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    30 Products That’ll Help You Get Excited About Dinner Even Though Takeout Is Your Favorite Kind Of Food

    No homemade meal will replace your fave neighborhood Thai place...but you can whip up some preeetttty tasty stuff on your own at home.

    1. A Momofuku ramen noodles variety pack as a quick 'n' easy meal for when all you wanna do is open a packet, boil some water, and then chow down. This is one of my favorite lazy meals and I'll keep buying these as long as they keep making them. 

    person eating noodles out of a bowl

    I tried out these noodles as part of the Ultimate Variety Pack and haven't looked back since. I want to ALWAYS have these in my kitchen cabinets. Yes, they're THAT good. I'm very lazy and have spent way too much money on takeout in my life, so I'm forever looking for a solution to help me get takeout-worthy food at home for the least amount of effort. These totally fit the bill. I also like to toss chopped scallions on top. I'll even even mix in sautéed veggies and chicken to help bulk up the dish...or just use up the stuff that I have that I know I need to eat. I adore them so much that I even bought my brother a big bundle of them for Christmas and he was VERY excited when he opened it because Momofuku and David Chang's amazing reputation precede them. 

    Get a 15-pack from Amazon for $47.99 (includes 5 servings each of 3 varieties) or get a 20-pack from Momofuku for $52 (includes 10 servings of the popular Soy & Scallion and 5 servings each of the other 2 varieties).

    2. Plus a "tingly" umami seasoning that'll make quick work of figuring out how to whip up a protein or sides with a serious kick of flavor that regular ole salt and pepper can't deliver. I've been sprinkling this on salmon to great success.

    jar of the salt
    a dish covered in the salt

    So $15 for a jar of seasoning might feel a bit steep but hear me out: This has made so many lackluster quick home lunches feel like something I paid $20 for and stood in line to order with everyone else in New York City. And you don't need a whole lot to add some amazing flavor either. When I use it for salmon, I rub the salmon in olive oil and then top it with this before cooking. I love salmon but am sorta bad at grocery shopping, so I tend to eat the same lunch over and over again. (Also, cooking for one is hard!) This keeps things feeling lively and gets me excited about food I actually fixed for myself. 

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.

    3. A bacon sponge "unpaper" towel to get the extra grease off of your fave breakfast-for-dinner side with a reusable kitchen tool! No, you don't need to go to the diner for an amazing meal. (Now repeat it as a mantra.) 

    a pile of bacon on the reusable towel
    Green City Living / Etsy

    It's 12"x11", and made of polyester and organic cotton. It's super absorbent but easily cleaned by soaking the towel in hot water and a degreaser soap like Dawn. After soaking, it can be washed along with your family's towels. Green City Living is a Denver-based Etsy shop that specializes in easy-to-use items to help you go a bit greener. They're currently donating 1% of sales to the Climate Emergency Fund.

    Get it from Green City Living on Etsy for $14.99+ or Amazon for $14.99.

    4. A magnetic stove shelf that's the perfect amount of room to keep those spices that you may not use every day but REALLY throw in some flavor. No more digging in your cabinet while the oil is literally poppin' on your stove top. 

    StoveShelf is a small business, and these shelves are built to last a lifetime. 

    Promising review: "This is an excellent buy. The shelf helped me declutter my cabinet, and it is an awesome storage space for my more often used spices. It is sturdy, easily installed, and attractive. I recommend this shelf." —Pamella R. 

    Get it from Amazon for $39.99 (available in six types and three sizes).

    5. Slow-cooker liners can make your set-it-and-forget-it routine even easier by making cleanup a snap! Go ahead and whip up a spinach artichoke dip for dinner. I won't tell!

    slow cooker with two liners in it making dips

    I adore my slow cooker but hate cleaning up after using it. So I use these handy lil' bags. Read my full review of Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners (#4).

    Get box of six liners from Amazon for $3.18.

    6. A electric air fryer with tons of onion rings and other scrumptious possibilities might just have you looking at every piece of food you have in the house differently instead of putting on shoes to go through the drive-thru.

    the air fryer on a countertop
    A plate of crispy fritters fresh out of the air fryer.

    Promising review: "My husband surprised me with this fryer cause he said it was the deal of the day and couldn't pass up. I was hesitant at first because it is a very large piece of equipment and we have limited counter space. But once I started using this, I couldn't stop! I love it so much! It really does get things crispy! I have cooked chicken wings, tacos, zucchini fries, bacon, and more in it, and everything comes out great! You do have to play around with the temp and timing of stuff but once you get the hang of it, it's easy peasy! The digital buttons make it easy and it's nice to have different options instead of just off/on like with some fryers. And it actually isn't too heavy so I can move it on and off my counter easy, too. I think it's a great way to crisp food without turning on my hot oven in the summer! Would definitely recommend!" —willmatic84

    Get it from Amazon for $49.99+ (available in three sizes and four colors).

    7. Plus, a magnetic air fryer cheat sheet so you can merely glance at it as a kitchen helper instead of scrolling through your Pinterest board for that ONE recipe. 

    Promising review: "Bought an air fryer several months ago which I haven't used a whole lot because it came with only a few recipes but not enough info on other items to cook. The Lotteli cheat sheet gives you cooking times and temperatures for a lot of your common everyday foods in a magnetized easy-to-read, two-sheet combo that fills in where the air fryer pamphlet that came with the unit leaves out. I also bought an air fryer cookbook but this only comes with specific recipes, whereas the cheat sheet fills in the void for quick basic needs. Very happy with this purchase! 😁" —B. Frank Smith

    Get it from Amazon for $11.45 (available in two colors). 

    8. A set of silicone air fryer liners that'll even more convince you to go ahead and use that special little countertop appliance to create something that feels and *tastes* extra special. Anyone who's tried to hand-wash the basket of an air fryer will get why these are a great idea. Just pop 'em in the dishwasher!

    Promising review: "I bought these because I was tired of cleaning the whole air fryer container. These were bought on a whim for both mine and my boyfriend's parents, who each have an air fryer. They work great, keeping all greases and crumbs inside, and make it easier to clean. The only bad thing (and this may just be me) is the ridges/ripples on the bottom of the inside of the liner. When you try to wash it in the sink, don’t put the stream of water right on those unless you want to take a small bath. Other than that, these are fantastic. My boyfriend also says that it seems to make everything crispier, and we love that." Jordan Hixson

    Get a set of three from Amazon for $13.99+ (available in four color combinations). 

    9. A microwave pasta cooker as an easy way to achieve al dente noods ready to top off with some jarred sauce for a super easy meal that doesn't require boiling water on the stove.

    spaghetti in the pasta maker

    Promising review: "I don't want to get all gushy over a pasta maker, but man...I really love this gizmo! I like spaghetti — either with normal Prego-type sauce or sometimes just with butter and Romano cheese sprinkled on. But I'm lazy and impatient, and don't like things that take a long time to make, with a bunch of steps, and a big clean up afterwards. The Fasta Pasta is perfect for me. I get the exact amount of correctly-measured spaghetti; it's faster than boiling water in a big pot then having to watch and stir the pasta; the pasta comes out perfectly cooked every time; and the cleanup is a snap." —Smilin Sam

    Get it from Amazon for $16.99.

    10. Plus some jarred truffle-infused pasta sauce for quite possibly the fanciest take on an easy, reliable pantry meal.

    plate of spaghetti with the sauce

    The Pomodoro sauce is hearty without any spice. And the Arrabbiata sauce delivers the heat. I've tried both of these flavors of Truff pasta sauce and they are SO good. It likely goes without saying but if you don't like truffles, you won't like this. It is VERY truffle-y. I'm also a big fan of the Truff hot sauce from the same brand. Most of the time I make a meal of whatever pasta and jarred sauce I happen to have as a last resort, but I look forward to eating pasta with this delish sauce — even if it's just noodles and sauce with not even a sprinkle of Parm to dress it up! It'll cost ya more than Prego or other store-bought sauces. But it's worth it as a treat!

    Get two jars from Amazon for $29.99.

    11. *Reusable* toaster bags that'll help you achieve peak sandwich at home without firing up the stovetop *or* catching your toaster on fire! Gotta love a hot sandwich for dinner!

    toaster with a sandwich in the bag sticking out of it

    These are also a fan favorite for families with members who have Celiac disease or other food sensitivities.

    Promising review: "Unless you are a 'foodie' and need to grill your sandwiches, this bag is a great way to get a warm sandwich — and if you have cheese on it, the cheese will melt. Just make your sandwich and put it in the bag. Put the bag in your toaster and you have a great sandwich! Its so easy, and when I am done, I just rinse the bag under the faucet. Great for kids who love grilled cheese without the fuss of 'grilling'!" —joycetv

    Get a pack of four from Amazon for $9.99.

    12. And a microwavable panini press to give you those desired grill marks that just seem to make any old sandwich taste SO much better. With this, you can make your own paninis, grilled cheeses, and even meats with *just* a microwave. Reviewers also praise its abilities for vastly improving leftovers.

    The panini press open with sausages inside
    A toasted sandwich

    Promising reviews: “My granddaughter loves this. She cannot have a toaster in her college dorm but this lets her make toast, heat bagels, make grilled cheese sandwiches, etc. in her microwave.” —Carolynn

    Get it from Amazon for $30.99 (clip the $2 off coupon on the product page for this price).

    13. A set of pantry staples that'll feel anything but ordinary because they're vegan, and gluten free, but taste PHENOMENAL. Try the Lemon Miso Not Just Salad Dressing and then we'll chat. 

    bottles of sauces and dressings
    Not Just

    This includes: Lemon Miso Not Just Salad Dressing; Dilly Ranch Not Just Salad Dressing; Chili Lime Not Just Salad Dressing; 10 Veggie Not Just Pasta Sauce; Creamy Basil Not Just Pasta Sauce; Tomato Not Just Pesto; Coconut Sugar Not Just Caramel. I've tried the miso, 10 veggie, and pesto sauces. They've seriously jazzed up quickie lunches in between WFH meetings. The brand's site has TONS of recipes and ideas on how to use the sauces. Also, the packaging just looks nice. Sometimes it's the little things like that that'll successfully convince you to not open up the Grubhub app. 

    Get them from Not Just for $74. You can also buy all the condiments separately. 

    14. The Omsom Bundle is really just fancy talk for flavorful Asian dish starters (aka the sauces, aromatics, and seasonings) to keep stashed in your pantry for heavy lifting. Each comes with recipes you can easily follow. Just add protein and veggies!

    person emptying sauce out of a packet into a cast-iron skillet with chicken in it
    the starter packets

    Cofounders and sisters Vanessa and Kim Pham started Omsom after stints at startups and in consulting. As the kids of Vietnamese refugees, they were inspired by all the from-scratch Viet dinners they watched their mom cook growing up. With Omsom, they aim to bring lots of flavor to your pantry with their pantry starters that'll help you make some amaaaazing Asian dishes. Each starter serves two to three people. (Fantastic news for lazy people like me who buy a spice once and then let it expire.)

    This bundle will give you some major kick for your buck. It includes the entire Omsom collection of 6 cuisines with 12 starters total, including one Southeast Asian Omsom Sampler with Vietnamese, Thai, and Filipino starters and one East Asian Omsom Sampler with Japanese, Korean, and Chinese starters.

    Promising review: "Delicious and easy dinner. I love the flavors because they are nostalgic and delicious, and make mealtime a breeze with my kids." —Suzanne R.

    Get it from Omsom for $55.

    15. Pre-made simmer sauces can really zhuzh up that plain chicken breast you have thawing in the sink. Seriously, just dump that sauce on it once it's cooked in the pan! (Psst, they're also keto- and Paleo-friendly but IMO don't taste like it.)

    cast-iron pan with the Thai Coconut Sauce cooking with chicken and bok choy

    I've tried nearly all of these sauces and can vouch that they dress up all kinds of stuff. If you're craving some takeout food you're too lazy to replicate at home, some of these (especially the Thai Coconut Sauce that's shown here) will help you get some of that taste without buying a million ingredients.

    Promising review: "These sauces are magic. A high-end trick added to our meal prep. Really tasty options. We have been doing meal prep for quite a while and the salt and pepper meals were getting old. We tried to incorporate skillet sauces into our meals and tried all the brands out there. They were OK but not very healthy. When I saw these on Amazon, I had to try them (keto and Paleo certified) and they taste amazing. Now we have a different flavor each and every day and we can still keep the diet." —Fernando Pimentel

    Get a three-pack from Amazon for $15 (available in a variety of combos).

    16. A bottle of Mike's Hot Honey to elevate that lackluster frozen pizza that's been patiently waiting in your freezer for months on end. 'Tis time to pop it in the oven and then drizzle this delicious condiment on top for a serious upgrade. It makes basically everything taste better. And I should know, I always keep some around!

    the bottle of the honey drizzling on a pepperoni pizza

    I've used this stuff and it is FANTASTIC. Just don't pour it in your morning tea! It's not that kind of honey.

    Promising review: "This is a great topping to pizza. Can be used in a multitude of ways but I mainly just add it to a pizzeria pizza or a frozen pizza straight from my oven. Good flavor. There’s heat, but not too hot." —Kate Singleton

    Get it from Amazon for $13.49.