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  • Hui Hui Lee, RD/LD

Better than take out

Updated: Sep 20, 2023




Hello September! Phew, what a busy month (August)! YAY! We all make it through August! How’s everyone been doing? Still, enjoying life? Are you still challenging yourself to make some home-prep meals? If you are doing well and have been preparing some homemade meals, I am very proud of you! If for some reason you have not been able to try making home-cooked meals, it is never too late for you to start right now. Just simply follow my monthly and try at least one of the recipes I share here, I am sure you will find something you enjoy and continue making them in the future.



For September 2023, I am thinking about sharing some typical takeout food that we can easily make at home, at a lower cost and are so much healthier. In my opinion, most of us these days spend way too much money on eating out and/or takeout. Not only does it cost more to eat out, but it also typically contains higher calories, higher fat, and/or refined carbohydrates. I strongly believe home-cooked meals are much more fun, cost-friendly, and healthier! The reason why it is more fun is because we can involve our family members in cooking together (bonding time), and we can be creative with the ingredient choices instead of following the same old, same old recipe. Home-cooked meals are also no doubt more budget-friendly and healthier than purchased meals because we can make an easy swap for ingredients that are lower in price and healthier options. Cooking does require some skills, but even a person without any cooking skills/knowledge can make a decent meal by simply following the recipe instructions. The goal is we start with simple, easy recipes, and then gradually challenge ourselves to the next level of cooking skills.


Alright, I hear my tummy is calling for some delicious food now! I guess it is COOKING TIME! Are you ready for this? (Hope you are as excited as I was when searching for these takeout recipes)


Vegan Portobello tacos: Do not let the name of the recipe fool you! This is a very flavorful (smoky, spicy, and “meaty”) vegan taco recipe even the meat lovers like them. I have mine topped with homemade refried beans, chipotle Portobello, roasted red bell peppers and onions, pickled onion, and guacamole. If you have extra, you want to pack the toppings separately. The recipes are adapted from.




Zucchini pizza: If you are craving a pizza, but do not care much for the unnecessary carbohydrates from the crust, maybe this zucchini pizza crust could be your thing. Or, if you like your little one to eat more veggies, this recipe is a good way of introducing zucchini to them. Do feel free to add any toppings to your zucchini pizza crust. I had mine topped with sliced mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet bell pepper, radish, jalapenos, red onions, as well as fresh mozzarella cheese. The recipe is inspired by an ambitious kitchen.




Salmon tacos: it is a salmon taco recipe that is full of spring and summer flavors. The salmon tacos are made with a warm tortilla topped with a good layer of creamy mashed avocado/guacamole, bite-sized blackened salmon (seasoned with Cajun seasoning), citrus-infused jicama-cabbage slaw (the original recipe called for fennel-cabbage slaw), pickled red onions, and Aji Verde sauce. These tacos are super delicious and satisfying. It is not just delicious, but also extremely easy to make. Do give it a try! The recipe is adapted from Home.




Carne asada tacos: For the recipe, I would like to start by giving credit to my friend, Jessica, who suggested a more cost-friendly meat cut, which the original recipe called for skirt steak, but she suggested London broil. I shared these tacos with my new friends, Jeffrey and Downy, who are my new taste tasters (As you all know I do not eat meat). Both of them told me these steak tacos are very tasty. What makes the tacos so special and gives a robust flavor is the chimichurri sauce. I filled the tacos with thin slices of marinated London broil, grilled sweet onion slices, chimichurri sauce, pico de gallo, pickled red onions, and guacamole. The recipe is inspired by Feasting at home.




Birria tacos: Birria is a Mexican stew recipe, infused with complex Mexican-infused flavors. Birria can be served in a bowl or used as a taco filling. For summertime, we want something light, so taco it is. When the weather starts to cool off, serving in a bowl recipe seems to be more comforting and filling. I make the birria meat in my instant pot to shorten the cooking time. The recipe is adapted from Home.




Chipotle chicken burrito bowl: Want to try the classic popular Chipotle restaurant item, chicken bowl, but not paying so much for it? This chipotle chicken burrito bowl recipe is something you might be interested in trying. It is super easy to make and extremely versatile. Add whatever toppings you like. I had mine made with grilled chipotle chicken breast, romaine lettuce, pickled red onion, pico de gallo, corn kernel, seasoned black beans, shredded cheese, and warm brown rice. The recipe is adapted from Taste.




Oven fried sweet tea buffalo chicken sandwich: Southern-inspired flavors? This oven-fried sweet tea buffalo chicken sandwich has all the boxes checked! Not just that, it is an oven-fried recipe. No grease messiness to deal with after the cooking. No guilt or bloating to deal with after eating. I highly recommend this chicken sandwich! The recipe is inspired by a half-baked harvest.





Pineapple fried rice: It is my all-time favorite fried rice. There are many versions of pineapple-fried rice, but I love the Thai-inspired pineapple fried rice because the fried rice comes with a hint of warm curry flavor. This fried rice has a good balance of flavors, savory from the seasoning, sweet from pineapple chunks, and spiciness from Thai chili pepper and curry powder. If you like some extra texture to the fried rice (like me), add some roasted cashew nuts at the end of the stir fry process. The recipe is adapted from Home.





*Most of the ingredients are sponsored by the DRH Health Food and Nutrition Department.

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