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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: 2

    Menu Description: "A Denny's original. Sliced turkey breast with Swiss cheese, bacon and tomato on grilled sourdough. Served with French Fries and pickle chips."

    Now you can munch down your own clone of this popular palate pleaser, The Super Bird, a cross between a grilled cheese and a club, and Denny's top-selling sandwich. When shopping for sourdough bread, try to find a high-quality loaf with large slices. The thin-sliced turkey breast is best purchased at your market's deli service counter where they cut it while you wait. If you don't have a service counter like this near your house, you can use the prepackaged thin-sliced meats located in the cold deli section. Or you can move.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Crisp, lightly fried carrots, choice of two dips."

    In 1992, Steven Spielberg organized a search for a hoagie sandwich like those he remembered from his childhood in Phoenix, Arizona. The famed director sent his assistants out to search L.A. for the perfect submarine sandwich, and from the 20 sandwiches brought back to him, not one passed the test. Former chairman of Walt Disney Studios and close friend Jeffrey Katzenberg was in on the taste test that day and agreed that most of the sandwiches were either too soggy or too leathery. The two began tossing around the idea of opening their own restaurant to reinvent the submarine sandwich with fresh baked bread and unique combinations of ingredient—like what Spago's and California Pizza Kitchen were doing with pizza. Partnered with Mark and Larry Levy of Levy Restaurants, the two movie moguls tasted over 100 sandwich recipes before finding two dozen they liked. A year of planning went by to build a deep-sea theme around the recipes, and in 1994, the first Dive! restaurant opened in L.A.

    In addition to the gourmet sandwiches on the menu, Dive! features pastas, salads, burgers, and delicious appetizers like carrot chips complete with your choice of dipping sauces. Because the carrots need to be sliced no thicker than 1/16 inch, you'll probably have to use a thin-slicing machine such as a mandoline for this recipe. I tried slicing the carrots by hand, but it's practically impossible to get the carrots a uniform thickness without using a gadget.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Graham crackers, milk chocolate and toasted marshmallows, streaked with chocolate sauce."

    Large screens inside each Dive! display videos of underwater scenes filmed in the waters of Micronesia, Bermuda, San Salvador, and Florida. Diners eat gourmet submarine sandwiches as giant sea turtles and sharks swim by coral reefs and underwater caves. When the alarm sounds and lights flash, it's time for the restaurant to take its simulated hourly dive. Video in the portholes and on the giant projection screens change to comedy footage from vintage movies and clips of unlikely locales for a huge submarine such as a backyard swimming pool. 

    Along with two dozen or so gourmet sandwiches and other tasty entrees, Dive! features a delectable selection of desserts. One of them is Dive! S'mores, a creation inspired by the traditional treat that's prepared around campfires with marshmallows toasted on sticks. This version assembled with graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows is broiled in a hot oven just long enough to brown the tops of the marshmallows. If you've got a craving for S'mores and are nowhere near a campfire and/or don't have sticks, here's your quick fix.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    It’s Dairy Queen’s most successful product ever. Over 175 million Blizzards were sold in the year following the product’s debut in 1985. The new creation was such a sales phenomenon that other fast food chains created their own soft-serve ice cream treats with mixed in chunks of cookies and candies and fruit. McDonald’s McFlurry is one popular example. Today there are over a dozen varieties of Blizzards to choose from at Dairy Queen. 

    The biggest challenge when making Blizzard replicas at home is keeping the ice cream from getting soft when the other ingredients are stirred in. To solve that problem, we’ll use a special technique inspired by marble slab ice cream stores. Servers mix your choice of chunky ingredients with your choice of ice cream on a slab of frozen stone. This method keeps the ice cream cold and firm while mixing, until it’s served to a drooling you.

    To incorporate this technique at home you need to put a glass or ceramic bowl in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (while you’re at it you may also want to freeze the glass you’re going to serve the thing in). An hour or more is even better. We mix our ingredients in the icy bowl, while the ice cream stays frosty cold. Just be sure to use plain vanilla ice cream (not French vanilla), if you have a choice.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

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    The secret to re-creating many of Applebee’s drinks is to stay away from the bottled cocktail mixers and make your own from scratch. The recipe for the pina colada mix is a simple 2-to-1 ratio of pineapple juice to cream of coconut. You’ll be making two drinks here, so have a companion ready.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

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    For this drink, make the lemonade from scratch to re-create that familiar Applebee’s barstool experience. Okay, so maybe it’s just familiar to me, and I probably shouldn’t go around announcing it. This recipe makes two drinks.

    Click here for more Applebee's copycat recipes. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits and Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    This grilled chicken sandwich was introduced by America's number-two burger chain in 1990, and soon after the launch, the BK Broiler was selling at a rate of over a million a day. Not good news for chickens.

    This one's easy to duplicate at home. To clone the shape of the chicken served at the burger giant, you'll slice the chicken breasts in half, and pound each piece flat with a mallet. Pounding things is fun. Let the chicken marinate and then fire up the grill. The recipe makes four sandwiches and can be easily doubled if necessary for a king-size munch fest.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 10

    On his Food Network TV show Emeril Lagasse mentions "Essence" almost as much as "Bam!" and "Kick it up a notch!" He claims to put his special spice blend on "everything but ice cream." He suggests using it all your meats, veggies and pasta, and combining it with oil to use as a marinade. If you can't get your hands on the version that's sold in the bottle here's how to whip up a quick clone at home. (This recipe I created to clone the taste of the bottled product found in stores is different from the recipe in Emeril's cookbooks.)

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.50. Votes: 4

    When Johnny Carrabba and his uncle Damian Mandola opened the first Carrabba's restaurant in 1986, they used a collection of their own traditional family recipes to craft a terrific Italian menu. You'll even find the names of friends and family in several of those dishes including Pollo Rosa Maria, Chicken Bryan, Scampi Damian and Insalata Johnny Rocco. Now you can easily recreate the taste of the delicious dressing that's tossed into the salad that's served before each Carrabba's entree. And you need only six ingredients. For the grated Parmesan cheese, go ahead and use the stuff made by Kraft that comes in the green shaker canisters. And if you don't have any buttermilk, you can substitute regular milk. Since it's so thick, this dressing is best when tossed into your salad before serving it, just like the real thing.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    Menu Description: "(Our most popular appetizer.) Parmesan, Cheddar & Monterey Jack cheeses, cilantro, onion, fresh dill & mashed potato lightly breaded and fried crispy topped with fresh cut chives. Served with herbed ranch salsa."

    This top-seller is a versatile side dish alternative to mashed potatoes, but also stands well on its own as an appetizer. With cilantro, green onion, and three different cheeses in there, the flavor is the bomb. When you add a crispy breading and some herbed ranch salsa drizzled over the top, it's clear why this is the most popular appetizer on the huge Claim Jumper menu. Try dropping a pinch or two of cayenne pepper into the herbed ranch salsa for an extra spicy boost.

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I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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