Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Make Your Own Take Out

So have I outed myself as a Rachael Ray fan? *ducks* To be honest, I'm not so much a fan of hers as a fan of her recipes. Say what you will about Ray-Ray, but she always cooks with fresh ,whole foods. They can be a little heavy on the butter but for the most part they are quick, easily adaptable and delicious. I've also adopted her "MYOTO" philosophy as my own.

There is no way around it, although delicious, takeout food is fattening and unhealthy. But sometimes I crave those flavors. Our local curry house closed due to serving booze to underage persons so I bought an Indian cookbook and learned to make a few of the dishes. I keep the pantry stocked with the spices and basmati rice and my local shops carry really nice naan bread so a Saturday night curry is never more than 30 min... ahem.

What's your favorite takeout? My husband loves Chinese food but the fat, sodium and calories just aren't worth it to me except for a treat now and again. I found a recipe for Quick Sweet and Sour Pork in an advertisement for the pork council in a magazine. I bought the ingredients and tried it out on Saturday night. Wow! It was really was quick and easy and tasted fantastic. It got the "you can make this again, Mrs." Rob seal of approval. Each serving is only 318 calories with just 9 fat grams. Compare that to (according to Spark) one serving of takeout sweet and sour pork which contains 1300 calories and 70 grams of fat. I used low sodium tamari to lessen the sodium punch and served it up with steamed jasmine rice and fresh snow peas and it was very satisfying meal. I had the leftovers for supper at work last evening and my mouth was happy!

If you have a favorite make your own takeout recipe, whether it's homemade pizza or Pad Thai, please share it. I'm always looking for ways to spice up a Saturday night meal without having to pick up that phone.


  1. Mmmm, you can get a lot of yummy recipes inspired by your favorite take-out. And you are right that it is cheaper and healthier. Unfortunately, to me the whole point of take-out is not the yummy flavors but knowing I won’t have to cook and/or think. Thus making my own ‘take-out’ at home is rather pointless.

  2. Our favorite is definitely homemade pizza. I've finally perfected my crust, I believe--I wanted some whole grains, but if you use too many the crust isn't very satisfying.

    ½ cup lukewarm water
    1 teaspoon dry yeast
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tablespoon honey
    ¼ cup rye flour
    ¼ cup whole wheat flour
    ¾ cup all purpose white flour

    Place water in bowl. Sprinkle in yeast. Add salt, olive oil, and sweetener. Stir to blend.

    Add wheat and rye flour, stir well. Add remaining white flour ¼ cup at a time. The dough should be soft, but not very sticky. (You may have to add more flour than you expect--the honey and rye make a very soft dough)

    Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for five minutes. Let rise for about 30 minutes, or until dough is doubled in size. (Or, after kneading place dough in airtight container in freezer. When you want to use the frozen crust, put out at room temperature for at least three hours. Dough will rise as it defrosts.)

    Knead for about a minutes, adding flour if dough is very sticky. Heat oven to 425. Press dough into oiled pan, cover with desired toppings, and cook until done.

    We love it topped with a little smear of pesto, tomato, olives, chopped asparagus, and goat cheese. If you want grated cheese, use something stronger flavored than mozzarella and you can use less.

  3. I get where Kathleen is coming from -- for me, take out is more about not having to cook, which is nice especially after a long day at work and a hairy commute. I do, however, have a great pizza recipe that you may recognize from Massachusetts -- the Bertucci's Nolio (my personal fave). I am sure you will find lots of creative ways to make this less fattening, but here it is:

    Pizza dough (homemade or Publix has a decent one in their bakery section)
    vidalia onions caramelized
    shredded prosciutto
    light cream
    parmesan cheese
    mascarpone cheese
    dash of nutmeg
    black pepper

    Roll out your dough. Caramelize your onions. Make a cream sauce spiked with fresh lemon juice out of the cream, parmesan cheese, nutmeg and black pepper on the stove, till it's thickened just a bit. Dot the dough here and there with mascarpone cheese...drizzle the cream sauce...spread out the onions and shredded prosciutto. Bake in high heat oven until bubbly and crust is done...DELISH.

    My ideas for making it more "healthy" -- opt out of the cream sauce and mascarpone and instead put crumbles of a good goat cheese on there, and maybe some fresh sliced mission figs. Will add a nice sweet element to the salty...won't have that Nolio lemon cream sauciness, but would still be lovely and way less fattening.

  4. Not cooking and/or thinking got me to 277 pounds, so the point of my post was offer options for people who want the flavors of take out without all the fat, calories or sodium. As I said, it was amazing leftover so making it in advance is definitely an option. Reheating is even faster and less "thinky" than looking at a take out menu. ;)

    Thanks for the other recipes. Jessica, your crust looks really great, I must give it a try!

    Love the Nolio, Lara, will have to make it (in the original form, of course) for a treat on a Saturday night. No use trying to improve on perfection.

  5. Heh, what a fun coincidence. I've been very sick lately which has prevented me from cooking (and eating for a few days there actually). In honor of my first day being well enough to cook again and my need for food that's both comforting and highly nutritious, I just made my favorite make-at-home Chinese takeout food: sweet and spicy garlic eggplant.

    The restaurant version involves an amazing amount of oil, but when done at home you can cut the oil out completely or use just a teaspoon or two (just enough to coat the pan lightly for an initial browning of eggplant and garlic).

    You can google plenty of recipes, but the basic concept is simple.

    1. Boil some water in a pan or wok, throw in eggplant and garlic. Cover the pan. Allow it to cook until the eggplant is nice and mushy.
    2. Add soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, something spicy (cayenne, pepper flakes, fresh chilis, hot sauce) and something sweet(I use either honey, molasses, or cane syrup but absolutely anything will work) to the eggplant cooking water. You'll need less of each thing than you think. These ingredients go a long way when they're used for flavor not for making up the bulk of the sauce, that's the point of the cooking water.
    3. Cook sauce down until it's nice and thick. You can add a cornstarch slurry if you like yours thicker.



  6. I love Ray-Ray, and I am not afraid to say it!
    But as far as take out goes, it is like the Mafia, "every time I try to get out, they pull me back it."!

    This was week 1 of my new job, and by Thurs. night, I made Jay go to Dragon Island. And by Friday afternoon, I was suffering the consequences, or should I say my mother was. The food made me bitchy! Just straight up bitchy!

    I had been cooking healthy whole foods and juicing, and had not had take away in a long time. So after I ate the delicious chicken chow mein and spring roll I had been wanting so much, I ended up feeling terrible.

    Last week was very stressful for me, between the new job, and being in a wedding! I did not have time to plan my menus, food shop, and do some advance cooking. And I suffered for it.

    But now that the wedding is over and I am off until Tuesday, I can get my bearings and try to get back on track.

    I am def. going to try the sweet and sour pork. I also do a MYOTO, with chicken and orange marmalade, over rice (from Ray-Ray of course) which is to die for!


    Here is the linky to the chicken I was telling you about.