I decided to try the food service Home Chef. This is where they send you all the ingredients and the recipe and you just make the food. For $9.95 per serving, I thought it would be a good alternative to eating out. I mean, true, I’m still cooking. But the grocery shopping is done and everything is just ready to go. A few meals per week where I don’t have to think as hard about them seemed nice. Besides, Groupon had a deal.
They only had one meal this week that matched my food profile, the Lemon-Parsley Fish Cakes with romaine and tomato salad. My family is pescetarian, which means the only things with spinal cords we eat are fish, and even that is pretty limited. We also don’t eat animal-based dairy in the house. (I’m also lactose-intolerant so I have to limit dairy outside the house, as well, or it gets embarrassing to go places with me.)
So my meal was shipped in a box via FedEx. It’s packed to stay cold even if you’re not at home when it’s delivered. Bonus, everything is either compostable or recyclable!
Everything is packaged nicely with labels on them to identify what meal it makes. When you are ready to cook, you just pull out the bags with the name of the dinner you want to make and it’s all right there. Since this was my first order, I also got a cool 3-ring binder with a laminated welcome packet that had some basic cooking lessons and tips, as well as the information on how the packaging can be responsibly disposed of.
And, of course, I got the recipe card for my meal that will be stored in the binder. The recipe card was very easy to follow, told you what to do to prep beforehand and when to do what. Even though some of the ingredients are pre-measured, the recipe card includes an ingredients list with correct amounts so you can use this recipe again on your own schedule. That was pretty cool.
The meal is set up for two-servings. So even when you purchase the 4-serving or more amount, the ingredients come bundled in 2-serving portions. I got two bags of ingredients. The recipe card is for 2-servings, therefore the only real thinking you have to do is just doubling everything. No real big.
The ingredients were good. Everything was fresh, the fish didn’t smell like anything, and everything were in good portions.
The instructions were clear and there were photos all along which could be very helpful for a novice cook. It said it would take about 30-40 mins for a two-serving recipe, but it was closer to an hour by the time the first batch of fish cakes were plated and offered.
And the food was good! I mean, really really good! The fish cakes were awesome and the poppy-seed dressing was perfect with the romaine. Very flavorful and, though my family eats huge portions (I have teenagers), I didn’t think the serving sizes were too small. I mean, yeah, we would have kept eating if there was more because it was delicious, but they were satisfying platefuls.
What I like about this is the fact that everything is pre-portioned. I use dried herbs exclusively because there is always waste when I purchase them fresh at the grocery store. And because of the service’s perfectly-portioned amount of ingredients, I can order mushroom dishes and for the two members of my family who hate them, I can just double up on the other two’s servings.
The price is too high for too many meals a week for our family. But Home Chef allows you to choose how many meals and you can skip weeks if you want to. They offer, I think, ten meals a week to choose from, so you are not stuck with whatever they decide for you. If nothing appeals, just skip it. I like that freedom. I also like that you can see all the recipes before you pick the meals. It means you can see if you can handle the prep or have certain cookware needed, which could be a consideration for those just starting out or in limited space.
Oh! And the recipe cards come with nutritional info! Very handy for those of us who track that kind of stuff!