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How to Make Your 10 Favorite Takeout Meals at Home

How to Make Your 10 Favorite Takeout Meals at Home

Just because you’ve always ordered pad thai from a restaurant doesn’t mean you can’t cook it yourself. The same goes for takeout classics like General Tso’s chicken, tikka masala, and even sushi. With this nifty recipe guide, you have no excuse to turn to GrubHub when you have the time to cook — and little money to spend on pricey meals and delivery fees — because we have all the recipes for your favorite takeout orders right here. Plus, we guarantee ours contain fewer calories, less fat, and — in the case of Chinese food — no MSG.

Click here to see the How to Make Your 10 Favorite Takeout Meals at Home Slideshow

— Melissa Valliant, HellaWella

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Easy Chinese Recipes: 41 Takeout Dishes to Make at Home

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Chinese food takeout menus may be your go-to on busy evenings or late nights, but instead of throwing away money on takeout, why not try your hand at making your favorite recipes for Chinese food at home? Below, we've put together a collection of our easiest and best Chinese food recipes, including everything from spring rolls and fried rice to honey chicken, lo mein, stir-fry, and more. This collection is really for anyone who loves Chinese takeout! The best part? All of these Chinese food ideas are easy to follow and simple to make.

Appetizers, Soups, & Salads

Are you one of those folks that love to order tons of appetizers off of the Chinese food menu? We don't blame ya! With so many tasty options to choose from, including everything from crispy egg rolls to hot soups, it's hard to choose just one. Luckily, you don't have to choose just one appetizer to serve to your gang, now that you can have all these great takeout-style options!


Kung Pao Chicken

xcarrot_007 / Getty Images

Kung pao chicken is a favorite order for Chinese takeout and it's surprisingly easy to make at home. This recipe is healthier because the chicken is stir-fried rather than deep-fried, reducing the fat content.

The recipe includes red chili peppers and Szechuan peppercorns to give it a nice spice. The marinade is easy, requiring just four ingredients and 25 minutes.

While you're waiting, fry or toast the recipe's peanuts. If you want to deep-fry the peanuts, start them in cold oil. This will make the peanuts crunchier and reduce the chances of overcooking them.


The Best Meals to Make With Your Microwave

Whether you're in a dorm, a hotel or a fit of laziness.

Food Network Kitchen’s Microwave Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal for Healthy Dishes Every Grown Up Needs to Know, as seen on Food Network.

When you’re living an oven-free life, dining out is a huge part of the fun. But when you want to eat something homemade — and not even delivery or room service will suffice — it’s time to turn to your existing appliances — namely, the microwave. Armed with a little elbow grease, a microwave and mini fridge, you can whip up home-cooked meals like it’s your home kitchen. We’re talking loaded baked potatoes, noodle bowls, quesadillas and mac and cheese — and even possibly a homemade cake.

When it comes to microwave-friendly meals, one dish comes to mind before all others. Baked potatoes are an easy microwave meal for home cooks, and a go-to recipe for chefs on the road, too. Since leaving his native Australia, executive chef Peter Smith, who oversees the food and beverage program at JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, has logged plenty of miles. His go-to travel recipe for the microwave is a loaded baked sweet potato, complete with bacon crumbles on top. He’s fine-tuned his recipe over the years to make his ideal of a sweet-savory DIY entrée:

Wash and scrub a medium sweet potato (or yam), poke holes in the sweet potato with a fork (so it doesn’t explode), then rub it with about a tablespoon of oil and salt to taste. Place the bacon slices on the same plate as the potato, then microwave for 7 to 9 minutes until the bacon is crispy (watch it to make sure it doesn’t burn) and the potato is tender. Once the bacon cools, crumble it and reserve. Slice the potato in half and use a fork to fluff up the insides, then sprinkle cheese on top and microwave for another 30 seconds. Top with sour cream, bacon bits and chopped fresh chives.


Order This

Made with pasta, olive oil, garlic, and hot pepper, this simple dish packs a powerful flavor punch without overdoing it in terms of fat and calories. (Bonus: The capsaicin in hot pepper has been shown to increase body heat, boost metabolic rate and decrease appetite!) To add some blood sugar-stabilizing fiber to your meal (a must if you don't want to be ravishing soon after you finish eating), save half of your pasta dish for another day and round out your meal with a side of broccoli raab or sauteed spinach.

If you're not in the mood for pasta though, Paul gives another entreé suggestion.

"Order meatballs and a salad for a filling meal that's lower in carbs," she says.


Copycat Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli Soup

Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Are you an absolute sucker for Olive Garden's soup, salad, and breadsticks? Well, enjoy your very own Olive Garden inspired soup at home with this easy-to-make pasta Fagioli soup. Also known as a "bean stew," this soup is even filling enough to be a meal.


Chicken Dishes

Chinese people believe in using all parts of a chicken, including the feet, but these recipes call for just the white meat of the bird. A favorite but often a guilt-inducing order is General Tso's chicken, but when made at home the chicken doesn't have to be deep-fried instead, it can be lightly pan-fried before tossing with a flavorful sauce. Moo goo gai pan basically means chicken with mushrooms, and that is exactly what this dish is, stir-fried together in a delicious sauce. For a bit of crunch, try a cashew chicken, where chicken cubes are stir-fried with vegetables, nuts, and finished with a sauce.


Top-Rated Restaurant Recipes to Make at Home

No matter what takeout dish you&aposre craving, it&aposs highly likely we&aposve got the recipe. We&aposve got the greatest Chinese, Indian, Mexican, and Italian inspired recipes from your favorite restaurants. By making these recipes at home, you can control the spice level, you can cut back on the salt, and even add a few extra veggies for the kids. You&aposll also save yourself some cash. These top-rated recipes are tried-and-tested favorites and perfect for your next restaurant-inspired dinner at home.

Our best copycat recipes of your favorite restaurant dishes

Rave Review: "This recipe puts my local joint outta business - I was a little hesitant as I&aposve never used oyster sauce before, but this was simply wonderful." — Litegal1

Rave Review: "My kids were asking for Chinese takeout and I didn&apost feel like driving to pick it up. I whipped this up real fast. Kids were loving it, and ate every bite. I added some saut chicken to make it a complete meal." — FRANCESA

Rave Review: "I&aposve been eating lettuce wrap at many Chinese restaurants since I was a little kid, so I have over 3 decades worth of eating this stuff. I&aposve tried many different variations and can attest that this recipe is top-notch." — RACHELLA51

Rave Review: "Quick and Easy! Cooking moves fast with a wok so be sure to prep everything beforehand. The chili garlic sauce is essential since this is meant to be a spicy dish. Full of flavor and the veggies a nice sweetness to counter the salt in the sauce." -- AR Cally

Rave Review: "My whole family loved this dish. It was like the butter chicken you would get at an authentic Indian restaurant. It&aposs a keeper." — CAMETZNER


15 Homemade Fast Food and Takeout Favorites (That Are at Least as Good as the Originals)

Most of us, no matter how discerning we sometimes get about our meals, have a soft spot for fast food in one form or another. For some, it's a carton of greasy chow mein from the hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant down the street for others, it's a large fry from the McDonald's drive-thru, with endless packets of "fancy" ketchup (which, as we all know, tastes moderately but unmistakably better than ketchup from a bottle). There's something about fast food and takeout—in addition to being cheap and convenient and, well, fast, it's nostalgic. A single whiff or bite can easily take you back to childhood, when a weekend trip to Pizza Hut counted as a major treat or college, when a seven-layer burrito from Taco Bell, for all its ooziness and unhealthiness, was exactly what you needed after a night of drinking.

If you don't live near some of your favorite fast food joints, or just want to feel a little better about what you're eating by making it yourself, check out the following 15 recipes for fast food classics. You'll be surprised by how much better they can taste when re-created at home.

Homemade Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches

Want to eat Chick-Fil-A on a Sunday? What's stopping you? All politics aside, you can indeed make your very own crispy-and-salty chicken sandwich with those two crucial dill pickle chips, just like the original, any day of the week. The key to the moist chicken breast is brining for several hours, while a seasoned batter adds a crispy, flavorful coating.

Taco Bell Cemita

Unfortunately, Taco Bell has yet to introduce its own version of the Mexican sandwich, but—with a few extra ingredients—you can make your very own. A simple Taco Bell Cemita takes the insides of two soft tacos, plus a side of guacamole and salsa, and piles it all on a cemita bun with tomato, cilantro, chipotles in adobo, and quesillo Oaxaca.

Chinese-American Beef and Broccoli With Oyster Sauce

Tender strips of marinated beef, seared to a smoky crispness in a hot wok, with charred florets of bright green broccoli, all tossed in a savory-sweet, garlic- and ginger-scented oyster sauce. That's what beef with broccoli should be. The average food-court version is a sad, sad excuse for a meal, but your homemade beef with broccoli will be superb.

In-N-Out's Double-Double, Animal Style

If you're not lucky enough to live near an In-N-Out (hello, East Coasters), or just have an abiding need for home access to In-N-Out (hello, extremely loyal West Coasters), then we've got just the recipe for you. To re-create the Double-Double, grind your own extra-fatty chuck to make the patties, and grill them in a squirt of mustard to do it up Animal Style.

Better Than Chipotle's Beef Barbacoa

Not only can you make Chipotle's much-loved barbacoa at home, you can make it way better. A homemade adobo sauce and seared oxtails add big flavor to the slow-cooked beef. It's a labor of love, but it makes the best beef tacos around.

Perfect Thin and Crispy French Fries

If you can't get enough of McDonald's French fries (when they're fresh and done right, anyway), imagine how good they'd be if you made them at home. A quick blanch in water with salt and vinegar helps the fries cook evenly and stay intact. Fry them once quickly and stick them in the freezer to keep them fluffy. One last dunk in the fryer, and you've got golden, crispy, salty fries—no drive-thru required.

Homemade "Shamrock Shakes"

And speaking of McDonald's, if you're among the many out there who anxiously await the yearly return of the Shamrock Shake, here's a homemade version that knows no season. This recipe eliminates the corn syrup and additives found in the original, and a little time at the stove, plus an ice cream maker, makes whipping up the custard painless.

Takeout-Style Kung Pao Chicken (Diced Chicken With Peppers and Peanuts)

Kung pao chicken has got to be one of the most commonly ordered takeout items in America, and making it at home is surprisingly easy. This recipe is the whole package—it's got peanuts, a mild heat that won't offend anyone's delicate tastebuds, and even that kind of gloopy sweet and sour sauce. It all comes together in about 30 minutes with the help of a hot wok.

The Best Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikka masala is the most popular dish in the U.K. for a reason, and a list of takeout favorites wouldn't be complete without it. To make this rendition moist and flavorful, marinate your chicken and fire it up on the grill before adding it to a homemade pureed sauce of tomatoes, cream, spices, and aromatics.

The Fake Shack, Mach Two: The Double Shack Stack Cracked

No need to wait in that hellacious line or (if you're unfortunate enough to not have a Shake Shack near you) pine from afar for a Double Shack Stack—a towering construction of meat, breaded-and-fried portobello mushroom, and cheese. It's got double the burger patty (made with a careful blend of beef), double 'shrooms (with gooey cheese in the middle, of course), and the easy-to-replicate Shack Sauce. Modest, it's not—more like "insanely delicious."

Thai Chicken Satay

Thai food is a crowd-pleasing go-to for takeout or delivery, and chicken satay's among its pleasingest offerings, the one that always seems to get tacked on to the order when someone asks, "Are we getting enough food?" Marinate chunks of chicken in a flavorful sauce and grill them for a great chicken satay from your own kitchen.

Foolproof Pan Pizza

If you're given to reminiscing over the Pizza Hut pan pizza of childhood parties, regardless of how good it actually was, let it be known that you can make a much better version at home. Not only does this one have the extra-crispy bottom and edge, puffy middle, and gooey top that eight-year-old you loved, it happens to be one of the easiest homemade pizzas ever. After letting your no-knead dough rest overnight or longer, you can knock out this pizza in 30 minutes flat.

A Better Big Mac

You can probably recite the formula by memory—two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions, all on a sesame seed bun—and it's a famous recipe for a reason. But, nostalgia aside, there's room to improve on it. Here, the bland McDonald's-style patties are swapped out for beefy, well-seasoned ones, and topped with a sauce made from scratch. The result is a burger that's a Big Mac, but so much more.

Stir-Fried Chow Mein With Four Vegetables

Chow mein has long been a staple of Chinese-American takeout, but making it at home is a snap and, more importantly, super customizable. Throw some julienned vegetables in a wok to cook quickly and combine them with skinny chow mein noodles and a soy-based sauce. Adding more vegetables, tofu, or meat turns it into a meal.

Mr. Softee-Style Vanilla Bean Soft Serve

Whether or not you'd call ice cream from a truck "fast food," it's definitely one of those simple pleasures that many of us remember fondly from our youth (or, you know, yesterday). This super-smooth, nearly melting homemade soft serve uses real vanilla for a flavor boost. Gelatin is the key ingredient that keeps it from puddling, and it refreezes like a dream.


Here Are The 10 Best Masala Recipes That You Can Now Prepare At Home:

1. Garam Masala

Recipe by Chef Niru Gupta

Garam Masalas can enhance the flavour of the food
  1. Sun all ingredients or place them over an oven to rid them of any moisture.
  2. Then grind them to a powder in a food processor.
  3. Store in an airtight jar.

2. Chole Masala

Recipe by Chef Niru Gupta

Store the masala in an airtight container Photo Credit: Facebook/Homemade

Ingredients1/3 cup powdered amchoor
1/4 cup powdered anardana
1 cup garam masala
3/4 cup powdered coriander seeds
2 Tbsp powdered red chillies
1/2 cup powdered sonth
1 3/4 cup saltMethodMix all ingredients well Store in an airtight container

3. Biryani Masala

Recipe by Chef Niru Gupta

Dry roast all ingredients of masala Photo Credit: Facebook/Mycookbook

Ingredients60 corns all spice
4 whole star anise
16 green cardamoms
4 whole flowers of mace
1 whole nutmegMethodDry roast all ingredient Cool and powder Store in an air tight container

4. Chaat Masala

Recipe by Chef Niru Gupta

Roast the coriander, cumin and ajwain for chaat masla Photo Credit: facebook/KhanaPakana.com

Ingredients1 cup coriander seeds
1 1/4 cups cumin seeds
1/2 cup thymol seeds/ ajwain
1/2 cup mango powder
2 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/4 cups powdered black rock salt
4 tsp powdered black pepper
2 tsp (approx) citric acid
1/2 cup dried and powdered mint leavesMethod

  1. Roast the coriander, cumin and ajwain in a heavy-based pan till dark brown
  2. Remove from pan and leave to cool
  3. Put all the ingredients together and powder fine, in a processor
  4. Store in an air tight container

5. Tandoori Masala

Recipe by Chef Niru Gupta

Mix all the ingredients well Facebook/VagonlovileIngredients1/4 cup dried, powdered ginger
1/4 cup dried, powdered garlic
2 Tbsp black pepper
2 Tbsp chaat masala
1/4 cup garam masala
1/4 cup powdered red pepper
1/4 cup kasoori methi
3/4 cup salt
1/4 cup dried, powdered onion
1 tsp powdered red colour (optional)MethodMix all the ingredients, blend in a blender and store in air tight container.

6. Pav Bhaji Masala

Store in an airtight container Photo Credit: Facebook/Blend with Spices

Ingredients7 whole red dry chili
4 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1/4 tbsp black pepper
1/2 inch cinnamon sticks
3 cloves
4-5 black cardamom
2 tbsp dry mango powder
1 tbsp fennel seeds
½ tbsp sugar powderMethod:

  1. In a pan, dry roast all the ingredients (except for dry mango powder and suger) till it they golden brown on a low medium flame.
  2. Roast for a few minutes (till some nice aroma is released). Then add the dry mango powder and roast for a minute. Switch off the flame cool and add sugar powder and mix well.
  3. Once the mixture cools down completely, grind it to a fine powder in a mixer.
  4. Store in an airtight container.

7. Chicken Masala

Recipe by Chef Siddharth Talwar

Chicken Masala should blend properly Photo Credit: Facebook/ Yummy Tummy

Ingredients1 tsp turmeric
12 pieces cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp mace
15 pieces dried plums
1 tbs red chilli powder
10 pieces green cardamom
4 tbs coriander powder
1 tbs salt
12 pieces black pepper corns
4tbs deghi mirchWhole Spices to Grind2 large pieces cinnamon sticks
2 tbs white cumin seeds
15 pieces green cardamom
5 pieces star anise
1 tbs black cumin seeds
1 tbs black pepper corns
1/2tbs cloves
4 bay leaves MethodAdd all the whole spices and grind to make powder, then add the grinned powder to the powder spices and mix well. store in air tight jars.

8. Sambhar Masala

Recipe by Chef Siddharth Talwar

Mix all the spices well and store it in an air tight container Photo Credit: Facebook/Mycookbook

Ingredients2 cups whole red pepper
1 1/2 cups coriander seeds (dhania)
2 Tbsp mustard seeds (sarson)
3 Tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
4 tsp pepper corns (sabut kali mirch)
2 Tbsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
2 Tbsp husked split black gram (dhuli urad dal)
2 Tbsp bengal gram (channa dal)
2 Tbsp yellow lentils (arhar dal)
2 Tbsp rice
2 Tbsp asafoetida (heeng)
2 Tbsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1/4 cup dried curry leaves (kadi patta)Method

  1. Roast all the ingredients, except the turmeric powder, till very slightly colored.
  2. Remove from the heat and cool, and grind to a powder and mix in the turmeric powder.
  3. Store this masala in an airtight jar.

9. Gunpowder Masala

Recipe by Chef Siddharth Talwar

Grind Well all the masala Photo Credit: facebook/Delight Foods

Ingredients1 cup - urad dal
1 cup - Channa dal
8 to 10 Red Chillies
1 tbsp - white sesame seeds
(dry roasted)
1/2 tsp - Hing powder
2 to 3 pieces Tamarind
Small piece Jaggery (optional)
Salt to taste
1 tsp - oilMethod

  1. Roast the dals together in two teaspoons of oil, till golden brown.
  2. Add red chillies and roast for two minutes.
  3. Add the tamarind, hing powder, sesame seeds, jaggery and salt.
  4. Grind the mixture coarsely.
  5. Store in an airtight container.
  6. Mix with sesame oil and eat with idlis and dosas.
  7. Can be stored for two to three months.

10. Korma Masala

Recipe by Chef Siddharth Talwar

Store the masala in an airtight container Photo Credit: facebook/ Keralas Creative Kitchen

Ingredients1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Whole Black Pepper
2 tbsp Coconut Powder
½ tsp Mace
½ tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Salt
1-1/21 tsp Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder 1 tsp
6 Cardamom
1 Bay Leaves
½ tsp Tartary
Kewra Essence Few dropsMethod