While takeaway meals can be tempting as a Friday night treat – or just because there’s nothing in the fridge – a weekly $30 takeaway will add up to more than $1,200 over the course of a year. However, have the ingredients ready and you’ll spend the same amount of time (and a fraction of the price) making a takeaway at home. “It really doesn’t take any longer to prepare a meal at home than it does to order it over the phone and have it delivered, or get in the car, wait in the queue and bring it home”,confirms Cath Armstrong, author of Saving Money is Easy .
Here are her five ideas for having a takeaway at home.
1) Pizza pitas
Pizza is the ultimate takeaway quick-fix but the greasy variety that you often get with junk mail coupons are not necessarily saving you money by the time you add garlic bread, fizzy drink and delivery cost to the mix. Do your wallet and your health a favour by making pizza at home the easy way. Use pita bread as a base if you don’t want to make a yeast dough (even though that’s really easy, too). Spread with tomato sauce or pasta sauce and add your toppings: grated cheese, pineapple and sliced tomato are easy to prepare and you can also use leftover meats with tomato sauce and cheese,” suggests Cath.
2) Fish and chips
Fresh fish should be a regular part of your diet, with omega-3s boosting behaviour and mood. You can make this a takeaway treat by simply adding some hot chips to your plate, says Cath. “Use frozen or fresh potatoes and cut potatoes into chips or wedges and serve with salad.”
3) Hamburgers on sourdough
“A good hamburger is hard to find and they are definitely better homemade,” says Cath, who suggests you make your own burgers that are not only tastier, but more filling and healthy than your favourite takeout joint.
With a sourdough bun, this recipe is party friendly too. Just serve the meat patties on the table with bowlfuls of cheese, avocado, tomato and beetroot, so your friends can build their own burgers too.
4) Chicken fried rice
“Fried rice, stir-fries and Singapore noodles are all quick and easy to prepare,” advises Cath.
Whip up a yummy fried rice using four different vegetables – capsicum, peas, onion and spring onion – for an added kick, and if you chop them up finely, you won’t even know they’re in there. Fried rice takes about 10 minutes to cook and will be ready faster than you can pick up the phone and order out.
5) Chicken satay skewers
Marinate chicken skewers for 30 minutes in satay sauce ahead of time (either homemade or from a jar). Then it’s no trouble to cook up these takeaway treats in around six minutes for any BBQs or dinners. If you have some left over, these skewers make a great lunch for work with a side salad.