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 offer vegetarian, gluten-free, and calorie/carb-conscious recipes, and in my experience, their ingredients almost always arrive at peak freshness.
This is a review of my customized delivery that includes two 2-serving dinner options (at $9.95/serving) for two people for the week plus shipping ($39.80 + $10 S&H = $49.80).
Delivery is free for orders over $49. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $49. (Please note: these shipping thresholds were what I was able to find by tinkering with my account.)
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 for 2 start at $6.99 per serving, and delivery is free for orders over $49. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $49.
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 July 2020 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.
Sometimes a green envelope full of promo materials arrives, sometimes it does not. This month it did with info from Grove Collaborative (which Megan explored here), Geico, Naked Wines (another subscription Megan can tell you about here), and details on Home Chef's referral program.
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 cushy insulation that can be placed in a curbside recycling bin, in locations that accept RIC 1 recyclables.
Beneath the insulated flap lies all of this month’s meals, neatly packaged into individual bags with convenient handles and slide-zip closures. A quick note on bags for this month: they are usually recyclable and clearly indicate their recycling number. The bags I received in this delivery did not indicate recycling information, which is unusual. Underneath the ingredient bags is another cardboard divider that keeps the meats separated from everything else and chilled with the help of many reusable/recyclable ice packs.
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. As I mentioned above, the bags I received this month were totally different from the usual bags—they were huge!
The bags are also labeled with the title of each recipe for clarity. I've always appreciated this level of detail and organization.
Meal #1: Teriyaki Charred Broccoli and Shiitake Mushrooms with Sesame Noodles
Calories: 573 per serving
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 30-40 minutes
Actual Time to Table: 42 minutes
Cook within: 7 days
Spice Level: Mild
A confession: I had no idea this delivery was coming and that's on me. While toying around with Home Chef's checkout flow to figure out their shipping threshold since it's sort of a mystery on their site, I *temporarily* accepted this week's delivery in the search for answers. Well wouldn't you know, I forgot to cancel the order and schedule a later one with three meals, and this one arrived at my house one unsuspecting Wednesday afternoon. I was really happy to see the dishes Home Chef selected for me, though: two delicious-looking vegetarian meals I definitely would've selected for myself. The only thing that bummed me out was the lack of a third meal, but again, that is 100% my fault. Lesson learned!
To get these surprise teriyaki noodles going, I preheated my oven to 400 degrees F, washed and dried all of that beautiful produce, and prepped a baking sheet with parchment paper. The recipe said to bring a pot of salted water to a boil, but after reading through the instructions, there was no use for this step, so I think it was just a typo. I chopped all the veggies, tossed them in a little bit of oil, salt, and pepper, and let them roast for 25 minutes. While the veggies were in the oven, I whisked together the teriyaki glaze, 2 tablespoons of water, the sesame oil, and sriracha to make the sauce. I was eager to see how the sauce turned out because I have most of those ingredients on-hand and have been struggling to make a decent stir-fried noodle sauce.
The vegetables needed a good bit of time to properly cook so I sat down with a glass of wine until 5 minutes before they'd need to be removed from the oven. At that 5 minute mark, I continued on. In a medium pot heated to medium-high, I added the pre-cooked noodles, dressing, and hollow portions of the green onions and stirred quickly until everything heated through. By then, the veggies were finished in the oven and needed 5 minutes to rest.
To serve, I filled the bottom of each bowl with the noodles, placed the veggies on top, and gave everything a nice little sprinkle of sesame seeds. This recipe was insanely easy and the colors are to die for! I was a huge fan of the sauce and will definitely recreate it in the future for my independent stir fry adventures. Roasting the veggies gave everything great texture and a wonderful char. My only complaint about this meal was that it wasn't super filling. Including two eggs to soft boil for a little protein would've earned this dish a full five stars!
Meal #2: Triple Mushroom Risotto with Toasted Baguette
Calories: 748 per serving
Time to Table, According to Home Chef: 45-55 minutes
Actual Time to Table: 53 minutes
Cook within: 7 days
Spice Level: Not Spicy
I've had a lot of luck with Home Chef's risotto recipes in the past and was really keen to dive into this triple-mushroom variation.
After washing and drying the produce, I chopped up the mushrooms, shallot, and parsley. The mushrooms made their way to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet for a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper before heading into a 400 degree F oven for 12 minutes.
Off to the side, I brought 4 cups of water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Once boiling, I removed the pot from the burner and tossed in the dried porcini mushrooms with the shiitake stems for at least 5 minutes. Then, I strained the mushrooms from the water, and voila! Broth! Normally I'd have just added the shiitake stems to the baking sheet to roast with the rest of the mushrooms, but I recently learned on an episode of Struggle Meals that shiitake stems are fibrous and not great for eating. However, they are perfect for stock!
In the same pot used for the broth, I heated a drizzle of olive oil to medium-high before adding the shallot and parsley to cook for 2 minutes. My boyfriend offered to help with all the stirring so I gladly let him join me in making this meal. He added the rice and stirred until it turned opaque after about 2 minutes. I poured in 1 cup of the mushroom broth while he stirred until the broth fully absorbed. I then added the mushroom broth in 1/2 cup increments until the rice no longer had a bite to it. We had about 1/2 cup of broth leftover to my surprise. In all, the pouring and stirring ritual probably took close to 20 minutes. When the rice finished cooking, I tossed in half of the roasted mushrooms (seen below), the butter packet, parmesan, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
I love, love, love roasted mushrooms—what a sight! Like I mentioned above, half of these beauties were stirred into the risotto while the other half went on top. Once the baking sheet was out of the oven, I tossed my sliced baguette directly on the racks with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper to toast for 10 minutes.
Beautiful, right? As always, Home Chef's risotto was top-notch with the earthy mushrooms, creamy base, and bright, peppery parsley. The toasted bread was a welcome addition and gave this meal a comforting, satisfying quality. Plus, it made for a great textural contrast. My boyfriend and I gobbled this down and wished there were leftovers!
Verdict: For a surprise delivery, Home Chef did a great job auto-selecting recipes for me. I loved them both! I just wished I'd have been more mindful of my account and selected a third meal, or canceled this order in favor of a later delivery. Still, the $49.80 cost for 4 meals shakes out to $12.45/serving, which is less than what I'd have spent on takeout for dishes of similar quality. Home Chef once again gets my vote as a great monthly treat to supplement what I'm already making at home thanks to its friendly interface, wonderful customer service, and of course, the superb meals offered.
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 $39.80 + $10 shipping for this box, the two 2-person dinners break down to $12.45 per serving.
Check out all of our Home Chef reviews and our list of the best meal kit subscriptions!
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