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T.G.I. Friday's

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 9

    Menu Description: "Crunchy and crisp battered green beans with a cool creamy Cucumber-Wasabi Ranch dip."

    T.G.I. Friday's new finger food offering might just make you forget about French fries. At least for a little while. Flavorful green beans are coated with tasty breadcrumbs, then fried to a golden brown, and served with a side of creamy wasabi dipping sauce. This item has quickly become the top seller on the chain's new appetizer menu as Friday's becomes the first major casual restaurant to introduce a dish that has been popular for several years at upscale chains.

    Creating a home version isn't just a matter of breading and frying fresh green beans. My first attempts using a breading technique employed for perfect onion rings produced beautiful looking fried beans, but they were undercooked and had an overwhelming green bean flavor that was absent from the Friday's version. So, I had to figure out a good way to get the green bean-ness out of there. After a few tests that included steaming, baking, and boiling, I finally settled on blanching the beans in a flavorful broth. The secret technique, which you'll find here, tenderizes the beans while injecting pleasant flavor that closely resembles the Friday's favorite.

    Click here for more T.G.I. Friday's copycat recipes. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 3

    Menu Description: "Pecan-crusted chicken, served sliced and chilled on salad greens tossed with Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing, topped with mandarin oranges, sweet-glazed pecans, celery, dried cranberries and bleu cheese."

    With dried cranberries, mandarin orange wedges, bleu cheese, pecan-crusted chicken breast, and a delicious sweet and sour balsamic vinaigrette, it's no wonder this salad is the top pick at one of America's first casual dining chains. And don't be intimidated by all the ingredients. The dressing is a cakewalk since you pour everything except the garlic into a blender. The pecan-crusted chicken is a simple breading process, and the chicken cooks up in a snap. You'll be spending most of your time at the chopping block as you hack pecans into little pieces and get the lettuce, garlic and celery ready. I've designed this recipe to serve four, but if there are only two of you, you can easily cut it in half.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.70. Votes: 172

    The Jack Daniels Grill Glaze is one of the most scrumptious sauces you will ever taste on just about any meat. Introduced in April of 1997, this glaze has become one of Friday's best-selling items. This versatile sweet-and-slightly-spicy sauce can be ordered on salmon (pictured here), baby back ribs, steak, chicken, pork chops—even on chicken wings. I was asked to clone the sauce for an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show and I wanted the clone to be a good one, so I persuaded a T.G.I. Friday's server to show me the list of ingredients on the box the sauce was shipped in. I jotted down the info and created this recipe using only those ingredients, which helped a lot in creating this tasty hack. Use it to top your favorite meat, but if you're grilling, be sure to apply the sauce late in the cooking process just before taking the meat off the flame, since the sauce has a lot of sugar in it and will quickly burn. And don't forget to serve extra on the side.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 6

    If you start making black bean soup in the morning using other recipes out there, you're lucky to be slurping soup by lunchtime. That's because most recipes require dry beans that have to re-hydrate for at least a couple hours, and many recipes say "overnight." But, you know, tomorrow is just too far away when you're craving soup right now. So, for this often requested clone recipe, I sped up the process by incorporating canned black beans, rather than the dry ones. That way, once you get all the veggies chopped, you'll be souped up in just about an hour. Friday's version of this soup has a slightly smoky flavor that's easily duplicated here with just a little bit of concentrated liquid smoke flavoring found in most supermarkets. Just be sure to get the kind that says "hickory flavor."

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.38. Votes: 8

    So good, and yet so easy. Now you can re-create this one at home by tossing a few ingredients into a saucepan. Try to find one of the large 32-ounce cartons of chicken broth from Swanson—there's four cups in there, so it's perfect for this recipe. One big head of broccoli should provide enough florets for you. Use only the florets and ditch the tough stems, but be sure to cut the florets into bite-size pieces before dropping them in.

    Grab your favorite T.G.I. Friday's recipes over here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 3

    Menu Description: “Golden brown, chicken breast strips coated with crispy Japanese panko breadcrumbs with the extra crunch of toasted sesame seeds and tossed in our famous Jack Daniel's sauce.”

    Although the original recipe is made from sliced chicken breasts, you may consider using the less chewy tenderloins in this kitchen copy. Packs of fresh chicken tenderloins are sold in most markets and you can also find bags of them in the freezer section. I’m a big fan of the more tender meat in the tenderloins, especially when it comes to chicken fingers. The breading is a simple combination of flour and panko (or Japanese bread crumbs). When the chicken fingers are done frying, gently toss them in the Jack Daniel’s glaze made from my recipe here, and you’ve got a great appetizer than can serve a half dozen finger food fanatics.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 5

    Menu Description: “Italian grandmothers everywhere are getting jealous over this recipe. Angel hair pasta tossed with fresh bruschetta marinara, fire-grilled chicken breast in a balsamic glaze, and parmesan shavings.”

    When you introduce the balsamic glaze to the angel hair pasta that’s been tossed with the slightly tangy bruschetta marinara, you are re-creating the same sweet-and-sour flavor combination that has made this a top pasta choice at T.G.I. Friday’s. It’s best to find an empty squirt bottle to hold the balsamic glaze so that you can evenly apply it to each serving. You’ll have to plan ahead a little for this T.G.I. Friday's bruschetta chicken pasta recipe so that the chicken can marinate in the brine. This important step will fill the chicken with the perfect flavor and moistness. You can make the marinara a day ahead if you like and chill until you need it. The glaze can be made ahead of time as well and stored in a covered container at room temperature for several days.

    Now, what's for dessert?

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Parmesan and Romano cheeses blended with spinach, artichokes and sauteed onions & peppers. Served with Friday's red & white tortilla chips." 

    Many casual chains have their own version of spinach artichoke dip somewhere on the appetizer menu, but one of the most popular versions is found at this huge national chain. For our clone well use marinated artichoke hearts to contribute the slightly acidic flavor found in the original. The recipe here is a stovetop method, but you can also prepare a version of this dip entirely in your microwave using the technique at the bottom in Tidbits. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.67. Votes: 3

    Menu Description: "This full side of baby back pork ribs is first cooked until it’s fall-off-the-bone tender, then seasoned with Cajun spices, fire-grilled and brushed with our famous Jack Daniel’s glaze. Served with crispy fries and coleslaw.”

    To re-create these great ribs you first must clone the Cajun seasoning that is sprinkled on them. That takes, like, 5 minutes. Once that's done, pop the ribs in the oven and get crackin’ on the Jack Daniel’s glaze. When the racks come out of the oven, slap ‘em on the grill for a few minutes until grill marks form, and chow down.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 4

    Menu Description: "Sliced Portobello mushrooms between layers of Provolone & Monterey Jack cheeses, roasted onions and tomatoes on grilled, buttery bread."

    Contestants on the November 1, 2006 episode of Top Chef on Bravo were challenged to take a childhood favorite dish and update it with a twist. Friday's Senior Executive Chef Stephen Bulgarelli sat at the judges table and endured a bizarre wonderland mushroom plate, a sloppy cheese steak sandwich, and an over-salted surf and turf tragedy. Finally, it was the delicious variation on a grilled cheese sandwich created by Betty Fraser that took the top spot. As a reward, Betty's sandwich was added to over 500 Friday's menus across the country, and now we have a Top Secret clone to easily recreate the tasty winner at home. Friday's modified Betty's recipe to make it easier to prepare in the quick-service environment of the restaurant, and that's the version I've cloned for you in this recipe.

    Click here to see if I hacked more of your favorites from T.G.I. Friday's.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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