How to Make Your Favorite Takeout Meals at Home Hero

How to Make Your Favorite Takeout Meals at Home

Publish Date October 24, 2023 5 Minute Read

Takeout Inspired Meal and Snack Ideas

Need some recipe inspiration? Here are some delicious takeout inspired meals and snacks to incorporate into your meal prep this week.

Restaurant takeout is great for a special occasion, but it’s not always the healthiest choice. If you’re craving something from your favorite spot, why not try to make your own version at home? Here, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to help you create healthier, copycat recipes of some classic takeout favorites – without having to order delivery or leave your house! Plus, we have you covered if you embrace a gluten-free, keto-friendly, or vegan way of life. Let’s dig in.

Meals Made at Home Save Time and Money

Why make your own food? Time is precious and investing in time-saving meals is important. It may seem quicker to go out, order takeout or request delivery, but time can be saved by not waiting for a table, waiting in the car for your order or waiting for a delivery driver to drop a meal at your doorstep.

Planning can help you organize and save your time (and money!) more effectively. According to the 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the average American spent greater than $3,000 on food away from home. Let’s look at some foods we can recreate for lunch or dinner to keep more money in your pocket.

Recreating Lunchtime Favorites

First and foremost, remember that a balanced meal should consist of ¼ plate vegetables, ¼ plate fruits, ¼ plate lean protein and ¼ plate starch. Strive to get at least 3 of the 5 food groups with all meals. This helps in meeting daily needs to keep us active and energized throughout the day. (Tip: Use MyPlate guidelines as the framework for recreating your favorite takeout meal.)

Here are some delicious and versatile copycat lunch options that are fun, simple and quick:

  • Street Corn Chicken Tacos: A perfect dupe for everyone’s favorite fast-food taco (or even the version at your local Mexican restaurant), this recipe was created with flavor in mind! Top whole grain, low carb, or corn tortillas with black beans and veggies, like red onions, cilantro, and chili pepper, to not only pair the flavors accordingly, but to boost the nutritional value too! The corn can easily be replaced with colorful bell peppers to make it more keto-friendly, and vegans can enjoy plant-based butter, cheese, and mayo to keep these tacos tasty.

  • Shrimp Sushi Rolls: If sushi is on your list for takeout favorites, then this recipe is for you. Swap in cauliflower rice or stick to a smaller portion of rice with more veggies at the core. The sugar can easily be replaced with a sugar alternative. Use gluten-free soy sauce or for a reduced sodium option, use light soy sauce. Feel free to ditch the shrimp totally or replace with sauteed tofu and hummus for a vegan variation that adds interest. This is a top tier meal any diet can enjoy!

  • Grilled Philly Cheesesteaks: A fan-favorite for takeout lunch is Philly cheesesteak. Don’t let the name fool you. This meal can easily be revamped at home to fit many dietary lifestyles with a few tweaks. Use Kroger Brand Shaved Steak, for the at home version. If shaved steak is not your preferred protein, explore meat alternatives or cheese. Your bread options can range from whole wheat hoagie bun to keto or gluten-free bun to simply skipping the bread and transforming this classic into a bowl or wrap with lettuce. Don't forget to add your favorite fresh herbs and spices or low sodium seasoning and frozen three pepper and onion blend. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

Essential Recipes for Dinnertime

Now that you have some dietary lifestyle options for homemade versions of your favorite lunchtime takeout options, it’s time to tackle dinner. Here are some takeout and restaurant-inspired dinner ideas to consider:

Revamped “McD’s” Burger

That’s right! You can absolutely make a healthier, even more juicy tasting version of the McD’s favorite at home! Using these products below will make assembling your burger easier than ever. (Note that the “secret” sauce in this version isn’t so secret.)

  • Kroger Beef + Mushroom Burger Patties - Don’t like the taste of mushrooms? No problem! You won’t even taste them in these patties. Mushrooms combine well with beef, adding a punch of umami. These burgers are high in protein and make it simple to get more vegetables in your diet. On the other hand, if mushroom is your thing, exchange the patties for marinated shiitake or portobello mushroom to provide a meaty texture and savory flavor.

  • Toppings - Top it off with lettuce, pickles, onions (pickle with Worcestershire sauce for 30 minutes before serving), Thousand Island dressing, and fat-free American cheese. If you prefer to skip the pickling step to make it your way, that’s ok. Turn your focus on the dressing by preparing with tangy vegan or gluten-free ingredients that raises the bar on this burger. Top it with plant-based cheese and get ready for a tastebud explosion!

  • Bun - Choose the bun that works for you whether it is keto-friendly, gluten-free, or whole wheat, look for buns higher in fiber and protein to keep you feeling full longer.

Crispy Kentucky-Style Air-Fried Chicken

Nothing says comfort food like fried chicken. This meal idea is inspired by Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), and can give you that same crunch with less calories. All you’ll need is a bag of Tyson Air Fried Perfectly Crispy Chicken. To make this gluten-free, coat fresh chicken with your favorite gluten-free flour mix and cook to perfection in the air-fryer for crispy and juicy results. How about serving them in a bucket for the real “KFC experience?” Add a side of high protein mac and cheese or cheesy mashed potato and cauliflower blend and crispy green beans to make this meal balanced and complete.

“Olive Garden” Fettuccine Alfredo

Who doesn’t love pasta from the Olive Garden? This easy restaurant meal to make at home tastes so good, you won’t even miss going out! This steamable rotini alfredo has 10 grams of protein per serving, made from lentils. Once heated, top it with chopped roasted pistachios, a squeeze of lemon juice and lemon zest, then pair with a side of whole grain garlic bread or a fresh garden salad with homemade Italian dressing.

Whatever restaurant meal you’re craving, just know you can save time and money (and perhaps add a little nutritional value) by recreating it in the convenience of your own home. It may just turn out to be the next family tradition!

There are always new ways to enjoy the foods you love – no matter your dietary preferences. Visit our dietary lifestyles page for more recipes, inspiration and foods that support your lifestyle.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and is not meant to provide healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Takeout-inspired Meals at Home