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Dips

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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: 4.20. Votes: 5

    Whip out the food processor and fire up the grill because you'll need these essential tools to clone one of the best restaurant salsas in the business. The key to recreating the flavor of the real deal is to fire roast the tomatoes and the jalapenos, and to add a little mesquite-flavored liquid smoke. The restaurant chain uses a mesquite grill, so these steps are crucial to getting the same smoky flavor as the popular restaurant version. Chevys uses chipotle peppers, which are smoked red jalapenos. But unless you grow your own jalapenos, it may be difficult to find the riper red variety in your local supermarket. For this recipe, the green jalapeno peppers will work fine if you can't find the red ones. Adjust the number of jalapenos you use based on the size of the peppers that are available: if you have big jalapenos you need only 6, and you'll need around 10 if your peppers are small.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–2 tablespoons
    Total servings–16
    Calories per serving–10
    Fat per serving–0g

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

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    Score: 4.47. Votes: 15

    Every brand of hummus I've tried over the years has been just so-so in taste and texture, until I discovered Sabra. Now this ultra-smooth hummus—which has been rated number one in a blind taste test—is the only hummus in my fridge, unless I've made this clone. Hummus is an awesome snack as a dip for vegetables or pita chips, since it's rich in protein, soluble fiber, potassium, and Vitamin E. The secret to duplicating Sabra's smooth and creamy quality is to let your food processor work the stuff over for a solid 10 minutes. Also, don't use all of the liquid from the can of garbanzo beans or the hummus will end up too runny. Strain off the liquid first, then measure only 1/2 cup back into the food processor. Sabra uses canola and/or soybean oil, but you may think olive oil tastes better. Look for a jar of sesame tahini in the aisle where all the international foods are parked, and while you're there find the citric acid, which may also go by the name "sour salt." The clone below will not have the proper acidic bite without this secret ingredient, and citric acid also works as a preservative to help the leftover hummus stay fresh and tasty.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked 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.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.50. Votes: 2

    Menu Description: "Our original recipe of Tuscan white beans pureed with sesame, garlic, lemon, and spices. Garnished with fresh Roma tomatoes, basil, and garlic. Served with warm pizza-pita bread."

    The traditional dish of Tuscan white beans is usually made from dried cannellini beans or great Northern beans that are soaked overnight in water and then cooked until tender with olive oil, garlic and sage. But there's no need to wait through such a time-consuming process if we can simply use already tender canned beans found in any market. Look for white beans or the slightly larger great Northern beans and strain off the liquid, but don't throw that liquid away! you'll need a little of it to add to the food processor along with the other ingredients, including sesame tahini which can be found in most markets where the international foods are stocked or in specialty stores such as Whole Foods. 

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–2 tablespoons
    Total servings–14
    Calories per serving–60
    Fat per serving–4.3g 

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

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    Menu Description: "Our own hickory-smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and chipotle peppers makes this a spread worth swimming upstream for. Served with fire-grilled flatbread."

    Famous Dave's is famous for making pork ribs so good you forget you're wearing the embarrassing bib. But before you get your face smeared with BBQ sauce, you may want to kick off your meal with this popular choice from the chain's appetizer column. Start with 4 ounces of the best smoked salmon you can find—it should be very smoky if you want to duplicate the same taste of the original. If you can't find salmon that's smoky enough, I found that adding a little hickory liquid smoke to the mix works perfectly to flavor the spread so that it tastes like Dave's version. You'll end up with twice the amount of spread as the original which makes this a great appetizer for a small party. You can even prepare the flatbread ahead of time, then wrap it up in foil and reheat it in the oven before serving.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur. 

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