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Appetizers

You lucky devil. You just found recipes for all of your favorite famous foods! Bestselling author and TV host Todd Wilbur shows you how to easily duplicate the taste of iconic dishes and treats at home for less money than eating out. Todd's recipes are easy to follow and fun to make! See if Todd has hacked your favorite appetizers here. New recipes added every week.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 4

    Menu Description: "Tossed in our honey-chipotle sauce."

    After cloning the plain version of these breaded chicken fingers in Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2, I received requests to knockoff this more flavorful sweet-and-spicy version. If you like big flavor and some heat, this is the clone for you. The breading technique is the big secret: first use a wet batter and then toss the tenders in a dry breading. When the chicken tenders are fried to a golden brown they are gently tossed in the honey-chipotle sauce and served either as an appetizer, or with corn on the cob and French fries as an entree.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Topped with sour cream, salsa, avocado and salsa verde."

    Nestled between slick full-page ads on page 7 of the huge 17-page spiral-bound menu from The Cheesecake Factory, is a long list of fabulous appetizers that includes this Southwestern-style crowd pleaser. Hand-formed tamale cakes are arranged on fresh salsa verde, topped with sour cream and creamy Southwestern sauce, with a fresh avocado and cilantro garnish. It's happiness on a plate. And, while the ingredients listed below may seem intimidating at first, the three sauces are very simple to make, and your crew will no doubt be impressed with the results. The flavors in the sauces develop after sitting for a bit so you can prepare them all in advance and let them chill in the fridge until chow time. If you get anything short of a standing ovation for this dish, coax out the kudos by waving the pages of this recipe in front of everyone while wiping your brow. Sometimes you have to milk it.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Smooth and spicy cheese dip. Served with unlimited crisp tortilla chips."

    Many who have tried the original say it's the best queso dip they've ever had, so I had to get on the case. Talking to a store manager I found out that the dip is made with American cheese and a little parmesan, but the rest of the ingredients were going to have to be determined in the underground lab. When I got down there—using the elevator hidden in a fake outhouse in the corner of a vacant lot—I immediately rinsed the dip in a strainer and discovered bits of spinach, onion and two kinds of peppers. The red pepper, which is responsible for the kick, appeared to be rehydrated dry peppers. It looks like they're red jalapenos, but since the red ones can be hard to find I chopped up some red Fresno peppers and the dip tasted great—full of flavor with a nice spicy kick. Just be sure to remove the inner membranes and seeds from the peppers before you mince them up, or your cool dip may end up packing a lot of heat.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    With this secret recipe from Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes, it isn't necessary to cook the chicken over a mesquite grill as they do in the restaurant chain. Sure, you could get some mesquite wood chips and throw 'em on your barbecue or you can use that charcoal that has mesquite in it. But an easier way to get the flavor of mesquite—especially if all you've got is a gas grill—is to soak the chicken in a marinade made with mesquite-flavored liquid smoke. In the restaurant these puppies are made with red chili tortillas. Since these type of tortillas can be tough to find, especially in fat-free versions, we'll use plain fat-free tortillas for our tasty reduced-fat clone.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–2 pieces
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–278 (Original–400)
    Fat per serving–10g (Original–20g)

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

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 3

    Claim Jumper restaurants may only be found in the West, but the chain can claim national recognition for its delicious garlic cheese bread and toast. That's because you can find boxed loaves of the stuff ready for baking in the frozen food section of your well-stocked local supermarket. The recipe is such a simple one though, that it doesn't take much longer to make the cheesy goodness from scratch, and you save a few shekels to boot. Plus, it's nice to use fresh bread—your choice of either Texas toast or your favorite French loaf. The restaurant serves the Texas toast version, and the supermarket version is a French loaf. All you have to do for a clone is mix together a few basic ingredients, spread it generously on the bread of your choice, and pop it in the oven.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.83. Votes: 18

    This super simple salsa can be made in a pinch with a can of diced tomatoes, some canned jalapenos, fresh lime juice, onion, spices and a food processor or blender. Plus you can easily double the recipe by sending in a larger 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, and simply doubling up on all the other ingredients. Use this versatile salsa as a dip for tortilla chips or plop it down onto any dish that needs flavor assistance—from eggs to taco salads to wraps to fish. You can adjust the heat level to suit your taste by tweaking the amount of canned jalapenos in the mix.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Fresh mushrooms, red pepper, onion, broccoli, & carrots smothered in nonfat shredded Cheddar/mozzarella blend & sandwiched between two wheat tortillas. Served with fat-free sour cream & shredded lettuce. Less than 10 grams of fat."

    The TSR version of this tasty favorite appetizer comes in with a fat gram count that's even lower than the original, at only 6 grams. The fat-free cheese is where you're spared the major fat gram dosage. And the fat-free sour cream on the side, which nicely completes this guilt-free veggie-filled finger food, certainly helps to keep the waistline in check.

    Nutrition facts
    Serving size–1/2 quesadilla
    Total servings–2
    Calories per serving–274
    Fat per serving–6g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: “Topped with chili, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, tomato and scallions.”

    This giant pile of nachos lives up to its name and these are by far the best nachos I have ever had at any casual chain. The secret is in the stacking of the ingredients. You start with a layer of yellow corn tortilla chips and then spoon on some creamy, slightly spicy nacho cheese. I found that Tostitos makes the perfect cheese for this: Tostitos Salsa Con Queso. More chips go on top, then more cheese, then more chips followed by chili and a shredded cheese blend. Use premade chili that can often be found in the deli section of your grocery store where the soups are sold. After the nachos are baked and the cheese is melted, diced tomato, green onion, sour cream, guacamole and jalapeno slices are added on top, and the party can now erupt. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Lone Star fries smothered in Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese, topped with bacon and served with ranch dressing." 

    Growth by this newcomer to the steakhouse segment has been phenomenal. So far, there are over 160 Lone Stars across the country, most of them in the East and Midwest. There are even four in Austrailia. The company is the fastest growing steakhouse chain in the country, and if you don't have one near you yet, you probably will soon.

    Amarillo Cheese Fries are made with thick-sliced potatoes. The recipe here is created from scratch, using freshly sliced potatoes. But, if this is one of those days when you just don't feel up to slicing and frying some russets, you can also use a bag of frozen steak fries. Just be aware that those will likely be made from peeled potatoes, unlike the restaurant fries which are unpeeled. I've also included a cool recipe for homemade ranch dressing to dip the fries in, if you decide you'd like to make yours from scratch.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur. 

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    Score: 4.97. Votes: 31

    Taco Bell takes the fast food quesadilla into new territory with three different cheeses and a creamy jalapeno sauce, all of which you can now cheerfully re-create in the comfort of your warm kitchen. Gather up the crew, since this easy recipe will make four of the tasty tortilla treats.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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