I’m going to be 100% honest with you guys because I think there are way too many people out there that make it seem like life is perfectly peachy and “having it all” is a piece of cake. I don’t believe that for a second though and you probably don’t either. So, why not just tell it like it is?! Life has felt real crazy for me lately! It has definitely been an adjustment for me as far as what it takes to juggle everything… my full time job (which is often more than 40hrs a week already), plus taking on freelance jobs outside of work, while also not just creating cool content (that’s the fun part) for Type Aly, but also documenting it all. Throw in regular life stuff like family get-togethers, baby showers, birthdays, car repairs, household chores, etc and you get the idea! And I really wouldn’t change anything about any of it (well maybe the household chores and car repairs), but I would be lying to you great people if I said that it was a cinch to tackle everything. I have a great BF who I couldn’t get through life without, but even with all that he does (which is a lot), it still gets overwhelming. It really does make me admire those boss ladies out there that are doing all of this PLUS raising little humans too!
I may have gotten a little off topic there, but #realtalk nonetheless. I’m glad I can lay it all out there with you guys. All of this to say that for a while, I’ve really been off my game as far as meal-planning and cooking at home for the BF and myself. I am super lucky that he often cooks for us, but our go-to list of quick and easy meals that we both cook regularly was starting to get boring, and they weren’t the most diet friendly either. I decided that it was time we jump on the bandwagon of meal delivery subscriptions in hopes that we eat more wholesome meals each week, that we both become better cooks, and that having meal-planning off of my to-do list would free up some space in my currently crowded brain.
Before landing on Home Chef as our subscription of choice, I read this article, by Money Under 30, that broke it down and compared several of the services out there. There are tons of reviews and plan comparisons out there, but I felt like I got a good, honest review from that article and I was so ready to jump in, that I didn’t dive much deeper. Home Chef seemed like the right plan for us because it offered 10 meals to choose from each week (BF can be a bit of a picky eater), was inline with the more affordable of the plans ($9.95 per serving), seemed to be a little less complicated than the competitors as far as prepping, and it allows you to go all the way down to just 1 meal per week if you want vs the 3 meal minimum of most other plans. They also offer $30 off your first order when you sign up and additional credit for referrals as many of them do.
I signed up with 2 meals for 4 for the first week. I wanted to see what the portion sizes were for 4, and since I had the $30 off the first order, I thought it would be a good time to see if it would be better to get 2 meals for 4 and have leftovers, or just do meals for 2 for less money, but not have left overs. After week 1, we decided to change to meals for 2 because the leftovers weren’t very good reheated. That could have just been the specific meals, but it still seemed better for us for the cost. The one thing I wish they did differently is that they ONLY give the option of Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday deliveries. That seems wrong to me since most people want to cook those kind of meals during the week, the meals only have a 5 day fridge life, and you miss the first 2 days of the week. Not sure why they do that, but I wish they would at least deliver on Tuesday.
So currently, we are 3 weeks in, each week having 2 meals delivered. Here is how they came and links to their recipes via Home Chef.
- Harvest-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with sage-roasted butternut squash
- Mongolian Beef with Ribeye Steak and roasted Chinese broccoli
- Chile Rellenos Chicken with chipotle butternut-carrot mash
- Spooky Ground Beef Cottage Pie with ghostly mashed potatoes (Holiday Special)
- Steak with Horseradish-Herb Cream and potatoes pressé
- Chicken with Basil-Pecorino Cream Sauce and roasted red potatoes
I chose these meals out of the ten per week that they offered for a few reasons. Firstly, BF won’t eat any seafood AT ALL so those offerings were out, but I did want the meats in the meals to be different from each other for that week to keep it more interesting. I tried to choose a good balance for difficulty level so that if one was listed as Intermediate or Expert, the other meal coming with it was listed as Easy so that we had options depending on how busy things got during the week. Lastly, I chose meals that I felt like were worth the expense. At $20 for a meal for 2, considering what it would cost at the grocery store prices, what was I willing to pay for the added convenience? This part of my thinking has prevented me from getting any of their vegetarian options. I just don’t feel like I can justify paying $10 a person for a meatless pasta dish that I am cooking myself when I can make it for well under $5 a serving normally. I feel like the options with meat are closer to what I am willing to pay, but that may just be a personal preference.
After cooking all of these dishes here is how they ranked and a couple notes as to why.
I cooked this one. This was our least favorite so far. The flavor was good with the apples, sage and butternut squash, but the meat was dry (as pork tenderloin often is), but there was WAY too little sauce to accommodate for the dryness of the meat. Also, there was far too little of the butternut squash side which was actually really delicious (probably my favorite side dish if I were ranking those separately), but was only a couple of bites worth once we divided it up.
BF cooked this one. It was actually really tasty, but we both agreed that it could have used a touch more sauce also. The portion size for this one was really good though. The main reason that this one is ranked 5th is because it took far longer than advertised to make with the prep and didn’t really impress us as much as the meals we got after.
This was a crazy week for us so I didn’t get a photo of this one finished (so this photo is the recipe card one). BF cooked this one. He said it was pretty simple to make which is a plus, although he didn’t go to all the trouble of making the mashed potato ghosts. We just ate it the beef mixture on top of the taters. This gets ranked 4th because of a couple reasons. First, our package was missing 2 ingredients (dropped the ball there Home Chef), the miso and the cheese. We had some sharp cheddar to substitute so it wasn’t totally ruined, but we had to go without the miso. Also, it was really lacking flavor. The portion size was good. All in all, we would probably make it again, but with more seasoning for sure.
I cooked this one. BF would say that this meal and the next, 2nd ranked meal should be switched, but since I am writing this, my opinion wins. 😉 This was really good. Neither one of us is a big horseradish fan, and yet we really liked the sauce. The potatoes came out SUPER crispy and were really hard to get out of the muffin tin, so I would recommend using a good amount of cooking spray. The spinach was also really easy and so garlicky delicious. Definitely would make again!
BF cooked this one. It gets the 2nd ranked spot DESPITE the fact that the shallot that was included was not useable (one side totally mushy) so we subbed for white onion we had on hand, and the bell peppers were a little wrinkly too but useable (strike two Home Chef). However, we still LOVED this meal. The chicken was so delicious and the sauce totally made it! Plus, there was enough sauce to use for both the chicken AND the potatoes which was so yums.
That brings us to the top spot! Our favorite meal yet. I cooked this one and it was the other meal that came in the crazy week so I didn’t take a photo (so again, this is the recipe card image). We weren’t really expecting this to be as good as it was. It didn’t look all that special, but we were both floored at how amazing it was. The cheesy-chile topping was so flavorful, and the way they have you cook the chicken made it SO crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. I hadn’t cooked chicken like that before, but I certainly will be doing more of that in the future. The mash was also really good. BF thought it was a bit spicy, but I added the chipotle powder, so I probably just put too much for his liking. Also, the carrots didn’t really get soft enough to mash, but they were still full cooked so I didn’t mind them mixed in with the mash of the butternut squash. I actually kind of liked the slight texture difference.
So that’s it! We will probably keep using Home Chef I think through the end of the year at least, but it hasn’t been perfect so we could end up changing services or canceling. We will have to see! Have any of you guys used Home Chef? If so, what has been your favorite recipe so far? Or do you think that the meal service you use stacks up better than Home Chef? I’d love to know your experience and if you think we could be doing better!