10 Take-Out Meals You Can Make at Home
COVID-19 has restricted indoor dining worldwide, prompting both more restaurant take-out and more folks turning to home recipes to recreate takeout food. From Chinese takeout recipes to homemade pizza, here are a few easy ways to make restaurant-style dishes at home.
General Tso's Chicken
There may be no dish that says take-out like this Chinese favorite, crispy chicken in a sauce that's a perfect blend of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. Just batter cuts of chicken in cornstarch and flour and fry them in vegetable oil until golden brown. For the sauce you mix together hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic, and red chili flakes. Top it off with a few dashes of green onions and sesame seeds and then serve!
Popular at California eateries, California Rolls are easy to make at home. All you need is crab meat—though you can substitute other seafood such as salmon—cucumber, and avocado. Plus some short-grain sushi rice, a seaweed sheet (Amazon sells them), and toasted sesame seeds for the final sprinkle to give your rolls some crunch. Serve with wasabi and soy sauce and it'll be fresher than anything delivered from a restaurant.
Photo Credit: PxHere
All great pizza starts with the dough. And all great dough starts with the same basic ingredients: flour, yeast, olive oil, water, and salt. You can check out a YouTube video on dough making. Then roll the dough onto a floured baking sheet and top with tomato sauce, mozzarella, tomatoes, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and basil leaves. Pop it in the oven and you've got a pie that probably beats your local pizzeria.
Pad Thai is one of the most popular take-out dishes around, and one of the easier to make at home. To whip up the stir-fry dish all you need is rice noodles, bean sprouts, tofu, garlic, chives, an egg, and chicken, shrimp, or whatever protein is your fave. And, of course, there's the signature Pad Thai sauce that's made with brown sugar, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and tamarind.
Making this iconic sandwich is simple. You want thin steak, the thinner the better, and steak that's well-marbled. Sirloin or ribeye. As for the cheese, in Philadelphia, you usually have the option of Cheez Whiz or Provolone, but American cheese also works well. Then some onions and a pan with hot oil. The traditional "hoagie rolls" used for Philly Cheesesteaks are soft and chewy on the inside and crusty on the outside.
Vegetable Spring Rolls
At first glance, perfectly coiled Spring Rolls may seem best left to restaurants. But they're not hard to make. And you can make a healthy version that tastes fresher than almost anything you’ll find at a restaurant. Most of the effort goes into making the Spring Roll sheets. Then just fill them with crunchy vegetables, usually carrots, bean sprouts, and cabbage, and fry the rolls—or bake them if you want to go the healthier route.
Spicy Beef Burritos
Making your own burritos is made easy by the fact that you can find tortillas in most supermarkets. And as Mexican cuisine is one of the most popular in America, you should also be able to easily find refried beans, salsas such as enchilada sauce, ingredients for simple spice blends, and all of the other ingredients common to Latin American dishes. Burritos are especially great because they freeze well, letting you stockpile lots of easy meals in the freezer.
Photo Credit: hayme100 / Pxhere
A big serving of fried chicken wings is a temptation few of us have resisted. But baking them at home is the healthier choice. And getting that restaurant taste is all about the sauce anyway. All you need for that is a base of melted butter and hot sauce. Stop the sauce there or whisk in some garlic, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce until it tastes just right. Smother those wings in the sauce. Bake and serve with a side of blue cheese dressing for a true take-out classic.
Chicken Tikka Masala
One of the most popular take-out orders worldwide, Tikka Masala is a must-offer curry dish for most Indian restaurants. And almost no two restaurants do it exactly the same. After you've made your own Tikka Masala sauce, all you need is a pot or a skillet and some easily found ingredients including chicken, marinated in yogurt and spices, cilantro, rice, and pita bread.
One of the tastiest Greek take-out staples, Lamb Gyros are easy enough for anyone to make at home—and you can substitute beef or chicken for lamb. Most of the effort goes into making your own Tzatziki sauce. Once you have that delicious side for dipping, all you need is roasted or pan-fried meat slices, lettuce, onions, and tomatoes—all tucked into pita bread and sprinkled with some crumbled feta cheese.
Have we made you hungry? Then it’s time to start cooking! It’s easier than most think to enjoy take-out meals with some simple home recipes.
Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.