If takeout meals are part of your usual dinnertime MO, you’re surely not alone. But with the help of just a few staple recipes and good-to-know tips, you can indeed turn out the classic picks you most often order — cheesy pizzas and garlicky breadsticks, sweet-and-sour chicken and fried rice from the local Chinese restaurant or beefy tacos from the food truck downtown — right in your own kitchen. Find out how with these must-try recipes.
Pizza: Pepperoni, sausage, extra cheese, green peppers, black olives, mushrooms, pineapple — no matter how you top it, pizza is likely a takeout favorite, and for good reason. It’s the ultimate in customizable eating, so nearly everyone is guaranteed to like what’s in front of them. To make your own pie at home, start with a go-to crust. The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for dough is a classic, and it serves as the base of her Basic Pepperoni Pizza and Four-Cheese Pizza. If you really want to deliver on the takeout experience, bake a batch of her Garlic Cheese Bread Sticks, made with only five simple ingredients.
Chicken Wings: This game day, skip the order of saucy wings from the local bar and belly up to these beauties at home. Food Network Magazine’s Buffalo-style wings boast the all-important crispy-crunchy coating just below the blanket of buttery Buffalo sauce on top.
Lasagna: If you think only the Italian spot on the corner can turn out a cheesy lasagna as good as Grandma’s, think again. Tyler Florence’s authentic recipe comes together with both ground beef and ground sausage, and features layer after layer of creamy tomato-meat sauce, creamy ricotta and gooey mozzarella cheese.
Pho: A comforting Vietnamese soup, pho is classically made with rice noodles and meat, and Food Network Magazine’s beef-focused recipe celebrates the best flavors and textures of traditional pho recipes. Best of all: This recipe makes a whopping six portions, so you can keep coming back for extra bowls — something you can’t do right away after leaving the takeout joint.
Sweet-and-Sour Chicken: While the sweet-and-sour chicken you pick up from the restaurant is likely laden with fat and salt, this homemade version from Food Network Magazine is surprisingly healthy. A few smart picks, like boneless, skinless chicken breasts and brown rice, make this all-in-one dinner a light choice, but thanks to the tangy sauce of orange juice, soy sauce and vinegar, there’s no shortage of tried-and-true flavor.
Tacos: Yes, it’s indeed possible to recreate the flavor of the street-style tacos you pick up from the food truck downtown. Just stick with Tyler’s easy recipe featuring juicy beef marinated in his garlicky jalapeno-lime mojo sauce. When it comes to toppings, keep it simple with a homemade Pico De Gallo laced with fragrant cilantro.
Burgers: The name of this Food Network Magazine recipe speaks for itself: Perfect Beef Burgers. Keep this timeless recipe in your back pocket for when the meat cravings strike. And to really up the ante, look to Guy Fieri’s Double-Fried French Fries to round out the meal. (His double-frying technique ensures crispy results every time.)
Fried Rice: When you’re standing in front of the refrigerator, staring inside and wondering what to make for dinner, fried rice is almost always the answer. Have only a few carrots left? Great — that’s all you’ll need. A lone bunch of scallions? That’ll do. Frozen veggies? Throw them in too. This shrimp-studded recipe from Food Network Magazine can be on the table in 25 minutes and comes together with handfuls of vegetables and already prepared white rice.
Dumplings: When you stick with an easy recipe like this one from Food Network Magazine, the process of creating your own dumplings is as simple as folding over round wontons to create half-moon shapes, no special techniques required. Here the filling features the savory duo of pork and bacon, as well as chopped cabbage and chives for welcome freshness. Just a quick pan-fry gently crisps the wontons and turns them a warm golden brown color.
Pad Thai: The key to making a winning pad Thai — no matter if you make it at home or pick it up from a local restaurant — is the sauce in the dish. Part sweet, part sour and just a bit salty, it’s all about balance, and Bobby Flay does it best in his quick-fix recipe featuring a sauce of tamarind paste, rice vinegar, fish sauce and brown sugar. As for the protein, follow Bobby’s lead and opt for a mix of tofu and chicken to turn out satisfying results.