When it's been one of those days, sometimes the only solution is ordering Chinese takeout for dinner. And that's OK, because scallion pancakes can make those days feel a little better. But tomorrow, you've promised yourself that you'll get it together and cook dinner. How do you make that promise a little easier on yourself? Add a few extras to your takeout order tonight and lean on them tomorrow. That additional carton of white rice can be transformed into a semi-homemade meal tomorrow that's maybe even tastier than the night before.
1. An Extra Side of Rice
It's a known truth that leftover cooked rice is always a win in the kitchen. Order an extra container of white or brown rice just to ensure you have plenty and plan on endless possibilities. You can use it to make fried rice, yes, but also savory waffles, soups, frittatas, or rice pudding.
Read more: 5 Unexpected Ways to Use Leftover Rice
2. Sweet & Sour Chicken (with the Sauce on the Side)
Associate Food Editor, Meghan, always makes this special request when she orders Chinese takeout. Underneath all the sticky sauce is basically chicken nuggets, which make a quick, kid-friendly dinner the next night along with a favorite dipping sauce and a side of roasted veggies.
3. A Large Container of Egg Drop Soup
Order one or two larger containers of a simple, brothy Chinese soup, like egg drop, and then transform it into something hearty enough to call it a main course the next night. Toss cooked shredded chicken into the pot while it simmers; frozen veggies, like peas, broccoli, or carrots; and even some of that cooked rice. Miso soup also happens to be delicious when topped with a fried or poached egg.
4. A Side of Steamed Vegetables
This is another takeout order addition that has countless possibilities. You can transform them into an easy stir-fry or even chop them up and turn them into irresistible vegetable fritters.
Read more: How To Make Fritters Out of Any Vegetable
5. An Order of Steamed Dumplings
Try to resist eating the extra order of steamed dumplings tonight with your dinner and you can have an easy dinner tomorrow. Buying them steamed instead of pan-fried means that you can rewarm and pan-fry them yourself tomorrow.
It also doesn't hurt to ask your local Chinese restaurant if they happen to sell their dumplings frozen — many do — so you can stock your freezer for even more future quick meals.
Do you have any things you like to add to your Chinese takeout order to make dinner the next night easier?