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Dips

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    Score: 4.60. Votes: 10

    It's sweet, it's tangy, it's smoky, it's delicious; and it's only available in blister packs by request at one of the 1,237 U.S. Chick-fil-A locations that dot the country. I guess that's why so many of you asked for a clone—those blister packs are small! But alas, with this top secret formula, you'll have a heaping one cup of a taste-alike version of the delicious sauce to use as you wish: as a spread on your favorite sandwiches or as a dressing on a grilled chicken salad.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.65. Votes: 17

    Menu Description: "Our appetizing cheese dip with seasoned beef. Served with warm tostada chips."

    Take your chips for a dip in this top-secret Chili's skillet queso copycat recipe that comes to your table in a small cast iron skillet along with a big bowl of tortilla chips. A popular recipe that's been circulating calls for combining Velveeta with Hormel no-bean chili. Sure, it's a good start, but there's more to Chili's spicy cheese dip than that. Toss a few other ingredients into the saucepan and after about 20 minutes you'll have a great dip for picnic, party, or game time.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.
     

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    Score: 4.79. Votes: 38

    Menu Description: "A creamy hot dip of artichokes, spinach and Parmesan with pasta chips."

    Just about every aspect of the Olive Garden restaurants was developed from consumer research conducted in a corporate think tank by the General Mills Corporation. Restaurant-goers were questioned about preferences, such as the type of food to be served, the appearance and atmosphere of the restaurant, even the color of the candleholders on each table. The large tables and the comfy chairs on rollers that you see at the Olive Garden restaurants came out of those vigorous research sessions.

    I'm not sure if this dish came from those sessions, but according to servers at the Olive Garden, the Hot Artichoke-Spinach Dip is one of the most requested appetizers on the menu. The restaurant serves the dip with chips made from fried pasta, but you can serve this version of the popular appetizer with just about any type of crackers, chips, or toasted Italian bread, like bruschetta.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.53. Votes: 17

    Menu Description: "Made fresh to order, with ripe avocados and choice of tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, red onions and fresh lime juice. Enough to share."

    This 160-unit casual Mexican chain makes a nice tableside guacamole that you can easily duplicate for your amigos. This is the basic formula, but you can freely adjust it to suit the tastes of your crew. It's also easy to double it (or more) for a bigger fiesta, if that's the plan. You may want to put the avocados into the fridge for an hour or two before you open them up. This guac is much better when slightly chilled.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    This top secret clone of the cheesy appetizer from this 107-unit Mexican food chain is perfect to whip out for your festive fiestas. This recipe will make enough of the spicy cheese concoction for plenty of party-time double dipping. The Anaheim chili has a mild spiciness, so we'll toss a jalapeno in there for extra kick. If you can't find an Anaheim pepper, use any mild green chilies that are available, as long as you get about 1/2 cup of diced pepper in the mix.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.60. Votes: 10

    Red Robin is known for great gourmet hamburgers and tasty cocktail concoctions, but the 400-plus-unit chain also serves a huge tower of onion rings that comes with a side of this creamy, sweet-and-smoky dipping sauce. An Internet search revealed a few clues about what might be mixed into this mystery sauce, but the complete culinary conundrum was yet to be solved. A mixture of mayonnaise and barbecue sauce was a good starting point, but with so many varieties of barbecue sauce on the market I had to figure out which came closest to the flavor of the original Campfire Sauce. So, I went back to Red Robin, obtained a sample of the barbecue sauce they use, and conducted a side-by-side taste test of all the major brands on the market. After more spoonfuls of straight barbecue sauce than any human should consume at one sitting, I finally concluded that Bull's Eye Brown Sugar and Hickory comes the closest to the sauce used at the restaurant. A little more experimentation with this sauce, some mayonnaise and a couple of other ingredients, and I eventually had an awesome re-creation of the delicious dipping sauce that can be served with home-baked onion rings, poppers, French fries, or as a really great hamburger spread. Mission accomplished.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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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: 5.00. Votes: 6

    You won't find freezers, can openers, or microwave ovens at this national Mexican food chain. Since 1990 Baja Fresh has been serving up great food, made fresh with each order. As you're waiting for your food to come out, that's when you hit up the salsa bar, where you'll find several varieties of delicious fresh salsa, from hot to mild, ready to be spooned into little tubs that you can take to your table or to your car. One of the most popular selections is called Salsa Baja—its medium spiciness, smoky flavor, and deep black color make the salsa unique and mysterious. That is, until now, since I've got a Top Secret formula for you right here. But the recipe wasn't as easy to create as I first thought. I figured the tomatoes would have to be extremely blackened over a hot grill, but I wasn't sure how to get them dark enough to turn the salsa black without the tomatoes getting all mushy and falling apart on the barbecue.

    So, I went back to Baja Fresh before they opened to peer through the window to see if I could catch some hot salsa production action. I waited and waited. After several hours as the lunch rush was beginning to wind down and no fresh salsa was in the pipeline, it was time for extreme measures to get things moving. I went in and ordered 30 tubs of Salsa Baja to go, and that did it. I ended up with a big bag filled with 2 gallons of salsa (thankfully they poured those 8-ounce portions into bigger bowls), and the restaurant went immediately into "salsa red alert" to replenished the now-dwindling salsa reserve. It was perfect. As I was grabbing my bag of salsa, a dude come out from the kitchen with a huge box of tomatoes and placed them all on the grill. I ordered a giant Diet Pepsi and parked myself at a close table to watch the process. That's when I discovered the secret. For super-charred tomatoes they start with firm, chilled tomatoes, that aren't too big or too ripe. I also found out that the tomatoes must start roasting on the grill with the stem-side down. The rest was simple...

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked 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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    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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