A Weekly Meal Plan with 5 Fun Spins on Take Out

Craving restaurant food, but stuck at home? Never fear! Try your hand at these restaurant-inspired favorites like Chinese orange chicken, vegetarian tacos, or Korean Spicy Cold Noodles.

This month, we welcome back Marta Rivera for more of her meal plans. Marta is a trained chef, mom of twins, Army wife, and a Simply Recipes recipe tester and developer!

My favorite dinners to make are those that are spin-offs on takeout. You know those meals that you’d normally order from restaurants? Those. Except that they’re made in the comfort your home.

Not only do we save money by making these dinners ourselves, but my family and I get to show our creative side by adding our own twists to them.

When it comes to takeout spin-offs, the key is not to feel intimidated. If restaurants can do it, so can you. You just need a solid recipe to get you started and a bit of inspiration to push you over the edge.

One last thing: Looking for dinner ideas? You’re in the right spot! We just launched our new paid meal plan service. We have delicious meal plans to suit every taste and lifestyle — Healthy Eating, Family Favorites, and Vegetarian just to name a few. These one-week plans are $1.95 and, with them, you get a dessert and weekend prep recipe and a shopping list. They’re beautifully designed and perfect to print and save or simply load and cook right from your computer!

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Swedish Meatballs

These slightly sweet meatballs became more popular when a certain DIY furniture store landed in North America (Ahem, IKEA, I’m looking at you!), at least in the States they did. Why not DIY them for dinner and serve a side of mashed potatoes alongside? Serve a simple side of sautéed summer squash with these meatballs. If you do go with squash, be sure to buy extra for Friday’s dinner.

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Side view of chinese take out orange chicken recipe in a scalloped white bowl with a partial view of a bowl of white rice to the left.

I grew up eating authentic NYC Chinese takeout, so I consider myself a snob when it comes to most other versions. This recipe exceeds my high expectations with its use of thighs instead of the usual chicken breast. Yes, you can sub chicken breast if you’re not a fan of dark meat, but I’m a sucker for juicy thigh meat. If I’m really pining for Chinatown, I’ll throw in a batch of these egg rolls to really play up the take out vibe.

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Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Bacon and Pear

This sandwich served with an Easy Greek Salad reminds me of the many nights I spent in diners after working a grueling shift on the kitchen line. Greek diners dot the Northeastern seaboard. They’re the place to go when you’re craving a humongous, “big-as-your-head” sandwich on the cheap. It is a lighter meal, but I am looking forward to enjoying an easy, laidback dinner by mid-week.

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Korean Spicy Cold Noodles

Nothing beats Korean noodles as the quintessential take-out meal. Except, of course, if we’re talking about noodles that you can make any time of day, or those that can be cooked in a little over 10 minutes. This cold version takes the edge of the summer heat, while spicing things up in the taste department with the help of gochujang (Korean red pepper paste).

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vegetarian tacos

I’m deep in the heart of Texas, which means I have access to some of the world’s best take-out tacos. Flipping my family’s expectation with these spiced veggie tacos is something I look forward to, especially as we’re winding down the week. Make it extra fun by creating your own “Taco Truck” on the back patio and serve these in paper boats.

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Weekend Baking

Strawberry Shortcake Sliders

Strawberry shortcake may not scream “takeout,” but their slider-style makeup sure will. These precious bites of summer are a cute way to begin the weekend. I’m going to double the biscuit dough so I can serve biscuits for breakfast later this weekend.

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Marta Rivera

Marta Rivera is trained chef with over 20 years in the culinary field and the blogger behind Sense & Edibility. She graduated from the Baltimore International Culinary College with degrees in Culinary Arts and Classical Pastries. Her cookbook is Taste and See Cooks.

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