Up until now I haven't really had one of these programs really jump out at me. I can be a notoriously picky eater (I'm working on it) and to be honest, I don't want to spend a fortune. So I got an offer for $30 off my first order from Home Chef (initial thought: "If I'm getting $30 off, how expensive is this?!") and started reading some reviews and perusing through their recipes.
Before I get into all the details, if you would also like $30 off please sign up here with my link! This helps support the blog and then I can bring you even more great content!
When you get started with Home Chef they ask you to select things you prefer to eat and things your prefer to avoid. It also asks about special dietary considerations. This is called your Taste Profile and you can go into your account settings and get even more in depth. It will also ask you how comfortable you feel with more advanced recipes which I think is great. While I've been cooking for many years, lots of people might be relatively new to cooking. We all have that one friend who makes a great bowl of cereal. For me what I was most excited about was the option to dislike mushrooms. I despise mushrooms with a passion so it was great to see it specifically singled out. It's the little things. Here's a look at my Taste Profile to give you an idea:
Now for the price break down:
The standard meals are $9.95 per serving
Occasionally premium meals are offered which are $14.95-19.95. I haven't come across these yet, but I'll post an update if I find any.
You can also add smoothies (the ingredients only, they do mention you need a blender) or seasonal fruit for $4.95. There is an option to always include these in your order.
There are also often 5 minute lunches, typically a salad with protein for $7.99.
Don't want anything this week? It's super easy to skip, it's located at the top of the dashboard where you would be picking your meals. No jumping through hoops which is great. All of your options just have to be in and saved by Friday 12:00pm CST.
The program automatically selects the meals it thinks you will like based on your preferences and those that have been rated as favorites by other users or their staff. You can then make changes and remove meals and add others as they strike your fancy. Here's what I chose for my first order:
Shrimp de Jonghe Penne with garlic butter bread crumbs, Chicken with Basil-Pecorino Cream Sauce and roasted red potatoes, and Steak with Horseradish-Herb Cream with potatoes pressé. My mouth is watering just writing that. (Pictures shown in order, from Home Chef website.)
Now I just had to patiently wait for my package to arrive. You can choose which day of the week you want to receive your order and you don't need to be home for it. This is so important for me because I have a crazy schedule and I can't be worrying that my food is sitting on the porch spoiling.
Fast forward to Thursday night and me receiving my package.
The package was surprisingly compact which was great since a part of me was expecting a behemoth. It was packed so well and even my spinach was in perfect condition. Everything in the box can be recycled too which is a huge bonus. There were 3 big ice packs and insulation filled with recycled, compostable, biodegradable textile fibers that can be recycled too. The meats are separated into a heavy duty zip top bag and are under ice packs at the bottom so that they wouldn't leak and would remain coldest. The ingredients for each meal come in separate bags so you can pull out one meal at a time.
I also really love that you only get sent exactly what you need since I hate wasting food. For example, in the picture above you can see a small jar, that's exactly as much pesto as I need for the recipe. I love pesto, but I don't use it often enough. I've had jars go bad before I could finish them and I always feel bad throwing them away.
The instructions are clear and well written with a beautiful photo on one side (this is used to help with plating) and detailed instructions with photos for each step on the other.
Since this was my first order they also included a 3 ring binder with some helpful terms and cooking tips included. The recipe cards come 3 hole punched so they can be put into the binder. I think this is great since I have a bookshelf for my recipe books and tend to lose cards. Each recipe can also be viewed online if you prefer and it will also show you other recipes you may like. This really helps to teach you more cooking techniques you may have never tried before.
So how did it all come out?
|Not pictured is the spinach... I had forgotten it in the fridge initially.|
The first night I made the Steak with Horseradish-Herb Cream since that was calling my name. It's listed as an intermediate level recipe, but I found it fairly straightforward and easy to prepare. The steaks were absolutely gorgeous cuts and came out perfectly.
|You can almost hear the sizzle|
My boyfriend and I loved the horseradish herb cream. We prepared it with all of the horseradish that it came with. The instructions mention to do it to taste and we started with half and found we wanted a bit more zip. In the end it was the perfect complement to the steaks and I tried a bite of it with the potatoes and that was equally delicious. Do what suits your tastes though and taste things often while you cook. The spinach had a great flavor from being cooked in the same pan as the steaks. Overall we were incredibly pleased.
We had a great time in the kitchen and sipped some wine while we cooked and then thoroughly enjoyed the meal. I feel confident I could replicate it again in the future. I could stand to improve my plating though.
Whatever reservations I had before I ordered were gone once we sat down to eat and we've already picked next week's meals. I also haven't stopped talking about it to anyone who will listen. Consider this picky eater a meal delivery convert.
Get $30 off your first Home Chef order by clicking here
Another really cool feature on their site is the ability to purchase kitchenware you might not have. So say you're looking at a recipe and realize you need certain pots, pans or other equipment. You can click on their Marketplace which will show you anything you may need and links you to the Amazon listing. Now you don't need to run to the store :)