I love cooking.
I hate meal planning. I despise grocery shopping.
I’ve spent many Sunday afternoons going through recipe websites, typing up shopping lists, making little weekly meal grids in Evernote. It would take an entire afternoon, and I would be so sick of it by the end, I would just drive to Panda Express and get some orange chicken instead. I was so tired of thinking about food by that point, I would give up. Then I would daydream about what it would be like if exactly the ingredients I need to make something new and tasty would just show up in my kitchen.
Apparently, that’s a thing.
I started looking at reviews of meal kit services like Blue Apron, Plated, Hello Fresh, Home Chef, and few other competitors. Home Chef seemed to be a great fit for what I was looking for, so I’ve been using it for about two weeks now. I think it’s great, and want to tell you about it.
I snapped a few photos from a Home Chef meal I made this week, so you can see how the system works.
Everything shows up in a refrigerated box on the weekday of your choosing (with more icepacks than seems quite necessary… but at least you don’t fear spoilage)
Each meal kit is a single bag, with everything in it except the meat. (All the meat for the week is in a separate bag, with even more gratuitous icepacks.) My first shipment came with a three ring binder to store the meal cards that come with each kit so you can keep them for later.
So far the only thing I’ve been expected to have pre-stocked are olive oil, salt, pepper, & water. Even things like butter, soy sauce, honey, etc. come in the pouch.
Here’s my meal kit spread out. All the ingredients are labeled, fresh, and proportioned.
Usually I’ve given up on my cooking ambitions somewhere before I get to this point. The grocery store didn’t have something I needed, or I would have to fly to Taiwan to find it. Basically, now all that is left to do is the fun part: cook!
You have an option of 2 or 4 serving meals. I’ve been getting the 2-serving ones, and I immediately plate the second one into a storage dish for lunch the next day.
Here are some other meals from my box last week:
Each serving comes out to just around $10, which only slightly cheaper than its restaurant equivalent around here. So this won’t be a huge budget saver, but I haven’t really found any way to eat fresh food on a budget anyway. One of the reasons I went with Home Chef over their competitors is on the meal card, they already calculated the carbs, fat, protein, and sodium for each meal, which makes it super easy for me to input into MyFitnessPal, where I track my daily nutrients.
Plus, it gives me experience cooking things I wouldn’t ordinarily have ever tried, in a somewhat controlled setting. And I can keep all the recipe cards, so if I ever get over my aversion to grocery stores (unlikely!), I could easily reproduce any of these meals knowing that I’ve already pulled it off at least once. I’ve thought of it as training wheels to get me into the habit of cooking more, but the convenience might also prove to be pretty addicting. We’ll see.
If you want to give Home Chef a try I’d definitely recommend it. And if you click this link you’ll get $30 off your first shipment.