was tossed in a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper before roasting in the 400-degree oven for 20 minutes.

                          • chicken raw and seasoned on a plate

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                          • basil chicken cooking in pan

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                          • veggies and chicken on tray

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                            As the veggies roasted, I patted and dried each side of the chicken before seasoning them with salt and pepper. I then seared each side for about 7 minutes with a touch of olive oil on medium-high heat. The recipe said each side would only need 2-3 minutes, but the veggies still had a ways to go and I figured the extra time in the pan wouldn’t hurt. As soon as the veggies were done, I stirred everything a bit, added the chicken to one side of the pan, and topped them with 2 teaspoons of pesto each. The pan went back into the oven for another 12 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken reached 165 degrees.

                            finished sauce in pan

                            The last thing to do was make the sauce. In the same pan used for the chicken, I poured in the cream and let it simmer until it boiled. From there, I removed the pan from the heat, stirred in 2/3 of the pecorino, and sprinkled in a little bit of salt and pepper.

                             basil chicken finished dish

                            So, I went a little rogue with plating this—instead of artfully placing down the sauce before the chicken, I just poured it all over the place and garnished the rest with the leftover pecorino. Creative presentation aside, this meal was delicious! The veggies were roasted to perfection, the sauce was divine, and the chicken was cooked incredibly well. I’d definitely make this again. It came together really easily, the cleanup was a breeze, and I think there’s something to be said about going back to basics with a simple protein and vegetable meal.

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                            • stuffed peppers ingredients laydown

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                              Cajun Sausage Stuffed Peppers & Remoulade Sauce with Queso Fresco & Grape Tomatoes

                              Calories: 613 per serving

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

                              Actual Time to Table: 43 minutes

                              Cook within: 5 days

                              Difficulty: Intermediate

                              Spice Level: Spicy

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                                In the mood for a confession? Of the three dishes I ordered, I was the least excited to whip this one together, seemingly for no good reason. I saved it for last, which wound up making for an excellent Home Chef finale.

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                                • stuffed peppers ingredient prep

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                                • stuffed peppers roasted on a tray

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                                  As always, it’s important to wash your produce, even from meal kits, so I started there while the oven preheated to 400 degrees. From there, I sliced the cherry tomatoes in half (taking a moment to appreciate how firm they were, 5 days after receiving the box), chopped the green onions, minced the garlic, prepped the poblanos, and removed the sausages from their casing before tearing them into large pieces. The oven had just finished preheating by the time I got the prep work out of the way, so I placed the peppers hollow-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet misted with cooking spray and let them roast for 12 minutes.

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                                  • ingredients in pan

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                                  • ingredients in pan with tomatoes

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                                    To make the filling, I cooked the Italian sausage in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, working to break the sausage into smaller and smaller pieces as it cooked. This took about 10 minutes. To the cooked sausage, I added the white portions of the green onions, corn, garlic, seasoning blend, and some salt and pepper. Everything heated through for two minutes before I tossed in the halved tomatoes for another minute or two, followed by removing the pan from the burner and stirring in half of the queso fresco.

                                    stuffed peppers stuffed with ingredients on baking tray

                                    I carefully filled the roasted poblanos with the filling (but still had a little bit of spillage) and topped everything off with the remaining queso fresco. It all returned to the oven for another 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

                                    stuffed peppers finished dish

                                    What a thing of beauty! I poured on the remoulade and finished everything off with the hollow parts of the green onions before serving. Despite my initial lack of enthusiasm about this dish, it wound up being my favorite of the month. And filling to boot. The flavors were abundant and complex, and the textures were outstanding. I loved the acidity of the tomatoes mixed with the creaminess and tang of the remoulade, plus all the spices in the Italian sausage set everything over the top. I don’t see poblano peppers very often while I’m out grocery shopping, but if I come across them in my travels, I’ll be sure to scoop them up so I can quickly make this gold-star meal again.

                                    Verdict: My dishes from Home Chef this month were really great—so much so, I almost forgot to mourn the loss of the 5-minute lunches and smoothie options. In addition to the fresh ingredients and creative recipes, I’m once again delighted by the convenience and quality of this meal kit. For three dinners, my total came to $59.70, which is a bit more than my typical weekly grocery bill, but still far less than what I’d spend on 6 meals of takeout. Though I couldn’t financially justify a delivery every single week, I think Home Chef is certainly worth it as a monthly supplement to my regular meal rotation. It’s been great having meals ready to prepare the moment I get home after some pretty hectic workdays, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what tasty options will arrive next month.

                                    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 $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. Why pay for shipping when you could just have more food, you know?

                                    Check out all of our Home Chef reviews and find other meal kit boxes in this list recommended by MSA readers!

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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 | 2 comments

                                    2 Comments

                                    1. I had chicken with pecorino too and I could eat this once a week and not tire of it. It was sooooo yummy!

                                    2. All of it looks so delicious!

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