I Recommend This Meal Delivery Service to Everyone I Know

Home Chef helps me avoid grocery stores and cook delicious food at home.

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I never exactly enjoyed my weekly trips to the overcrowded Trader Joe's near my New York City apartment, but with the coronavirus pandemic altering every aspect of daily life, I've actively avoided the grocery store for a little over a month now to maintain physical and social distancing. While I still make a few safe trips to the market for essentials, I've seriously cut down my grocery outings by using the meal subscription service Home Chef. Not only does it allow me to get fresh food delivered straight to my door, but it also takes the guesswork out of cooking.

Each week, Home Chef suggests meals for me based on the preferences and dietary restrictions I selected when I signed up for the service. I have the option to accept the meals or swap them out for other options depending on what sounds good to me and what's available to order.

A typical meal for two costs about $10, but some more elaborate dishes cost closer to $14. All of the meals are customizable to your tastes: For instance, you can trade certain ingredients for others or add extra protein. You can also choose how many meals you want each week—I find that three meals a week is just the right amount for me since I typically only cook for myself and each meal makes two servings (the leftovers are perfect for a quick lunch the next day). I'm trying to support local restaurants by ordering takeout on the weekends, so the three-meal plan makes sense for me.

Every Monday, a box of fresh produce and meat, chilled with ice packs and recyclable insulated packaging, is delivered to my door. The meals all come with a hard copy of a recipe that you can store in a binder included with your first order. That way, you can recreate your favorite meals any time, even if you want to buy the ingredients yourself. The recipes couldn't be easier to follow, and most only take about 30 minutes of active time in the kitchen (some are ready in just 15 minutes!). You can also choose oven-ready dishes that require no prep work and recipes designed for the slow cooker.

Home Chef Food Delivery Service

To buy: Starting at $7/serving; homechef.com.

During this stressful time, I find having recipes to follow each night incredibly soothing. I don't have to think about what to pick up from the store or what to prepare with whatever happens to be in my pantry. Instead, I simply cook the ingredients I've been sent by following a recipe that yields two perfectly portioned servings of yummy dishes I never would have thought to make on my own, like chicken adobo flautas, shiitake sirloin steak with lemon hollandaise, and scallops with pistachio pesto. (Yes, I cooked all three of those meals, and they were as delicious as they sound). To that end, I'm also learning how to make meals that seemed far out of my league before. I now know what actually goes into a hollandaise sauce and how to tell when a scallop is fully cooked.

Whether you're looking to step up your cooking game or for a way to make fewer trips to the grocery store while social distancing, Home Chef is a great option. And if you're commitment-averse, fret not; you can skip deliveries or pause your account at any time if you want to take a break.

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