THE ORIGINAL COPYCAT RECIPES WEBSITE

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    Menu Description: "Penne pasta tossed in a spicy Southwestern cheese sauce, topped with grilled chicken, spicy black beans, scallions and more."

    The delicious cheese sauce is easy to make using Velveeta and just a few other ingredients. The chicken is prepared over an open grill, then sliced before laying it over a bed of pasta and cheese sauce. And the black beans and peppers are added to give the Ruby Tuesday's Sonora chicken pasta recipe a decidedly Southwestern taste.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    In 1965, Ruth Fertel, divorced with two kids in their teens, was looking for a better way to support herself in her native New Orleans. Her job as a lab technician wasn't paying enough for her to send the kids to college, so she went to the classifieds to find something better. There she found a steakhouse for sale, and thought that this might be her ticket. She mortgaged her house to raise $18,000 (against the advice of her attorney) and purchased the restaurant, then called Chris Steak House. Ruth sold 35 steaks on opening day—not much for a restaurant that now sells 10,000 a day. The restaurant would eventually become a big hit, and within the first year Ruth was making more than twice her salary at the lab.

    In keeping with the New Orleans flavor of many of the Ruth's Chris dishes, this barbecued shrimp is actually Cajun-style broiled shrimp with a little kick to it.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Brimming with a blend of diced ham, onions, crisp celery and green peppers folded into a rich, luscious cheese sauce. With hashed browns tucked inside." 

    The same year that Matt and Ivan Perkins opened their first diner, they started selling franchise rights to other entrepreneurs. Back then, the name for the chain west of the Mississippi was still Smitty's, and to the east it became Perkins Pancake House. Soon, the name was changed to Perkins Cake & Steak. But that wouldn't last either. In the seventies the western chain of Smitty's and the eastern Perkins consolidated, and Perkins Family Restaurants, as we know it today, was born.

    Secret breakfast recipes are what originally made Perkins famous. The trademarked Granny's Country Omelette is a popular menu selection from the "Premium Omelettes" column. It is a clever design for an omelette with the hash browns hidden away inside the folded eggs in a compartment separate from the other filling ingredients. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Oven-roasted turkey breast, real bacon pieces, green onions and fresh tomatoes. In a delicate hollandaise sauce."

    This chain gained a large following early on for its homestyle breakfast menu. Today, even though you can eat from the breakfast menu whenever you like, customers are picking from the lunch and dinner selections just about as often.

    Since it was originally the breakfast selection that made this chain famous, I thought it would be a good idea to hack this great omelette recipe. The Country Club Omelette answers the question "What do you get when you cross a club sandwich and three eggs?" 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "We start with a thin layer of crust, then we lay down down a luscious layer of our six-cheese blend and seal it in with another thin layer of crust. We pile on your favorite Pizza Hut toppings, more cheese and bake it to gooey perfection."

    You might be as surprised as I was to learn that Pizza Hut uses 2.5 percent of all the milk produced in the U.S. every year for the cheese used on the pizzas. We're talking about a lot of pizzas here—1.3 million served every day. The cheese production alone requires a herd of 250,000 dairy cows producing at full capacity 365 days a year.

    Certainly even more overworked cows had to be recruited to produce the additional cheese needed for this gooey new creation. This special pizza is made with two crispy cracker-like crusts that have a hidden layer of six cheeses cooked between them. Because this pizza requires two crusts, Pizza Hut created a dough that does not rise as much as the dough used in their other pizzas. This version has been adapted from a classic recipe for soda crackers. The finished product is the perfect pizza for people who think cheese is good, and more cheese is even better.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Fresh baked on premises, sliced into eight pieces, brushed with garlic butter, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella and basil, topped with chopped plum tomatoes and herbed olive oil." 

    In 1988, London-born restaurant mogul Robert Ian Earl joined with movie producer Keith Barrish and a gaggle of celebrities including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Demi Moore to start a Hollywood-themed restaurant that is on its way to becoming his most successful venture yet. In 1991, a gala star-studded affair in New York City celebrated the opening of the world's first Planet Hollywood.

    But even the coolest theme restaurant won't fly if the food doesn't please. Earl told Nation's Restaurant News, "People don't eat themes—no concept in the world can succeed for long unless it also delivers great food at the right price." Planet Hollywood features a menu of delicious dishes rivaling food from national chains that don't have a theme to lean on.

    The Pizza Bread appetizer comes highly recommended by Planet Hollywood servers. The "bread" is pizza dough, rolled thin, with a light layer of cheese, basil and tomato on top; then it's baked in a pizza oven at the restaurant. Since most of us don't have pizza ovens at home, this recipe has been designed for a conventional gas or electric oven.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.75. Votes: 4

    Menu Description: "A smaller, but equally tender filet...the tenderest corn-fed Mid-western beef. So tender it practically melts in your mouth."

     

    This is the signature item for the Ruth's Chris chain. It's a delicious filet mignon that comes to your table sizzling hot and so tender you can cut it with a fork. If you want to prepare filets the Ruth's Chris way you first need some prime corn-fed filets, which can be found in specialty meat markets or through mail-order outlets such as Omaha Steaks. Prime is your best choice, but the technique will still work with other grades of beef. 

    This recipe duplicates the petite filet on the Ruth's Chris menu, since the larger filet is so big—about 14 ounces. Ruth's Chris uses a special broiler which reaches temperatures as high as 1800 degrees F. It's likely you don't have such an oven, so you can use a conventional oven set on high broil, with the rack inches away from the heat source. If you have a gas oven, watch for flame-ups from spattering. If you begin to get flames, move the rack to a lower level. Also, you will need ceramic oven-safe plates to serve the sizzling steak on. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 8

    "Ruth's Chris Steak House" is such a difficult name to spit out that a restaurant critic suggested it be used as a sobriety test. Surely anyone who could say the name three times fast couldn't possibly be intoxicated. But the hard-to-say name has worked well for the steakhouse chain—it's memorable. The name came from the first restaurant that Ruth purchased in 1965 called Chris Steak House. When she opened a second restaurant with that same name, the previous owner, Chris Matulich, tried to sue her. She won the case, but to avoid future law suits, she put her name in front of the original and it became the tongue twister we know today.

    The delicious creamed spinach served at Ruth's Chris inspired this recipe that has just a hint of cayenne pepper in it for that Louisiana zing. The recipe requires a package of frozen spinach to make it convenient, but you can use the same amount of fresh spinach if you prefer.

    Now that you've chosen the veggies, finish off the meal with my copycat recipes for Ruth's Chris Petite Filet and Au Gratin Potatoes.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Bill Darden was only 19 when he started his restaurant career in 1939 by opening a 25-seat lunch counter called The Green Frog in Waycross, Georgia. From the start Bill's business was a hopping success. That success helped Bill springboard into other restaurant acquisitions throughout the years including 20 Howard Johnson's restaurants. Then, in 1968, as he reached his mid fifties, Bill took another gamble and opened a seafood restaurant in Lakeland, Florida. When deciding on a name for the new restaurant, someone suggested the name "Red Lobster" since he had great luck in the past with the name "Green Frog." And so it was.

    Here are a couple of great dishes to serve as appetizers or on the side with an entree such as broiled lobster or fish. These recipes include a stuffing that varies in the restaurants only in the type of seafood used—the stuffed shrimp contains crabmeat and the stuffed mushrooms contain lobster meat. If you like, you can use the stuffings interchangeably.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Gerald Kingen is a man with a mission. In 1985 he sold his successful Red Robin chain of restaurants to Tokyo-based Skylark Co. Ltd. Unhappy with the changes the new owners were implementing, Jerry and a partner purchased a "substantial equity position" of the Irvine, California based Red Robin in March of 1996. Now Jerry is once again at the helm of the company, with a goal of reviving old menu items and living up to the old slogan: "The world's greatest gourmet burger maker & most masterful mixologists."

    A unique signature dessert item is the Mountain High Mudd Pie, which servers claim is one of the most ordered desserts on the menu. Save room for this giant-sized sundae made from chocolate and vanilla ice cream with peanut butter, caramel, and fudge sauce. There are several stages of freezing, so give yourself at least seven hours to allow for these steps. This dessert is big and serves at least a dozen, so it's good for a small party or gathering, or as birthday cake. If there's only a few of you, leftovers can be frozen in a sealed container for several weeks.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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