I can’t even remember the last time I made a good, from-scratch sit-down meal, beyond just basically heating and eating. There usually just isn’t enough time and energy, even though there are tons of great recipes I would love to try. And even when I’m in the mood to cook, there always seems to be at least one key ingredient that I’m missing for just about every recipe I want to make! (You know what I’m talking about.) So when an opportunity came along to review Home Chef, a weekly meal delivery service that is designed to save you time and money, I jumped at it.
Home Chef advertises that it has everything you need to prepare home-cooked meals in about 30 minutes, and sends you fresh, pre-portioned ingredients to make those meals. Each meal is $9.95 per serving.
My first thought before receiving my first package was “I like fresh ingredients but, really? At $9.95 a serving, how can this save me money and time, and will I even like the meals? Are they going to be fancy and have weird ingredients?”
Placing my order
When creating my account, I learned that you can customize your taste preferences, such as whether you like to eat meat and seafood, and what foods you avoid, like soy and nuts. You can also set your preferences for low-carb and low-calorie.
You can also choose from 2-8 weekly meals, and 2, 4, 6, or 8 servings. I signed up for the 2-person, 2-meal delivery option. Then, the meals sent to you will be automatically added to your basket, but you can easily change them.
The meals added to my basket were Italian Wedding Soup with Pork Meatballs, and Pan-Seared Chicken and Roasted Beet Salad. I looked at my other options, which all looked good, but I thought these two options sounded (and looked) tasty enough so I left them.
My Home Chef package arrives!
My package was set to come on the following Friday, and I came home to find it sitting on my doorstep (it’s ok to not be at home when it arrives as they are packaged with ice packs to stay cold for a while). Inside were tons of ingredients, including fresh vegetables and meats, labeled and packaged by recipe. And all the ingredients really were fresh and ready to use.
There was also a binder to store the included recipes (a nice touch).
The first meal I prepared was the Pan-Seared Chicken and Roasted Beet Salad. The instructions were simple and clear, and the ingredients all ready to go. Ingredients like the champagne vinegar were labeled in a disposable container, and were just the right amount.
Though I’ve prepared a lot of foods in my life, and I like so many foods, I learned quite a bit from making these recipes. I had never actually prepared beets before, but I had to peel, dice and roast the beets for this recipe. After I did, I was so proud! And they were so good! I didn’t know there were different kinds of beets, like golden beets, so it was interesting to experience different flavors.
The chicken was so amazingly tender…and the recipe called for a different way of cooking than I’m used to. You cook it in a pan until browned, then bake it. It turned out really juicy and flavorful. In fact, the whole salad was full of flavor – the champagne vinegar and shallots added the perfect zing, and of course you can adjust the amount to your preference. The salad was topped with goat cheese and chopped pistachios. The only thing I wish I had done differently is mixed only enough of the salad together that was going to be eaten right away, and separated the rest for later, as the leftover arugula was soggy and wilted the next day. But in the end, I was very pleased, and inspired to make it again on my own in the future.
The Italian Wedding Soup with Pork Meatballs didn’t sound as exciting to me as the salad, but after I made it, I was so impressed with the flavor that I can honestly say this meal was my favorite of the two.
I chopped the kale and onion, and then the ciabatta into slices to be baked with olive oil and served later. Everything, again, was easy and simple, and the taste was incredible. It couldn’t have turned out better, and I discovered a new favorite meal!
So how does it save you time and money?
Home Chef claims that “for under $60, you get everything you need to whip up three restaurant caliber meals for two, including portioned out oils and spices. No wasted time. No wasted ingredients.”
If you’re comparing Home Chef to ordinary, everyday meals like casseroles, hot-dishes and entrees, then no, it doesn’t save you money. But Home Chef is comparing their meals with fancy, restaurant-quality meals, and I do believe it costs less. For one thing, you don’t have to buy full sizes of anything, like a jar of pistachios or a pound of chicken – you just receive exactly what you need for your recipe. Also, you save time by not having to search for all the ingredients (which sometimes means going store to store, since some of the ingredients aren’t the kind you buy everyday).
The only ingredients I had to provide were basic things like olive oil, salt and pepper, which I always have on hand anyway.
Would I order Home Chef again?
I wouldn’t eat every meal this way – but I would maybe once a month, or if I’m really motivated, once or twice a week. Or I’d order Home Chef meals for special occasions, like family get-togethers, or a romantic date night at home. The cooking itself is part of the experience – and it can be fun to do with others. I didn’t involve my kids much preparing these meals, since it was mainly slicing odd-shaped vegetables like beets, and frying and baking meats. But they can help with simple tasks, or you can get grandparents and other family involved. Home Chef also makes a great gift!
I like that you don’t have to receive meals each week to subscribe. You can skip a week, change your meals or cancel anytime. And the meals really are good – they were better than I expected, and I really enjoyed preparing them. Plus I felt really good about myself as a cook!
I also like that you can view full recipes online for upcoming and current recipes – so you can see everything that you’re getting and what to expect.
Meals they have coming up include Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie, Buffalo Turkey Burger, Roasted Cauliflower Tacos, Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps, and Parisian Bistro Steak. I’m getting hungry just thinking about them!
Try it and save $30
To try Home Chef and save $30, enter GA30FREE at checkout! Go to their website and get started now!
(Disclosure: I received complimentary Home Chef meals to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine.)