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With these dishes, ordering takeout will save you plenty of time, money, and effort.

Barbecue Beef Brisket

There are some great crockpot brisket recipes out there that will make a pretty delicious meal, but there’s no substituting for a brisket that’s been in a smoker for around six hours until it’s melt-in-your mouth tender. And there’s a pretty good chance there’s a solid barbecue spot in your city that can deliver that deliciousness to you in under an hour. Don’t forget the side of mac and cheese and slaw. No need to pretend you’re being healthy tonight.


A great pho depends on a deep, delicious, and time-consuming beef broth. To do it right, start by roasting beef bones to concentrate their flavor for at least an hour, then simmer those bones in a pot for another six hours to really draw out the flavor into your stock. Only then can you assemble all the other ingredients to make a proper pho. It’s not really a dish you can make to warm yourself up on cold night after getting home from a long day of work.

Açai Bowl

Usually the stigma attached to ordering out is that you’re probably going to use up your cheat day for the week. But there are healthy options in the world of takeout, like fresh fruit smoothies or açai bowls. When you order the latter, you don’t have to search for nutrient-dense açai berries and stock a dozen toppings.


Yes, you could get yourself a bamboo mat to make rolls, teach yourself the refined art of making sushi rice, learn the precise knifework to make perfect slices of fish and find the fishmonger who will sell you sushi-grade tuna… Or you could just relax and rely on a quality sushi shop to deliver you a rainbow roll and nigiri instead.

Tandoori Chicken with Naan

Though some purists will likely scoff at you, at Trader Joe’s you can buy a pretty decent sauce to simmer your chicken in and make a curry. However, when you want tandoori chicken, there’s no replicating the intense heat of the clay tandoor oven they use at better Indian restaurants. Inside the oven, chicken on skewers cooks at temperatures up to 900 degrees while the delicious flatbread, naan, bakes stuck to the ovens walls.

Al Pastor Tacos

There’s a pretty good chance you don’t have a vertical spit in your kitchen that’s gently rotating and crisping a giant cone of pork that’s been marinated in chilies, spices and pineapple for days. There are versions you could slow cook in your crockpot for hours, but really the only way you can get proper al pastor is to order it.

Cuban Sandwich

Not all Cuban sandwiches are created equal. The best versions aren’t just a ham sandwich. Instead, the ham is combined with roasted pork shoulder for a delicious and rich meal on a roll that’s crispier than a hoagie but softer than a baguette. The problem for the home cook in need of a sandwich is that the pork shoulder will take hours to braise, so opt for Seamless if there’s a local spot doing it right.

Buffalo Wings

Having a group of friends over to watch a game is the perfect time to eat some buffalo wings. But, honestly, it’s never a perfect time to make buffalo wings yourself because deep frying at home is messy, smelly and—to the unpracticed—possibly dangerous. It’s best to save yourself the time and the skin on your arms.