Home Chef Week of April 13, 2016 Review

Home Chef is a subscription based service that delivers “everything you need to prepare home-cooked meals in about 30 minutes” all on a weekly basis.  Subscribers choose from 13 different meals each week, how many meals they want, how many people the meals are to serve, what delivery day, and can even skip weeks at a time in between deliveries.  Pricing is as follows:

$9.95 for each serving of each meal

Free shipping for all orders over $40

$10 shipping for orders under $40

There are multiple coupons out right now if you would like to try Home Chef, the best being my referral link, which will give you $30 off your first order.

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Whoop whoop!!  My first Home Chef delivery has arrived!  It was left right by my front door. I have to add that my house is about 150-200 feet off the street and I have 16 stairs up to my front door, so the delivery alone is a small feat and one that always makes me happy (since I don’t have to schlep the box myself)!!

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST CONTAINS REFERRAL LINKS.  SEE “HOW WE REVIEW…” FOR MORE DETAILS.

I’ve tried some other meal delivery services, but I haven’t heard too much about Home Chef….I thought I would give it a try. When I first logged onto the website, I had three meals already picked out for me.  But, it was easy to switch one of the preselected meals for a different one (or all 3).  The first thing I really noticed was that there were a ton of other options!  There were 10 other choices for me to look through, 13 available every given week!  I chose three that I thought my girls might possibly eat.  They are: Margherita Chicken Breast, French Onion Soup and Roast Beef Melt, and Brazilian Flat Iron Steak.

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This is what the online pics looked like, which helped me make my meal decisions.

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Inside the box, on the very top, was my Home Chef Binder (AKA My Cookbook).  Under the binder were the 3 recipe cards for the week with holes already punched so I could put the recipe pages right into My Cookbook.  Pretty cute!

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Under the binder was a foam lid.  When I opened it, I found all my ingredients bagged up inside foam walls.

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Each recipe had its own bag clearly labeled.

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Underneath the ingredient bags were several ice packs and the meats.  Here are my three meats…I’m not sure why one package of beef is very red, while the other one is very brown.

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And it seems like the beef also leaked a bit in the box.  I’ll have to put it on a plate in the fridge instead of putting it right into the meat/deli drawer.

Onto the first recipe!!

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I decided to make the chicken dish first.  My first step was to cut up the cauliflower and add it to boiling water.

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While the cauliflower was cooking, I marinated slices of tomato and mozzarella plus some garlic in olive oil and Italian seasoning.  The Roma tomato I received was not good…half of it was really mushy and I knew it would taste grainy and since we needed slices, it definitely wouldn’t work.  Luckily, I had an even larger Roma tomato in my fridge that I was able to replace the bad one with.

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Once the cauliflower was cooked, I squeezed out the excess water from the cauliflower and mixed in a few other things: Italian seasoning, liquid egg, parmesan cheese, and cornstarch.

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I heated up a bit of oil and then dropped spoonfuls of the cauliflower mixture into the pan to cook, flipping after a few minutes.

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Nice and golden brown!

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Once the cauliflower fritters were done, I seared the chicken breasts on each side.

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Then I assembled the chicken with tomato and mozzarella slices on top, alternating between the two.

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While the chicken finished up cooking in the oven, I wilted the spinach in a frying pan with just a touch of oil.

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Final step was plating and pouring a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar glaze on the chicken. I thought this was a great recipe and I thought my kids would love it.  Unfortunately, the seasoning in the marinade on the tomatoes and mozzarella was a little to bold for my girls and, therefore, they only picked at the chicken.  Neither of them loved the fritters, although I really thought they would love them.  And spinach is always hit or miss with my kids…depends on their mood that day.  Overall, it was a relatively easy recipe, was pretty healthy, but not one that I would select again since my kids didn’t love it.  And I do wish that tomato hadn’t been so damaged.

Friday night I made the French Onion Soup and Roast Beef Melt.  We had gone away the night before and I was in such a race to make dinner that I forgot to take any pictures.  But, it turned out exactly like the pictures on the recipe card!!  Here are my only comments about the recipe…

1. Doesn’t French Onion Soup mean it’s made with cheese?  If there’s no cheese than it’s only onion soup, right?  Well, no matter…there was no cheese or croutons.  We added our own since that’s how my girls like it.  I think they should have included them.

2. I figured out during this recipe that the brown pack of beef is the already cooked meat for the sandwich. I kind of wish the roast beef was a little less well done or that I had the opportunity to cook it myself and then I could have cooked it to my family’s liking.

3. The recipe called for a clove of garlic to be rubbed on the cut bread for the sandwiches.  Natalya actually was doing that step and she had a heavy hand with it.  I wish the recipe had warned the “chef” to do it only as heavy as they like garlic flavor.

4. Natalya’s palate is actually quite more refined than mine.  She said she wished the soup had a little more flavor.  She felt it was a little too watered down.  I thought it was great.

It really did look exactly like the photo on the recipe card and I would absolutely select this recipe again in the future.  Highly recommended!

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Next…onto the Brazilian Steaks!  Here are all the ingredients (minus the meat) laid out.

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I diced tomato and onion, then sliced the smallest zucchini in the world.  I even had to toss a slice of zucchini because it came damaged with a big hole punched in it.

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I heated a bit of oil, then added the diced onions, salt, and pepper.  After stirring once, it said to put the lid on and simmer for 3 minutes.  I’ve always just stirred onion until translucent or browned, so this new method of putting the lid on and timing it is very different to me.

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Here they are three minutes later.

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Then, I added half the diced tomatoes, some water, rice, and a packet of vegetable stock.  Lid back on for 15 minutes or so.  When the rice finished, I mixed in the rest of the tomatoes.

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In the meantime, I opened up the steak.  Ick!  I can now tell exactly what had leaked in the box in the first place and where the leak came from.  It’s actually kind of gross that something had punctured the steak that badly.

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I seasoned both sides with salt and pepper, then seared the steaks on both sides for a few minutes.  While the steaks were searing, I mixed a marinade of vinegar, oil, oregano, and garlic and put the zucchini slices in half of the marinade.  The other half I set aside.

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After being seared, into the oven the steaks go with the leftover marinade on top for about 7 minutes.

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Next, I pan fried up the zucchini in the same pan that I had seared the steak in.  No need to add more oil…I used the oil that was left from the steak.

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The steak took longer in the oven to cook than the recipe said, but maybe only 5 more minutes.  I might have received extra thick steaks, though.  I started to eat (since it smelled so yummy!!) before I took the final photo!  Good thing I hadn’t eaten too much before I remembered!  Overall, I thought this was a great recipe!  I think it’s relatively healthy and the rice was, by far, my favorite part of the meal.  I will absolutely be making the rice again! I do wish the zucchini was larger and I am sad that the zucchini and steak were all damaged, but I only had to toss one slice of zucchini and I cooked the steak anyway and pretended there wasn’t a hole in it from an unknown source.

Overall Impressions: I really enjoyed cooking the Home Chef recipes this week.  I love that there are so many choices and how easy it is to add servings, take away meals, skip weeks, etc.  The possibilities with this subscription are practically endless!  I’m sticking it out for one more week, more so because I can’t afford it after next week, but I’m already looking forward to next week’s recipes.  Oh!!  And I love having the quality time with my girls.  Normally one of them will assist me or even do most of it while I sit at the kitchen table and chat with them.  It’s a very special time for us.  I should also add that ordering 2 servings of each meal is perfect for my 11 year old, my 10 year old, and me.  We’re able to share it all and be relatively full.  My last comment is that I’m hoping this was a fluke box with the damaged steak, zucchini, and tomato.  I guess I’ll find out with next week’s delivery if it’s coincidence or the norm.  Have you tried Home Chef?  If so, what do you think of them?

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