There are three things you should know about me — 1). I am cheap, 2). I am a grouch, 3). I am a terrible, terrible cook.
So, I will admit, those qualities have made me a fairly sharp critic of most subscription meal services.
I’ve tried four of these services so far, because I love eating (and saving money), but I somehow always find a reason to convince myself that the subscription just isn’t worth the time or the expense.
Until, that is, I tried Home Chef.
Because, while, on the surface, Home Chef is similar to the other meal subscription services out there, it has seemingly also found a way to address all of the little nitpicky concerns I’ve had with the other meal boxes out there.
Plus the food is great. Let me say that upfront. The ingredients are fresh, the recipes are killer, everything is very tasty. But, if tasty was the only criteria, we’d all just eat out every night, right?
What makes Home Chef memorable is that it brings together ALL of the criteria that a grouch like me needs to get excited about making his own dinner every night. (Which is a pretty big accomplishment.)
Here are the qualities where Home Chef towers above its competition:
1. The food
The raw materials you receive from Home Chef aren’t that different from what you’ll get from the other services, but it’s all well packaged and well sourced. The recipes are impressive and easy-to-follow. (And I am the king of missing steps when it comes to most recipes, so I really appreciate how clear and concise the Home Chef recipes are.)
But what really won over my cynical side was the variety of food OPTIONS that Home Chef provides.
Every week, you can choose between 13 different recipes, which is far and away the most options I’ve seen offered by one of these services. The first service I ever tried only let you pick 6 options a week (if you were ordering for two people) or 4 options a week (for “family” portions), so I was knocked out by how many different meals Home Chef offers each week.
Their menus include entrees like pork chop al pastor (YUM):
and roasted salmon with ginger-scallion sauce (YES, PLEASE!):
But the great thing is — not all of their options are dinner-focused (like most services). Home Chef also offers breakfast options, weekly smoothie options (Their S’mores smoothie? OMG), and weekly seasonal fruit options too (which can really help you exercise some healthy snacking options too).
2. The cost
This has been a big sticking point for me with most subscription meal boxes — is it actually worth the money you’re paying for it? And would it actually be cheaper just to go to the store or eat out instead?
The average cost for a Home Chef meal is $9.95 a serving (their fruit and smoothie options are $4.95 a serving). That’s significantly cheaper than many of their competitors (which can average upwards of $12 a serving). PLUS, YourTango got you an exclusive $35 discount on your first purchase.
And, you might say to yourself, “I could get a decent meal at a diner for $9.95,” but ask yourself — can you really? What options would be available to you? Is it really going to be 9 bucks, even after you tip?
If you go for the grocery store option, I think you might be forgetting the cost of all of your raw ingredients. You might be able to get your meat for a comparable price, but Home Chef recipes come with all the seasonings pre-packaged as well — spices, herbs, truffle oils, you name it — and some of those extras are EXPENSIVE at the store.
Plus you never use all of them (Has anyone actually ever used a whole bottle of paprika?), which is yet another reason why Home Chef makes financial sense. There’s NO waste. They only give you what you need, so nothing ages past its sell-by date in your fridge.
3. The flexibility
THIS is the quality where Home Chef really smokes the competition. Like most people, I have a unique family. There are only three of us, and some of us have food allergies, so I need a certain amount of “accommodation” when it comes to planning family meals.
Some meal subscription services make this very difficult. There are a few major services that don’t even tell you what they’re sending every week and other services make it surprisingly hard to know exactly what’s inside the meals you select.
But not with Home Chef. Not only do they offer more low-carb, low-calorie, vegetarian, and gluten-free options than most other services, but they also make it REALLY easy to see what those options are when you’re selecting your recipes for the week. Which makes all the difference in the world.
At a glance, I can tell if a recipe is going to work for my family, and that was one of my main points of frustration with some of the other services. With Home Chef, I won’t get halfway through cooking something before I realize that my daughter can’t eat 90% of the meal and I’m going to have to make her a microwave pizza instead.
Also, the flexible delivery schedule and portion options make sure that I can easily get the meals I want when I want them — and not get them when I don’t — AND I can make sure that my family of 3 isn’t stuck trying to deal with a “family” portion that’s designed to feed 6 people.
Like I said earlier, I’m not a great cook. Throwing together a perfect meal doesn’t come naturally to me, which is why I’ve experimented with so many subscription services. I want to be able to cook amazing, healthy, delicious food at home, but I need help. I need it to be quick, tasty, easy, and convenient.
And, for all the options I’ve tried so far, Home Chef is hands-down the best meal service out there. You’ll love the food and all the variety and customization will make sure you don’t feel like you’re locked into some lame “recipe of the month club.”
Created in partnership with Home Chef.