Home Chef Box Review: Crispy, Creamy, & Light

Y’all, I really struggled trying to come up with a title that could summarize this box. It’s ALL OVER THE PLACE. I also had a hard time picking three for the box (you will never see me pay for shipping, Home Chef! NEVAR!) but I had to have a box this weekend or face starvation. Yes, I’m home alone (lol jk I have three dogs with me) so the probability of an entirely-snack dinner is high. Hence: Home Chef. Because if there is real food in the fridge that needs eating, I’ll cook. Not just if I’m hungry, or because it’s the right thing to do. No, it’s my aversion to waste that brings my butt into the kitchen.

Anyway, since Husband left on Sunday and I could only get the box delivered as late as Friday, I kept one meal for him and the other two for me. So this time it’s:

Yes, I know. They are wildly different from each other. But they were all pretty delicious! And I enjoyed them with different company as well! What more could you ask for?

Crispy Fried Onion-Crusted Chicken

Home Chef Crispy Fried-Onion Crusted Chicken
I maintain that their sauce is not the sauce they told me to make.

This was LEGIT home cooking. Like, middle-America, grocery store cooking. Honestly, I was mostly curious about how the hell this would be. Normally I wouldn’t let something like crispy fried onions (!?!?!??!?!?!) into my house but in a small dose as a breading, sure! Let’s give it a go.

This dish was great but…. it was pretty salty, even for me. That’s what you get when you’re used to cooking with real food ingredients and suddenly have processed, fried junk mixed into the recipe. I’ll definitely take credit for over-salting, but I was still very surprised by how much the balance of the dish was thrown off by those babies. 

So the fried onions were a little odd, but I knew that was coming. What I didn’t expect was what they sent to help get the onions to stick to the chicken: liquid egg.

What is liquid egg

Um? WHY NOT JUST SEND AN EGG?!? This really grinds my gears. I don’t know what liquid egg is, and I don’t feel great about it, and I would love to know what has been added to the egg and why sending an actual egg was not an option. It gives me the heebies. But anyway, saltiness and “liquid egg” aside, this was surprisingly great! It was filling but didn’t leave me feeling gross or hungry for hours afterward. I didn’t even have a dessert! And that’s saying something for a relatively carb-free dinner. I’ll never in a million years make this again, but I’m glad that we tried it. A solid B for this recipe because there’s just a lot going on but it succeeds despite it all.

Chicken Chile Verde

Home Chef Chicken Chile Verde Review
Copious cilantro makes up for absence of crema?

Couldn’t face my first night solo, out-numbered by dogs, without at least attempting to get some more faces around me. Thank goodness for best friends! My two BFFs from college came over (plus one dog! We were still out-numbered!) so I had a little help pulling this one together. More accurately, I had help making drinks and also chopping. Which is great because chopping SUUUUCKSSSS.

Since I was trying to stretch this meal for two to feed three, I also made some rice in the pressure cooker. (Three minutes to perfect rice? LOL OK.) The chicken chile verde itself turned out really tasty and the recipe did not pose a challenge to a slightly intoxicated me. But it definitely would have been a lean “stew” without rice underneath, so I heartily recommend anyone else trying this recipe to make the same adjustment.

Also? The lime ~crema~ was kind of bullsh*t. I measured the lime juice out and squished every ounce of sour cream out of the little foil packet. IT WAS SOUPY GOOPY MILKY. Delicious but the texture was entirely wrong so I think instead of “add sour cream to lime juice” it should be “squish sour cream into the bowl and add a little lime juice until it thins out just slightly.” The lime milky stuff was just not super appetizing, no matter how great it tasted.

Altogether, though, this was tasty and turned us into three happy ladies. As it stands, this dish gets a B- but not due to lack of flavor. Just a reflection of some wonky instructions and the overall portion size/plating technique they recommend. Close! But not quite.

Avocado and Tofu Sushi Bowl

Home Chef Avocado Tofu Sushi Bowl Review
HONESTLY, I got a better sear than they did. That tofu crispy af!

YOU GUYS I WAS SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS DINNER!!!!! I strategically planned to have this on Monday night while watching the previous night’s newest episode of Big Little Lies which is THE GREATEST SHOW. I would love to just sit and theorize and gossip for a hot second about it but there is food to review. Anyway, I felt like a tofu sushi bowl was pretty on-theme as far as dinner + a TV show goes.

This was more of an assembly-dish than a cooking-dish, but I don’t mind. They included rice, so I threw it into the pressure cooker and started chopping. I know that crispy tofu is delicious, but I’ve never made it before; it is also known that gummy tofu is horrid and I didn’t want to make that. So I did some Googlin’ about how to get tofu dry and tried the “microwave it for a minute” method. Apparently, this makes the proteins in the tofu tense up, squeezing out excess moisture. It seemed to mostly make my microwave steamy, but when the tofu hit the pan I was impressed with the sizzle. They turned out great! So nota bene: microwave chopped tofu if you want it crisp.

Once the cucumber/carrots had marinated and the tofu was seared and sauced, assembly was a breeze. I used some of our homemade mayo and bottled sriracha for the sauce (although their tiny packets were adorable) and it really tied everything together. This was a terrific dish and made excellent leftovers for lunch the next day. Absolutely would make again, especially now that I know how to hack tofu. I’m feeling generous, so this gets an A+ as it improved my evening and was a low- to no-stress meal. Yay sushi bowls!

Double Trouble

That’s right, nerds. It’s back-to-back Home Chef’ing this week because I honestly didn’t have it in me to try and meal plan, shop, and prep while also keeping the pack of wild dogs in my house alive. Everything on their menu just sounded so good! How could I resist when it’s this easy and delicious?? I can’t, so I shan’t.