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10 Ways To Guarantee You Will Order Takeout

Five Guys takeout date night

1. Don’t plan a menu.

Fly by the seat of your pants, baby! That way, you’ll frequently have no clue what to make for dinner.

2. If you do plan a menu, be sure to ignore any busy days when you plan.

Plan a very complicated meal for the day when you’ll get home at 6:00 pm. You’ll give up on that meal before you even walk in the door.

3. Fill your menu plan with nothing but new recipes.

You’re bound to get weary of slogging through unknown territory (new recipes always take at least twice as long the first time you make them), and even if you don’t, your family will probably get a hankering for something more familiar.

4. Try recipes from anywhere and everywhere!

Don’t used tried and true sources, like Cook’s Illustrated or Better Homes and Gardens…stick with back-of-the-box recipes, obscure diet cookbooks, or recipes from around the internet (don’t bother to read the comments or ratings when you’re choosing those).

That way you’ll end up with untested, unreliable recipes, your meal will be a disaster, and then you’ll be left with no choice but to ring the pizza man.

5. Never follow a recipe carefully.

That way, even if you do happen upon a reliable, tested recipe, you can still be sure it won’t turn out. Leave spices out, substitute ingredients, don’t stress about cooking times. Just do whatever feels right.

6. Always grocery shop without a list.

If you go to the store and randomly throw food into your cart with nary a plan or list, you’ll never have everything you need to make a meal. Hello, takeout!

7. Don’t try to cook anything except super-duper perfectly healthy meals.

Everyone knows that’s not maintainable forever, and besides, even if you can persist, other members of your household will probably commit mutiny and make you order out.

8. Don’t do any dishes all day long.

That way, by the time dinner rolls around, your kitchen will be a disaster and you’ll have no space to cook.

9. Don’t think about dinner in the morning.

5:30 pm is a good time to start. That way you won’t have time to thaw, prep, or simmer anything.

10. Don’t think about the cost. Or do at least justify it six ways to Sunday.

“I had a long day.” or “I’m really tired.” or “We don’t do takeout as much as most people.” or “At least it’s not as expensive as going to a restaurant.” will all do nicely.

What would you add to the list?

I’m sure even the diehard cooks among you must have a tip or two to share. 😉

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Sunday 24th of October 2021

I love the humor in this and I would add having things on hand that can be thrown together at a moments notice when you are sick, or sat in a traffic jam or lost power unexpectedly. For me, its usually a sandwich or even cheese and crackers and a piece of fruit. Granted, its just me and dh, but kids can be placated with a bowl of cereal or or a thawed out pancake with pb and jelly on it.

There are plenty of ways that a perfectly planned meal can be derailed. Just have something on hand to get you through the night.


Sunday 24th of October 2021

1. Don't look at your menu plan the night before to ensure you don't pull your protein from the freezer to safely defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

2. Don't read a new recipe all the way through ahead of time to ensure you miss the small print to marinate for (fill in the blank) hours prior to cooking.

Oof. And to add to the list of EZ on hand, back up meals: Grilled cheese and green salad, BLT's and green salad, frozen veggie burger patties and green salad. The beauty is these can all be made/served using a variety of the breads I have on hand, always, in my freezer, and the salad makings of romaine and tomato that are likewise always fresh in my ancient but hardworking large rectangular Tupperware lettuce holder.


Monday 26th of September 2011

Get pregnant and have a baby! I swear -- the time I'm pregnant until about 3 months after the baby is born is take-out and convenience food crazy! Cooking is so hard when the smell of food makes you sick. Aside from reproducing my be guarantee that there will be take-out is to leave the weekends blank on my menu plan "because they're far away and we'll want to be flexible." I've now started to do my grocery shopping and meal planning on Fridays so that I can't make that excuse.


Friday 23rd of September 2011

Thanks for a great post. I must admit that in the last few months I have been guilty of almost every single point you made, and a repeat offender on some. I am trying something new, this time around. Instead of worrying about the time it takes to cooking after a ten hour day at work (my husband has classes so there won't be much help from him), I am taking the time I have on the weekends to prepare, freeze, and preserve meals for the week ahead. I am hoping that a few hours one afternoon can save me some cash throughout the week.


Friday 23rd of September 2011

I read this last night and it really helped remind me why I need to not order takeout tonight. My reasoning tonight...I have had a really bad day and I deserve it. It would have also derailed the diet too since what I felt I "deserved" was horrible unhealthy. Instead I came home and ate bbq chicken, home made bisquits and a green salad. Thanks for the reminder

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