Home Chef Meal Kit Review + Coupon – December 2019
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.
This is a review of my customized delivery that includes a mix of seafood, steak, and poultry dinner options (starting at $9.95 per serving) for two people, with three meals for the week ($59.70).
Delivery is free for orders over $49. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $49.
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.)
About Home Chef
The Subscription Box: Home Chef
The Cost: Meals start at $9.95 per serving, and delivery is free for orders over $49. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $49.
COUPON: Save $90 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: 98% of the U.S. You can check to see if Home Chef delivers to your zip code while signing up.
Home Chef December 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.
Let’s take a look at what was in our green “delicious deals” envelope:
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 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.
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!
Meal #1: Creamy Corn & Tomato Shrimp Linguine
Calories: 736 per serving
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 25-35 minutes
Actual Time to Table: 32 minutes
Cook within: 3 days
Spice Level: Not Spicy
I’m in the habit of ordering a shrimp pasta dish with almost every Home Chef delivery as a little monthly indulgence. They’ve yet to disappoint!
Like any meal kit, I started by rinsing off the fresh produce, which was just the cherry tomatoes for this recipe. I was delighted by how fresh and firm they were! The tomatoes were sliced in half, two cloves of garlic were chopped, and the shrimp was patted dry with a paper towel before receiving some salt and pepper.
The recipe card suggested cooking the linguine for 9-10 minutes, but as someone who eats a lot of pasta, I knew 7 minutes would be the ticket. I placed a small measuring cup next to the pot so about 1 minute before the pasta finished cooking, I could ladle out 1/4 cup of the pasta water to use for the sauce later.
In a large, non-stick skillet heated to medium-high with some olive oil, I added the shrimp to sear on each side for 3 minutes until they reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. From there, the shrimp was transferred to a plate.
To that same pan, I added a touch more olive oil plus the corn, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper until everything warmed through for 3 minutes. Then went in the tomatoes until softened for an additional 3 minutes. The veggies joined the shrimp on the plate off to the side.
Back to the same pan, I poured in the cream and attempted to bring it to a boil. My stove is moody and oftentimes unreliable when it comes to appropriate heating (the options are medium or hellfire, no in between) so a lot of minutes were burned (hah) waiting for the cream to thicken. I eventually grew impatient and stirred in the pasta, reserved pasta water, parmesan, and seasoning mix before taking the pan off the burner.
To serve, I topped each bowl of noodles with the shrimp and veggie mixture plus a little spare parmesan cheese. The sauce was still a bit thin due to my burner issues and impatience, but this dish was still really great! I thought the tomatoes were juicy and bright, the corn was a lovely color contrast, and the ranch seasoning in the sauce provided an interesting twist. A dish this nice made an ordinary weekday evening spent in my pajamas watching the Penguins game seem much more special.
Calories: 720 per serving
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 15 minutes
Actual Time to Table: 29 minutes
Cook within: 4 days
Spice Level: Mild
I’ve ordered Home Chef “express” meals in the past and really enjoyed them, so adding these tacos to this month’s delivery was a no-brainer, especially considering how wild things are getting now that Christmas is right around the corner.
I really struggled to separate all of the steak strips before drying them with a paper towel, which is where I tacked on several extra minutes. The strips came in three thick bundles and seemed infinite as I did my best to work quickly to pull them apart, but more and more kept forming and before I knew it, I had wasted quite a bit of time on something that would eventually solve itself in the pan. After a quick pat to dry (where the strips then got stuck to the paper towel, the agony) I seasoned each side with salt and pepper.
For the veggie prep, I cored and diced the tomato and sliced the jalapeño into small strips before tossing them in a small mixing bowl with the rice vinegar and a pinch of salt to marinate.
The steak strips cooked in a large non-stick skillet set to medium-high for 8-10 minutes rather than the suggested 4-6. I frantically worked to break apart the strips as they cooked to ensure consistent separation thorough cooking. When everything was done to my liking, I poured in the BBQ sauce and gave it all a stir until coated.
While cooking the steak strips, I briefly paused my furious spatula separating to wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave them for 30 seconds.
Voila, my finished tacos! Aren’t they cute? Firstly, I’m so charmed by the color palette of this recipe. The tomatoes and jalapeños kept things bright, juicy, and just a little bit spicy, while the ranch and shredded cheese played well with the BBQ sauce. In hindsight, this was a really easy meal to throw together, steak prep woes aside. I was able to whip this up before an event and still had a little time to spare before heading out, and for me, that’s what express meals are all about! Plus, these tacos were much tastier and far more thoughtful than some other random dishes I’ve frantically improvised before going out.
Spice Level: Medium
Another easy-to-assemble meal! Like the last dish, I’ve ordered a few of these pan-included meals in the past and was enamored with how simple they were to make, and how delicious they were, of course—especially when my health took a hit in the early fall and I needed all the help I could get.
This was the easiest thing on earth to throw together. After rinsing off the broccoli, I threw it in the provided pan with the water chestnuts, Asian sesame dressing, and some salt and pepper before giving everything a stir. It was sort of difficult to keep everything contained in the pan while mixing it all together but I fared well. When it came time to add in the chicken breasts, I had no idea where they’d possibly fit—my pan was full! As it turns out, broccoli stacks well in this situation, so I precariously stacked the veggies to the side and squeezed in the chicken, which I topped with boom boom sauce and panko.
Once the oven reached 425 degrees, I tossed the pan in for 35-40 minutes total. At the 25 minute mark, I tested the internal temperature of the chicken only to find the uppermost breast was still several degrees under 145, so I added some extra cook time in a wholehearted attempt to not poison my dinner guest.
I’ll start out by saying the portion size of this dish was excellent—my huge plate just dwarfs the dish. I’ll work on procuring a smaller dish for next time! Boom boom sauce seems to be having a cultural moment right now and I can see why—it’s creamy, spicy, and a little bit mysterious in that I can’t immediately place its ingredient list from taste alone. The chicken cooked through really well, and roasted broccoli and water chestnuts are always going to be winners, even more so with the addition of the Asian sesame dressing. As for clean-up? I just tossed the pan in the trash and that’s all she wrote! Less time in the sink scrubbing meant more time with my lovely neighbor catching up over this excellent meal. What’s not to love?
Verdict: My dishes from Home Chef this month were once again stellar. I’ve sung the praises of the convenience and quality of this meal kit, and I’m happy to sing them again, especially now that the wildest time of the year is upon us and I could use a little extra help in the evenings! 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 still 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 right after I step through the door or close my laptop after a long day of working from home, and I’m excited to start perusing next month’s options soon.
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.
COUPON: Save $90 off your first four boxes! No coupon needed - just use this link.
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?
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist.
How has your Home Chef experience been?