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 November 2021 Meals: First Impressions
One of my favorite things about Home Chef is the packaging. I've tried a lot of different meal kits in my day, and there are many different strategies for how to best get the ingredients into the box. Some services simply toss all the ingredients in together, kind of like a shopping basket. Others separate ingredients by meal using bulky cardboard boxes. Home Chef separates items into zippered bags. For me, this is the best of both worlds. The bags don't take up too much space in the fridge, but they also streamline prep; I don't have to go hunting around for a rogue lemon, all the ingredients I need for each meal are already bundled together.
I mention this because fridge organization becomes challenging for me this time of year. With the holidays approaching, I have a lot of entertaining supplies and extra ingredients floating around that can make space in my refrigerator a little tight. Due to the packaging, I was able to easily tuck away the ingredients I received in this shipment-- though one bag was relegated to my produce drawer while the others found prime space on the main shelf.
Now, on to the food!
The Taste Test
Meal #1: Tuscan Tomato Flatbread with Caramelized Onion and Arugula
Prep & Cook Time: 20-30 Minutes | Difficulty Level: Easy | 737 Calories per Serving
Flatbreads are an easy dinnertime standby, and I'll be honest here. I am never not in the mood for pizza. This recipe is a twist on the classic margarita, but Home Chef made a key tweak to punch up the flavors and take this dish to the next level. It all comes down to the cheese. Instead of straightforward mozzarella, Home Chef included three cheese to blend together: mozzarella, Parmesan, and asiago. The ripeness of the asiago adds a layer of flavor that catapults these flatbreads off the kiddie menu and into the enoteca.
Flavor-wise, these were great. The peppery arugula cut through the richness of the cheese, and the flavors all worked together beautifully. The addition of fresh veggies (tomatoes and arugula) brought a freshness to this dish that elevated it from basic homemade pizza into something a bit more refined. Home Chef sent naan bread for the base, which worked nicely. My only complaint is that I would have enjoyed a salad on the side. (Though I suppose you could argue that the salad was served on top!)
Meal #2: Honey-Ancho Pork Medallions with Corn and Pepper Hash
Prep & Cook Time: 10-15 Minutes | Difficulty Level: Easy | 451 Calories per Serving
I knew this week would be busy when I picked out my meals, so I opted for a couple of recipes that would be relatively quick to prepare. With an estimated prep and cook time of only 10-15 minutes, I knew I could get this pork medallion dish on the table quickly after a long day.
I'm a big fan of dishes that blend unique flavors successfully, and I found the combination of honey and ancho really delightful. I rarely opt for pork when I'm designing menus myself, but I'm frequently tempted these days by Home Chef's pork recipes. (Perhaps I should start including more lean pork dishes into my meal planning!) The corn and pepper hash was flavorful and satisfying, but I couldn't help but feel this meal was a little light. My husband headed back into the kitchen when we were done eating to scrounge up some fruit to nibble on, so I think a side of rice or beans would have made this a bit more filling. I can't complain about the flavors though; this dish was tasty.
Meal #3: Miso Mushroom Gemelli Pasta with Parmesan and Green Onions
Prep & Cook Time: 25-35 Minutes | Difficulty Level: Easy | 634 Calories per Serving
For a long time, the only time I'd eat miso was when I was out for Japanese food, but I've recently changed my tune. I came across a recipe in this cookbook that has changed the way I think about miso. It's a pasta dish with a miso-based sauce: Tagliatelle with Portobellos and Chive Ricotta. The sauce is made with a red miso, and it's become one of my favorite recipes ever. It's also changed the way I think of miso; it's not just for soup! When I saw this recipe on the Home Chef menu, I couldn't resist adding it to my box. Mushrooms, pasta, and miso? Sold!
This meal ended up being a total star. The combination of mushrooms, Parmesan, and miso was like an umami flavor bomb! The flavors were simple and delicate but utterly crave-able, and the green onion added a beautiful pop of freshness that cuts through the richness. This dish wasn't on the table as quickly as the pork medallions, but it was pretty hands-off and fairly easy to prepare. I'm always looking for ways to reinvent my favorite meals, and I now know that miso + pasta + mushroom is a winning combination, even if I mix things up a little bit.
Was This Box Worth It?
The Cost: Meals for two 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). Could I shop for groceries and make the same number of meals for less money? Of course, but during busy weeks like this one, I'm grateful for the time I save not having to meal plan and go to the store. The convenience factor Home Chef provides is well worth the cost in my opinion!
This box from Home Chef did not disappoint. I had a lot on my plate the week this shipment arrived, and I was grateful that I could still prepare fresh meals for my family with minimal stress. I enjoyed all of the meals I received this week, but the pasta dish felt the most special to me. The flatbreads were yummy and the pork was satisfying (if a little on the lighter side), but the pasta introduced a flavor profile you don't see every day that's utterly scrumptious. If I had to call out a few negatives, I'd say the pork dish could have been a bit more filling and the flatbreads could have done with something on the side, but those are fairly nit-picky complaints. Overall, this box was a winner.
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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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