There are many reasons to prepare food at home rather than getting takeout or going to a restaurant, and not all of them are financial. Of course, a lot of fast foods are just plain unhealthy, but Chinese food is one of the healthier takeout options available. All the same, you can save money and add to your culinary repertoire with some easy and authentic recipes. They may well give you ideas for variations that will make the dishes uniquely your own, so feel free to get creative.
If Chinese food isn’t really your style, there are still plenty of easy dishes that you can prepare to skip takeout once and for all, but right now, we’re going to look into some tasty oriental cooking. So, put on your chef’s hat. Let’s cook up a storm!
In this guide...
1. General Tso’s Chicken
Although you might be more familiar with Colonel Sanders, the General’s chicken ups the ante with a spicy hot sauce and authentic ingredients like rice wine. The marinade and the sauce are the secrets this recipe reveals. The dish itself is quick and easy to prepare, and the results are spectacular!
2. Shrimp Fried Rice
Shrimp fried rice is a healthy Chinese food standby, but the price of a portion from a takeout is just plain silly. Find out how to make your own. Once again, the seasoning is the secret. Add it to your menu plans each month – it’s a great way to use up leftover cooked rice. Have a regular rice dish the night before, and then jazz up the leftover rice in minutes.
3. Sesame Chicken
This frugal sesame chicken dish proves that low-cost eating can be delicious. Apart from sesame oil, you should have most of the ingredients in your cupboard already, so it’s super-convenient. Cook up some extra to add to salads, and make extra cooked chicken and sauce to throw together for an instant meal another day.
4. Lo Mein
How fast do you want your fast food to be? This yummy noodle dish packed with crunchy veggies takes just 15 minutes to prepare, and it’s every bit as tasty as it looks. You will need a few uniquely Chinese ingredients, but they’re versatile enough to use in other meals, so they’re worth stocking up on.
5. Orange Chicken
One of the reasons why many of us haven’t thought of making orange chicken at home is that orange zest is hard to come by. A Malaysian blogger suggests replacing it with fresh orange peel. Problem solved! Treat your family to something new. They are going to love it!
6. Vegetable Egg Rolls
Imagine paying about 50 cents for two egg rolls! A frugal foodie shared this recipe for vegetable egg rolls. Save yourself some cooking time. You can make a whole lot of them, freeze them before baking or frying, and use them as a quick snack meal on a day when you don’t feel like cooking.
7. Wonton Soup
Do wontons sound like hard work? You can cheat a bit with some ready-made wonton shells and transform them into a quick meal that everyone will think you spent ages on. You can also vary the soup sauce choosing Vietnamese or Chinese style condiments according to your preference.
8. Peanut Soba Noodles with Veggies
Whether you make this dish with veggies only or mix in a little meat, you’ll discover that it’s both versatile and delicious. There are so many different ingredients that you can combine in it that it’s sure to be different every time you make it. And since the last thing you want to do is overcook those veggies, it’s a quick option that will be a lifesaver at the end of a tiring day.
9. Chinese Chicken Salad
A chicken salad is perfect for a summer lunch, and adding a touch of oriental flavor is just the way to set your salad apart from the rest. Once again, you can really get creative with this dish, varying it in so many ways that it’ll always be something new.
10. Beef and Broccoli
Have you ever wondered why Chinese beef and broccoli is so tasty? This recipe uncovers the secrets you need to know to make your own version at home. It’s easy! You certainly won’t have to fight with your kids to get them to eat broccoli – not when it’s in this dish!
Cheaper, Nicer, and Smarter
These ten dishes are just a start! Chinese cooking is frugal and practical, most of the dishes are quick and easy to make, and there will be plenty of great new ingredients to get familiar with. Skip the takeout and experience Chinese cookery at home. Once you’ve tasted the results, you’ll never look back, and your family will be glad to give the Chinese takeout the go-by in favor of your fabulous, home-cooked food.
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