Review: Home Chef Meal Service

I love to cook. When US Family Guide and Home Chef offered me two free meals for two, I jumped at the chance. Home Chef delivers ready to cook meal kits. The shopping and most of the prep work is done! You get just enough of each ingredient, and you add minimal ingredients that are already in your pantry (salt, pepper, oil, water).

Each Dish comes with a recipe page that its into a 3-ring binder (which is included in your first order FREE).  Directions are step by step with photos, and all ingredients are listed on the card in case you want to make it yourself from scratch again.

So, I got my first kit in the mail last month, but right away something was off. Some of IMG_4166IMG_4170the veggies were not in good shape. IMG_4171I called customer service in the hopes they could just resend me the spoiled ingredients, but instead they gave me credit for two more meals, which wouldn’t have been a problem, but that meant it was another week before I could do my review.

I improvised with the steak salad. I had a bag of Romaine salad on hand, and some grape tomatoes to substitute for the ingredients that were not edible in the kit.  The steak was great. Overall it was easy to prepare.

Last week, the replacement kit arrived. Again, similar issues with some of the more delicate produce (cucumber, grape tomatoes, Roma tomato), but this time I didn’t bother calling. I just tossed the inedible produce, and subbed in what I had in the fridge. I made the Goat Cheese and Bacon Naan flatbread pizzas first- They were so easy and tasty.

I made a few tweaks (I didn’t use the honey to caramelize the onions- That’s totally cheating!). I made this the same day the box arrived and I will definitely be making it again!

img_4569.jpgThe other recipe that I received was the Shawarma Chicken Bowl.

The poor tomato and cucumber were both inedible. The cuke was frozen upon arrival (Due to it’s location in the box directly on top of a blue ice block), and the tomato looked like it had been knocked around a bit.

I improvised the dish a bit and it turned out ok. What I didn’t care for was that the seasoning on the meat and rice is the same. I did like how the chicken came out. It had a great level of seasoning and flavor. I grilled it on our outdoor BBQ.

OVERALL: Home Chef is a great way to try out new recipes if you are not an experienced cook.  It was nice to open a box and have all of the ingredients all ready to prep and cook. It is expensive for a family- starting at $9.95 per serving. That is still WAY cheaper than going out to eat, and in my opinion, these dishes could be restaurant quality with a little work on the consumers end (using proper knife skills, reading and following directions completely).  They worked great for us when we wanted to have a stay in date night and watch a Redbox.

I would be careful when choosing entrees not to pick ones with more delicate veggies, just because they tend not to travel well in the box with the blue ice type frozen blocks.

That’s the nice thing about Home Chef, you can choose your entrees out of a list of many. And the menu changes frequently, so you won’t get the same dishes again and again.

If you want to try Home Chef for yourself, Check out my post here with details on how you can save $30 off your first purchase!

Disclosure: I received this offer for free in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation, and all opinions are my own. Sometimes I utilize affiliate links. To learn more about my use of affiliate links, please visit my disclosure page.

Cooking at home with Home Chef & $30 off!

We’re back from camping and ! am pooped. Making a yummy, home cooked meal is the last thing I want to do today. I am wishing that my box from Home Chef was already here!

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Home Chef delivers perfectly portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes directly to your door, so whether you’re an amateur cook, or more seasoned in the kitchen, cooking with Home Chef is easy and enjoyable.

Each week, you can use the personalized recipe recommendations they provide you. Or, you can pick from 11 fresh, chef-designed dinners, priced at $9.95 per serving. They change their menu weekly to give you countless new dinner options.

In about 30 minutes, using Home Chef‘s simple, step-by-step recipe cards, you’ll confidently prepare meals from scratch that impress everyone at your table…including yourself! Use the promo code “FAMILY” to try out Home Chef for $30 off!

I can’t wait to try a few different entrees and share them with you!
300x250v2The Tacos al Pastor look really good! Which entrees pique your interest?

Recipe: Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash Casserole

file000382147880.jpgWe love Garlic. It’s a good thing that hubs and I both like it, because otherwise this recipe wouldn’t go over too well.

This is my spin on the Spaghetti with Garlic White Wine sauce found here.  It appeared in hubs Facebook feed one day several months ago, he sent it to me, and we’ve been tweaking it to make it our own ever since.

To make it a little healthier, I added in 1 large spaghetti squash. If you’ve never cooked one, I write about it here. It’s super easy to cook, and it’s very yummy

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2 large white onions, cut into quarters and layers separated
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large lemons, zested and juiced
  • 4 T butter, divided
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced (you can use more or less)
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 1/2 T Thyme (I usually have it dried in my spice cabinet, but if you have it fresh, use 5-6 springs)
  • 1 c. Grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 c chicken broth (or pasta water)
  • 1 large spaghetti Squash
  • If you want to add pasta to this dish, you’ll need 1/2 lb spaghetti, 8-10 cups water (to cook pasta), and salt (to salt the water)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Prep spaghetti squash (scoop out the stringy parts and seeds) and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.

Toss cut up onions in oil, salt and pepper. Bake in a baking dish covered for 20-30 minutes, uncover and bake an addition 10-15 minutes.

IMG_3202.jpgAfter the squash is done cooking, allow to cool for about 10 minutes, or until it’s easy to handle. Scoop the “meat” out and set aside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Baked onions, cooling, along with the butter needed to finish the recipe.

After onions are done baking, set aside.

If you are cooking pasta, start the water to boil and cook pasta as directed.

Zest and juice the lemons, set aside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heat half the butter in a skillet. Once melted, add the minced garlic and cook on medium for 5-ish minutes until fragrant (watch out, it burns really easily). Add red pepper flakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3200.jpgAdd Lemon juice and wine, turn up the heat for a few minutes. You’ll want to cook off the alcohol, so about 5-10 minutes at medium high heat. Add the baked onions.

Add 2 T. chicken broth (or pasta water), and the remaining butter, and the Thyme. Once the butter is melted, turn off the heat.

Add the spaghetti squash and/or pasta into the skillet, and gently toss to coat. Add lemon zest, and half of the parmesan cheese. If the mixture becomes too thick, add more chicken broth or pasta water a little at a time.

Top with any additional cheese, thyme, and/or pepper flakes.

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Here is an extra step that makes it a little better (IMO) but isn’t needed: Place skillet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese on the top is brown and bubbly.

I have made this recipe with both pasta and spaghetti squash.  This last time I made it, I used only 1 serving of whole wheat spaghetti, mostly because I prefer the way it turns out when it has the pasta water in it, instead of the chicken broth.

*If you are a vegetarian, feel free to substitute in veggie broth.

**This recipe can be made with GF pasta.

 

4/11/17- Meal Plan!

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So I’m a day late… Mr. was sick yesterday, paired with the first day of spring break and I was toast by 11am! That being said I picked up some cheese, milk, and veggies yesterday. We’ll be good for the rest of the week!

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos have started eating a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! This week is spring break, so I’ll be cooking lunch at home or we’ll have a picnic/sack lunches if we are on the go (but we may have pizza out- I haven’t decided). Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

  • D:Everyone was in bed by 7:30! We had soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

Tuesday:

  • D:  Bean, Rice, and cheese bowls (they also have caramelized onions and peppers) We had these last week and they were soooo good, and super easy. I caramelized a bag of onions and peppers in the crockpot, made rice with broth in the rice cooker and added cheese and a can of Ro*tel Tomatoes to a can of refried beans.

Weds:

  • D: Roasted chicken with veggies (made in 1 pan- very easy!)

Thursday:

  • D:  protein pancakes, eggs, and sausage (maybe fruit salad(

Friday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Saturday:

  • D: Salsa Chicken (it’s a complete meal with veggies and quinoa!)

Sunday:

  • D:Leftover buffet

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first.

We went to the Zoo today with friends, and I made sure to fill up our snack backpack and bring our drinks!

3/27/17 Meal Plan Monday!

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Bringing it back! To help get us back on track and use up what we’ve got in the pantry. I just did a pantry and freezer inventory, and I’ll need to do a quick trip to pick up some frozen veggies and fresh fruit tomorrow, but other than that (and a gallon of milk), we should be good for the week!

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos have started eating a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

  • D:Crockpot pulled BBQ chicken, steamed veggies, garlic bread

Tuesday:

  • D:  Bean, Rice, and cheese bowls (they also have caramelized onions and peppers)

Weds:

  • D: Fritatta (with veggies, bacon, and cheese) and fruit salad

Thursday:

  • D:  Veggie Enchiladas (it’s a complete meal, no sides needed!)

Friday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Saturday:

  • D: Crockpot Chili (I’ve got a batch in the freezer- I’ll de-frost and toss it into the crockpot!), fruit salad

Sunday:

  • D:Chicken and Veggie teriyaki stir fry, rice

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first. I need to replenish our snack bag that lives in the car, and make sure to take our water bottles when we leave the house!

 

Boudin is Celebrating National Clam Chowder Day (BOGO Offer)!

screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-7-57-39-pmI love a good ol’ bread bowl of soup! Tomorrow (2/25), stop by your local Boudin’s for a Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl and you’ll get one FREE.

In addition, you’ll get another coupon! Boudin will be issuing another offer to guests who purchase the Clam Chowder deal. These guests will get a coupon printed on their receipt good for a Buy One, Get One Free of any entrée (of equal or lesser value) on the menu good for use between February 26thand March 12th.

SCORE! That’s four meals for the price of ONE! That’s what I call a GREAT DEAL!

To  find your local Boudin’s location, click here.

Living Social Deals for the Kids!

Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 11.52.22 AM.pngI love Living Social– So many great deals right now!

One of the ways I like to save money is to pick up a few Living Social deals to use on Lil’ Man’s days off school, or for family date night. That way we can still stay on budget and enjoy some fun.

Here are a few of the deals I’m stoked about right now:

Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 12.40.51 PM.pngUrban Jungle Fun Park– There are multiple options.

Urban Jungle is a great indoor play place that includes trampoline areas, a climbing wall, and even an area for littler friends!

Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 12.46.06 PM.pngNeed a family night out? Check out this deal! Poway Fun Bowl
3 Hours of Cosmic Bowling for 4 People

 

 

 

Neither of those your bag? There are whale watching trips, painting events, outdoor trips to the desert. All kinds of fun ways to spend time with your kids, spouse, sweetheart, or heck, even go alone (I won’t tell!).

 

So, Go Check out the sweet deals at Living Social!