Oh, Home Chef. Where do I even start?
If you’re following me on Instagram, you saw my stories the week our first Home Chef box arrived. And I’m also sure that you have an idea of exactly where this blog post is going to go…
But, for those that don’t, or if you have a memory like mine, I’ll start from the beginning.
Like with all of the boxed meal services out there right now, the Home Chef flyer card arrived in the mail and almost got tossed. However, with the winter sports season nearing an end, and $30 off our first box, I figured, why not? Can’t hurt anything, right?
I skimmed over some reviews of Home Chef, looked to see how they stacked up in others opinions, to services like Plated, Hello Fresh, and Blue Apron.
Then, I signed up, filled out all the required filling out things, scheduled my box, and away I went.
Then my son’s daycare called, he’d spiked a fever. Diagnosis? Influenza A. But thankfully, because of the shot, wouldn’t get any worse (and the doctor was, again thankfully, right). Two days later, we ended up with symptoms and jumped on the Tamiflu wagon, and (here’s that word again) thankfully, were spared the terribleness that was this year’s big flu.
Our first box showed up on the doorstep in the midst of all of this. Worried I was going to have to throw away, or cram everything into the freezer, I saw that we had a pretty good length of time before the “end date” of what was sent (ranged from 5-6 days). So, in the fridge everything went until we were on the mend later.
I like the handy little binder they send to tuck all of your recipe cards in – AND that they include a set that give you tips (like how seasoned to taste doesn’t mean dumping a container of salt and pepper on your food like how my husband does).
Meal #1: BBQ-Rubbed Chicken and Cheddar Mac.
Started here first because chicken is always your safest bet after an illness, it also looked the quickest to cook according to the times on the card, and had the shortest shelf life for products included with the recipe.
Home Chef sends everything except oil, salt, and pepper. They even included little packets of butter. You know, like the ones restaurants tuck in with your toasty warm rolls that come out before dinner?
The cheddar mac had me skeptical, solely because I hate cream cheese, and this recipe called for cream cheese. In the end, it ended up being the best part of the meal, despite being almost as bland as the chicken found itself being.
After we finished it, we looked at one another and didn’t even need to say anything. We were both hoping the other two meals would be an improvement and this was just a fluke. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either.
It literally left our taste buds thinking “Meh, that’s it?”
Meal #2 Spicy Apple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin.
Right off, I had to toss the almonds (mild allergy), so the corn and green bean succotash that you make with this one started behind the 8-ball.
The piece of tenderloin they sent just oozed yummy. That’s right. It’s silly to say it, but it just LOOKED delicious. It’s been a long while since I’ve seen a tenderloin look that good.
Again, they sent everything except the oil, salt, and pepper, which as always, makes it super easy. Especially when your no longer sick child is looking to make up for all of the chaos he missed out on when he was down for the count.
The glaze was okay. The pork cooked wonderfully. Definitely could have used a different side (lightly seasoned roasted potatoes?). It felt, and tasted incomplete.
And I know what you’re thinking. Almonds! But it wasn’t the almonds. It was a lot more.
Meal #3 Sirloin Steak with Blue Cheese Compound Butter.
Let me tell you about this meal…
The sirloin steak was seasoned to taste, then topped with Béarnaise sauce, and served with the green beans from the kit. The green beans were lightly tossed with oil and a homemade seasoning mix. Totally hit the spot.
The fingerling potatoes were seasoned and roasted, then served with a ham dinner I made.
Are you scratching your head yet?
After that second meal, I just, flat out was so unimpressed that I gave up. I didn’t stick it out to the end to see how the meal turned out, instead, used the bits and pieces with two other meals instead.
So, clearly, as you can guess, I have since logged into my Home Chef account and canceled it. Of course, I didn’t do so without looking ahead and reading the recipes for upcoming meal options. Maybe a light on, somewhere. But there wasn’t. I cannot justify paying for a service that brings me meals that leave me feeling left wanting. Wanting more. A lot more.
Pros: Quick, easy to make meals. You don’t have to go to the store. Depending on where you live, your income, and whether or not you shop with coupons/Ibotta/Ebates/etc… could be reasonably priced, or cheap for you – which is what they use as a slogan (that it’s cheaper than grocery shopping). Individual packaging. Good shelf life if you can’t get right to your meals.
Cons: Flavor lacks, which leaves you un-wanting to recreate the recipe later. Lack of creative meals. Expensive – definitely not cheaper for all of those items to make the meals where I live. I can hit our local grocery, and farm stands and save at least a quarter of the total amount (this is without the $30 off code for HC). If you have food sensitivities, or allergies, your choices are very limited (and even more bland). I was only given two delivery days from each week to choose from (which sucks).