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Better than takeout recipes: Buffalo chicken lettuce cups, smash burgers and more

Elena Besser shows us how to recreate popular restaurant dishes at home.

If that summer heat is making you feel sluggish, know you’re not alone. Placing an order for pickup can feel a whole lot easier than preheating the oven — especially when you’re in the mood for something specific. But the good news is that cooking what you’re craving doesn't have to be a daunting task! Back by popular demand, Elena Besser stopped by TODAY to share more better-than-takeout recipes that are easier, healthier and cheaper than getting food delivered.

Besser describes Buffalo wings as one of life’s greatest pleasures, but she notes that the deep-fried delicacy doesn't do much to nourish your body. With her Buffalo chicken lettuce cups, you’ll get to enjoy that spicy kick from a homemade dressing while still loading up on greens. Smash burgers are another hard-to-resist menu item, but that perfectly crispy patty can be made better for you with a few simple tricks. For starters, Besser’s secret sauce is Greek-yogurt based so you’re getting an extra boost of protein in every bite.

For more healthy dinner ideas, we have a low-calorie copycat broccoli cheddar soup and lightened-up spinach artichoke dip. With just 10 minutes of prep work each, you’ll be done getting dinner ready in the time it takes to pick a restaurant. And no need to swing by the bakery either with our classic whoopie pie recipe. Twenty-five minutes total is all you need to get that sugar fix from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Skip takeout and order ingredients from Walmart instead through the shoppable recipes below. You can even score free delivery on orders $35 and up with a Walmart+ membership. Not a member? Now is a good time to sign up: For a limited time, new customers can score 50% off an annual membership.

Elena Besser's better than takeout recipes

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Cups

Buffalo wings are one of life's greatest pleasures, but they are usually fried. This recipe gives you all that Buffalo goodness while still nourishing you along the way. Plus, it comes together so quickly it will be your latest lunch obsession. Here, you'll toss rotisserie chicken in a homemade Buffalo sauce made with hot sauce, garlic and melted butter. The chicken is divided among romaine leaves, topped with ribbons of carrots, celery and red onion and drizzled with a yogurt-based ranch dressing.

Protein-Style Smash Burgers

Mastering the art of a smash burger is a lot easier than you think — even though it may seem scary, all you need are a few tips and tools to crush it. This recipe creates an amazing smash burger stack with thinly sliced onions (inspired by NYC's Gotham Burger) and a thin slice of melted cheese in the middle. The special sauce is made with a yogurt base to add extra protein. The burgers are served in a lettuce wrap rather than a bun for a healthier alternative that is still super satiating.

More recipes to make this week

Round out the week with these recipes from Casey Barber and Jessie Sheehan.

There are two secrets to making this broccoli cheddar soup low calorie. The first is a Parmesan rind, which gives the broth an umami flavor without adding a ton of cheese. The second is broccoli stems for a fiber-rich way to bulk up the base.

Simple, nutritious swaps can take spinach-artichoke dip from a heavy appetizer to a light bite. Greek yogurt is a high-protein alternative to sour cream, Neufchatel acts as a less fatty version of cream cheese and mozzarella makes the cut as long as it’s part-skim.

Classic Whoopie Pies

Described as having the best cake-to-frosting ratio in the land, these classic whoopie pies are not to be passed over. The sandwich cookies are soft, the buttercream filling is fluffy and together it makes an unbeatable pairing — just make sure not to overmix the batter!