7 Things I Learned from a Meal Delivery Service {Home Chef}

by Heather

The doorbell rang as I was putting the baby down for a nap {or rather I should say trying to put the baby down for a nap}. My four year old leapt up off the floor of the nursery {where he was trying and failing to be quiet for the fifth time that day} and ran to the door. Nothing lights up his world like a package being delivered. He waited impatiently as I settled the baby in his crib {finally} and asked endlessly, “Is it for me? Is it for me?”. I fudged the truth a little, as parents are allowed to do, and proclaimed “Yes, it is! Open it!”

Things to know about meal delivery services. Click for $30 off!

Pssst. –> Here’s $30 off in case you don’t make it to the end. 😉

home chefhome chef meal box

It wasn’t a complete lie; it was dinner in a box, which basically meant it was for everyone. Well, almost dinner in a box. It was a package of ingredients, already divided out into separate bundles, each with an attached recipe and step by step directions for turning the loose ingredients into a fantastic meal {or so the pictures lead you to believe – and spoiler alert, did exactly that}. Despite taking KB grocery shopping and having him help with food prep every week, he was ALL about this exciting venture we were about to have with our meal delivery service.

home chef meal deliverymeal box delivery

Though it was only mid-morning he was more than eager to help me make dinner for the first time in a long time. When dinner time finally did roll around, the day had gotten away from me, as it usually does, and suddenly I needed to have dinner on the table in less than thirty minutes if I wanted my preschooler to go to bed anywhere near on time, despite having a cranky baby on my hands – you know how that hour goes.

meal delivery servicehome chef ingredients

Meal box to the rescue. Though I was skeptical when I first heard of this food trend, I was quickly turned into a potential believer as I cooked dinner one-handed while feeding a baby and keeping four-year old fingers away from sharp knives. {Side note: I should get a prize every time I successfully get dinner on the table and everyone still has all their fingers.}

fresh ingredients

If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, here’s a quick rundown of the meal delivery service: We tried three meals from Home Chef this week. An insulated box arrived on our doorstep containing all the ingredients to make these meals, each wrapped up in their own tiny package. I threw the meat/seafood in the freezer and everything else in the fridge exactly as it came out of the box. On the day of, I simply followed the directions on the recipe card. There was a little bit of chopping involved {think slicing the ends off green beans and halving tomatoes} but that was the bulk of the prep. Two of the meals were on the table in 20ish minutes; the other took a little longer but it was mostly in oven time, not actual cooking.

turkey salisbury steak home chef

I was impressed with the quality of the ingredients, the health factor, the ease of preparation, the deliciousness, and the price for what you got. {For the record, we got 2.5 servings out of each meal, 2 adults and 1 tiny tornado eater of a four year old.} So here’s my takeaway in a nutshell besides it was easy and good –>

meal delivery service what i learned




7 things I learned {or re-learned} from the meal delivery experience:

1. Fresh ingredients make a HUGE difference in flavor. Lime juice is a kitchen staple here, but a FRESH lime? SO much better. I don’t even need to mention how much better fresh veggies taste, do I?

2. Following step-by-step written directions helps me stay on course when I’m distracted by a baby {or anything}. I constantly look up recipes, but actually follow them? Almost never. Dinner prep went so much smoother when I knew exactly what I needed to do and in what order, and I knew exactly where to come back to when I was inevitably distracted for the 24,495th time.

jerk chicken plaintains home chef

3. Having a package delivered made my preschooler super excited about making dinner and trying new foods. No dinner battle? Nuff said.

4. “Fancy” looking meals can actually be easy to make at home. Mahi Mahi. Jerk chicken. Salisbury turkey steak. These are not things that usually come out of my kitchen. And the almost looked as good on our plates as they did in the pictures.

mahi mahi mango salsa home chef meal

5. It pushes you out of your comfort zone, both ingredient-wise and in terms of cooking ability. I love fish but for whatever reason am paralyzed by cooking it at home. Turns out it’s easier to cook than chicken. And Salisbury steak? I never would have attempted cooking it because although I’ve heard of it, I didn’t have a clue what it was. I think this would be a great way to introduce someone to cooking. {ahem, cough, cough husband.}

healthy salsibury turkey

6. Having everything ready to go makes the dinnertime “witching hour” easier. You know, that hour where everyone needs you RIGHT NOW and you need to make dinner, feed a baby, give baths, answer 4,483 variations of the question “why?”, and still appear to have it all together when your husband walks in the door from a week out of town without downing the entire bottle of wine before 5? Yeah, that hour.

home chef review

7. Sometimes it’s easier just to have things done for you. Sure, I coooould make a plan and a list, look up recipes, go to the store, prep food, and cook. But that takes brain power and mental energy I just don’t have much of these days. So yeah, I’ll take some help.

preschool food plate <—deconstructed pre-school portion

In short, here are the highlights of our Home Chef delivery in an easily digestible {no pun intended} bullet point format:

  • Shows up on your doorstep.
  • Easy to follow, clear directions.
  • Tells you exactly how many days you have to cook said meal.
  • You get to pick your meals & they highlight allergens <— this was one of the main reasons I’ve never tried a meal delivery service before, but I was able to pick dishes that met our dietary needs or easily leave out an ingredient {like butter}
  • FRESH {and healthy!}
  • Makes everyone happy
  • You can skip deliveries whenever

And to be fair, my cons:

  • No leftovers. Winking smile

A snapshot of our meals:

Jerk chicken with brown sugar plantains, coconut rice, and kale.

jerk chicken coconut rice home chef

Salisbury turkey steak with mushrooms and veggies.

salisbury turkey cauliflower home chef

Smoky paprika Mahi Mahi with mango black bean salsa and green beans.

mahi mahi mango salsa home chef

To sum up the review: my next meal box comes Friday.

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If you want to try Home Chef, now’s a good time to do it – sign up for your first order using this link you can get $30 off your first box. Then you can get your own code and give someone else $30 off, plus get a $30 credit yourself.

To break it down, that means you can get four meals for less than $20, which is cheaper {and WAY healthier} than fast food.

Have you tried a meal delivery service? What was your experience?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

dixya @food, pleasure, and health May 1, 2016 at 8:10 am
i have yet to try a meal delivery service but i have heard good things about most of them...i think it makes a eating healthy at home lot easier and love the fact that all the guess work is done for you, so yea no waste :)
Heather May 6, 2016 at 8:00 am
Yes, for sure! I've been impressed with how healthy all the meals we've tried so far have been.
Madeline Solk May 5, 2016 at 4:52 am
I tried Blue Apron for a few months but the prep time for me was about an hour with another 30 minutes for all the cleanup, stove, pan, dishes. My back could not take the extra amount of standing so I had to quit. I do like the concept though.
Heather May 6, 2016 at 8:02 am
Oh wow, that'd be too much for me too! The longest one I've done so far for prep & cook has been about 30 minutes. Clean up is usually a pan, a bowl, and throwing the bags away. ;)
SGFitz May 9, 2016 at 2:09 pm
I only cook for myself, and I'm vegan, so I don't know that this would be a good choice for me. I have heard that a chef called Matthew Something will be involved with a vegan service... but he also opened a restaurant in Oklahoma City, and one day the staff showed up for work to find the place deserted, so giving him any money doesn't thrill me at all. It would be great to have something like this that could be done quickly, had healthy ingredients, and was reasonably priced, so hopefully it will catch on, and competition will cause prices to lower!
Christina f March 10, 2017 at 10:29 pm
try the purple carrot, it's great and all vegan
angry September 17, 2016 at 8:42 pm
Just FYI for anyone considering this CRAP MEAL DELIVERY SERVICE...I received my first order on a Wednesday at approximately 5 pm. I didn't have time to cook that evening or the next. They charged my debit card for the next shipment FRIDAY AT NOON CENTRAL TIME. I hadn't even had a chance to try anything at that point and had received it less than 48 hours prior. They didn't exactly make this clear and they never even sent me a receipt or notification that I had been charged and would be receiving anything at all. I assumed I would have until at least Saturday morning to cancel. I don't think it was unreasonable to expect I'd have an opportunity to try the food before being billed for more. The only reason I caught it is because I saw the transaction on my bank's website. I emailed them immediately and they didn't bother to respond until - conveniently - they said the order had been processed. Then they treated me like an idiot who doesn't know how subscription services work. You've been warned. Oh, and the food from the first order was nothing great. If I'd paid $20 for that for two at a café, I would have been disappointed. Let alone $20 to make it and clean up myself. The morons also sent me flat leaf parsley instead of cilantro.
Heather September 20, 2016 at 10:18 am
That stinks you had a bad experience. I hope your feedback helps them improve the site. It does say right in the terms though that orders are placed at 12p CST every Friday unless you skip or cancel. I agree a "shipment is coming" email would be helpful!
Peter Piper March 19, 2017 at 9:04 am
By experience we know that there are complications to everything. You cannot sign up for any of the home delivery meals without disappointment later. If things can go wrong, they will. We know that by experience.

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