Making Dinner (on budgeted time and funds!)

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Hey Y’all! My name is Sarah and I meet Lori through Facebook and our personalities just clicked! I started a new cooking journey that Lori has seen me document on my personal Facebook and she asked me to guest post on her blog! Here is a little about me before we get into making dinner. I live in Columbia, SC with my handsome husband of almost 2 years and we are expecting our first baby, a son, in September! We met at the University of South Carolina and have been together for 5 years. My husband is VP of Commerical Operations for a roofing company and I have returned to school to pursue another degree in nursing. We have 2 dogs and love football, fireflies baseball games, going to the beach and the mountains, and going to concerts! Well, that’s enough about me, let’s get to my new way of making delicious, healthy, easy, and reasonably priced meals for my family!

At the beginning of this year, I was working 2 jobs (1 full-time and 1 part-time), going to school out of town 3 days a week, trying to find time with my husband and then….I found out I was pregnant! Needless to say, cooking wasn’t happening. It was a lot of frozen pizzas, eating out, or grabbing premade food at the grocery store and it just wasn’t cutting it. Neither of us felt great, we were spending a lot of money, and dinner time no longer was a time where we were connecting. I knew for my husband and my son I needed to make some changes. I started researching different options and became very interested in meal delivery services. We all see the commercials or the celebrities posts on Instagram but how did it really work and how could it be affordable for me and my family, especially since getting pregnant I cut back working. Through my research I learned that there are TONS of different companies. So far I have ordered from 6 but that are around 10 that I have lined up to receive. I learned that through friends I could get my first shipments drastically discounted and that is what I have done! Also I wanted to see how comparable meals cost for me to go to the grocery store and purchase vs. having them delivered to me. I went to the store and purchased a meal that was similar to the first meal I was receiving from delivery and I found out it cost me more to purchase it at the grocery store than to have the ingredients delivered directly to me and have no waste! I bought a bag of salad, 2 baking potatoes, 2 pieces of salmon, a lemon, and some shredded cheddar cheese. I didn’t have to purchase dressing, the seasoning for the fish, or butter because I had those items at home. I spent $23!

My first box was Home Chef! Home Chef cost $9 per person/per meal so that’s a total of $18 per dinner for us (this is without any discounts). Also, if you do a family plan it is a little less per person.  My first 3 meals were a 1. Cedar plank salmon with potatoes and onions, and green beans. 2. Wood-fired BBQ Chicken Pizza 3. Steak and twice baked potatoes. If we were to go out to eat the only way to eat for less than $18, we would have to go to Chick Fil A which cost us around $14. As you can see from the grocery store a salmon meal like the one we received from Home Chef would cost me $23 and that is with me having some of the ingredients at home. I paid $28 for my first box! That is $4.67 per person/per meal! You can’t even go to McDonald’s for that! And these are restaurant quality meals. We felt like we were eating at a restaurant where we would have paid $20-$30 per person!

     
Y’all I made these meals in my kitchen in less than 40 minutes!  My second box just arrived today! The meals I chose for this box are 1. Baja Fish Tacos with Siracha Slaw and Pickled Onions. 2. Swiss Fondue Burgers with Parsley Fries and 3. Steak with Cauliflower Gratin and Green Beans. We are super excited to try these meals and I will review them for you!

Pros  of Home Chef:
1. They give you 10 menu options and let you see the menus before you sign up. I think this is great especially if you have picky eaters in your family!
2. Everything was super fresh.
3. The portions were very large. I had lunch leftover for the next day from the Salmon meal and the Pizza meal. I did eat all my steak/potato dinner but I also had done a lot that day so I was super hungry. My husband cleaned his plate with all 3 meals and was STUFFED but he is 6’5″ and climbs on roofs all day!
4. The flavors were amazing truly restaurant quality meals! 
5. It was pretty simple and quick! Take less than 40 minutes to make salmon, potatoes, green beans, and onions and even less time with the other 2 meals!
6. The recipes were super easy to follow and everything was timed perfectly!
7. It came to my door and everything was cold, measured, and packaged per meal. I didn’t have to go to the grocery store! (Which always equals me spending more money because I purchase “snacks and junk”.)
8. I like that it is customizable. For example, for the pizza meal, my husband doesn’t like ranch (I know something is wrong with him) but I could have it on mine and leave it off of his!

Cons so far:
1. I needed a few more pieces of equipment (knives, cutting board etc) then was listed on the card. This is being nit-picky!
2. Took 5 minutes longer than the card said for the Salmon meal but I was also filming and trying to explain everything.
3. I would have cooked potatoes a tiny bit longer for the Salmon but I like crispy potatoes. They were very soft and tender and definitely done but I like them a little on the crunchy side.  For the steak meal, I would have liked a veggie or salad included as a side just because we like to eat something green with every meal!

On Home Chef you can choose how often you want to receive boxes! You can also skip weeks as often as you want. I currently have mine set up for once a month but if a menu pops up and I want those meals I can skip my box and receive that one! Also, you can cancel you boxes at any time! You can choose 2-8 meals per box and you can choose 2, 4, or 6 servings! You can also choose what day of the week you want your box to arrive and they will give you a couple of options based on where you live. I can choose for mine to arrive on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday and mine comes on Wednesday! Home Chef also has the option to add fresh fruit or items to make smoothies for $4.95. I haven’t tried it yet because I normally just grab my fruit when I run to the store to get my husband lunch meat and some items for breakfast. They also periodically offer premium meals that cost a little more for special occasions like Father’s Day.

If you want to see all my photos and videos for Home Chef follow my facebook page under Hardin’s Cook at Home! I started this page to upload everything for y’all! You can write me questions that way too!

Also, do you want your box for $30 off? Click here and search the menu for the next several weeks and choose your first box! https://www.homechef.com/invite/A5dbWcZr0AW5

Stay tuned for my next review of Hello Fresh!

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