Hi.

Welcome to my blog where I share some of my favorite things from the Midwest cities along Lake Michigan.

Home Chef:  Making Dinner at Home Exciting Again

Home Chef: Making Dinner at Home Exciting Again

 Pork Chop with Pine Nut & Parmesan Butter

Pork Chop with Pine Nut & Parmesan Butter

Every week in my household my family and I gather to have the dreaded conversation regarding ‘what’s for dinner?’  You’d think with the abundance of meal ideas all over the internet; we’d come up with some good stuff.  NOT! Lol, we’re tired, and the thought of creative cooking seems like too much work after a day at work or school.  Unfortunately, this makes us phone it in when it comes to weeknight dinners.  Nothing exciting, just eating to live.  My son Donovan frequently requests that my husband not make grilled chicken and broccoli AGAIN.

Our lack of motivation with meals cost us a lot of money.  When there’s nothing desirable being served in the home, dining out or takeout becomes too hard to resist.  I had to put an end to my husband and son’s delivery of Jimmy Johns 2-3 times a week at $25-$30 a pop!  That’s a crazy amount of money to spend in addition to your groceries.  How does one spend over $100 at the grocery store and still not have anything to prepare for dinner?

I’ve entertained the thought of weekly meal kit deliveries, but I end up talking myself out of them with the idea that I’ll put forth more effort, neither myself or my husband follow through on it, and we end up with the same old thing.

I’m happy to report that our issues are a thing of the past due to recent events.

We tried Home Chef meal kit service, and couldn’t be happier!  Not only do we look forward to eating at home these days; we’re enjoying cooking again!  How did we get here?!?

It all started when I was sent home with a box of meal kits after attending the opening of the new Home Chef facility in Bedford Park, IL.  It was clever on their part because after we tried their meals, we were hooked.
 

 Grand opening of new 103,000 square foot Bedford Park facility

Grand opening of new 103,000 square foot Bedford Park facility

 Home Chef Team, photo courtesy of Home Chef

Home Chef Team, photo courtesy of Home Chef

IMG_8890.jpg
 Home Chef Founder, Pat Vihtelic

Home Chef Founder, Pat Vihtelic

Home Chef
Home Chef was founded in 2013 by Pat Vihtelic in his Chicago condo. The idea sprang from his frustration with the time-consuming task of grocery shopping and his love of cooking.  A native of South Bend, Indiana, he remarked that growing up his working mother managed to put dinner on the table every day of the week, he, however, was struggling with finding the time and energy to prepare and enjoy meals at home with his wife.
In just a little over four years his company has become the #1 meal kit company in the country, delivering over 3 million meals a month and shipping to 98% of the U.S. population.  Each week customers choose from 14 simple recipes (the selection changes 100% each week)  There’s a broad range of selection so that even those with dietary restrictions can find meals that suite them.

Facility Tour

Our tour was thorough and informative.  One couldn't help noticing how clean and efficient everything was.  I learned that company waste is at less than 1% because each week is carefully planned to make certain that the amount of produce, meats, seasoning, etc., received at the facility is almost to the exact amount needed for that week.  When customers receive their kits, all of their ingredients are pre-measured and labeled for use in the recipe; you don’t receive anything more than needed.  I appreciate this; so many times when I’ve been following a recipe, it calls for a couple of tablespoons of a sauce that I hardly use.  I’d usually buy a whole jar of said sauce, use a few tablespoons for my recipe, and store the remaining sauce in the fridge where it will most likely go to waste.  Home Chef eliminates this costly issue.

Testing at Home

IMG_8996.jpg

I told my husband that he didn’t need to buy anything for dinner the next week because we’d be eating Home Chef; He was relieved, lol.
First thing I noticed when unpacking was how neat the kits were.  The ingredients were clearly labeled and the recipe cards had nice visuals along with easy to follow steps.

Our first meal was the pork chop with pine nut butter.  My husband, Dave, prepared it according to the recipe.  Simple and easy enough.  They were DELICIOUS!  

The second meal was the Tex Mex Steak sandwich.  Again my husband prepared it; HOLY SMOKES!     We were blown away by how amazing they were! Dave did complain that the meals took him too long to prepare.  I wasn’t surprised, seeing as he’s accustomed to throwing a chicken breast into a pan of olive oil and seasoning it and throwing a steamable bag of broccoli in the microwave.  I volunteered to prepare dinner the following evening.  My sear needs work, but the salmon was good.
 

IMG_2592.jpg

We ate so good that week!  Although we loved everything, we didn’t commit to ordering any meals.  Instead, the next week, we went back to our same routine of the dreaded what’s for dinner conversation.  It was another week of boring meals along with takeout.  We decided that we’d had enough and signed up for the weekly Home Chef delivery.  

As the meals kept coming and more cooking was taking place at home, I noticed a gradual change in us.  Dave was no longer complaining about 30-minute meal preparation.  He was enjoying himself, and I was happy watching him cook.  We were also spending more time together in conversation while he was cooking.  It was now something to which we both looked forward.  We’d pour a glass of wine, and then I’d park myself at the breakfast bar and watch him go to town on his fabulous dinner while filling each other in on our day.  The complaints from my son also stopped.  He was no longer asking for Jimmy Johns or Culvers.

Dave stated to me that he feels like a chef;  I think he is a chef!  He’s putting in the work and creating some amazing meals.  My only problem now is controlling my portion sizes.

IMG_2607.jpg

Yes, Home Chef has livened up our dinnertime.  I love when that box arrives like clockwork every Tuesday.  For the most part, I let them surprise me with whatever meals they’ve selected for us because I trust that they’ll be as amazing as the others.  They’ve also killed my lifelong aversion to cooked carrots.  Their vegetable sides are exciting and tasty, and I eat everything, even the carrots.  In fact, I love the cooked carrots.

Home Chef Founder Pat Vihtelic’s vision is perfectly executed at least for this family.

I hope that you’d give them a try.  At the cost of $9.95 per serving, it’s a cheaper and healthier alternative to expensive takeout.  Tell me your favorite meal in the comments.
 

 Beef Taco Skillet

Beef Taco Skillet

The Chicago French Market:  A Must See

The Chicago French Market: A Must See