Hey Royals! TSF here and I’m back to share my 2 cents about something I think you all would love. Roxy often shares recipes and budgeting tips (which I’ve added to my arsenal of “live right goodness”) so I was excited to combine the two and experiment with a meal kit service. My choice was Home Chef. For those of you who are not familiar with a meal kit/delivery service, it’s essentially a program that lets you pick your meals for the week, then delivers all the ingredients to your doorstep. Each service is different in terms of how many meals you can order, how many recipes are available, how long you have to choose your menu etc, but the concept is the same.
With Home Chef specifically, I chose the three meals per week option for $59. My menu choices were Quick Braised Salmon and Miso Honey Caesar Salad, Chicken with Tiger Sauce and Ginger Snap Peas (this was meant to be served with rice but I passed on the carbs and prepared an additional side of veggies), and the Seared Flat Iron Steak with Sweet Potatoes and Balsamic Arugula Salad (the salad was supposed to be prepared with blue cheese, but I swapped out for dried cranberries). These meals are photographed from left to right below.All of the ingredients arrive in a refrigerated box with the produce and ingredients for each recipe individually wrapped and labeled, and the protein was packaged separately (each in their own vacuum sealed packs). I chose for my box to be delivered on Wednesday which meant I had to choose my 3 meals by the previous Friday. For first time orders, you also receive a recipe binder to store your recipe cards. They even provide an information sheet with commonly used kitchen utensils and a glossary that defines terms (with pictures) that you’ll see in the recipes such as seared, diced, minced, bias etc. The recipes are very detailed and include pictures. The step by step instructions are easy to understand and I like that they teach you how to plate your meal so that it looks like their pictures (because we all know that pretty food tastes better).
8 Reasons Why You Should Try Home Chef
Now that you get the gist of what the service is, here are 8 reason why I highly recommend Home Chef for busy Royals on the go, cooking enthusiasts who are looking to experiment in the kitchen, or anyone who’s looking for a convenient and affordable option to eat delicious food on a budget:
1. Home Chef has encouraged me to cook more. I made time to cook at least 3 times this week. This is perfect because the recipes are for 2 servings so I enjoyed the freshly cooked meals for 3 days and left overs on three days. This works well with my schedule because I typically eat out at least once a week during/after a meeting. They do offer 4 and 5 meal options as well, though if you’re cooking for 2, you won’t have the benefit of left overs.
2. I’ve been less wasteful. It’s hard (for me at least) to cook for 1. I usually have a ton of left overs which I get bored of quickly so they go bad, or I end up with cabinets full of unused condiments/ingredients that I’ve purchased for 1 new recipe. Home Chef only sends the exact amounts of ingredients that I need for the recipe so I don’t have the guilt of unnecessary purchases. For these 3 recipes alone I would’ve needed ingredients like Miso Paste, Seasoned Rice Vinegar, Mirin, Dark Brown Ponzu Sauce, and Sambal. If you’re anything like me, you don’t know what half those things are and certainly probably never used them in the kitchen before. This brings me to my next two points: Time and Creativity.
3. Home Chef saves time and it’s convenient! Due to the fact that I drink Herbal Life Meal Replacement Shakes for breakfast, my grocery store visit (or Postmates order if I’m lazy lol) only involves shopping for lunch and snack items. My lunch usually includes a salad or something simple like protein and veggies so grocery shopping is a breeze. Not only do I not have to meal plan and decide what’s for dinner every day, I don’t have to shop for the ingredients. Can you imagine the time I would’ve wasted in the international cuisine aisle looking for Dark Brown Ponzu Sauce and Sambal, especially to not use them again? The pre-portioned recipes save time in the kitchen as well because you don’t have to measure ingredients, plus every recipe’s cook time was 20-40 minutes. Easy! In terms of convenience, you can always skip weeks when you don’t need/want service. I travel a lot and I’ll usually know by Friday (my deadline to pick meals for Wednesday delivery) if I’ll be in town the next week or not. I can easily choose not to get a delivery and I won’t have groceries wasting away in the fridge while I’m away. Sidenote: due to the packaging, you don’t even have to be home to receive the delivery! it’ll be fresh and ready when you return home from work, yoga, or the kids’ after school activities.
4. The service helped me get more creative in the kitchen. Yes two of the meals included salads, but I’ve never made a salad dressing from scratch before which was a plus for me. My homemade salads are usually topped with a store bought dressing (mostly ranch haha), so it was fun to create salad dressings and protein sauces from scratch. I can now accurately describe what a sauce reduction means when I see it on a menu lol. I’m also able to enjoy tasty, guilt free meals without the redundancy of meal prepping. I’m all for low calorie/healthy meals, but I personally do not want chicken/fish with ________(insert lucky veggie of the week) 5-7 days straight. Remember that whole bored of leftovers thing?
5. Taste. Every meal was delicious! Now I have to admit, being raised on southern meals, I’m ALWAYS skeptical when I see recipes that only require the use of salt and pepper to season protein. My eyebrow raises wondering where’s the seasoning salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and lemon pepper (y’all know these are staples in most soul food dishes). Despite my skepticism, I forced myself to try the recipes as is and add seasoning later if needed. With the exception of the steak (I couldn’t resist preparing my steaks how I love them lol), I seasoned and cooked all the ingredients per the recipe and everything was amazing! Because the recipes are created by professional chefs, they use the natural tastes and aromas of veggies, spices, and special sauces to enhance the flavors of the meal. I was pleasantly surprised. I would absolutely recommend each dish and will be cooking each of these recipes in the future.
6. Options, options, options! I’ve looked into a few services similar to Home Chef before, but the one thing that drew me in this time was the abundance of options. (I was also sold on this review by Maria Whiteway that compared the service to other popular ones like Blue Apron, Plated, and Home Fresh in categories such as taste, price, delivery, and menu options). Each week you pick which meals you want to get delivered. You can customize your profile for any lifestyle: vegan, low carb, low calorie, gluten free, shell fish allergy, pescatarian, etc. There are always over 10 meals to choose from. You also have the option of adding on fruit baskets and breakfast smoothies to your order. You can preview the recipes ahead of time and they even tell you the shelf life of each meal. For example, the salmon needed to be cooked within 3 days, the chicken within 5 days, and the steak within 6 days. This is why I cooked the meals in the order that I did and none of the ingredients went bad. I must mention that they do have some meal options that are loaded with carbs and calories like the Double Crispy Ranch Chicken Sandwich or the Italian Sausage Stromboli so will power is necessary if you are more health conscious, but this is a service for ALL eating lifestyles so I expected to see some tempting options. They also have premium options offered during some weeks which means you can pay an extra $10 per serving to have a meal like the Backyard Seafood Boil with lobster and shrimp (yes I will be making that splurge next week lol), but it’s still fairly cost effective, which leads me to number 7…
7. Affordability. On average, I definitely spend more than $60 a week for 3-6 meals. I sometimes spend that much on one dinner when I eat out (don’t judge me), so the service was a no brainier for me. Even with the premium option in mind, I’d spend well over $40 for 2 servings of a seafood boil with shrimp and lobster if I went grocery shopping and prepared it myself. Because of the fact that you only get what you need, and also because I’m sure they get the ingredients at a wholesale price, the savings are passed on to you. ABC 7 New York even did a comparison between Home Chef’s meals and the price you’d pay for the same meals at the grocery store. Home Chef was cheaper averaging at $10 or less per serving. It’s also noteworthy that some ingredients could not be found at the local supermarket. Check out the video here.
8. I’d be failing if I didn’t mention that the Home Chef service is Eco-Friendly. All the packaging is recyclable from the delivery box and the insulated refrigerated cube, to the ice packs and plastic. You don’t have to feel guilty about getting weekly deliveries and trashing the environment with harmful materials.
All in all, I love the service and I’m excited for this week’s menu! I would definitely recommend Home Chef and I truly believe that this is the answer to my struggle between loving to cook and trying new things, and redundancy of what I’ve known to be healthy eating. Now, I’m not an official Home Chef ambassador, and I’m not getting paid or receiving any perks for this honest review, but if you would like to try the service, you might as well use my referral code to get $30 off your first order. Be sure to check back to let Roxy and I know what you think!
I haven’t tried Home Chef or any other meal kit service, but from what Tamara is saying, it is definitely a service I could see making my life a whole lot easier. Even if you don’t use the service every week, I think it would be a fun and healthy way to change up the menu.
For more of The Single Friend (aka Tamara) connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Don’t forget to check out her other contribution to Royalty in Reality, So You’re Finally Ready to Date?