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Appetizers

You lucky devil. You just found copycat 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. See if Todd hacked your favorite appetizers here. New recipes added every week

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    This zippy mango salsa clone from America's "Fresh Mex" chain is great sprinkled over fajitas, burritos, tacos, salads, sandwiches—you name it. The salsa is so good on its own you may be tempted to eat it straight from the bowl with a spoon. A little bit of fresh habanero pepper brings the heat to this concoction, but if you can't track down fresh peppers use a couple drops of your favorite bottled habanero sauce.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "A creamy, cheesy blend of artichoke hearts, spinach, onions, Parmesan and a hint of bacon." 

    Just about every casual restaurant chain has its own version of artichoke and spinach dip, and it's usually one of the top most popular picks from the appetizer menu. Red Robin is no exception, and offers a version of the popular dip that is one of the best of the bunch. The basics of the Red Robin spinach artichoke dip recipe are similar to other formulas, but they mix it up with a little bacon for a hint of smokiness. I like that. I also like that you can easily steam the artichoke hearts, spinach and onion used here in your microwave oven. Combine the tender veggies with the cheese and other ingredients in a saucepan until thick and creamy, then serve it up with your choice of tortilla chips, sliced pita bread, pita chips, bagel chips or crackers.

    Click here to see if I've cloned more of your favorites from Red Robin.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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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: "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: 2

    Menu Description: "(Our most popular appetizer.) Parmesan, Cheddar & Monterey Jack cheeses, cilantro, onion, fresh dill & mashed potato lightly breaded and fried crispy topped with fresh cut chives. Served with herbed ranch salsa."

    This top-seller is a versatile side dish alternative to mashed potatoes, but also stands well on it's own as an appetizer. With cilantro, green onion, and three different cheeses in there, the flavor is the bomb. When you add a crispy breading and some herbed ranch salsa drizzled over the top, it's clear why this is the most popular appetizer on the huge Claim Jumper menu. Try dropping a pinch or two of cayenne pepper into the herbed ranch salsa for an extra spicy boost.

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    Score: 4.33. Votes: 3

    Menu Description: "Our signature appetizer...jumbo lump blue crab meat, gulf shrimp and mushrooms, simmered in a Cajun cream sauce and served with toasted garlic bread. We make it here so you know it's good!"

    This dips rocks, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. According to the Margaritaville menu, it's the theme chain's signature appetizer. And what's not to like: delicious blue crab, little bay shrimp and sliced mushrooms are all swimming in a Cajun-style cream sauce, topped with melted Cheddar and Jack cheeses, and broiled until the cheese melts...yum. Serve up your clone with slices of freshly toasted buttery garlic bread and you've got a great party snack. The restaurant version is a tiny little serving that's barely enough for two, so I've supersized this clone recipe to make enough dip to satisfy The Brady Bunch.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur. 

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    Score: 4.00. Votes: 2

    Menu Description: "Irresistible, creamy cheeses and elbow noodles golden fried to perfection."

    When T.G.I. Friday's vice president of research and development Phil Costner was in Las Vegas at Fix restaurant in the Bellagio in 2006, he tried a version of this fantastic finger food and immediately went to work locating a supplier to develop the dish for his chain of 550 restaurants. Now Fried Mac & Cheese is one of seven "radically new" finger foods on Friday's appetizer menu that includes Crispy Green Bean Fries, Potato Skinny Dippers and Triple Meat Fundido. After several hours in the underground lab I decided on a couple ways to approach this particular clone. Since Friday's Fried Mac & Cheese is made with a blend of cheeses, I'll first show you how to re-create the mac & cheese from scratch using Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses. And for those of you who love shortcuts, head on down to the Tidbits at the bottom of the recipe and I'll show you how to clone the appetizer much faster using frozen Stouffer's Macaroni & Cheese.
     
    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: 1

    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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    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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