Baked French Fries

Baked French Fries. These thin, crispy, fluffy fries are just as addictive as the fast food version, but healthier and super easy to make! |

“Oh no, I haven’t had fries since 2008,” my friend Justine said, waving her hand to block the golden-fried slice of spud that I offered her at a going away party over the summer.

My brain exploded. Seven years without fries? Was this some sort of biblical curse? Maybe a kind of self-torture? The term “cruel and unusual punishment” comes to mind when I think of fry-less years. YEARS.

“Justine used to have a problem,” my cousin Ashley, Justine’s childhood friend and college roommate, jumped in to explain. She had a problem. Ashley paused and smiled at me, checking my reaction. I gestured for her to continue.


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Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef! Make the takeout dish at home with this easy, lighter, and tasty recipe! |

You would think that a dish called “Mongolian Beef” would be, well, a Mongolian meal made of beef.  But we apparently have a tendency to just name things on a whim around here, and Mongolian Beef has absolutely nothing to do with Mongolian methods of cooking. Nada. Instead, it resembles the Americanized versions of Chinese food, which, of course, aren’t all that similar to the type of food you’d actually get in China.

Luckily, I’m not a stickler for recipe names (I’ve taken plenty of liberties myself), as long as it’s brimming with delicious, balanced flavors, and that is exactly what you get with Mongolian Beef. This easy-to-make version of the popular takeout dish is healthier than the kind you’d typically order, but still has plenty of thick, savory sauce and juicy flank steak to make it a definite dinnertime hit. Call it whatever you want, but eat it ASAP…. 

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Baked Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dip

Baked Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dip. This baked version of the famous Chick-Fil-A nuggets is healthier, hassle-free, absolutely delicious, and easy to make at home! |


This year, Chick-Fil-A took the title of the fast food restaurant with the highest customer satisfaction, based off of a survey of just over 5,000 consumers. You might say it’s due to their friendly staff, or perhaps their clean kitchens, but I say it’s all about the chicken nuggets. Those crispy, salty, slightly-sweet Chick-Fil-A nuggets that ensure that the only sigh of disappointment comes when you realize it’s Sunday and you’ll have to settle on something else to eat.

But what do you do if you’re trying to avoid ordering any deep-fried dishes from Chick-Fil-A? You make yours at home instead, using a healthier recipe that is available seven days of the week and requires zero post-indulgence guilt. These Baked Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dip have all the signature flavors of the Chick-Fil-A version, and require no deep-frying, no drive-throughs, and no fuss. Wins all-around, I’d say.


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Chicken and Broccoli in Garlic Sauce

Chicken and Broccoli in Garlic Sauce. Make your favorite takeout recipe at home for a healthier, easy, and tasty weeknight dinner! |

As you might know already from last week’s Sweet and Sour Chicken and Loaded Vegetable Lo Mein, I’m on a takeout-at-home kick this month. When I first decided to do a series of quick, lightened-up versions of fast food and takeout meals, I wasn’t sure of all the dishes I’d wind up trying to replicate, but there was no question that I’d have to make a spin on my absolute favorite Chinese order: Chicken and Broccoli in Garlic Sauce. As a garlic-lover– no, a garlic devotee– anything dripping with garlicky sauce is an automatic YES YES YES in my book. If you’re with me, fellow garlic-fanatics, this Chicken and Broccoli in Garlic Sauce is a must-make. It’s appropriately garlicky without being overwhelming, tastier than the takeout version, easy to make on a weeknight, and guilt-free, to boot.


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Loaded Vegetable Lo Mein

Loaded Vegetable Lo Mein. This healthier version of the takeout favorite is chock full of vitamins and dietary fiber, and is absolutely delicious! Plus, it takes less than 30 minutes to make! |

There are times, like after a night out, a particularly miserable day, or a rough break-up, that I welcome the absolute lack of restraint that most takeout restaurants exhibit when it comes to salt, sugar and oil. Oh yes, nothing soothes a broken heart quite like massive amounts of some seriously artery-clogging cuisine.

But for every day dinners? No way. I’d prefer to avoid buying extra tickets for the cardiac arrest lottery.

Even the veggie-filled options are extremely unhealthy, which is a shame because American-Chinese food can be so flavorful without overdoing the unhealthy aspects. So when a craving strikes for soy-sauced dinners, I give them a go in my own kitchen instead, in a quick, easy, and much healthier version than the typical takeout. In fact, I’ve decided to redo takeout and fast food classics for the rest of the month! The first post in the series was Sweet & Sour Chicken, and today I’m sharing with you some Loaded Vegetable Lo Mein!


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