Greg DuPree

Clean eating doesn’t mean you can’t have Mai Fun.

Arielle Weg
March 21, 2018

There’s nothing more satisfying than cooking a dinner so delicious you’d choose it over a restaurant meal. So what if you could make restaurant-quality meals at home all the time? Your stomach—and wallet—would thank you, that’s what.

Recently, a member of the Cooking Light Diet Facebook Community shared a recipe from her meal plan that she compared to something she’d order at Olive Garden, only way tastier. Elizabeth Striegl prepared Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs, a big side salad, and paired it with a glass of wine. This got us thinking about all the delicious—and healthier—restaurant alternatives members can make utilizing their Cooking Light Diet subscriptions. So, we asked the Cooking Light Diet Community which meals they’ve made that truly rival dining out options. Here are nine of those responses.

Interested in learning more about the Cooking Light Diet? Join today at Cookinglightdiet.com or email your questions here: feedback@cookinglightdiet.com.

Photo: Iain Bagwell

BBQ Pizza with Slaw

We’ll take a homemade pizza over delivery any day. Member Cynthia Mason Moran says, “The pizza recipes are so delicious that I can't even tell you the last time we went out for pizza. The BBQ Chicken with Slaw is a favorite.”

View the recipe: BBQ Pizza with Slaw

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Spicy Thai Red Curry Beef

This curry dish slashes the calories to just under 335 per serving. Meredith Mihalko McNeeley says, “My husband comments each time that I make it that it is better than a similar dish at our local Thai restaurant!”

View the Recipe: Spicy Thai Red Curry Beef 

Photo: Victor Protasio; Styling: Paige Hicks

Seared Scallops with Bacon and Oranges

Date night just got way tastier. Elizabeth Striegl says, “We made this for Valentine's Day, and it was probably the most decadent—but easy and delicious—recipe. Better than almost anything I have had at a fancy restaurant, and we saved a lot of money.”

View the Recipe: Seared Scallops with Bacon and Oranges 

Photo: Johnny Autry/Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr/Lindsey Lower

Peppercorn-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Gremolata

Move over, restaurant steaks. Edward Ferrentino says, “We will put our Peppercorn-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Gremolata, roasted green beans, steamed Brussels sprouts, and carrots up against any local or national steak houses. Yum!”

View the recipe: Peppercorn-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Gremolata 

Photo: Mary Britton Senseney/Wonderful Machine; Styling: Mary Clayton Carl

Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta

Skip the heavy cream sauce and opt for a lighter version of your favorite Italian dinner. Valerie Milheron says, “I couldn't believe that Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta was something I could have on a diet. It was delish!”

If you’re looking for a seafood pasta, member Anne Egelhof Ritchie is a fan of the Shrimp Florentine Pasta. She says, “That recipe is the best. Far better than anything I’ve ever had in a restaurant. My friends ask for it when they come to dinner!”

View the Recipe: Grilled Chicken Florentine Pasta 

Photo: Jenn Causey

Korean-Style Pork and Rice

Lean protein and brown rice keep you full, while sesame oil, gochujang sauce, and rice vinegar bring authentic flavor to your plate. Elizabeth Striegl says, “It’s better than Asian takeout. Probably partly since I am not so bloated the next day from sodium and starving an hour after I eat like with takeout.”

View the Recipe: Korean-Style Pork and Rice

Greg DuPree

Cumin Lamb Stir-Fry

Member Kelly Cavanaugh D'Antoni loves this dish so much she’s willing to make it over ordering in. She says, “We live near an authentic Szechuan Chinese restaurant. I love their spicy cumin lamb that has those numbing Szechuan peppercorns. I was so excited to make this when I saw it. My husband said he liked it better than the restaurant.”

View the Recipe: Cumin Lamb Stir-Fry 

Randy Mayor; Cindy Barr

Singapore Mai Fun

Combine rice noodles with a curry-infused sauce, chicken, and shrimp for a dish as good as any takeout order. Andrea Lee Carter says, “This is one of my favorite dishes when we go to a Chinese restaurant. This one in my Cooking Light Diet plan is every bit as good as what I’ve had at a restaurant. I’m a happy camper!”

View the Recipe: Singapore Mai Fun 

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Bistro Steak and Roasted Potatoes

Classic steak and potatoes come together for under 450 calories. Plus, the recipe calls for a splash of red wine, leaving the rest for the chef to enjoy with dinner. Cathy Kessler says, “Bistro steak and roasted potatoes is date night fare. Yum.”

View the Recipe: Bistro Steak and Roasted Potatoes