Pre-Measured Ingredients and a Glass of Wine: My Kind of Cooking

Meal planning and preparation (not to mention cleanup) has always felt like such a burden to me. When I get in the zone, I love to cook, especially if I have a glass of wine. But the thought of planning a menu and shopping for it sends me over the top. Actually doing it practically puts me prone on the couch.

So when I got a coupon for $30 off homechef.com, I thought I’d bite (sorry). I figured that if, for that first week, I could get 3 gourmet meals for 2 for $60 less $30, even if it wasn’t that good, it would be worth it. When I signed up, they even gave me another $10 off. I thought I probably wouldn’t go beyond that first week.

Have you heard of homechef.com? I guess it’s similar to blueapron.com, but from looking at the meals, I suspect that homechef is a little more “gourmet” in flavor. Not sure if they have these companies outside of the United States.

The weekly shipment comes in a padded box with six re-usable ice paks (if you don’t want to keep them, you can empty them out into the sink as the contents are harmless). Each meal’s ingredients are bagged together, with the meats separate in sealed packages. Enclosed is a 9×11 cardstock recipe with photos and other interesting info for each meal.

So far, we’ve had grilled salmon and vegetables, pork chop with honey mustard cream and fingerling potatoes, pesto shrimp and pecorino grits, chicken with green peppercorn sauce, white bean and butternut squash stew with baguette (whole thing except the baguette was gluten free, and the baguette was packaged separately), Thai red curry shrimp, and chicken in cherry red wine sauce (with artichoke gratin). Each meal is enough to eat, although the gardener likes a lot of rice, so I added a little more for two meals–and added mashed potatoes to whichever meal came with mashed carrots. But, boy,was I in for a surprise. Mashed carrots are delicious! I hate cooked carrots as a rule, but now I know that it’s easy to mash them and totally change the flavor and, of course, the texture.

My sauce was too thin because I drank too much wine, but it tasted great anyway

You can choose meals based on gluten-free, low fat, low carb, and so on. When I wanted to find out if the stew was gluten free without the baguette, I emailed them and got a reply very quickly from the chef. Different chefs design the various meals. Every week is different.

Best yet, I can skip any week I want with no penalty–or cancel whenever I want!

Lots of pros to this for me–and mainly it’s the idea that I don’t have to find recipes, make shopping lists, or shop (which I detest). All I have to do is grab my glass of wine and cook for 25-45 minutes on any given night. I don’t have to buy more ingredients than I can use. How many times have you bought a jar of pesto only to use a small amount for a recipe, then figure you’ll use it up later, and it ends up going bad in the fridge? Or if not pesto, other things, right? All you are required to keep on hand is olive oil, salt, and pepper. The recipe cards even tell me how long the ingredients will last before cooking so there’s no guessing if the meat is safe to cook or not. Each meal  at full price (without the discount) is $9.95 per person which is not a bad price for a gourmet meal.

Any cons? Yes. I don’t eat pork, so I ate the other part of the meal, but the gardener said that the pork chops were not very good. He said it was hard to get good pork chops and suggested I not choose those again. With plenty of seafood, chicken, and veggie options, that won’t be a problem. They have beef, too, but I don’t eat that either. The produce is not the quality I like to buy. It’s adequate for the purpose, and it doesn’t affect the flavor of the dishes at all. But it’s not the sort of produce I would make a salad with. And the lime that came with the Thai shrimp was completely dry.

But the ease and the taste of this food is well worth it, to my mind. I’m not usually somebody who takes to “stuff like this,” but I’m enjoying the benefits to homechef.com.

If you want the $30 off discount, I can send you an invite (just let me know your email address). When you refer people they get $30 off–and so does the referring person (which would be me), so we would both benefit (hehehe, she chuckled).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can see from the slideshow that I completely forgot to take a pic of the gorgeous Thai shrimp because I was so excited to eat it. It was delicious. So was the stew which you can see in the slideshow.

Anyway, if you try it and hate it, maybe it isn’t right for you. But it works out perfectly for us–two people who don’t want a bunch of leftover ingredients cluttering the fridge. Every time I opened the fridge I used to hear them demanding to be used. Guilt guilt guilt.

What else is going on besides cooking? Work. Always plenty of that. Then, also,  I’ve been revising some short story drafts that have lingered on my computer. We’ll see how that goes. Kitties are well. Kana and Sloopy Anne like to play Hot Pursuit together.  Hot Pursuit is round and, when it’s turned on, has a stick with a toy attached that goes round and round. The cats like to lie on the stick and try to keep it from moving.

 

 

 

42 Comments

Filed under #AmWriting, Cats and Other Animals, Fiction, Food & Drink

42 responses to “Pre-Measured Ingredients and a Glass of Wine: My Kind of Cooking

  1. Hehe, the kitties and their toys 🙂

    I have several friends who’ve participated in various recipe-order adventures like this one. All of them were pleased, but ultimately, no one stuck with it. If it works for you, I’m pleased for you, and especially since you can get yer fella his gluten-free meals! It must surely save time. Also, that stew looks super yummy!

    • They are so cute, aren’t they? hah
      I’m not sure if I will. It’s hard to imagine that I would, but so far I am going strong. It’s only 2-3 meals a week, so that leaves a lot of days unaccounted for–to do other things (whine, kvetch, frozen, takeout).
      I actually forgot to mention in this post that shopping is so hard for me because of the fluorescent lights. They are the worst complicated migraine trigger, and I can’t wear sunglasses and shop, so I can only wear a hat. By the time I get home I feel hideous.

      • By the way I had a pants incident this weekend and thought of you. But I didn’t want to write about pants and food in the same post.

      • Oh now see, I think the 2-3 meals a week might last. I think the every night thing did some people in. Kvetching is often required for me to get takeout. That, or letting them starve long enough lol!

        That’s too bad about the lights, and also I totally understand. x

  2. Wow, Luanne…I am impressed. My only cooking adventures of late have been with apples and pears from my super-productive trees. Apple juice, pear preserves, my mom’s apple crisp recipe, applesauce simmering in the crock pot overnight. I tend to live on salads and green smoothies. Your post made me realize I should actually cook. 🙂

    • Well, you are lucky to have those wonderful trees and all the nice smelling foods they produce. Homechef does have a smoothie option every week (and an apple and pear option), too, which I forgot to mention. My daughter is using homechef although she’s single and has to prepare “for two.” That way she has 2 days meals or a dinner and a lunch.

  3. I’ve never heard of these companies, Luanne. I’m blessed to have Derek and he loves to cook for me. We have a good thing going, he’s cooks and I clean. 🙂

  4. Sounds like an interesting deal even if you only use it periodically. You have those weeks when without intervention it’s all takeout.

  5. I suppose it’s good for people who don’t like to cook. I’ve always loved cooking and experimenting so it would not be for me, but I’m sure the non-domestic types would love it. I can think of several friends who would buy into that.

    • I forgot to mention why shopping is so awful for me. I explained above to Joey, so I’ll just copy here if that’s ok: “I actually forgot to mention in this post that shopping is so hard for me because of the fluorescent lights. They are the worst complicated migraine trigger, and I can’t wear sunglasses and shop, so I can only wear a hat. By the time I get home I feel hideous.”
      While I do love to cook, I get tired on my feet (another medical issue), so this is great for me. But mainly it’s the shopping. It makes me physically ill.

  6. I’ve always wondered about these companies. I’ve heard some of them can be quite good and one of them (maybe the one you used) has gone the extra mile in making the packaging recyclable. Both my husband and I cook (often together), but it’s a bit of a slog during the work week. I’m tempted to give it a try. If nothing else, my husband might get some good recipes that he can use when he (finally) retires and cooks for me full-time 🙂 You know my email address so go ahead and send me an invite.

    I need to look up Hot Pursuit. The cats need more stimulus when we’re not home. I suspect all they do is sleep 😉

    • If you turn on Hot Pursuit when you leave for work the battery will be worn out when you get home, but they will sure enjoy it. Another thing that you can do is get one of those food puzzles I posted about a long time ago. A friend found one on sale somewhere for 1/2 price, but I’m not sure where:https://www.amazon.com/TRIXIE-Pet-Products-4590-Activity/dp/B001O8L2UO/ref=sr_1_2?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1474922399&sr=1-2&keywords=cat+food+puzzle
      Apparently it’s really good for cats to forage for food like this and will occupy them.
      With Hot Pursuit they don’t make replacement wands and some companies pretend they sell them, but they don’t fit. But you can duct tape new toys on the wand when they ruin the old one.
      I’ll send you an invite, Marie. Oh man, you have some good food times coming ahead when your husband retires :).

      • Thanks for all the cat toy tips and the invite! I’ve been thinking about getting some kind of food puzzles for the cats. Junior especially. He is always hungry. I keep thinking he must have hyperthyroidism but his blood tests always come out good (which is a good thing but doesn’t explain why he is always begging). Anyway, it would be good for them to have some food to find and eat since we’re both gone from the house for ~10 hours a work day. Believe me, I am so looking forward to having a house husband 😉

        • That is just like Kana! She is always hungry. When Mac was like that we thought it was his illnesses, but there shouldn’t be a reason Kana is always hungry except that she is a big cat and will only eat small amounts at one time. Does Junior really eat more or is it that he eats small amounts often?

          • We portion the food and give them a few meals a day. Junior is a big cat and all muscle so maybe he burns through his calories faster. He also eats very fast which another reason I try to give him small portions over time. Too much too fast and he throws up. Yuk!

            • I didn’t realize that so many cats eat too fast until I read about it online when I was looking for reasons Kana was throwing up her food. She doesn’t throw up any more, so I wonder if that was the problem. Poor Junior :(.

              • A veterinarian told us that if a cat ever goes through a starving phase (like a stray cat), they might become over waters because they don’t feel secure about when they’ll get fed again. Luisa (RIP) was very much like that. Junior was a stray too so he probably has the same anxiety. He settles after a while 😉

              • One cat we found (and gave to a friend in the end) has kidney (liver? ugh always confuse those two) damage from starving when she was a stray :(. And it made her such a kiss-up to humans and so mean to other cats (presumably because they were a threat to the food supply).

              • I finally placed my first order with Home Chef! Are you still using it? I’m wondering how much money we might save (if any) from not having to do as much grocery shopping.

              • Oh let me know how you like it! I just got my delivery for the week: honey walnut shrimp (yes!) and chicken dijon with root vegetables. I’ll add a potato to the chicken dish for the hubster. But it all looks great. I had a bad week as I’ve been migraining for 12 days, so I ate more calories (it sounds like a lousy excuse, but there is some kind of reason for it), but before that I think I had lost some weight because the food is tasty but not high calorie.

  7. It certainly sounds helpful, especially when planning meals for folks with special diets. How much extra is it to have someone else cook it and do the dishes?😏

  8. I can see where this would be great for you with the shopping and lights problem that I saw above in the comments. I don’t think I would bother because I tend not to follow the recipes anyway, and I would decided I want some other ingredient in it that wasn’t included. Just because. 🙂 But also, the gluten free option is great for you.

    I happen to know that these type of companies do exist in other countries because it’s possible that I researched it over the summer for something I was writing.

    I’m glad all is well and the kitties are having fun! We go for the low-tech toys like balls and little mice (not real ones, although they’d be super excited by real ones). 🙂

    • Yes, the shopping is a bit of a nightmare for me, not to be melodramatic or anything. And also because I don’t have to read label and keep checking my iPhone to see if I can buy an ingredient or if it has hidden gluten. Interesting re your research . . . . Haha, my cats like little mice, too, especially the tiny furry ones with rattles inside. And balls. Kana has a furry “tail” on a stick that she carries from her bedroom to the kitchen/family room every single night. I’ve never seen her play with it, really, but she seems to be signalling something by carrying it all the way down the hall.

      • Ricky used to carry a toy platypus (actually a dog toy) around, but he hasn’t done it in a while. Then in the winter he was carrying my slippers downstairs and leaving them in the kitchen when I was out. Mickey likes to carry soft balls and the new toy mouse around. If we are upstairs he’ll carry it around and make plaintive sounds.

  9. We have a similar system over here. two of the grandchildren sent us an introductory subscription. We enjoyed it, but the \Culinary Queen prefers to cook enough for several freezer meals, which, after the initial effort, serves a similar purpose 🙂

  10. I know people who’ve done these deals, too – never tried them myself, but I probably will at some point. 😉

  11. That sounds like my kind of cooking too. I used to love to cook, now I find ways to avoid it. Funny how we go through these stages.

    • When I was in college and even after, I took Fridays off school and work and spent the whole day shopping and cooking. I loved it. But then I lost the physical ability to do all that work in one day and now I only like cooking in small doses. Also, my household is pretty hectic because of having a business at home, so I don’t usually get that wonderful focus time needed for cooking.

  12. Love the cat video. I so miss having cats. Must get some more as soon (and too bad that we just bought new furniture, eh?). The meal plans sound great for people who don’t like to cook or don’t have time to shop or hate to shop (as you do). I love to grocery shop but hate, hate, hate clothes shopping. Do they have vegan or vegetarian options? I doubt the ingredients would be very fresh by the time they made it to Alaska, lol. Our overnight guaranteed express mail often takes three days. Cheers and happy cooking/eating/writing.

    • I can’t walk past a cat without telling him/her how cute he/she is. But last night Tiger wasn’t feeling well and slept on top of me. She kept shuddering all night long. YOu can imagine how much I slept :(. She seems ok today . . . . Not sure if Home Chef does Alaska or not, but the food comes from different places, near enough to the destination. For instance, mine comes from San Bernardino, California. My daughter in NYC gets hers from elsewhere (can’t remember where). Just checked: they do not deliver to Alaska or Hawaii, but they deliver to almost all the continental states–few areas not covered include part of Texas, northernmost Maine, etc.

  13. Sounds like you’ve been eating well recently Luanne! I believe we do have similar schemes in the UK though I’ve never tried one – it’s a good way to get out of the rut of always eating the old favourites too, I’d think.

    • You know, that is what I like almost more than anything. Absolutely no rut. This week it will be honey walnut shrimp and chicken dijon with root vegetables. Last week it was lemon and rosemary chicken and truffled mushroom risotto (a vegetarian option). Always something different and something I’ve never made before.

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