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T.G.I. Friday's

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    Score: 4.00. Votes: 1

    That creamy, white Dijon sauce that smothers the original version of this delicious pasta is luscious indeed but cursed by oodles of flabby fat grams. This can be fixed in our reduce-fat clone by using strained fat-free yogurt-an ingredient apparently inspired by the ancient Mediterranean technique of straining yogurt through a cheesecloth-that adds a thick, creamy conistency to our sauce without adding fat.

    Source: "Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes" by Todd Wilbur.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size - 1 Entree
    Total Servings - 4
    Calories - 730 / Original - 930
    Fat - 8 g / Original - 45g

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    You've got to hand it to him. Alan Stillman thought that if he opened his own restaurant, it might be a great way to meet the flight attendants who lived in his New York City neighborhood. Not only did the dude follow through on his plan in 1965 with the first T.G.I. Friday's, but today the company is 387 units strong. 

    Friday's kitchen came up with a delicious blend of barbecue sauce and apple butter for coating the deep-fried chicken wings. For our reduced-fat clone, we'll re-create the same taste of the barbecue sauce, but we'll strip the skin from the chicken wings and bake the wings to cut the fat way down.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–3 pieces
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–150 (Original–235)
    Fat per serving–6 g (Original–16 g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Not only does the restaurant still serve some of the tastiest cocktails and mixed drinks, but T.G.I. Friday's also has one of the best selections of custom non-alcoholic drinks in the business. The smoothies and shakes at Friday's are all excellent, as are the designer sodas called "Flings." These are hand-mixed soda beverages made in a fashion reminiscent of old-time soda fountains. Juices and sweeteners are mixed with cold soda water and served over ice—you can't go wrong with one of these. The Fling cloned here uses cranberry juice, apple juice, simple syrup, and sweet-and-sour mix.

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

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    Menu Description: "Refried beans, cheddar cheese, guacamole, black olives, seasoned sour cream, green onions, tomatoes and cilantro. Served with tortilla chips and fresh salsa."

    When the first T.G.I. Friday's opened in New York City in 1965 as a meeting place for single adults, Newsweek and The Saturday Evening Post reported that it was the beginning of the "singles age." Today the restaurant's customers have matured, many are married, and they bring their children with them to the more than 300 Friday's across the country and around the world.

    The Nine-Layer Dip is an often requested appetizer on the T.G.I. Friday's menu. This dish will serve half a dozen people easily, so it's perfect for a small gathering. Don't worry if there's only a couple of you—leftovers can be refrigerated for a day or two. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Chargrilled all-white meat turkey burger, served on a toasted whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, onions and avocado."

    Noting the success of the first T.G.I. Friday's in New York City, a group of fun-loving Dallas businessmen opened the first franchise store. The investors decorated their Dallas T.G.I. Friday's with antiques and collectibles gathered from around the countryside—now all of the Friday's are decorated that way. Six months after the opening of the Dallas location, waiters and waitresses began doing skits and riding bicycles and roller skates around the restaurant. That's also when the now defunct tradition of ringing in every Friday evolved. Thursday night at midnight was like a New Year's Eve party at T.G.I. Friday's, with champagne, confetti, noisemakers, and a guy jumping around in a gorilla suit.

    Here's a favorite of burger lovers who don't care where the beef is. It's an alternative to America's most popular food with turkey instead of beef, plus some alfalfa sprouts and avocado to give it a "California" twist.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    Menu Description: "Fettuccine tossed with sauteed chicken, mushrooms, onions and red and green peppers in Friday's own spicy, tomato Creole sauce." 

    There are over 360 T.G.I. Friday's restaurants in 44 states and 22 countries, all serving this Cajun-style chicken pasta. This dish is a bit like jambalaya except the rice has been replaced with pasta.

    Use a large pan for this recipe, and note that for the chicken stock or broth, you can also use a chicken bouillon cube dissolved in boiling water. This recipe makes two large restaurant-size portions, but could easily serve a family of four.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Healthful, nonalcoholic frozen fruit drinks." Gold Medalist: "Coconut and pineapple, blended with grenadine, strawberries and bananas." Tropical Runner: "Fresh banana, pineapple and pina colada mix with frozen with crushed ice."

    From the "obscure statistics" file, T.G.I. Friday's promotional material claims the restaurant was the first chain to offer stone-ground whole wheat bread as an option to its guest. It was also the first chain to put avocados, bean sprouts, and Mexican appetizers on the menu.

    Also a first: Friday's Smoothies. In response to growing demand for nonalcoholic drinks, T.G.I. Friday's created smoothies. Here are recipes to clone two of the nine different fruit blend varieties. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    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: 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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    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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