Take the “out” out of take-out

Lindsay Lillig

Let’s face it. Sometimes nothing sounds better than take-out. Rice, noodles, Rangoon, the works. Coincidentally, take-out sounds best whenever you don’t want to go anywhere. This, along with the excess of calories which comes with most dishes, hinders us from satisfying that take-out fix. However, time, money and calories can be spared by making your favorite take-out foods at home.

Vegetable Spring Rolls


  • 1/2 cup uncooked vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 packet of spring roll sheets
    • 1 large parsnip, thinly sliced
    • 2 sticks of celery, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced into ribbon-like pieces
    • 1/2 cup green cabbage, finely sliced


  1. Start by getting a medium pan of water boiling. Remove from the heat, then add the noodles. Let cook for approx. 8-10 minutes. Plunge noodles into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain.
  2. Fill a small bowl with warm water. Make sure you have all your ingredients at hand. Put one of the spring roll sheets in the water until soft. Carefully lift it out of the water and lay it out on a damp kitchen cloth.
  3. Line some noodles in the middle of the spring roll sheet. Top the noodles with the other ingredients.
  4. Fold the side of the roll closest to you up and over the top of the ingredients. As you do this, gently push the ingredients toward you, making this first fold tight. Tuck the ends into the middle of the roll as far as you can. Then simply roll it the rest of the way.

Photo and recipe from mattikaarts.com


Steamed Vegetable Dumplings


  • 1 1/2 cup coleslaw mix
  • 1/2 cup chopped bean sprouts
  • 4 scallions, chopped (light green and white parts only)
  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp. ginger
  • 15 round dumpling wrappers



  1. In a medium bowl, stir together coleslaw mix, chopped bean sprouts, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger.
  2. Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in the contents from the bowl. Cover the pan and cook for two minutes. Uncover, stir and let cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until most of the liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat.
  3. Working with one dumpling wrapper at a time, spoon about 1 tsp. of filling into the center.
  4. Moisten the edges of the dumpling wrapper with water (use your finger to spread it around). Fold the wrapper over, sealing the edges together with your fingers. Place on a foil-lined plate. Repeat until all of the dumplings are filled and sealed.
  5. Heat 1 inch of water in a large pot fitted with a steamer insert. Once boiling, spray the insert with cooking oil spray and carefully add the dumplings to the pan. Only add enough to form a single layer, without the dumplings touching. Cover and steam for approx. 5-7 minutes, until cooked through.

Photo and recipe from tablespoon.com

Easy Scallion Pancakes


For the pancakes,

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bunch of scallions, halved and cut into 2-3 inch lengths
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Oil for cooking

For dipping sauce,

  • 6 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 3 tsp. ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic


For the pancakes,

  1. Mix all ingredients together and let sit for approx. 10 minutes.
  2. Heat a thin layer of oil in a small sauce pan.
  3. Scoop batter into pan. Cook until the pancakes sets, approx. 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook for another minute or until golden brown.
  4. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

For the sauce,

  1. Simply mix all ingredients together.

Photo and recipe from mydorot.com


Chickpea Curry with Coconut Rice


For the coconut rice,

  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

For the chickpea curry,

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 leeks, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp. red curry paste
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cut into thirds
  • 1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp. cilantro


For the rice,

  1. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and add rice, coconut milk, coconut water and salt.
  2. Stir, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let cook for approx. 15-18 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, then stir in coconut oil.

For the curry,

  1. While the rice is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the coconut oil.
  2. Stir in the leeks, red peppers, salt and pepper and stir to toss. Cover and cook until the vegetables have slightly softened, approx. five minutes.
  3. Add in the garlic, ginger and curry paste and stir to coat. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the peas and coconut milk. Increase heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for five minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and cilantro and cook for five minutes more. Taste and season additionally if desired.
  4. Serve together!

Photo and recipe from howsweeteats.com


Frank’s Lo Mein


  • 6 oz. linguine noodles
  • 1 (12 oz.) steamer pack of California medley vegetables
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. corn muffin mix
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. celery salt.
  • Oil for cooking


  1. Bring half a medium-sized pot of water to boil. Add in linguine. Reduce to medium heat. Cook until done, approx. 5-10 minutes. Take off heat. Strain.
  2. While noodles are cooking, heat vegetables in microwave. Follow directions on back of package. Veggies are generally done in approx. five minutes. Let sit in microwave.
  3. Heat a thin layer of oil in a medium-sized sauce pan. Carefully pour veggies into pan. Season with garlic powder and celery salt. Reduce to low heat.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, mix soy sauce, water, corn muffin mix, flour, honey, garlic salt, onion powder and curry powder until combined.
  5. Add the noodles to the vegetable pan. Let cook together approx. 1-2 minutes. Add sauce mix and stir until coated through. Voila!

Photo and recipe by Frank Lillig