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    The Twinkie company, otherwise known as Hostess, was one of the first to introduce reduced-fat baked goods to the masses. In 1990 the company took its most popular products and created lower-fat versions under the "Hostess Lights" label. Among the company's well-known low-fat offerings is this popular cupcake, with its seven loops of white icing on the top of frosted, creme-filled cake. Here's a way you can recreate these popular cupcakes at home, with applesauce in the cake to help replace the fat, and filling made with marshmallow creme.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 cupcake 
    Total servings–12 
    Calories per serving–220 
    Fat per serving–1.5g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.41. Votes: 17

    It is true that ranch dressing was invented at Hidden Valley Ranch near Santa Barbara, California, by a real salad-wranglin' rancher. In the 50s and 60s Steve Henson and his wife, Gayle, shared their 120-acre dude ranch with University of California at Santa Barbara students and other festive partiers for rousing weekend shindigs. The dozens of guests were served steak dinners and delicious salads topped with Steve's special blend of herbs, spices, mayonnaise, and buttermilk. As word got out about the fabulous dressing, more guests were showing up at the ranch and walking home with complimentary take-home jars filled with the stuff. Eventually Steve figured he could make a little cash on the side by packaging the dressing as a dry mix and selling it through the mail. At first he was filling envelopes himself, but within a few months Steve had to hire twelve more people to help with the packaging. Soon Steve had a multi-million dollar business on his hands with a product that for ten years he had been giving away for free. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Led by CEO Leonard Rawls, the Hardee's Company opened its first hamburger restaurant in 1961 at the corner of Church Street and Falls Road in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Hardee's has grown steadily through the years, with a number of well-planned acquisitions: first, the purchase of the 200-unit Sandy's chain in 1972, then the buyout of the 650-unit Burger Chef chain in 1983. The company's latest acquisition was the 1990 buyout of the 648 Roy Rogers restaurants. This latest purchase made Hardee's the third largest hamburger chain in the world, just behind McDonald's and Burger King. With that acquisition, the company claimed to be operating close to 3,800 restaurants in forty-one states and nine foreign countries. 

    Hardee's was the first major hamburger chain to switch to all-vegetable oil to cook its fried products. One of those products is french fries, the most popular item on the Hardee's menu.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    In 1975 Hardee's opened its 1,000th restaurant. The 2,000th unit was opened in 1983, and shortly after that, in 1988, the 3,000th unit opened its doors. This pattern of expansion has continued: a new Hardee's restaurant now opens on the average of one each workday. With the acquisition of the Roy Rogers chain in 1990, Hardee's neared the 4,000-unit mark, ringing up system-wide sales of more than $3 billion. This is a chain that has come a long way since its first menu in 1961, which contained only eight items, including fifteen-cent hamburgers and ten-cent soft drinks.

    As part of its continuing effort to offer nutrition-conscious customers a range of menu choices, Hardee's was one of the first of the "Big Four" burger chains to switch to low-calorie mayonnaise for its sandwiches. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    In 1950 a man named Robert O'Petersen built the first Jack-in-the-Box restaurant at El Cahon and 63rd streets in San Diego, California. The restaurant was originally built for drive-thru and walk-up service only, and customers would speak into a clown's mouth to order their food. The clown was blasted to smithereens with explosives in a 1980 advertising campaign, however, signifying a shift toward a more diverse adult menu. 

    The signature Jumbo Jack Hamburger has been on the menu since 1974. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.13. Votes: 8

    Older than both McDonald's and Burger King, Jack-in-the Box is the world's fifth-largest hamburger chain, with 1,089 outlets by the end of 1991 in thirteen states throughout the West and Southwest. The restaurant, headquartered in San Diego, boasts one of the largest menus in the fast food world.

    Now taste for yourself the homemade version of Jack's most popular item. The Jack-in-the Box Taco has been served since the inception of the chain, with very few changes over the years. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    The Hooters chain continues its rapid expansion across the globe into 39 states and seven countries, including Taiwan, Aruba, Singapore, and Australia. In those 200 or so restaurants, this appetizer has become very popular since it was first introduced in 1995, as a variation on the Buffalo Chicken Wings recipe. Since this shrimp is fried, as are the chicken wings, we must resort to some tricks that will help bring the fat down. We'll bake the shrimp, rather than fry it, and prepare the sauce with a fat-free spread that adds flavor.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–6 pieces
    Total servings–2
    Calories per serving–204 (Original–320)
    Fat per serving–3g (Original–10g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.67. Votes: 3

    Southern California—the birthplace of famous hamburgers from McDonalds, Carls Jr. and In-n-Out Burger—is home to another thriving burger chain that opened its first store in 1952. Lovie Yancey thought up the perfect name for the 1/3 pound burgers she sold at her Los Angeles burger joint: Fatburger. Now with over 41 units in California, Nevada, and moving into Washington and Arizona, Fatburger has become the food critic's favorite, winning "best burger in town" honors with regularity. The secret is the seasoned salt used on a the beef patty. And there's no ketchup on the regular version, just mayo, mustard, and relish. Replace the ground beef with ground turkey and you've just cloned Fatburger's popular Turkeyburger. 

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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