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T.G.I. Friday's

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    The T.G.I. Friday's chain engineered a system-wide rejuvenation by upgrading the look of the restaurants and replacing many old menu items with new, creative dishes including several Atkins-approved low-carb selections. Though not low-carb (because of the potatoes) this new menu addition is still a healthy entree choice, and the presentation is cool with the dish coming to your table in a sizzling iron skillet just like fajitas. This clone re-creates that same sizzling presentation in a large serving for two. If you want to serve more, add another 8 to 10 shrimp to the recipe—there are plenty of peppers and other stuff in there so the recipe will still work. Pop an oven-safe skillet into the oven as the potatoes are baking. This way, when the dish is ready to serve, you transfer it to this blazing hot pan just before bringing it to the table. Ah, listen to that sizzle. Since this pan will be heating up in a very hot oven, be sure not to use a skillet with a plastic handle that could melt. A large cast-iron skillet is the best choice, if you've got one. If you don't have an oven-safe pan, you can always heat up your skillet on the stovetop.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Potato skins are good for you, but those at chain restaurants can be loaded with fat and calories. For my appearance on The Dr. Oz Show I created this version using oil spray, turkey bacon and reduced-fat cheese to clone the famous potato skins, but with around one-third of the calories and one-quarter of the fat. 
     
    Todd's Dr. Oz Clone
    Calories: 178 (3 pieces)
    Fat: 9g

    Original T.G.I. Friday's
    Calories: 624
    Fat: 41g

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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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    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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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 4

    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.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.67. Votes: 6

    Menu Description: "Loaded with cheddar cheese and bacon. Served with sour cream and chives."

    Perfume salesman Alan Stillman was a single guy in New York City in 1965, looking for a way to meet women who lived in his neighborhood. He figured out a way to get their attention: buy a broken-down beer joint in the area, jazz it up, and call it "The T.G.I.F." to attract the career crowd. Within a week, police had barricaded the area to control crowds flocking to Alan's new restaurant. The restaurant made $1 million in its first year—a lot of dough back then. Soon restaurateurs across the country were imitating the concept.

    In 1974 T.G.I. Friday's invented an appetizer that would also be copied by many in the following years. Potato skins are still the most popular item on the T.G.I. Friday's menu, with nearly 4 million orders served every year. The recipe has the added benefit of providing you with leftover baked potato ready for mashing.

    T.G.I Friday's has several popular dishes. See if I cloned your favorites here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 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 here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 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: "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: 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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