Everyone loves the satisfaction of conjuring up a healthy home-cooked meal, but we’d be lying to ourselves if we didn’t admit feeling the urge to indulge in a good old-fashioned takeaway once in a while too. Adults love them, kids love them; a takeaway is that naughty helping of moreish munch we help ourselves to after a long day – or a long week – when cooking just feels all a bit too much.
The problem with fast-food is the guilt that often comes with it. That’s where these recipes come in handy – they’re quick and easy enough to make even when you’re out of energy, they do an excellent impersonation of your favourite fast foods, and they don’t come with those bloated feelings of regret once you’re done. Make the most of supermarket cheats – no-one expects you to craft your own marinades after a long day in the office.
- Guilt-free homemade kebabs
These are at their best if you let the meat marinate for a bit before cooking. 15 minutes will do the trick, but these still taste fantastic even if you just can’t wait that long.
Serves 4 – Cooking time 15 minutes
• 675g lean pork or chicken, cut into 2cm thick pieces
• Wahaca garlic and chipotle marinade (or similar)
• Natural yoghurt (for the finishing touch)
• 2tbsp of chopped coriander
• Wholegrain tortilla wraps
• Your choice of salad – this goes great with a little baby gem lettuce and sliced red onion
Coat the meat in marinade and let it absorb the flavour for around 15 minutes, before skewering and placing under the grill. Cook for 7-8 minutes before turning the kebabs over and brushing with another coat of marinade, and then grill for another 6-7 minutes until cooked through.
Once your masterpieces are ready to go, sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve wrapped up with crunchy salad and a spoonful of natural yoghurt. Don’t forget to remove the sticks! It’s like your secret kebab habit, only so much better.
- Dominos-style pizza and potato wedges
Cheaper even than Two For Tuesday and definitely better for you, homemade pizza and spiced wedges are an effortless treat sure to please those tired tastebuds.
Serves 2 – Cooking time 20 minutes
• 1 ready made pizza base
• 4tbsp tomato puree or passata
• Cracked black pepper to season
• 200g grated mozzarella
• Mixed italian herbs (two or three pinches)
• Optional toppings – ½ sliced red onion, handful of halved baby plum tomatoes, ½ chopped red and yellow bell pepper
• BBQ sauce (for dipping) Preheat the oven to 220ºC and get the potato wedges in on a foil-lined baking tray, setting a timer for five minutes while you prepare the pizza. Chop your choice of toppings, spread the puree or passata across your pizza base evenly and sprinkle with herbs and black pepper before piling on the flavour.
Cover the whole lot in cheese, and when that five minute timer goes off it’s time to give those spiced wedges a shake and add the pizza to the oven too.
In another 15 minutes your better-than-takeaway dinner will be done, but keep an eye on your wedges and turn again five minutes before it’s time to plate up, to make sure they get equally golden on all sides.
- Easy Chinese Chow Mein
Possibly everyone’s favourite Chinese fast-food dish, Chow Mein is cruelly moreish and makes fantastic mid-week comfort food. Get the flavour without the fat thanks to this homemade take on an oriental champion.
Serves 4 – Cooking time 10 minutes
• 2 packs straight to wok egg or udon noodles
• 2 sachets of Chow Mein stir fry sauce – Blue Dragon is great and available in most supermarkets
• 2 tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil
• 1 tsp garlic puree or 2 chopped garlic cloves
• 1 tsp peeled, chopped ginger
• 2 red peppers, finely sliced
• 50g sliced mushrooms – shiitake are best, but chestnut also work wonderfully
• 200g bean sprouts
• 150g sugarsnap peas
• Soy sauce (to splash)
Fresh and packed with nutritious veg, there’ll be no hard feelings after this fantastic dish. Heat your oil in a large work, adding the ginger first and then garlic. Stir well, adding the peppers, mushrooms and sugarsnap peas before frying for two minutes.
Once these have softened up, throw in the bean sprouts and noodles before immediately topping with Chow Mein sauce and stirring thoroughly until heated through. Give the whole thing a splash of soy sauce and voila – you’ve got yourself a quick and easy homemade Chinese feast!