We’ll let you in on a little Test Kitchen secret: Even the most talented chefs have a soft spot for takeout. Be it Greek, Chinese, Thai, Italian, or American, there’s something extra comforting about ordering in our most-loved dishes. When chilly fall weather hits, though, we just can’t resist turning on the oven, so we’re recreating our takeout staples in our kitchen. These recipes are even better than your delivery favorites, and include cheffy twists that will take your takeout game to the next level. Seriously, put down the Chinese menu and turn on the stove.
A diner-worthy patty melt
“Patty melts are my ultimate takeout order because they essentially combine two of my favorite things—burgers and grilled cheese. There’s a diner near my house that makes a patty melt that’s really hard to beat, but I tried to capture its flavors in this recipe. It’s comfort food at it’s best, with a little something special from whole grain mustard and thyme.”—Head Chef Elana
“Most people are used to chicken tikka masala, but I love the unexpected twist of swapping in cauliflower to make it vegetarian. The technique to get the cauliflower crispy in the oven without frying it is super handy, and makes for easy cleanup. But don’t worry, it still has plenty of creamy sauce and naan for scooping it all up.” —Chef Michelle
An Italian feast
“Spaghetti and meatballs is a staple family takeout recipe in my house. When you order in chicken meatballs, though, they tend to be really dry—not to mention overpriced. They’re so easy to recreate at home, which is why I love this recipe. Shredded mozzarella and sautéed aromatics are added to the meatballs for extra moisture, and they’re paired with a creamy version of a classic tomato sauce. Another bonus: this is an easy dish that you can make ahead and freeze, so you can have “takeout” whenever you want.”—Chef Andrea
Thai it up
“This dish is quick and simple yet contains all the complexities expected of Thai food. Sometimes you want a taco, sometimes you want Thai food, and then, BAM! The Thai larb comes along and puts Thai-style meat in a lettuce wrap. It’s the best of both worlds in one dish. The flavors are so comforting and if you close your eyes while eating this dish, you might be briefly transported to Bangkok.”—Chef Giuseppe
Pad See (Yum)
“Drunken Noodles is my go-to, homemade takeout recipe for one very simple reason: it comes together in a matter of minutes. This flavorful dish gives me the urge to make Emeril-inspired “BAM” noises as I throw each ingredient into the hot pan and hear the sizzle. The final dish is balanced, flavorful, and satisfies all those takeout cravings.”—Chef Taylor
10″ large pot
1 1/2 pounds Chinese broccoli
1/8 ounce basil
2 cloves garlic
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons Thai black soy sauce, divided
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 pound fresh wide rice noodles (or dried wide rice noodles)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse Chinese broccoli. Trim and discard bottom 1 inch of stems, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Rinse basil and roughly chop leaves, discarding stems. Mince garlic. Pat chicken dry with paper towel, then thinly slice into 1-inch pieces. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with baking soda and 2 teaspoons Thai soy sauce to fully coat. Set aside to marinate until Step 3.
In a medium bowl, whisk together fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, oyster sauce, garlic, and remaining Thai soy sauce until fully combined. Set aside until Step 4.
Add rice noodles to pot with boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Then, using a pair of tongs, carefully transfer rice noodles to a medium bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons canola oil, leaving behind boiling water in pot. Add chicken to pot with boiling water and cook until cooked through and no longer pink, 1–2 minutes.
Heat 3 tablespoons canola oil in a wok or large cast-iron pan over high heat until smoking. Add 2 eggs, and, working quickly with a metal spoon, break apart to scramble. Add noodles and stir to combine, about 30 seconds. Add chicken, sauce, and Chinese broccoli, stir to combine, and cook until flavors are melded, 1–2 minutes more. Stir in basil. Transfer Chicken Pad See Ew to serving bowls. Dig in!
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