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Good job. You just found 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 for less money than eating out. Todd's recipes are easy to follow and fun to make! See if Todd has hacked your favorite appetizers here. New recipes added every week.

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    Score: 4.38. Votes: 53

    It's been an Iowa tradition since 1926, and today this sandwich has a huge cult following. It's similar to a traditional hamburger, but the ground beef is not formed into a patty. Instead, the lightly seasoned meat lies uncompressed on a white bun, dressed with mustard, minced onion, and dill pickles. Since the meat is loose, the sandwich is always served with a spoon for scooping up the ground beef that will inevitably fall out.

    When this clone recipe for Maid-Rite was originally posted on our Web site several years ago, it elicited more e-mail than any recipe in the site's history. Numerous Midwesterners were keyboard-ready to insist that the clone was far from accurate without the inclusion of a few bizarre ingredients, the most common of which was Coca-Cola. One letter states: "You evidently have not ever had a Maid-Rite. The secret to the Maid-Rite is coke syrup. Without it you cannot come close to the taste." Another e-mail reads: "Having lived in the Midwest all of my life and knowing not only the owners of a Maid-Rite restaurant but also many people who worked there, I can tell you that one of the things you left out of your recipe is Coca-Cola. Not a lot, just enough to keep the meat moist."

    On the flip side, I received comments such as this one from an Iowa fan who lived near Don Taylor's original Maid-Rite franchise: "The secret to the best Maid-Rite is the whole beef. Don had a butcher shop in his basement where he cut and ground all his beef. Some people still swear they added seasoning, but that is just not true. Not even pepper."

    Back in my lab, no matter how hard I examined the meat in the original product—which was shipped to me in dry ice directly from Don Taylor's original store in Marshalltown, Iowa—I could not detect Coca-Cola. there's no sweetness to the meat at all, although the buns themselves seem to include some sugar. When the buns are chewed with the meat, the sandwich does taste mildly sweet. I finally decided that Coca-Cola syrup is not part of the recipe. If it is added to the meat in the Maid-Rite stores, it's an insignificant amount that does not have any noticeable effect on the flavor.

    Also, the texture is important, so adding plenty of liquid to the simmering meat is crucial. This clone recipe requires 1 cup of water in addition to 1/4 cup of beef broth. By simmering the ground beef in this liquid for a couple hours the meat will tenderize and become infused with a little flavor, just like the real thing.

    When the liquid is gone, form the ground beef into a 1/2 cup measuring scoop, dump it onto the bottom of a plain hamburger bun, then add your choice of mustard, onions, and pickles. Adding ketchup is up to you, although it's not an ingredient found in Maid-Rite stores. Many say that back in the early days "hobos" would swipe the ketchup and mix it with water to make tomato soup. Free ketchup was nixed from the restaurants way back then, and the custom has been in place ever since.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.51. Votes: 35

    Menu Description: "Oven baked. Dusted with powdered sugar, served with lemon and butter."

    It was in 1953 when Les Highet and Erma Huenke opened their first Original Pancake House in Portland, Oregon using traditional pancake recipes handed down through the generations. The German Pancake is baked at high temperature in a skillet where it puffs up like crazy in the oven, then settles down when it comes out. It's dusted with powdered sugar, and serve with whipped butter and lemon wedges on the side—delicious. A cast-iron skillet works best for this recipe. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.82. Votes: 11

    Menu Description: "Oven baked with fresh apples and pure Sikiyan cinnamon glaze."

    Fresh, high-quality ingredients and traditional recipes are what makes this growing chain a frequent favorite for anyone who stops in. The star of the show is the incredible apple pancake, the chain's signature dish. To make a dead-on clone, Granny Smith apples are sauteed in butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, then allowed to cool for a bit. That way, when the batter is poured into the pan, the apples and glaze stay anchored to the bottom. This technique also prevents the glaze from penetrating into the batter as the pancake bakes since there is now an apple barrier preventing any mixing of the ingredients. When the pancake comes out of the oven it's flipped over onto a plate and the apples are right there on top, dripping with a delicious cinnamon-sugar glaze. You won't need any syrup for this one, that's for sure. Just a light dusting of powdered sugar on top. Then dig into an apple pancake unlike any other.

    You may also like my clone recipe for the Original Pancake House German Pancake

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    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 the chicken will need to marinate 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.

    Nutritional Facts
    Serving Size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–450 (Original–543)
    Fat per serving–9g (Original–20.5g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.97. Votes: 36

    Outback makes their sauces and salad dressings from scratch every day following master formulas in a corporate cookbook. Now you've got a secret recipe of your own that will duplicate the taste of their hugely popular house honey mustard recipe. You'll need just three basic ingredients and only about two minutes of free time for this Outback honey mustard dressing recipe.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.14. Votes: 14

    After years of fielding requests to clone the delicious signature soup from this 100-unit chain, I was finally able to secure a couple carry-out samples from Max & Erma's at the Cleveland airport while I was there on biz trip. Wrapped in a bundle of napkins and tucked into a carry-on bag, my samples arrived home in Vegas still warm and ready for analysis. For this one you'll need some white and dark fillets of chicken and a half pound hunk of cheese to shred. It's all that Cheddar cheese that makes this tortilla soup so good. And you'll definitely want to shred your own, since the pre-shredded stuff—while also more expensive—just doesn't melt as well in the chicken broth as cheese that's been shredded just before it goes into the pot. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

    Update 2/8/17: This recipe may work better if you first make a sauce with the cheese before adding it to the soup. After step #2, combine 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium saucepan. Whisk in 1 cup of milk until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove it from the heat and stir in the cheese until it's melted. Keep the cheese sauce warm over low heat until you need it. Reduce the cornstarch to 1 tablespoon and dissolve it into the chicken broth in a large saucepan. Add the chicken, sauteed vegetables, and remaining ingredients for the soup (except the cheese sauce) and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the cheese sauce and simmer the soup for another 10 minutes while you bounce to step #4.

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    Score: 4.82. Votes: 44

    Brothers Dick and Mac McDonald opened the first McDonald's drive-in restaurant in 1948, in San Bernardino, California. When the brothers began to order an increasing amount of restaurant equipment for their growing business, they aroused the curiosity of milk-machine salesman Ray Kroc. Kroc befriended the brothers and became a franchising agent for the company that same year, opening his first McDonald's in Des Plaines, Illinois. Kroc later founded the hugely successful McDonald's Corporation and perfected the fast food system that came to be studied and duplicated by other chains over the years. The first day Kroc's cash register rang up $366.12. Today the company racks up about $50 million a day in sales in more than 12,000 outlets worldwide, and for the past ten years a new store has opened somewhere around the world an average of every fifteen hours. The double-decker Big Mac was introduced in 1968, the brain-child of a local franchisee. It is now the world's most popular hamburger and it is super easy to duplicate at home. You can use Kraft Thousand Island dressing for the special sauce, or follow the link in the Tidbits below to a recipe for cloning the special sauce from scratch.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    For a live demo of the McDonald's Big Mac Recipe, check out this video.

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    Score: 4.50. Votes: 4

    Menu Description: "Oven-baked smoked mozzarella, provolone, parmesan and romano cheese. Served with Tuscan bread."

    Olive Garden's take on the Italian melted cheese dip includes smoked mozzarella combined with grated Parmesan, Romano, and provolone cheese, and lots of thyme. When making your clone, be sure to slice the waxy rind off the smoked mozzarella before you grate it. That part does not taste good. After slowly melting the mozzarella, Parmesan, and Romano in a small saucepan with half-and-half, pour the creamy mixture into a shallow dish, top it with a slice of provolone, and pop it under the broiler until light brown. Serve your hot fonduta with baguette slices, bagel chips, or crackers.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.
     

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    Score: 4.80. Votes: 15

    This cheesy little number is one of the most popular side salad choices at America's favorite steakhouse chain. Cinnamon Pecans and fried angel hair pasta are tossed with salad greens and a delicious sweet and sour bleu cheese vinaigrette. The crunchy angel hair pasta pieces are made by first boiling 24 sticks of uncooked pasta for half of the usual cooking time. When the pasta is cool, fry it in a bit of oil until light brown and crispy. The cinnamon pecans are easily candied in a small saucepan with a few basic ingredients. The recipe here makes two large salad servings, which will require only half of the dressing. This way, if you want to serve more salads you can easily double up on the other ingredients, and you'll have just the right amount of dressing for a couple more servings.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.67. Votes: 6

    Menu Description: "A 14-ounce rack of New Zealand lamb served with a Cabernet sauce."

    Next time you make lamb, try this seasoning and sauce on it and make lamb the Outback way. Outback's racks are small, so if you find a 24- to 28-ounce rack of lamb, you'll get 2 servings with this recipe. Be sure to trim off most of the extra fat before you sear the lamb. And after the searing, don't wash out that skillet! You want those flavorful little bits (fond) in there to make the incredible Cabernet sauce that is served alongside the lamb for dipping, dousing, and drenching.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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