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You lucky devil. You just found copycat recipes for all of your favorite famous foods! Bestselling author and TV host Todd Wilbur shows you how to easily duplicate the taste of iconic dishes and treats at home. Get all the best restaurant recipes from Applebee's to El Pollo Loco here. New recipes added every week.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    A deserted Kroger grocery store in Richfield, Minnesota, was the site for the first Chi-Chi's in 1976. That was the year restaurateur Marno McDermott got together with ex-Green Bay Packer football player Max McGee to open the first of what would soon become a growing chain of Mexican food restaurants. Today, with around 100 restaurants found mostly in the Midwestern and Eastern states, Chi-Chi's has become famous for its large portions of food, and for the expression, "don't touch the plate, it's very hot!" 

    Alongside many of the entrees served at the restaurant is this sweet side dish. It's sort of like a combination of custard and cornbread, with corn and cornmeal in it. But the original is loaded with butter. That means if you eat just a very small scoop of the tasty corn cake you'll be putting away around a dozen grams of fat. By using light butter or margarine and substituting milk for the heavy cream, we knock those fat grams down to about half of the real thing served in the restaurant. Yet the flavor and texture is just as good.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 scoop
    Total servings–8
    Calories per serving–125 (Original–185)
    Fat per serving–6.5g (Original–13g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.75. Votes: 4

    If your crew likes food with a little kick and they're into breakfast sandwiches, grab some of your favorite bagels and give this clone a go. The jalapeno salsa cream cheese used here is made with only four ingredients, and the rest of the recipe is even easier: cook up some turkey sausage patties in a skillet and prepare each serving of scrambled eggs in a small bowl in the microwave so they fit perfectly on the bagels. For the turkey sausage, I used Wampler brand which comes in 1-pound tubes, but you can also use small turkey breakfast links—just squeeze the sausage out of the casings and form your patties (ditch the casings). You can also use pork sausage if you like.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Grilled steak or chicken wrapped in a flour tortilla with cheese and sauteed vegetables. Then the burrito is basted with spicy barbecue sauce and grilled again. Served with Spanish rice and sweet corn cake."

    This dish burst with the Southwestern flavors that have become so popular lately. Southwestern dishes like fajitas and specialty burritos are the latest rage in the restaurant industry, and now more chains than ever are creating their own spicy, Southwestern-style-goodies.

    I think you'll really enjoy this one. Chi-Chi's has taken fajita-style grilled beef, rolled it up like a burrito, grilled it again, and then smothered it with smoky barbecue sauce. This dish has quickly become a favorite menu item at Chi-Chi's and a favorite for people tiring of the same old Mexican food. Fire up the grill and give this recipe a try.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.00. Votes: 2

    Menu Description: "Our specialty! French Vanilla ice cream with a crunchy, crispy cinnamon coating. Served with your choice of honey, chocolate or strawberry topping."

    Cooks at Chi-Chi's chain of Mexican restaurants are instructed to not memorize recipes for the dishes they make. Management says each chef is required to consult the company cookbooks every time they whip up a meal, so that each dish tastes exactly the same in every Chi-Chi's any time of the day. Perhaps it's that practice that has made Chi-Chi's the largest Mexican restaurant chain in the country. 

    This crispy-coated ice cream sundae is not exactly fried as you may expect by the name. The scoop of vanilla ice cream is actually rolled in cornflake crumbs that have been flavored with sugar and cinnamon, giving it the appearance and texture of being fried. It's a simple idea that tastes just great, and is well worth the try. Chi-Chi's calls this their "specialty" and claims it's the most requested dessert item on the menu.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    It was in 1991 that Arby's saw a market for a selection of sandwiches that weighed in with very little fat. The chain was able to create three sandwiches that had 10 grams of fat or less, with whole wheat hamburger buns, light mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato. Of the three selections, it is the Roast Turkey Deluxe that has the least fat, with only 6 grams per sandwich.

    Now you can make a clone of that light creation, with deli-sliced roast turkey breast that you can pick up at any deli counter at your local supermarket. You can also find the turkey in pre-packaged portions near the luncheon meats.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–1
    Calories  per serving–201
    Fat per serving–6g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    The burger wars are on. Burger King stepped up first with this competitor of the Big Mac. Yes, it has two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun—although everything's arranged a big differently, and there's no middle bun. The beef patties are also bigger than those found on a Big Mac. The other big difference? The Big King weighs in with 12 grams more fat than Mickey D's signature product, for a grand total of 43 grams. Here's a clone that re-creates the "secret" burger spread from scratch and includes super-lean ground beef. Add it all up and you've got a gram-zapping clone that comes in at around one-third the fat of the real thing.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–562 (Original–660)
    Fat per serving–15g (Original–43g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur. 

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    This young chain of Mexican-style chicken outlets has had much success with its formula since the first store opened in the U.S. in 1980. Your order of chicken comes straight off of an open-flame grill, where it has been slowly roasting for around 45 minutes. The chicken is grilled whole, butterfly-style, and before it’s boxed up for carry-out, cooks take a sharp hatchet to it in dramatic fashion. A couple of whacks and you’re on your way with several pieces of very tasty and tender double-marinated chicken. 

    For this recipe, instead of butter-flying the whole chicken, we will prepare precut pieces. Then, to save on fat grams, as soon as it’s cooked, we’ll remove the skin. At the restaurant you’re served flour or corn tortillas to wrap around the chicken that you strip from the bone.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–2 pieces
    Total servings–2
    Calories per serving–220 (Original–270)
    Fat per serving–8.5g (Original–14.5g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.25. Votes: 4
    Along with your order from this 250-unit Western U.S. chain, comes a delicious, yet simple to clone, fat-free salsa. If you don’t have a food processor, never fear. You can also make the salsa by hand with a large, sharp knife and some steady-handed chopping. Keep your head down and watch the fingers.

    Nurtrition facts:
    Serving size–1oz
    Total servings–8
    Calories per serving–6
    Fat per serving–0g 
     
    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur. 
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    Score: 4.83. Votes: 12

    Menu Description: "We use only the 'best of the breast' chicken tenderloin in our recipe. Our dumplins are made from scratch, then hand-rolled and cut into strips before simmering to perfection in chicken stock."

    By 1977 there were 13 Cracker Barrel stores located in Georgia and Tennessee, with all of them based on founder Dan Evins' original concept of a restaurant and store built around gasoline pumps. But with the oil embargo and energy crisis of the mid-seventies, Cracker Barrel started building stores that did not offer gas. Eventually, all of the original 13 stores were converted so you can no longer "filler-up" while you fill yourself up.

    An old-time favorite at Cracker Barrel is the Chicken & Dumplins found on the lunch and dinner menu. The nice thing about this version of the popular classic dish is that it creates its own tasty gravy. As the "dumplins" dissolve, the flour thickens the stock into a creamy sauce.

    Satisfy your cravings for more Cracker Barrel with more of my copycat recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Three eggs scrambled with Cheddar cheese, mushrooms, green peppers and onions, then topped with diced tomatoes. Served with hash browns, sausage, bacon and choice of toast, homestyle buttermilk biscuit or English muffin."

    In 1953, Harold Butler realized his dream of opening a donut shop. The little shop in Lakewood, California was called Danny's Donuts, and Harold's philosophy was simple: "We're going to serve the best cup of coffee; make the best donuts; give the best service; keep everything spotless; offer the best value; and stay open 24 hours a day."

    That little donut store made $120,000 in its first year—a good bit of change for any restaurant in 1953. When customers showed interest in a more diverse menu, Harold began offering sandwiches, breakfasts, and other meals; and in 1954 changed the name to Danny's Coffee Shops. The name of the chain would eventually change again, this time to Denny's—the nation's largest full-service restaurant chain when this recipe was created.

    In 1977, Denny's introduced the Grand Slam Breakfast—a value priced breakfast that included eggs, sausage, bacon, and pancakes. Later, the successful Grand Slam Breakfast specials expanded to include other variations including the French Slam, Southern Slam, and the Scram Slam, a popular vegetable-and-scrambled egg creation you can now make for yourself.

    How about some pancakes or French toast to go with your scrambled eggs? Click here for more copycat recipes from Denny's.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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