7 Recipes That Give Popular Restaurant Meals a Healthy Makeover

The next time you’re craving crab rangoon, pad Thai, or pizza, resist the urge to pick up the phone and call for takeout. Instead, head to the kitchen and prepare nutritious versions of your favorite delivery dishes using whole grain ingredients, plenty of vegetables, and reduced-fat products. It’s time to toss out your old takeout menus; thanks to these seven recipes, you won’t need them!

Source: iStock

1. Baked Crab Rangoon

After preparing Food.com’s creamy and fresh-tasting Baked Crab Rangoon, you’ll never want to order a fried version from a restaurant again. The recipe yields 48 rangoon, with each containing 59.4 calories, 3.2 grams of fat, and 124.9 grams of sodium.


  • 16 ounces low-fat cream cheese
  • 1 (6-ounce) can crabmeat, drained and flaked
  • 4 to 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 (48-count) package wonton skins
  • ¼ to ½ cup melted butter

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except wonton skins and butter. Mix until well-blended. Place 1 teaspoon filling in center of each wonton skin. Moisten edges with water. Fold in half to form triangle, pressing edges to seal. Pull bottom corners down and overlap slight; moisten one corner and press to seal. Arrange on baking sheet that has been coated with vegetable spray. Brush with melted butter. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot with desired sauce.

Source: iStock

2. Sweet and Sour Chicken

A typical takeout dish like this can quickly derail your diet; Livestrong notes that a restaurant order of sweet and sour chicken has 1,765 calories and 89.3 grams of fat. With Cooking Light’s recipe, however, one serving only contains 388 calories and 11.6 grams of fat. Plus, you can make this Sweet and Sour Chicken in less time than it takes to have it delivered!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon bottled ground fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 (15¼-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
  • ⅓ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dry-roasted chopped cashews

Directions: Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, red pepper, and chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken mixture from pan; set aside. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper to pan, and sauté 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain pineapple, reserving ½ cup juice. Add 1 cup pineapple chunks to pan; cook 30 seconds. Reserve remaining pineapple for another use. Combine the reserved ½ cup juice, soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch, and sugar in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Return chicken mixture to pan. Stir in juice mixture; bring to boil. Cook 1 minute. Sprinkle with cashews.

Source: iStock

3. General Tso’s Chicken

This popular Chinese dish contains, on average, 844 calories, 40 grams of fat, and 2,157 milligrams of sodium, according to Calorie Count. You can drastically reduce the calories, fat, and sodium in General Tso’s Chicken by preparing Eating Well’s recipe, which yields 4 servings. Each has 364 calories, 19 grams of fat, and 524 milligrams of sodium.


  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry, divided
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups snow peas

Directions: Combine 4 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and rice wine, and egg white in a bowl. Add chicken and stir to coat. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon each cornstarch, soy sauce and rice wine, water, hoisin, and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the chicken; cook without turning, breaking up stuck-together pieces, until golden on the bottom, 2 minutes.

Stir; continue cooking until golden on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, scallions and garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add peas; cook, stirring often, until bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved sauce mixture; cook, stirring, until thick, about 1 minute. Return the chicken to the pan; cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute more.

Source: iStock

4. Vegetable and Tofu Pad Thai

Create a healthier version of this classic Thai dish by following Martha Stewart’s recipe. When preparing the Vegetable and Tofu Pad Thai, consider using fish sauce instead of the soy sauce; it will give your meal even more great flavor!


  • 8 ounces dried wide, flat rice noodles
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce, such as Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu, drained, thinly sliced, and patted dry
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons roasted salted peanuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves

Directions: Soak noodles according to package instructions; drain. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, soy sauce, chili sauce, and brown sugar. In a large nonstick skillet, heat ½ teaspoon oil over medium-high, tilting to coat pan. Add eggs, swirl to coat bottom, and cook until just set, about 1 minute. Transfer eggs to a cutting board, loosely roll up, and cut crosswise into thin strips. Add 4 teaspoons oil to skillet and heat.

Add tofu in a single layer and cook until golden brown on both sides, 7 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer to cutting board. Add 1½ teaspoons oil, carrots, garlic, and scallion whites to skillet and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add lime-juice mixture and bring to a simmer. Add noodles and cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute. Add eggs and tofu and gently toss to combine. Season to taste with salt. Divide among four plates and top with peanuts, cilantro, and scallion greens. Serve with lime wedges.

Source: iStock

5. Cauliflower Crust Garlic Breadsticks

There’s no need to worry about your waistline when eating The Iron You’s Cauliflower Crust Garlic Breadsticks. Filled with fresh, cheesy, and garlic flavors, they’re much more delicious and nutritious than any restaurant version. The recipe yields 10 servings.


Cauliflower crust:

  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
  • A pinch of dried Italian herb season
  • Marinara sauce, for serving

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a loaf pan with parchment paper so that the excess paper hangs over the sides; lightly grease the parchment paper. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a small pan over low heat; add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Turn the heat off and set aside. In a food processor rice the cauliflower florets. Transfer cauliflower rice to a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 8 minutes, until cooked. Place the cauliflower rice in a tea towel and twist it to squeeze as much moisture as you can. Transfer the cauliflower rice to a mixing bowl.

Add egg, mozzarella, Italian herb seasoning, garlic oil, salt, and pepper and mix well. Spread cauliflower mixture in the prepared loaf pan. Bake until the loaf is set and starting to turn golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. In the meantime, line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. When the loaf is cooked, use the parchment paper to lift out of the loaf pan and carefully flip it over onto the lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 more minutes, or until golden. Take it out of the oven and preheat the broiler. Sprinkle cheese and Italian herb seasoning on top of the loaf. Broil for a couple of minutes until the cheese is melted and golden in spots. Let cool a couple of minutes before cutting into 10 sticks. Serve.

Source: Thinkstock

6. Maple-Walnut Pizza with Chicken Sausage

Rather than ordering a greasy, fat-riddled pizza, prepare Fitness’ recipe for Maple-Walnut Pizza with Chicken Sausage, which yields 6 servings; each contains 386 calories, 18 grams of fat, and 16 grams of protein. If you’re looking for a healthy homemade pizza crust recipe, we suggest making Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Homemade Whole-Wheat Pizza Crust.


  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 (16-ounce) ball whole-wheat pizza dough
  • ½ cup very thinly sliced red onion
  • 4 ounces sharp white cheddar
  • 5 fully cooked breakfast-style chicken sausage links, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 cups loosely packed field greens

Directions: Place an oven rack in the lowest position. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. Roll out dough to size of prepared baking sheet and transfer to sheet. Brush remaining oil on dough and scatter onion, cheddar, sausage, and walnuts over it. Bake pizza until bottom is crisp and starting to brown and cheese is melted and bubbling, 13 to 17 minutes. Drizzle with maple syrup and top with field greens.

Source: iStock

7. Healthier Restaurant-Style Buffalo Chicken Wings

Restaurant wings are often slathered in creamy, fattening sauces, deep fried, and served with calorie-packed dips. You can enjoy a delicious batch of wings that are baked, not fried, by preparing AllRecipes.com’s Healthier Restaurant-Style Buffalo Chicken Wings. We suggest serving them with Food Network’s Blue Cheese-Yogurt Dip.


  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 10 chicken wings
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup hot sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 dash ground black pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Place chicken wings in a large dish and sprinkle flour mixture over them until well-coated. Place on baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour, uncovered. Bake wings in preheated oven until no longer pink at the bone and juices run clear, about 15 minutes per side. Combine butter, hot sauce, pepper, and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir until butter is melted and mixture is well blended, about 3 minutes. Place chicken wings in serving bowl and add hot sauce mixture, mixing well.

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