Take out on your own timetable with meal kits from regional restaurants

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Photo courtesy of Alaro Craft Brewery
Take-and-bake kits, like this one from Alaro featuring braised beef over polenta, a garden salad and a 64-ounce beer growler, can be refrigerated and consumed on your schedule.

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented amounts of takeout. But the sudden shift to a time-blurring work-from-home life combined with reduced hours at many restaurants could sometimes make take-out-and-eat-later a more convenient choice for diners, especially those who want to plan ahead. “Buying food hot and eating it right away isn’t [always] an option for people whose daily routines have changed,” says Ray Ballestero, owner of midtown’s Alaro Craft Brewery. “Take-and-bake options allow us to feed them on their schedule.” From a Dungeness crab lasagna to a pork chashu ramen to a veggie casserole, here are eight great takeout kits—some which last in the fridge for a week—from eateries around the region. Just transfer the food to an oven-safe dish or stovetop cookware when you’re ready to heat and eat, whether you want dinner for breakfast or have a midnight carb craving.

Alaro Craft Brewery
Chef David Santana has reimagined the midtown brewery’s Spanish-style comfort food menu to offer a rotating lineup of shareable plates, which currently features a six-hour braised beef served alongside thick and creamy polenta ($35) and a hearty vegetarian casserole stuffed with a veritable cornucopia of zucchini, squash, kale, carrots and potatoes ($30). Both serve two to three people and can be refrigerated up to three days until ready to heat and serve. And for those who might be missing the restaurant’s signature seafood paella, a make-at-home version is in the works, complete with a how-to video for home cooks. 12-7 p.m. 2004 Capitol Ave. 916-436-7711. alarobrewing.com

The family-style meals from chef Deneb Williams’ Allora in East Sacramento can feed four hungry people. The menu has included a take-and-bake white sauce lasagna layered with Dungeness crab and sautéed spinach (the indulgent casserole has a shelf life in the refrigerator of three to four days) and a three-course dinner of garden salad, rigatoni Bolognese and lemon ricotta cake. Consider paying it forward by participating in the restaurant’s “Buy a Meal, Give a Meal” program to feed food-insecure families in the community—all donations are distributed through The Table United Methodist Church. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. 5215 Folsom Blvd. 916-538-6434. allorasacramento.com

Kodaiko Ramen & Bar offers DIY ramen kits with add-ons like seasoned eggs and pork chashu. (Photo courtesy of Kodaiko Ramen & Bar)

Build-Your-Own Pizza
Forget DiGorno's—pizzerias across the region are prepping build-your-own pizza packs that put your frozen pizza game to shame. Packaged with a ball of house dough, newly simmered sauce and classic toppings like cheese and pepperoni, try the personal-sized pie kits—which are meant to be eaten within 24 hours—from Old Town Pizza in Elk Grove or Campelli’s Pizza in Roseville or a two-person, 13-inch make-your-own Margherita from OneSpeed in East Sacramento. For a peek at how each pizza joint likes to prep and serve their pies, visit their social media accounts for how-to videos. Locations vary. otpmenu.com. campellispizza.com. onespeedpizza.com

Fox & Goose Public House
Stuffed with Niman Ranch beef, carrots, peas and onions and topped with a heaping helping of mashed potatoes, the personal-sized shepherd’s pie ($5) at Fox & Goose Public House has been an enduring staple on the 45-year-old institution’s menu for decades. So it seems fitting that this daily restaurant special—which can be kept in the fridge for up to a week—is the first item on the pub’s take-and-bake lineup, which is expected to grow in the coming weeks. Sun. 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.-8 p.m. 1001 R St. 916-443-8825. foxandgoose.com

Instructions on how to heat up The Golden Bear's take-and-bake meals come with a few extra steps—or words of wisdom. (Photo courtesy of The Golden Bear)The Golden Bear
The Golden Bear’s selection of casseroles for home baking ($45 each, they serve four) makes for soul-warming eats. The ever-changing menu has featured hearty four-cheese ziti and sausage-and-chicken confit cassoulets, which are packaged in tin serving trays with the baking instructions scrawled in black sharpie on the lid—each recipe (which has a 10-day fridge life) includes a few special steps like, “Call your mom, tell her you love her.” For those who can handle the heat, pick up a bottle of the incendiary homemade Acapulco Gold hot sauce with your order. 12-8 p.m. 2326 K St. 916-441-2242. goldenbear916.com

Kodaiko Ramen & Bar
The underground downtown ramen bar offers two ways to slurp DIY style: You can order a kit that includes four portions of fresh-made noodles with the eatery’s chicken broth and finishing oil ($28) or choose “fully loaded,” which also includes seasoned eggs, chopped scallions, and pork and chicken chashu ($42). Each ingredient comes packaged individually (refrigerated, the broth lasts three to four days; the noodles have a shelf life of a week).​ Thurs.-Fri. 4-7 p.m. Sat. 2-7 p.m. 718 K St. 916-426-8863. kodaikoramen.com

Karen’s Bakery & Cafe
Owner and chef Karen Holmes has developed a new menu of heat-at-home dishes for her Folsom cafe that serve two and can be frozen for a month or kept in the fridge for up to a week, including saucy chicken cacciatore over polenta and a vegetarian lasagna layered with smoked mozzarella, burrata and sautéed mushrooms. Round out your meal with a Caesar salad or fresh bread, but if you’d prefer to join the homemade sourdough movement, on the rise due to the stay-at-home directive, buy a bag of flour from the cafe’s market—last week customers purchased nearly 200 five-pound bags—and bake a loaf of your own. Tues.-Sat. 7 a.m.-3 p.m. 705 Gold Lake Dr. Folsom. 916-985-2665. karensbakery.com

Leatherby’s Family Creamery
Hope you left room for dessert. This old-fashioned scoop joint has put together its own spin on a classic elementary school science experiment with its take-and-make option: DIY ice cream. Visit the Sacramento, Elk Grove or Citrus Heights locations to pick up your home kit—tools (spoons, Ziploc bags, rock salt) and ingredients (French vanilla ice cream base, which can be stored in the freezer for up to a week, and chocolate syrup) come boxed in a quart-sized ice cream container for $10, and you can also pick up a pack of sprinkles, bubble gum and crushed chocolate sandwich cookies for an extra $2.75. Bag the mixture (sans the mix-ins—they’re swirled through at the end), shake with salt and ice for 10 minutes (your workout for the day), and watch the liquid freeze and expand, transforming into ice cream before your very eyes. Locations and hours vary. leatherbys.net

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