Healthy homemade takeaways
It’s a cruel reality that some of the worst things for us are also some of the most delicious. Takeaways are a common go-to for busy families, students and working professionals, but the harsh truth is that they’re often hard on both our wallets and our health.
We often turn to takeout when we don’t have time to cook, simply can’t be bothered, or even just when we have a hankering for a burger or a curry. They’re a great option to have in certain situations, but we shouldn’t be turning to takeaways too often.
If you’re someone who gets cravings for burgers, pizzas or curries, don’t worry: you can still have all your favourites, while sticking to your budget and eating healthily. All it takes is a little DIY — we’ve put together a fantastic range of recipes for homemade takeaways, so you can get through the week without dropping the big bucks on burgers but still feast like a king.
Click here for other ways to eat well and pay less
Why should I make takeaways at home?
You could argue that there’s no reason to make something yourself when the chippy is just down the road. However, there are lots of great benefits to making your own takeout.
1. Cooking is cheaper than buying takeout
There’s a common idea that takeout is cheap, but the reason for this is volume. A pizza shop makes lots of pizzas, for example, so it’s cheap for them to make a pizza. They then sell that pizza to you for $15, when it cost them less than $5.
Meanwhile, it would cost a similar amount to buy four pizza bases, a bottle of pizza sauce, a block of cheese and some pepperoni from PAK’nSAVE. But then you’d have the ingredients to make four pizzas, instead of just one. Even when you add extra toppings, it still works out cheaper for you to do it yourself.
2. You have more control over what you’re eating
Takeout is delicious, but we don’t always know what’s going into it. There can be a surprising amount of fat, salt and sugar in takeaways that add up to far more than our bodies need.
When you make your own takeaways at home from whole, raw ingredients, you get a better understanding of what you’re putting into your body.
You can also make healthy substitutions. For example, you can add low-fat yogurt to a homemade curry, instead of full-fat cream. Or use lean premium beef mince for your burgers instead of full-fat mince.
3. You can bake, not fry
Just about every fast food shop makes good use of their deep fat fryers. From chicken to fries and onion rings, deep fried food can certainly be tasty but it’s also laden with excess fat that just isn’t necessary for your health.
When making takeout at home, you can make the same foods but use your oven to bake them. Even a small spray of oil before baking can give you deliciously crispy food, without the same amount of fat being absorbed into your food. Or leave the oil off entirely for even healthier at-home treats.
4. Use up leftovers
Burgers and pizzas are a fantastic way to use up your leftovers. If you’ve got leftover roast meats or vegetables, why not put them to good use on a pizza?
Experiment with your leftovers to discover new favourite flavour combinations. Try topping your pizzas with broccoli, roast potato, mushrooms, salmon or even broken up meatballs!
With burgers, you can try incorporating different ingredients into your patties for extra texture and flavour, or just use them as filling options.
5. Get the family involved
Finally, teaching the kids to love making food is a great way to prepare them for life. Get the kids involved making their favourite takeout at home. There are all sorts of easy, safe tasks that can be picked up by kids of all ages, such as measuring ingredients, stirring or cutting soft foods.
When your kids understand what goes into the food they eat, they get a better appreciation of how to create different flavours and maintain a balanced diet.
Easy homemade takeaway recipes
Whatever your favourite takeout is, you can make it at home. Try out these tasty takeout recipes next time you have the hankering for a cheeky bite.
Fish and chips at home
Fish and chips is a Kiwi classic! Unfortunately, it can also be quite heavy on saturated fats. Fortunately, fish and chips are so easy to make at home — you don’t even need a recipe.
Just head down your nearest PAK’nSAVE’s freezer section and try out Pams Classic Crumb Fish Fillets or pick up another flavour such as battered, lemon pepper, or tempura.
Throw them in the oven with Pams Chunky Cut Fries and a light spray of oil, and you’ve got fish and chips for a fraction of the cost with a fraction of the fat.
Homemade pizza recipes
Pizza is one of the easiest, most affordable and most convenient takeout options to cook at home.
You can easily assemble your own pizza using any ingredients you like just by picking up some pizza bases from the fridges at your nearest PAK’nSAVE. However, if you’d like a little more inspiration, try out some of the recipes below!
Smoked chicken and brie pizza
With a super simple pizza base recipe, this is a great way to impress a crowd. Making your own bases is cheap and easy, and the finished product has a delicious yeasted flavour — definitely a talking point when you bring your pizza to the table.
We love the combination of savoury chicken and onion complemented by sweet, tart cranberry sauce. Try mixing it up by using apricot sauce, spring onions or turkey!
Read our recipe for smoked chicken and brie pizza here.
Spaghetti and leftovers pizza
Tinned spaghetti is another Kiwi classic, but have you ever tried it on a pizza? This recipe from Kathrine at Busy Happy Kids is a real winner. The sweet tomato sauce is super popular with kids, and they will love digging into this affordable, easy pizza meal.
Use any leftover meats or vegetables to top the spaghetti off.
Read our recipe for spaghetti and leftovers pizza here.
You don’t even need pizza bases to make pizza! You might have muffin splits going unused in your freezer, so go on and get them out for dinner.
With ham, salami and BBQ sauce, these mini pizzas are a perfect solution to a meat lover's cravings.
Read our recipe for mini meatlover pizzas here.
Pita bread pizzas
You can make pita breads into lots of thin, healthy pizza bases. By toasting them first, they become easy to split in two. Top them with your favourite toppings and cheese, then bake to melt the cheese and get a thin, crispy base.
Read our recipe for pita bread pizzas here.
While not technically a pizza, this omelette recipe has all the same deliciousness but replaces the carbohydrates with healthy protein from eggs.
Cook this omelette in a thin layer over the base of a round pan and slice it up like a pizza. Your kids will love it and you’ll love that they’re eating well.
Read our recipe for pizza omelette here
Another way to reimagine pizza, these pinwheels are easy to customise. Make them your own with your favourite pizza toppings, then roll, bake and enjoy.
Any leftovers can be taken to school or work the next day as an easy lunch.
Read our recipe for pizza pinwheels here.
Quinoa flake pizza topped with pesto and smoked salmon
If you’re really looking to impress, try this quinoa flake pizza base recipe. The quinoa flakes get nice and crispy, and even as a pizza they’re still high in fibre, minerals and antioxidants. Quinoa is one of the healthiest foods around!
The combination of pesto and smoked salmon is great for entertaining adults, but if you’re feeding the kids you might instead let them choose their own toppings. The base can hold all sorts of toppings, so there’s plenty of room to play around.
Read our recipe for quinoa flake pizza here.
Homemade burger recipes
Whether it’s a regular Friday night or a family barbecue, homemade burgers are an easy way to feed a crowd. They’re also very easy to make vegetarian or vegan if your guests have special dietary needs.
Beef and bacon burgers
You can fill this burger with anything you like — as long as you remember the beef patty and the bacon. Liz Alabaster, Head Chef and Monteith’s Brewery Bar, uses tomato sauce, sweet chilli and a sweet Indonesian soy sauce called Kecap Manis to flavour these beef patties.
Sauces like these add moisture to help keep the patty nice and juicy, but are also great flavour shortcuts.
Read our recipe for beef and bacon burgers here.
Vege and bean burgers
Butter beans make the base of these vegetable burger patties, while grated carrot, courgette and garlic help to add lots of flavour and moisture. You can also try using black beans if you prefer.
If you or a guest is vegan, try replacing the eggs for cornstarch and water.
Read our recipe for vege and bean burgers here.
Bacon and egg burgers with sriracha mayo
Who says you need a patty for a burger? These bacon and egg burgers are easy to make from ingredients from your fridge, and are packed with flavour.
Sriracha is a chilli and garlic sauce originating from Thailand. It’s spicy, but not killer, so don’t be scared off. You can use Pams Sriracha Mayonnaise, or make your own by combining your favourite sriracha and mayonnaise in any proportions until you reach your desired flavour.
Read our recipe for bacon and egg burgers here.
Crispy chicken deluxe burgers
If you’re a fan of crumbed or battered chicken, there are some easy options for you. Turn to the freezers at your nearest PAK’nSAVE for a great range of chicken burger fillings, like Tegel’s Take Outs range, which includes crunchy chicken burgers and flame-grilled chicken steaks.
Serve in a burger with bacon, camembert, tomato, lettuce and any other toppings you like.
Read our recipe for crispy chicken deluxe burgers here.
Easy cheeseburger sliders
Sliders are smaller burgers, maybe two or three bites each. You can buy slider buns from your PAK’nSAVE bakery, and cook and assemble them in large volumes all at once.
This makes sliders a great alternative to full sized burgers if you have a crowd around to watch the big game. Our recipe flavours sliders with onions, cheese and gherkins, but you can easily change these up with any of your favourite sauces.
Read our recipe for easy cheeseburger sliders here.
Easy cheesy burgers
This is a super easy recipe for all you cheese lovers. By mixing grated cheese into your burgers patties, you get a delightfully cheesy and rich burger.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from adding extra cheese to the burger too!
Read our recipe for easy cheesy burgers here.
Homemade curry recipes
Whether Indian or Thai, curry is a popular dish here in Aotearoa. Warming spices, fresh chilli and rich sauces make curry a go-to in many households. Unfortunately, it can be on the most expensive end of the takeout.
The good news is that curry pastes are readily available from PAK’nSAVE and very affordable.
Pumpkin and chicken curry
This curry is loaded with vegetables from pumpkin to green beans and peas. It’s a super easy and nutritious way to feed the family, and every ingredient is easy to find — they might even be in your pantry.
Coconut cream, curry powder and stock build most of the flavour of this curry, but you can spice it up by adding chilli powder or your favourite spices.
For a vegetarian curry, use tofu or paneer instead of chicken and use vegetable stock.
Read our pumpkin and chicken curry recipe here.
Winner vegetables like pumpkin and cauliflower hold up really well in a curry. Not only do they hold their structure, but they carry sauce really well so you get lots of flavour in every mouthful. Meanwhile, chickpeas make a fantastic protein replacement.
Following this recipe, you can use any curry simmer sauce you like such as Madras, Tikka Masala or even Butter Chicken (minus the chicken, of course!).
Read our vegetable curry recipe here.
Dhal curry with cauliflower and spinach
Dhal is a curry made from dried split lentils. It’s a popular vegetarian dish, and the use of pulses makes it high in protein. This dhal gets lots of flavour from ginger, garlic and curry powder.
Read our vegetarian dhal curry recipe here.
Split yellow pea dhal curry
Using split yellow peas instead of lentil, this dhal is a little bit different from the previous one but just as delicious. Turmeric and garam masala lend a lot of toasty warmth to this dish, making it a perfect comfort food for winter.
Read our split yellow pea dhal curry recipe here.
Beef green curry
Green curry paste is easy to find at your nearest PAK’nSAVE and is packed with fresh bright flavours and spice. You can add more or less curry paste depending on how strong you like your curry.
Using a cheap cut of beef, this green curry makes Thai food more affordable than ever.
Read our beef green curry recipe here.
Slow cooker beef red curry
Your slow cooker is your best friend when it comes to saving money on dinner. Cheaper cuts of meat can be slowly transformed into tender, melt-in-the-mouth chunks and you hardly have to do anything.
A splash of fish sauce and lime juice can add a little extra brightness to this tasty red curry.
Read our slow cooker beef red curry recipe here.
Slow cooker chicken green curry
Much like the beef red curry, all the magic takes place in your slow cooker for this green curry. These recipes are designed to be prepared early in the week and frozen until they’re needed. The night before you need it, defrost the curry in the fridge, then just throw it in the slow cooker in the morning.
Garnish with fresh Thai basil or coriander for a lovely aromatic finish.
Read our slow cooker chicken green curry here.
Homemade Chinese food recipes
Sweet and sour, oyster sauce, dumplings — there are so many fantastic flavours and dishes that hail from Chinese cuisine. Chinese takeout can sometimes have extra sugar, salt or fat, so making your own helps you stay aware of what you’re putting into your body.
Quick and easy sweet and sour pork
With the sweetness and tanginess of pineapple, this sweet and sour pork recipe is extremely easy to put together. We’ve saved you time by using a stir-through sauce, and you can save even more by choosing to use frozen stir-fry vegetables.
Read our sweet and sour pork recipe here.
Sweet and sour chicken
If you prefer to do it yourself, our sweet and sour chicken recipe goes into more detail about making your own sweet and sour sauce. That doesn’t mean it’s much harder though — most of the ingredients can be found in your fridge or pantry, and it’s only a matter of mixing them together.
Read our sweet and sour chicken recipe here.
Chinese roast chicken with oyster sauce
If you’re a fan of Chinese roast chicken, this simple recipe is for you. Start by creating a basic marinate from oyster sauce, sugar, garlic and sesame oil, then allow your chicken to marinade for at least three hours.
Then, all you have to do is bake in the oven and serve with rice and Chinese greens.
Read our Chinese roast chicken recipe here.
Slow cooked black bean beef
Who doesn’t love black bean sauce? This Chinese classic is another super simple recipe from our slow cooker range. Prepare your ingredients in advance, then freeze them together until you need them.
We recommend buying the sauce premade — it’s easier, healthy and super tasty.
Read our slow cooked black bean beef recipe here.
Dumplings are delicious finger foods. These small little parcels are loaded with flavour, but the best part is that they can be a fun collaborative project for the whole family.
Prepare your filling, then set the kids to work wrapping the dumplings. You can easily double this recipe and freeze any dumplings you don’t use for later.
Read our pork dumplings recipe here.
Hot and sour soup with beef dumplings
Hot and sour soup balances hot chilli with fresh, acidic vinegar. It’s bright, flavourful and warming all at once. You can make your own dumplings very easy, using the recipe included. Or, try using pork dumplings from the recipe above, or any of your favourite frozen dumplings from PAK’nSAVE.
Read our hot and sour soup recipe here.
See our huge range of slow cooker recipes here.
Homemade sushi recipes
Sushi is often a healthy choice, but it can be expensive. It’s also a super easy and fun food to make at home with the kids. Get together with your prepared ingredients and teach the kids to fill and roll sushi.
This chicken recipe saves you time by using Wattie’s tinned chicken with lite mayo. The tinned chicken is easier to spread onto your rice, it’s nice and cheap, and best of all: you don’t have to cook it!
Of course, you can swap out the vegetables for any you like. Or try using tinned tuna instead of chicken.
Read our chicken sushi recipe here.
Looking for more?
For more inspiration to spice up your weeknight meals, check out the full range of extra savey recipes from PAK’nSAVE.