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Appetizers

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    This is Applebee’s variation on the popular potato skins appetizer made famous by T.G.I. Friday’s. Many seem to prefer these to regular potato skins because of their south-of-the-border flair. The only problem is a serving has around 12 grams of fat (even more if you plop on some sour cream). And that’s for only three pieces. If you usually don’t stop there, you might be interested in this TSR version of the delicious dish, which cuts the fat by 66 percent. Now you can eat three times as much of these Mexican-style potato skin wedges for the same amount of fat as the real deal, thanks to reduced-fat cheese and fat-free sour cream.

    Nutrition facts 
    Serving size–3 pieces 
    Total servings–4 
    Calories per serving–246 (Original–390) 
    Fat per serving–4g (Original–12g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Two cheeses, bacon, tomatoes, onion, jalapenos grilled between tortillas with guacamole, sour cream and salsa."

    When Bill and T.J. Palmer opened their first restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1980, they realized their dream of building a full-service, reasonably-priced restaurant in a neighborhood setting. They called their first place T.J. Applebee's Edibles and Elixirs, and soon began franchising the concept. In 1988 some franchisees bought the rights to the name and changed it to Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar. By that time, there were over 650 outlets, making Applebee's one of the fastest-growing restaurant chains in the world.

    According to waiters at the restaurant, the easy-to-make and slightly spicy quesadillas are one of the most popular appetizers on the Applebee's menu. The recipe calls for 10-inch or "burrito-size" flour tortillas, which can be found in most supermarkets, but any size can be used in a pinch. Look for the jalapeno "nacho slices" in the ethnic or Mexican food section of the supermarket. You'll find these in jars or cans. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Our flour tortilla is packed with sauteed chicken, sausage, bruschetta marinara, bacon and oozing with Monterey Jack cheese. We coat it with Parmesan, and pan-fry it to a crispy, golden brown, then drizzle it with balsamic glaze." 

    Italy meets Mexico in this new hit appetizer that combines a cheese-filled tortilla with ingredients you wouldn't usually find inside a quesadilla, including Friday's bruschetta marinara. Parmesan cheese is crusted on the outside of the tortilla, and the balsamic glaze drizzle is the perfect finishing touch. This is an awesome party dish appetizer since the whole recipe makes 4 quesadillas that can each be sliced into as many as 8 pieces.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Parmesan: Thin crusty strips of pizza dough topped with herbs and melted Italian cheese, served with marinara sauce. Loaded: Add Italian sausage and pepperoni."

    Each Applebee's makes an effort to decorate the inside of the restaurant with pictures and memorabilia from the neighborhood in which it is located. You'll see photographs of local heroes and students, license plates, banners, old souvenirs, trinkets, and antiques-all representing area history. Take a look around the walls of the next Applebee's you visit. Maybe you can find something you lost several years ago.

    Meanwhile, here's a find: pizza sticks that are made from dough that is proofed, fried, and then broiled. The frying adds a unique flavor and texture to the dough that you won't get with traditional pizza. I've designed this recipe to use the premade dough that comes in tubes. You know, like the stuff from that dough boy. But you can make this with any dough recipe you like. Just roll the dough into a 10x15-inch rectangle before slicing.

    These appetizers can be made either in the Parmesan version without meat, or "loaded" with sausage and pepperoni. This recipe yields a lot, so it makes good party food.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    The secret to great crab cakes starts with great crab. Freshly cooked blue crab is the crab of choice for these crustacean cakes, but you can often find high quality canned backfin blue crab in some stores. One such brand comes in 16-ounce cans from Phillips Seafood and is sold at Costco, Sam's Club, Wal-Mart and Vons stores. Once you've got the crab grabbed you need to pick up some panko. Panko is Japanese-style bread crumbs usually found near the other Asian foods in your market. The Factory uses a little bit of panko to coat each of these small crab cakes for a great, lightly crunchy texture. One order of this appetizer at the restaurant gets you 3 crab cakes; this recipe makes 6 cakes from 1/2-pound of crab. If you have a 1-pound can of crabmeat, you can save the leftover 1/2-pound for another recipe or double-up on this one. Any surplus crab cakes will keep for 24 hours in the fridge before you need to get them in a pan. Oh, and one other thing to remember when making crab cakes: be gentle. Don't stir the crab too much into the other ingredients. Rather, fold the mixture gingerly with a spatula to combine. You want any big chunks of tasty crab to stay as big chunks of tasty crab in the finished product.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.40. Votes: 5

    Menu Description: "Known as Buffalo chicken wings here in the States."

    No, Outback Steakhouse is not the country's largest importer of Australian woodland kingfisher wings. Despite the name, these tasty wings don't come from the wild birds also known as kookaburras. Instead, this appetizer is made the old fashioned way—with good old American chickens. And as with the traditional recipe, these wings are coated with Louisiana hot sauce; but it's the breading that makes them unique. This clone recipe uses a secret blend of powdered cheese sprinkles and spices. Kraft powdered cheese can be found near the Kraft Parmesan cheese or near the macaroni and cheese kits in your supermarket. If you can't track it down, use Molly McButter cheese sprinkles. If you can't find that, get a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (it's cheap) and use the cheese inside it.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    The Hooters chain continues its rapid expansion across the globe into 39 states and seven countries, including Taiwan, Aruba, Singapore, and Australia. In those 200 or so restaurants, this appetizer has become very popular since it was first introduced in 1995, as a variation on the Buffalo Chicken Wings recipe. Since this shrimp is fried, as are the chicken wings, we must resort to some tricks that will help bring the fat down. We'll bake the shrimp, rather than fry it, and prepare the sauce with a fat-free spread that adds flavor.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–6 pieces
    Total servings–2
    Calories per serving–204 (Original–320)
    Fat per serving–3g (Original–10g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    I tweaked this world-famous hot artichoke and spinach dip for an appearance on The Dr. Oz Show. Now you can enjoy your favorite appetizer guilt-free. Using reduced-fat cream cheese and Greek yogurt, this recipe cuts the fat and calories of the original dish nearly in half. 

    Original                 Todd's
    488 calories          264 calories
     23g fat                  15g fat

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