Recipes to make your own takeaways to save money and your waistline

Make your own takeaways! Fish and butternut squash chips, spicy turkey burgers, and steak burritos… these dishes will not only save you money, they are better for your waistline too

  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

For many of us, a takeaway order spells a welcome celebration at the end of the week.

Yet delicious as our Friday favourites may be, there’s no doubt that a pizza oozing with melted cheese, a large bag of deep-fried fish and chips, or an extra-creamy chicken curry will do your waistline no favours — particularly if you’re trying to lose unwanted pounds gained during the coronavirus lockdown.

Those who are isolating may be reaching for ready-meals as an alternative.

But today, in the last part of our exclusive WW series to help you navigate lockdown without piling on the pounds, we’re sharing healthy and wallet-friendly ways to indulge in brilliant ‘fakeaway’ dishes that you can easily and cheaply cook yourself.

‘Your Friday evening starts right here — you can unwind, pour yourself a glass of wine and you don’t have to battle the Friday traffic home,’ says Julia Westgarth, head of programme at WW.

As we continue our exclusive WW series to help you navigate the challenges of the coronavirus lockdown without piling on the pounds — we’re sharing brilliant takeaway alternative recipes you can try at home (stock image)

‘Put on your favourite music and get ready to enjoy a treat.’

If you have put on weight since staying at home, you can still tuck in with relish, secure in the knowledge that today’s mouthwatering suggestions have been carefully created and calculated so that they will not sabotage your health goals.

‘Many takeaway favourites are laden with butter, cheese, salt and hidden sugars, which can all help to scupper any healthy eating programme,’ adds Julia.

‘Some of them also contain additives and E-numbers, such as the flavour enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) which is commonly used in Chinese cooking.

‘At WW we’ve kept the delicious taste but made some clever tweaks with your health and wellbeing in mind.

‘So that you don’t count the cost when you step on your bathroom scales, we’ve replaced oils and butter with calorie-controlled cooking sprays, for instance. And our piquant arrabiata pizza with mozzarella and oregano is so full of Mediterranean flavours that you’d never guess we have made it easier on your waistline by using a ball of light mozzarella instead of the full-fat variety.’

As much as you may be excited for your typical Friday night takeaway treat, WW has shared a number of excellent healthy alternatives to avoid putting on the pounds (stock image)

Although some of the recipes — such as kimchi soba with prawns and edamame, or chicken katsu curry — may sound exotic, most of the ingredients are very commonly used and are widely available in supermarkets.

If you invest in a few small jars of herbs and spices, you’ll be able to use them over and over again.

Among today’s recipes there is something for all tastes — from the juicy steak burritos topped with soured cream and coriander to the scrumptious alternative fish and butternut squash chips supper.

Some of the dishes take less than half an hour to prepare from fridge to fork.

THREE-MINUTE UNWIND 

Feeling stressed? Taking a few minutes out of your day for this easy breathing exercise can help to restore calm.

Set a timer for three minutes and sit comfortably in an upright chair with your eyes closed.

Inhale deeply and slowly through your nostrils, hold for two seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth.

Tune into your body. Notice how your body feels in the seat. Relax any tense areas and just breathe.

Pay attention to your breath as it flows naturally in and out.

Notice your chest rising and falling, the air passing in through your nostrils and the ‘whoosh’ as you exhale.

Notice if your mind wanders. It is normal to be distracted by stray thoughts, but when you notice them, gently return your focus to your breath.

Breathe mindfully for a couple of minutes. Then gently return your focus to your whole body, relaxing even more deeply, open your eyes and take a moment to thank yourself for doing this exercise.

To enhance mindfulness and improve overall wellness, practice this breathing technique at least three times a week, even if it’s just for a few minutes. 

Spicy turkey burger with rosemary & garlic wedges

Prep time 15 minutes l Cook time 40 minutes

Serves 1

  • Calorie-controlled cooking spray
  • 1 potato, skin on
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 140g turkey breast mince
  • ½ tsp wholegrain mustard
  • ½ tsp English mustard
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 brown sandwich thin
  • Handful fresh rocket
  • 2 slices beef tomato
  • 2 tsp sriracha hot chilli sauce
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 small gherkins, sliced lengthways

Preheat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/ gas 6. Mist a baking tray with cooking spray. Scrub the potato and pat dry with kitchen paper. Leaving the skin on, cut it into wedges and put in a bowl. 

Mist with the cooking spray and sprinkle over the rosemary and garlic granules, then mix until evenly coated. Transfer to the prepared tray and bake for 35-40 minutes, turning halfway through.

Meanwhile, put the mince, mustards, paprika and chilli in a bowl, season and mix well, then shape into a burger. Heat a non-stick pan over a medium heat, mist with cooking spray, add the burger and fry for 6 minutes on each side until cooked through.

Now, split the sandwich thin and put some rocket and a tomato slice on the bottom half. Spoon on the chilli sauce. Top with the burger, the second tomato slice, the onion and gherkins and more rocket. Finish with the other sandwich thin half and serve with the potato wedges.

Spicy turkey burger with rosemary & garlic wedges

Kimchi soba with prawns & edamame

Prep time 15 minutes l Cook time 10 minutes

Serves 4

  • 120g soba noodles
  • 150g frozen edamame beans
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 125g kimchi, thinly sliced, plus 2 tbsp liquid from the jar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 460g raw, peeled king prawns, deveined
  • ½ tsp Chinese five spice
  • Calorie-controlled cooking spray

Cook the noodles in a pan of boiling water to pack instructions. Drain, then rinse and drain again. Meanwhile, in a separate pan of water, cook the edamame for 4-5 minutes until tender.

Transfer the noodles and edamame to a large bowl, add the pepper, kimchi and sesame oil, then season to taste and toss to combine.

Pat the prawns dry with kitchen paper, then put in a small bowl with the Chinese five spice. Season and toss to coat.

Mist a large, non-stick frying pan with cooking spray and fry the prawns over a medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Divide the noodle mixture between bowls, top with the prawns and serve.

Kimchi is a Korean side dish of fermented vegetables. You can buy it in jars from most supermarkets, or look online for recipes to make your own using cabbage, salt, garlic, ginger, carrots and spring onion

Fish & butternut squash chips

Prep time 20 minutes l Cook time 15 minutes

Serves 4

  • 60g panko breadcrumbs
  • 40g half-fat Cheddar, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 4 x 120g skinless cod fillets
  • Calorie-controlled cooking spray
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chips
  • 2 garlic cloves, left whole
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 300g frozen peas
  • 4-5 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced on the diagonal
  • Handful fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve

Preheat the oven to 220c/fan 200c/gas 7. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and grated cheese. Put the flour into a second bowl and season to taste. 

Crack the egg into a third bowl and beat lightly with a fork or whisk. Dust the cod with the flour, then dip in the egg and finally the breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat well. Transfer to the lined baking sheet and mist with cooking spray.

Put the butternut squash chips and garlic cloves in a roasting tin, drizzle with the oil and season to taste.

Bake the fish and chips for

15 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the chips are tender.

Meanwhile, cook the peas in a pan of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and return to the pan. Roughly crush, then stir in the sliced spring onions and mint. Season to taste and keep warm until the fish and chips are ready.

Squeeze the baked garlic cloves from the skins and toss through the chips.

Serve with the lemon wedges to squeeze over.

Fish & butternut squash chips

FOUR MINUTE WORKOUT ON THE STAIRS 

This brilliant, easy routine will suit almost everyone — you can do it indoors on a staircase or stairwell, or outside on any steps. It will raise your heart rate and improve your metabolism. Spend a minute on each drill before doing the next. Start with one round (four minutes) on the first day, working up to repeating five times for a 20-minute workout. 

1. UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN

Facing the stairs, step both feet on to the first stair (one after the other), then back down again, alternating the lead leg with each repetition. 

Use your arms to help propel you, moving quickly to get your heart rate up. 

Keep your core engaged and count repetitions to see how many you can complete in one minute.

SUPERCHARGE IT: 

 Make the drill harder by stepping to the second stair. Use your arms and core to stay in control.

 

2. INCLINE PUSH-UPS

Position your hands directly under your shoulders on a step, keeping your feet on the floor and your body straight, from the top of your head to your heels.

With your tummy and lower abdominal muscles pulled in, bend your arms until your chest grazes the edge of the stair your hands are on. 

Return to straight-arm position and repeat for one minute.

SUPERCHARGE IT: The lower the step, the harder the drill. For a real challenge, put your feet on the bottom step and your hands on the floor.

 

3. QUICK JUMPS

Start at the bottom of the stairs with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Begin with a slight squat, then swing your arms and jump with both feet on to the first step. 

Land with soft knees, stand upright, and jump back down backwards. Repeat for one minute. 

Note: This move should be done on sturdy steps only.

SUPERCHARGE IT: See if you can jump up two steps.

 

4. SPIDERMAN ABS

Begin in a push-up position with your hands on the third step up, adjusting up or down as necessary for balance. 

Keeping your abdominals pulled in and your body straight, send your right knee to your left elbow, then return to the starting position. 

Alternate sides with fast but controlled movements for one minute. Be sure to keep your hips from dropping as you move.

Steak burritos

Prep 25 minutes l Cook 15 minutes

Serves 4

  •  1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 400g lean beef rump steak, fat trimmed
  • Calorie-controlled cooking spray
  • 2 each red and yellow peppers, deseeded and sliced
  • 100g cooked brown rice
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
  • Grated zest of 1 lime and juice of ½ lime, plus wedges to serve
  • 4 x 64g wholemeal tortilla wraps
  • ½ Little Gem lettuce, shredded
  • 1 large vine tomato, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp reduced-fat soured cream

Mix the cumin and paprika together, then sprinkle half of the mixture over the steak and season to taste. Mist a large frying pan with cooking spray and set over a high heat. Cook the steaks for 2½-3 minutes on each side, or to your liking, then transfer to a plate and loosely cover with foil.

Mist the pan again and fry the peppers for 5-6 minutes until they start to soften, then add the remaining spices and cook for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Mix the rice with most of the coriander and the lime zest. Cut the steaks into 1cm-thick slices. Lay the wraps on the work surface and spoon a quarter of the rice down the left-hand side of each, leaving a gap at the top and bottom. Top each one with a quarter of the lettuce, steak, peppers, tomato and soured cream.

Scatter over the remaining coriander and add the lime juice. Roll up the wraps and serve immediately with extra lime wedges to squeeze over.

Steak burritos

Arrabiata pizza with mozzarella & oregano

Prep time 15 minutes l Cook time 40 minutes 

Makes 4

  • Calorie-controlled cooking spray
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped, plus extra slices to serve
  • 200g passata
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano, plus extra to scatter
  • 4 WW Wraps
  • 125g ball light mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green chilli, sliced, to serve
  • 60g fresh rocket, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/ gas 6 and heat 2 large baking sheets. Mist a heavy-bottomed pan with cooking spray and fry the onion over a medium heat for 6-8 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for another minute.

Add the passata and half of the oregano, then simmer over a medium-low heat for 15 minutes until thickened. Season to taste. Put the wraps on the hot baking sheets, then spread with the sauce, leaving a 2cm border.

Top the pizzas with the mozzarella, pepper and remaining oregano, then bake for 15 minutes until crisp and the mozzarella has melted.

Top each with red and green chilli slices plus rocket, then serve.

Arrabiata pizza with mozzarella & oregano

WHICH PLAN IS FOR YOU? 

To tailor your food choices to your lifestyle, myWW offers a choice of three plans: Green, Blue and Purple. Go to the myWW app for a self-assessment.

GREEN: For those who eat out regularly and prefer to grab and go, this has a daily allowance of 30 SmartPoints and 100+ ZeroPoint fruits and veggies.

BLUE: If you like cooking but also have an occasional ready-meal, Blue gives a daily allowance of 23 SmartPoints and 200+ ZeroPoint fruits and veggies.

PURPLE: Tailored for someone who likes to cook from scratch, giving a daily allowance of 16 SmartPoints and 300+ ZeroPoint fruits and veggies.

You also get a weekly allowance (known as weeklies) for splurges, bigger portions or eating out.

Chicken katsu curry

Prep time 20 minutes l Cook time 20 minutes 

Serves 4

  • 75g panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 x 165g skinless chicken breast fillets
  • Calorie-controlled cooking spray
  • 70g wild rocket
  • 100g sushi ginger   

FOR THE KATSU SAUCE

  • Calorie-controlled cooking spray
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp medium curry powder
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 400ml chicken stock, made with 1 stock cube
  • ½ tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp clear honey
  • 50g plain flour

Line a baking tray with baking paper and place a wire rack on top. Preheat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6.

Put the flour, breadcrumbs and eggs separately into 3 shallow bowls. Put the chicken fillets between two pieces of non-stick baking paper and bash with a rolling pin until the chicken is 1cm thick.

Dip each of the chicken fillets in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Mist a large frying pan with cooking spray and put over a medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook for 1 minute on each side until golden, then transfer to the wire rack on the baking tray and cook in the oven for 10 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce. Mist a large, non-stick pan with cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for 6-8 minutes until softened, then add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the curry powder and flour and cook for a further 1 minute.

Gradually stir in the stock, then add the soy sauce and honey, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened. Allow the sauce to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth. Season to taste.

Toss the rocket with the sushi ginger. Slice the chicken and serve with the sauce drizzled over, and the salad on the side. 

Chicken katsu curry

HOW TO KEEP STRESS AT BAY 

When life is uncertain and anxiety strikes, keeping to healthy habits can take a lot of commitment.

‘Remind yourself how you want to be healthier, such as sleeping better at night or losing extra pounds you may have put on during lockdown,’ says Julia Westgarth, WW head of programme.

‘This will keep you focused on your wellbeing goals.’

One way to keep up the momentum is to get support from friends and family. If you’re a WW member, you can chat to other members on the WW Connect social platform. You can use this to join WW Virtual Workshops, too.

A woman relaxes at home with a coffee and some meditation (stock image)

Another important tool is to plan for the week ahead. This will help you feel in control and make you more likely to join online exercise classes or try the easy home workouts we’ve shared all this week.

Planning meals in advance is also a useful strategy.

It’s reassuring that WW recipes are calculated in advance to keep your weight in check. There will also be less waste as you’ll only buy food for the dishes you plan.

Research also shows that making up your mind in advance prevents ‘decision fatigue’.

Scientists believe that our mental stamina diminishes as the day wears on, leaving us more prone to making rash snack choices towards the afternoon and evening, particularly if our blood glucose levels are low.

This ‘decision fatigue’ explains why dieters reach for the biscuit tin or succumb to junk food towards the end of an otherwise successful day of healthy eating.

You could line up the day’s WW meals and snacks in the fridge first thing in the morning, for instance, to prevent moments of weakness later on — particularly if you’re finding staying at home stressful right now.

Plan to carve out some ‘me’ time every day — whether it’s a walk outdoors listening to a podcast or a flip through some magazines. Schedule it into your day and put in on your to-do list.

‘Doing something to help recharge your batteries and focus on yourself will help you to become more energetic and positive,’ says Julia.

FREE WORKSHOPS

Kick-start your weight-loss journey with WW Open House. From today until Saturday, non-members can see what happens at WW Virtual Workshops, for free.

Learn and develop the skills and techniques you will need to build a positive relationship between food, mind and body — for the long term.

Visit ww.com/uk/open-house-week for details.

This week, Curtis Pritchard, Dancing With The Stars professional dancer and WW ambassador, made an appearance at one of our newly launched WW Virtual Workshops. Here are his top tips for staying healthy in isolation:

  • Meditation is key. It’s been a huge help for me during isolation and I find it sets me up perfectly for the day ahead. I’d recommend giving it a try once or twice a week — sessions can be as short as three minutes.
  • Be more active! Try to get outside for your daily exercise even if it’s just throwing a ball around the garden with other members of your household. If you don’t have a garden, go for a gentle jog or a long walk. It’s important to keep yourself moving when you can and enjoy the fresh air.
  • Stay connected. Speaking with friends and family helps break up the day, so pick up the phone for a chat. It’s always good to talk to people who are important to you. I’ve loved spending time with my family these past few weeks and chatting to my grandad.
  • I’ve been joining the WW Virtual Workshops and listening to people’s stories, challenges and successes. It was comforting to hear that others have had the same experiences. I left feeling inspired.

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