Olive Garden Chicken Caesar Sandwich Reduced-Fat
New to the lunch menu in 1995, this sandwich would normally have around 20 grams of fat, mostly because of the Caesar dressing. But if we use some low-fat and fat-free ingredients, we can reduce those fat grams by better than half of the original. And then we'll have a flavor-packed reduced-fat clone of the delicious Olive Garden creation that's great for lunch or dinner.
Keep in mind that for my Olive Garden chicken Caesar sandwich recipe, you'll need to marinate the chicken for several hours. So start this one early, or even better, the day before you plan to eat it. This will ensure that your chicken is well marinated and the flavors in the dressing will have time to develop.
Serving Size–1 sandwich
Calories per serving–450 (Original–543)
Fat per serving–9g (Original–20.5g)
Find recipes for more of your favorite Olive Garden dishes here.
Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.
- 4 skinless chicken breast fillets
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic
- 1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon egg substitute
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon coarse-ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Pinch onion powder
- 3 drops Worchestershire sauce
- 4 Italian or sourdough sandwich rolls
- 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1. Cut each chicken breast in half. Fold a piece of plastic wrap around one piece of chicken and pound flat (to about 1/4-inch thick) with a mallet or tenderizer. The chicken should be slightly larger in diameter than the sandwich rolls. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
2. Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a medium bowl. Add the chicken, cover, and chill for at least 4 hours. Overnight is best.
3. While the chicken marinates, combine all the Caesar dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill.
4. When the chicken has marinated, preheat your barbecue or indoor grill to high heat. Grill the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until done.
5. Use the grill to brown the faces of each roll.
6. Build each sandwich by spreading about a half cup of lettuce on one of the bottom buns. Drizzle about a tablespoon of the dressing over the lettuce. Next, stack two pieces of chicken on the sandwich. Place one piece of the chicken slightly off to one side and then position the second piece off to the outer side but overlapping the first piece.
7. Finish off the sandwich with the top half of the roll. Repeat the process to build the remaining sandwiches and serve.
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Menu Description: "A creamy hot dip of artichokes, spinach and Parmesan with pasta chips."
Just about every aspect of the Olive Garden restaurants was developed from consumer research conducted in a corporate think tank by the General Mills Corporation. Restaurant-goers were questioned about preferences, such as the type of food to be served, the appearance and atmosphere of the restaurant, even the color of the candleholders on each table. The large tables and the comfy chairs on rollers that you see at the Olive Garden restaurants came out of those vigorous research sessions.
I'm not sure if this dish came from those sessions, but according to servers at the Olive Garden, the Hot Artichoke-Spinach Dip is one of the most requested appetizers on the menu. The restaurant serves the dip with chips made from fried pasta, but you can serve your homemade Olive Garden hot artichoke dip with just about any type of crackers, chips, or toasted Italian bread, like bruschetta.
Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.
For 25 years, Fuddruckers has been serving huge, cooked-when-ordered beef patties on freshly baked buns. You decorate your hamburger creation with sliced tomato, onions, lettuce, pickles, peppers, relish and whatever else is offered at the toppings bar. Everyone builds their burger differently, yet the company claims these are "The World's Greatest Hamburgers." What makes them so good? Fuddruckers boasts that it uses only 100% USDA choice, aged ground beef.
What Fuddruckers won't tell you is which secret ingredients make up the delicious burger seasoning used on each of those patties. After analyzing a sample of the blend used in the shakers back by the griddle, I've come up with this simple Fuddruckers Hamburger Seasoning copycat recipe which you can now mix up at home, and pour into an empty shaker bottle. Sprinkle it onto 1/3- or 1/2-pound ground beef patties just before they cook, then grab some fresh buns in the bakery section of your store. Add your choice of other fresh toppings, and you'll soon have a hamburger clone that tastes just like those served at the more than 230 Fuddruckers.
Wash down that tasty burger with a homemade In-N-Out Burger Vanilla Shake.
Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.
It's not served every day at Carrabba's Italian Grill, but when this amazing soup is on the menu, consider yourself lucky and snag a bowl. It's chock-full of lentils and other good bits of vegetables and herbs, plus there are big chunks of spicy Italian sausage in every bite. Best of all, you can use my Carrabba's spicy sausage and lentil soup recipe below to easily make it at home. Most of the work here is just chopping stuff up, including a small ham steak, which you can find where the bacon is sold in your market. If you can't find a ham steak, you can slice up some deli ham. Get everything in a pot and let it simmer. In 1 hour, you'll have enough hot, chunky soup for at least a dozen cup-size servings.
Hard Rock Café Twisted Mac & Cheese Menu Description: "Twisted cavatappi pasta, tossed in a lightly spiced 3-cheese sauce with roasted red peppers and topped with Parmesan parsley breadcrumbs."
The rock-and-roll theme chain peps up old-school macaroni and cheese with roasted red bell pepper, a breadcrumb topping, and a delicious sauce made from three cheeses. For a home clone of this hip appetizer, I found that it's best to shred your own Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, since the pre-shredded type sold in bags doesn't melt as well and you'll likely end up with grainy sauce. Grainy is not good for a sauce. You can use bottled roasted red bell pepper for convenience, or you can roast your own pepper with the tips provided in the Tidbits below. And don't worry about tracking down the hard-to-find cavatappi pasta twisted tubes. Any pasta shape will do here, including the ubiquitous mac & cheese standard: elbow macaroni.
When Matt and Ivan Perkins tasted the food at Smitty's Pancake House in Seattle, they were smitten. Soon they had purchased the rights to William Smith's recipes, which had been perfected at his renowned restaurant that opened just after the end of World War II. In 1958, the brothers opened their own Smitty's restaurants in Cincinnati, Ohio, and eventually changed the name from Smitty's to Perkins.
If you've never tried potato pancakes from Perkins, or any restaurant, now's the time with this copycat recipe. I've given you the option to make the potatoes with frozen hash brown potatoes or with fresh potatoes you shred by hand. It's up to you. Use maple syrup on these hotcakes, or go for a little butter and powdered sugar on top.
Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.
The entire process for making this soup which Islands serves in "bottomless bowls" takes as long as 3 hours, but don't let that discourage you. Most of that time is spent waiting for the chicken to roast (up to 90 minutes -- although you can save time by using a precooked chicken, see Tidbits) and letting the soup simmer (1 hour). The actual work involved is minimal -- most of your time is spent chopping the vegetable ingredients.
My Islands Tortilla Soup recipe produces a copycat with awesome flavor and texture, since you'll be making fresh chicken stock from the carcass of the roasted chicken. As for the fried tortilla strip garnish that tops the soup, you can go the hard way or the easy way on that step. The hard way makes the very best tortilla strips, and it's really not that hard: Simply slice corn tortillas into strips, fry the strips real quick, then toss the fried strips with a custom seasoning blend. The easy way is to grab a bag of the new habanero-flavored Doritos, which happen to be similar in spiciness to the strips used at the restaurant. Simply crumble a few of these chips over the top of your bowl of soup, and dive in.
Find more cool Islands copycat recipes here.
Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur
Menu Description: "Our famous Original cheesecake recipe! Creamy and light, baked in a graham cracker crust. Our most popular cheesecake!"
Oscar and Evelyn Overton's wholesale cheesecake company was successful quickly after it first started selling creamy cheesecakes like this clone to restaurant chains in the early 1970's. When some restaurants balked at the prices the company was charging for high-end desserts, Oscar and Evelyn's son David decided it was time to open his own restaurant, offering a wide variety of quality meal choices in huge portions, and, of course, the famous cheesecakes for dessert. Today, the chain has over 87 stores across the country, and consistently ranks number one on the list of highest grossing single stores for a U.S. restaurant chain.
Baking your cheesecakes in a water bath is part of the secret for producing beautiful cheesecakes at home with a texture similar to those sold in the restaurant. The water surrounds your cheesecake to keep it moist as it cooks, and the moisture helps prevent ugly cracking. You'll start the oven very hot for just a short time, then crank it down to finish. I also suggest lining your cheesecake pan with parchment paper to help get the thing out of the pan when it's done without a hassle.
My Cheesecake Factory original cheesecake recipe is so easy, even a 2-year-old can make it as shown in this video.
Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.
A good coffee house will have good coffee cake, and Starbucks is no exception. The world's biggest coffee chain offers cake that is moist and buttery, with a perfect cinnamon streusel crumb topping and a strip of cinnamon sugar through the middle. You may find slight variations of the cake at different Starbucks locations. Sometimes the cake is topped with chopped pecans and some may be dusted on top with a little powdered sugar. My Starbucks classic coffee cake recipe below clones the basic recipe. If you want nuts on top, mix 1/2 cup of chopped pecans into the streusel topping before adding it.
The number one appetizer on Joe's menu is called Blue Crab Dip, but you don't need blue crab to clone it. You don't even need to use fresh crab. For my Joe's Crab Shack Blue Crab Dip recipe below, I used some delicious lump crabmeat from Phillip's Seafood that comes in 16-ounce cans (you may find it at Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, and Vons) and the dip turned out great. You could also use the crabmeat that comes in 6-ounce cans found at practically every supermarket—you'll need two of them. Just be sure to get the kind that includes leg meat, and don't forget to drain off the liquid before you toss it in.
Menu Description: "Select pork, hickory-smoked then hand-pulled, so it's tender and juicy. 'An old Southern delicacy' with our famous vinegar-based bar-b-que sauce. Served with fries, ranch beans and homemade coleslaw."
Take a big honkin' bite out of one of this, and you'll soon know why it's the Hard Rock Café's most popular sandwich. The pork is hickory smoked for 10 hours, but since we're impatient hungry people here, we'll use the techniques laid out in my Hard Rock Café pulled pork sandwich recipe below, and cut that cooking time to under 4 hours using a covered grill and carefully arranged charcoal; or by packaging your wood chips in foil to use on a gas grill. If you've got an actual smoker, you can certainly use it and go the full 10 hours.
You should try to make your cabbage a day ahead of time, so it has time to marinate.
The first Auntie Anne's pretzel store opened in 1988 in the heart of pretzel country—a Pennsylvanian Amish farmers' market. Over 500 stores later, Auntie Anne's is one of the most requested secret clone recipes around, especially on the internet.
Many of the copycat Auntie Anne's soft pretzel recipes passed around the Web require bread flour, and some use honey as a sweetener. But by studying the Auntie Anne's home pretzel-making kit in my secret underground laboratory, I've created a better Auntie Anne's copycat recipe with a superior way to re-create the delicious mall treats at home. For the best quality dough, you just need all-purpose flour. And powdered sugar works great to perfectly sweeten the dough. Now you just have to decide if you want to make the more traditional salted pretzels, or the sweet cinnamon sugar-coated kind. Decisions, decisions.
Find more of my copycat recipes for famous muffins, bagels, and rolls here.
Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.
It's the white, creamy broth in the original version of this delicious soup that adds unnecessary fat grams. By replacing the fat-filled dairy ingredients from the original with fat-free milk and chicken broth, and by using lean Italian turkey sausage, we can whack around fifteen grams of fat off the original version.
Serving size–1 1/2 cups
Calories per serving–196 (Original–275)
Fat per serving–4.5g (Original–19g)
Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.
In early 1985, restaurateur Rich Komen felt there was a specialty niche in convenience-food service just waiting to be filled. His idea was to create an efficient outlet that could serve freshly made cinnamon rolls in shopping malls throughout the country. It took nine months for Komen and his staff to develop a cinnamon roll recipe he knew customers would consider the "freshest, gooiest, and most mouthwatering cinnamon roll ever tasted." The concept was tested for the first time in Seattle's Sea-Tac mall later that year, with workers mixing, proofing, rolling, and baking the rolls in full view of customers. Now, more than 626 outlets later, Cinnabon has become the fastest-growing cinnamon roll bakery in the world.
Use my Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls copycat recipe below to make delicious homemade Cinnabon, or try my improved recipe here, which I perfected with the help of Cinnabon HQ.
Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.
If you like soup that's packed with veggies, that's low in fat, and has some Southwestern punch to it, my Chili's Southwestern Vegetable soup recipe is for you. Just toss all the ingredients in a pot and simmer. Garnish with some shredded cheese and crumbled tortillas, and warm up your insides.
Menu Description: "Fresh vegetables, beans and pasta in a light tomato broth—a vegetarian classic."
Olive Garden's minestrone soup is jam-packed with beans, zucchini, onion, tomatoes, carrots, pasta, and spices; but O.G.'s secret formula doesn't include chicken broth. Canned vegetable broth found in the soup aisle of most markets works as a base here in this secret formula that bursts with flavor as a purely vegetarian dish.
Here's a great recipe for the holidays, or anytime you want, really. It's a mint chocolate brownie with peppermint buttercream frosting on top and creamy chocolate frosting on top of that. I've made my Starbucks Peppermint Brownie recipe easier by starting with a common fudge brownie mix. By changing the required ingredients listed on the brownie mix box and modifying some steps, we can improve on the finished product.
Rather than oil, use a stick of melted butter in your brownies for a richer, better flavor. And cook the brownies at a slightly lower temperature so that they come out moist and chewy. Since this recipe is for peppermint brownies, add just a bit of peppermint extract to the batter. The peppermint brownies from Starbucks have red and white frosting drizzled lightly across the top. To duplicate this easily, you can buy premade red and white colored frostings that come in little cans with tips included.
In the early 90's Boston Chicken was rockin' it. The home meal replacement chain's stock was soaring and the lines were filled with hungry customers waiting to sink their teeth into a serving of the chain's delicious rotisserie chicken. The chain was so successful with chicken, the company quickly decided it was time to introduce other entrée selections, the first of which was a delicious barbecue sauce-covered ground sirloin meatloaf.
Offering the other entrées presented the company with a dilemma: what to do about the name. The bigwigs decided it was time to change the name to Boston Market, to reflect a wider menu. That meant replacing signs on hundreds of units and retooling the marketing campaigns. That name change, plus rapid expansion of the chain and growth of other similar home-style meal concepts, sent the company into a tailspin. By 1988, Boston Market's goose was cooked, and the company filed for bankruptcy. Soon McDonald's stepped in to purchase the company, with the idea of closing many of the stores for good, and slapping Golden Arches on the rest. But that plan was scrapped when, after selling many of the under-performing Boston Markets, the chain began to fly once again. Within a year of the acquisition Boston Market was profitable, and those meals with the home-cooked taste are still being served at over 700 Boston Market restaurants across the country.
Use my Boston Market Meatloaf copycat recipe below to copy the flavor of that first non-chicken dish, a delicious barbecue sauce-covered ground sirloin meatloaf. You might also like to try my Boston Market side-dish recipes here.
Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.
It was in 1995 that Starbucks stores started selling this frozen drink, one of the company's most successful new products. The Frappuccino is blended with strong coffee, sugar, a dairy base, and ice. Each one is made to order and each one is guaranteed to give you a throbbing brain freeze if you sip too hard. The drinks come in several different varieties, the most popular of which I've cloned here for your frontal lobe-pounding, caffeine-buzzing pleasure.
Make double-strength coffee by measuring 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per cup serving in your coffee maker. Your homemade Starbucks Frappuccino will be even more authentic if you use Starbucks beans and grind them yourself just before brewing.
Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.
One of the most popular and hard-to-pronounce items on the Olive Garden menu is found in the soup column. It's more like chili than a soup, really, with all those beans and veggies and ground beef in there. The reduced-fat grams in this clone are especially important when we consider that this dish makes an excellent meal by itself, and you may want to eat more than the 1 1/2-cup serving size measured for the nutrition stats.
We'll keep the added fat to a minimum by sauteing the veggies in what little fat is not drained off from browning the lean ground beef. The soup will fill your mouth with flavor so it won't matter that we aren't adding additional fat. You'll have a hard time distinguishing between this version and the original. Try it.
This recipe makes about eight 1 1/3-cup servings. If you can't eat it within a few days, it freezes well.
Serving size–1 1/2 cups
Calories per serving–312 (Original–416)
Fat per serving–4g (Original–17.5g)
Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.
Elaine: "Do you need anything?"
Kramer: "Oh, a hot bowl of Mulligatawny would hit the spot."
Kramer: "Yeah, it's an Indian soup. Simmered to perfection by one of the great soup artisans in the modern era."
Elaine: "Oh. Who, the Soup Nazi?"
Kramer: "He's not a Nazi. He just happens to be a little eccentric. You know, most geniuses are."
Kramer was right. Al Yeganeh—otherwise known as The Soup Nazi from the Seinfeld episode that aired in 1995—is a master at the soup kettle. His popular soup creations have inspired many inferior copycats in the Big Apple, including The Soup Nutsy, which was only ten blocks away from Al's original location on 55th Street. Yeganeh's mastery shows when he combines unusual ingredients to create unique and delicious flavors in his much-raved-about soups. In this one, you might be surprised to discover pistachios and cashews among the many vegetables. It's a combination that works.
I took a trip to New York and tasted about a dozen of the Soup Nazi's original creations. This one, the Indian Mulligatawny, was high on my list of favorites. After each daily trip to Soup Nazi headquarters (Soup Kitchen International), I immediately headed back to the hotel and poured samples of the soups into labeled, sealed containers, which were then chilled for the trip back home. Back in the lab, portions of the soup were rinsed through a sieve so that ingredients could be identified. I recreated four of Al's best-selling soups after that trip, including this one, which will need to simmer for 3 to 4 hours, or until the soup reduces. The soup will darken as the flavors intensify, the potatoes will begin to fall apart to thicken the soup, and the nuts will soften. If you follow these directions, you should end up with a clone that would fool even Cosmo Kramer himself.
Update 2/6/18: The recipe can be improved by doubling the curry (to 2 teaspoons) and reducing the water by half (to 8 cups). Cook the soup for half the recommended time or until it's your desired thickness.
Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.TRANSLATE with xEnglishTRANSLATE with
For over 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original copycat recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.