By Wendy Ruopp , November 19, 2013 - 10:16am
What are you in the mood for tonight—Italian? Mexican? Chinese? Hold the phone! Takeout is tempting, but instead of ordering out (again) you can make a tastier, healthier dinner that will satisfy your craving and be ready in the same amount of time it would take to find the restaurant menu, decide what everyone wants, dial, order and wait.
You may be skeptical that it can really be faster to cook than call. Believe it: our Test Kitchen has developed recipes for five takeout favorites that are ready in 45 minutes—some deliver in under 30. For a night when you’re craving Indian food, there’s a spice-happy Vegetarian Tikka Masala, warming and satisfying, to serve with rice. (Takeout Tikka has as much as 17 grams of saturated fat per serving; ours has 3 grams.) Or make your own General Tso’s Chicken. All it takes is 30 minutes and a wok to reproduce this must-order dish of saucy chicken and snow peas—with half as much sodium as the #16 from your neighborhood joint.
In this vegetarian tikka masala recipe, we combine crisp tofu pieces and vegetables in a spiced tomato sauce to make a healthy and flavorful dish. If you like spicy food, increase the amount of crushed red pepper. Serve with steamed brown rice for a healthier take on a classic takeout dish.
In this healthy version of a General Tso’s Chicken recipe, we cut the fat and sodium in half from the original version by not frying the chicken and by using half as much soy sauce in this Chinese-takeout favorite. Serve with steamed baby bok choy or sautéed spinach and steamed brown rice.
A typical calzone packs almost 800 calories and 25 grams of saturated fat. In this healthier calzone recipe, we use lean chicken sausage to keep fat in check and add nutrient-rich spinach to bulk up the filling without adding calories. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
This healthy beef taquitos recipe calls for baking instead of deep-frying, making the taquitos substantially healthier than what you’d get at a restaurant. One order of these little deep-fried, rolled-up tacos at a restaurant can set you back almost 1,000 calories and 60 grams of fat! Don’t worry if some of the taquitos crack open while baking—they’re still crispy and delicious. Serve with your favorite salsa, guacamole and reduced-fat sour cream.
This healthy pad thai recipe has less than half the calories and sodium of the traditional Thai-restaurant favorite. Look for dried wide rice noodles, sometimes called “Pad Thai noodles” or “straight-cut,” in the Asian-food section at most supermarkets and natural-foods stores. Serve with sliced cucumbers with a rice vinegar and cilantro vinaigrette.
For these recipes and more:
Download a FREE 1-Week Dinner Plan & Shopping List for 5 Healthy Quick-As-Takeout Dinner Recipes!