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.
This is a review of my customized delivery that includes three 2-serving dinner options (3 x $9.95/serving) with $7.99 shipping, bringing the cost of this box to $67.69.
This box was sent at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
My October 2021 Meals: First Impressions
I'm a regular Home Chef subscriber, and I like to use the unboxing as an opportunity to look over ingredients and inventory what I've received. This shipment, everything arrived in good shape. After the issue with broken sauce last month, it's nice that there were no spills or splatters to tackle during the unpacking. I was also really pleased to see that living lettuce was sent for the lettuce wraps. I've been on a bit of a lettuce wrap kick lately, and after experimenting with iceberg, leafy lettuce, and living Boston, I've decided that the latter is the superior choice. I'm so glad that Home Chef agrees! The texture is perfect, and it holds up very well to ensure the leaves are fresh and healthy. (I can't stand wilty leaves!)
Now, on to the food!
The Taste Test
Meal #1: Korean-Style Tofu Lettuce Cups with Eggroll Slaw
Prep & Cook Time: 35-45 Minutes | Difficulty Level: Easy | 403 Calories per Serving
As I mentioned, lettuce wraps have become a regular feature on my weeknight menu. I've played around with different proteins and flavor profiles, but my go-to recipe uses a base of ground pork flavored with hoisin sauce. It's really tasty, but I've been eating it often enough that it's starting to feel a little stale. When I saw these Korean-style lettuce wraps, I got super excited. Gochujang is one of my favorite condiments, but I'd never considered using it in lettuce wraps before. Mind = blown. If you're new to gochujang, it's a fermented red pepper paste that is a staple in Korean cooking and delivers a huge punch of flavor. It's sweet, savory, and a little spicy, and... yeah, it's pretty much my favorite thing ever. You can mix it with mayo for an out-of-this-world sandwich spread, combine it with soy sauce and sesame oil and toss over rice noodles or rice cakes, and even add a tiny bit into oil and vinegar for next-level salad dressing. If you ask me, it makes almost everything better. But I digress. Let's get back to the lettuce wraps!
All-in, this dish was pretty straightforward to make. I fried the tofu to get it nice and crispy and then tossed it with some gochujang and soy sauce. The "eggroll slaw" is essentially a vinegary coleslaw, which added a nice tang. In theory, this dish was great, and I'm planning to make it again; however, I'll make a few tweaks for next time. The sauce was tasty, but I added it after the tofu was cooked, and I think if it had marinated in advance the flavors would have been more potent. I also found the slaw a little too vinegar-forward. When I make this again, I'll cut down on the vinegar and probably add a little extra sweet chili sauce or honey to up the sweetness. Still, even though I didn't think this dish was quite perfect, it's given me some great inspiration.
Meal #2: Pork Chop and Red Wine Poached Figs with Panko-Parmesan Broccoli
Prep & Cook Time: 35-45 Minutes | Difficulty Level: Intermediate | 619 Calories per Serving
I don't often cook pork chops, and I'm not really sure why. Every time I have them I find them enjoyable, but they're just not a protein I usually reach for. When I saw this dish on the Home Chef menu, I decided to take the plunge. I love figs, so it seemed like a sign from the universe that I should break out of my no-pork-chop-rut and give this dish a try.
I'm so glad I did! Let me begin by saying that the sauce for this dish was excellent. It was also really easy to make. The recipe called for mixing dried figs with demi-glace, wine, sugar, and water and simply cooking it down. Fruity, sweet, rich, and deep, this sauce was a great compliment for the pork chops, but it would also be great on top of chicken or tofu. (I'm definitely going to be making it again soon and experimenting with different proteins.) The broccoli side dish was simple to make, and a nice way to take basic broccoli up a notch. Before baking, I added panko and parmesan, and I enjoyed the way it came out. My one complaint is that I had a hard time getting the toppings to stick to the broccoli, but it really wasn't that big of a deal. I just scooped up the crunchy cheese and panko from the baking tray and sprinkled them on top after plating.
Meal #3: Cuban-Style Avocado Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Vinaigrette
Prep & Cook Time: 25-35 Minutes | Difficulty Level: Intermediate | 627 Calories per Serving
I love a good bowl/salad combo meal, and Home Chef's photo of this dish looked too fresh and beautiful to refuse. As soon as this recipe caught my eye, it went straight into the box! If I'd put together this meal on my own, I probably would have opted for rice, but the quinoa intrigued me. I don't often cook with quinoa at home, so I was excited to see how I'd like it.
This meal ended up being the star of the entire box. First of all, just look at that avocado. Have you ever seen one so perfectly ripe? I have to give Home Chef a thumbs up for timing the ripeness. The avocado was the star of the dish for sure. Everything else worked together beautifully. The quinoa was quick and easy to make and was light and fluffy. It was cooked in broth, so the flavor was rich and satisfying. The veggies were hearty and fresh, and the bowl was seasoned with a zesty vinaigrette that was bright and zippy. Full disclosure: I did add just a touch of hot sauce, but I enjoyed this bowl a lot. It was super filling, and it left my taste buds dancing with glee.
Was This Box Worth It?
The Cost: Meals for 2 start at $6.99 per serving. Shipping costs $13.99 for orders under $49.99 and $7.99 for orders over $49.99. (Note that some subscribers have reported that they are not charged shipping fees. Check your account to confirm what your shipping costs will look like.)
Ships to: 98% of the U.S. You can check to see if Home Chef delivers to your zip code while signing up.
Value Breakdown: This box costs $59.70, or $9.95 per serving. Shipping is $13.99 for orders under $49.99 and $7.99 for orders over $49.99, bringing the cost of this box to $67.69 ($11.28 per serving). Putting this in perspective, I'd spend more dining out or ordering takeout. This might not be the cheapest way to get dinner on the table, but I absolutely love the convenience Home Chef delivers. It's great being able to skip the grocery store, and I enjoy discovering new recipes and flavor combinations.
This box from Home Chef was pretty great. My favorite dish was the Cuban-style quinoa bowl. (I'm actually getting a little hungry just thinking about it!) That said, each of the three meals I received felt special in its own way, and each one has given me new ideas I'll apply to future meals I cook myself. I'm planning to recreate the Korean-style lettuce wraps again next week, you can bet I'll be experimenting with other ways to use that fig sauce, and I'm going to pick up some quinoa to play around with.
Overall, this was a great delivery, and it highlights one of my favorite things about meal kits. Like a lot of people, I tend to fall into cooking ruts from time to time, where I'll rely on the same handful of recipes again and again. Meal kits introduce me to new ideas, ingredients, and flavor profiles that can help shake things up. This delivery from Home Chef has given me lots of ideas I'll carry forward and use in my own cooking.
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To Wrap Up
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, this week's meals have passed. But, you can sign up for Home Chef today and receive meals next week!
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