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Entrees

Nice work. 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 has hacked your favorite entrees here. New recipes added every week.

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    Score: 4.60. Votes: 5

    The world's most famous theme restaurant pays tribute to the birthplace of Elvis Presley with this chicken finger appetizer dish, and two great mustard-based dipping sauces. I was a fan of the original version of this appetizer served around ten years ago before they changed the name to Tupelo Chicken Tenders and replaced the apricot dipping sauce with hickory barbecue sauce. With this recipe you can now re-create the classic original version.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 14

    Menu Description: "Marinated chicken breast topped with fiery kung pao sauce, mandarin oranges and pineapple pico de gallo."

    This Friday's low-fat creation does not skimp on flavor. A marinade, a spicy sauce, and a fresh salsa all pitch in for some big-time taste bud satisfaction. Sprinkle mandarin orange sections over the top if you've got em, and you will completely re-create the look and taste of this healthy entree clone.

    Now, what's for dessert?

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 6

    Menu Description: "Slow-cooked marinated domestic pork ribs lightly seasoned with Jerk spices and basted with BBQ sauce."

    An island taste in the secret jerk paste formula permeates the ribs as they slow cook in low heat. Halfway through cooking the ribs are wrapped in foil to begin a braising process that tenderizes the meat. And for a big finish, the racks are tossed on the grill just before serving then basted with a delicious scratch sauce. Follow the grilling instructions here and you won't lose any meat from your ribs sticking to the barbecue grate. Start by grilling the ribs bony-side-down so that some of the fat from the ribs melts onto your grill. Now when you flip the racks over onto the meaty side the grill is well-lubricated, giving you beautiful grill marks on the good part, and no sticking. And don't freak out about that whole habanero pepper included in the jerk paste. Sure, it may be one of the world's hottest peppers, but the paste goes a long way, and you should only detect a hint of heat on the finished product. If you're a chilihead, go ahead and add more than one. Serve up these babies with a side of my hacked Sweet Potato Chips clone for an authentic CIP experience.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.75. Votes: 4

    Menu Description: "Our most popular dish! Shrimp and Chicken Sauteed with Onions, Peppers and Tomatoes in a Very Spicy Cajun Sauce. All on top of Fresh Fettuccine."

    The Cheesecake Factory's founder, David Overton, says it was his unfamiliarity with the restaurant business that contributed to the company's success. In an interview with Nation's Restaurant News David says, "We did not know anything about running restaurants. We just knew that people valued fresh foods. In some ways our naivete helped us because we didn't know what you are not supposed to do."

    I think we all know it helps to serve good food and that's an area in which the Cheesecake Factory excels. The pastas and salads top the list of big sellers, but it's the Cajun Jambalaya Pasta that holds the pole position, according to the menu description of this dish. Jambalaya is a spicy Creole dish that usually combines a variety of ingredients including tomatoes, onions, peppers, and some type of meat with rice. Rather than the traditional rice, the Cheesecake Factory has designed its version to include two types of fettuccine—an attractive mix of standard white noodles and spinach-flavored noodles. 

    This recipe makes 2 huge portions, like those served in the restaurant. It's probably enough food for a family of four.

    Now, how about dessert? Find my copycat recipes for Cheesecake Factory's signature  cheesecakes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Re-creating the signature cooking style at the country's most famous fondue chain required hacking the flavorful simmering broth in which all the proteins and vegetables are cooked. This was tricky since only some of the prep is performed tableside at the restaurant.

    When a server brought the warm broth to my table, it was already seasoned with a few mystery ingredients. The pot was left alone to heat up on the center burner, which was the perfect time for me to scoop out ½ cup of the liquid and seal it up in a small jar to take back to the lab for further analysis. When the server came back to the table after five minutes, she added a few more ingredients to the pot: fresh garlic, mushrooms, green onions, Burgundy wine, and black pepper. I took mental notes on the amounts and wrote them into my phone before I forgot.

    The server told me the hot liquid base was vegetable broth, so I figured some Swanson in a can would do. But later, after further taste-testing, I found the broth in my stolen sample to be more savory than any of the canned broths I tried. I then made a broth by dissolving a vegetable bouillon cube in boiling water and found the flavor to be a much closer match to the sample I had swiped. The bouillon is also cheaper than the broth, and I'm okay with that.

    After a few tweaks to the seasoning additions, I had a good Melting Pot broth recipe that could stand up to any taste test. Use this to cook chopped veggies, chicken, beef, and shrimp. And if you want the complete Melting Pot experience, you're going to need my hacks for the six dipping sauces. So here you go: Cocktail SauceCurry SauceGorgonzola PortGreen GoddessGinger Plum, and Teriyaki.

    This recipe is designed for a 2-quart fondue pot. If you have a 3-quart pot and would like a bigger fondue party (lucky you), refer to the Tidbits below for that adjustment.

    Check out my Melting Pot Cheddar Cheese and Traditional Swiss Fondue recipes in "Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step". 

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 9

    Menu Description: "Lightly-dusted, stir-fried in a sweet Szechwan sauce."

    The delicious sweet-and-spicy secret sauce is what makes this dish one of P. F. Chang's top picks. Once the sauce is finished all you have to do is saute your chicken and combine. You'll want to cook up some white or brown rice, like at the restaurant. If you can't find straight chili sauce for this recipe, the more common chili sauce with garlic in it will work just as well.

    Check out my other P.F. Chang's clone recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.50. Votes: 2

    Preheat your grill and put on your sandals for this great clone that's perfect when you've got a hankering for a tropical grilled fish dinner. Red Lobster lets you chose your favorite fish from the menu, then prepares it on the grill with a basting of tangy citrus and ginger teriyaki glaze. The delicious pineapple-mango salsa is the perfect finishing touch. Once you've got your favorite fresh fish from the market, you just need to prepare the sauce and salsa, and light the tiki torches.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Taco Bell had very little luck with light menu items over the years. In 1983 the Mexican fast-food chain introduced Taco Light, a taco with a fried flour tortilla shell. But the fried flour tortilla that replaced the traditional corn tortilla only made the taco light in weight and color; not in fat or calories. The item was quickly discontinued. In 1995, the chain tried again with Light Line, a selection of several lower-fat menu items. Those items were also quickly nixed from the menu boards due to poor sales.

    When we cook at home, though, we often like to make a meal better on the waistline, especially if it takes no extra effort and the food still tastes good. This recipe will show you how to do just that: knock the fat way down—from ten grams to just two grams—without compromising flavor. Check it out.

    Nutrition Facts 
    Serving size–1 taco
    Total servings–6
    Calories per serving–172 (Original–213)
    Fat per serving–2g (Original–10g)

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

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Fresh salmon filet, marinated and mesquite grilled." 

    It is said that Americans eat an estimated 63 pounds of beef per capita, and we get a lot of it in chain restaurants. But for those of you who want something other than beef, Lone Star has additional selections including the Sweet Bourbon Salmon.

    Don't worry if you can't mesquite grill your salmon, it's the sweet bourbon marinade that makes this dish so tasty. Not only is this marinade good on salmon, but on other fish and chicken as well. If you do happen to use a charcoal grill and have some mesquite smoking chips on hand, soak a handful of chips in water for a couple hours and then arrange them on the red-hot coals. This will give your salmon a taste even closer to the original.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Tender steak, lightly breaded and golden fried. Smothered with country milk gravy." 

    Alex Schoenbaum opened the doors to his first restaurant, Parkette, a drive-in in Charleston, West Virginia, in 1947, at the start of a boom in popularity of the classic American drive-in restaurants many of us know only from reruns of Happy Days. Schoenbaum's restaurant did very well and he decided, in 1951, to purchase a Big Boy franchise, the fastest growing chain at the time. In 1953, Parkette changed its name to Shoney's Big Boy.

    Today Shoney's is no longer affiliated with Big Boy, but maintains a menu that features the Southern homestyle favorites that have made it so successful for so long. One of the old-time favorites is the Country Fried Steak smothered in peppered milk gravy. The technique here is to freeze the steaks after they have been breaded with flour. This way the coating won't wash off when the steaks are fried—the same technique the restaurants use.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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