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Side Dishes

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    Score: 4.86. Votes: 7

    You're grilling some steaks or baking some chicken and don't know what to serve on the side? Try out this simple clone for a dish that's served along with several of Applebee's entrees. Since the recipe requires converted rice because instant rice is gross, you have to plan ahead about 25 minutes to give the rice time to cook. It's worth the wait. The secret to an authentic, great-tasting rice pilaf is sauteing the uncooked rice kernels in butter first, before adding the liquid—in this case chicken broth. Then, as the rice is cooking, you have plenty of time to saute the almonds, celery, and onions that are tossed into the rice at the end.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 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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    By the end of 1997, there were 1,166 Boston Market outlets in 38 states. It took only ten years for the company to reach this number of units—pretty impressive growth. The cinnamon apple side dish has been on the menu since the company opened the doors to its first outlet. The dish from the chain is fairly low in fat—only 4.5 grams of fat per serving—but there is apparently some butter or oil in there. Using the right cooking cooking techniques and some Butter Buds, we can easily take that fat all the way down to zippo, while still getting all of the same great flavors. 

    Nutritional Facts
    Serving size–1/2 cup 
    Total servings–4 
    Calories per serving–177 (Original–250)
    Fat per serving–0g (Original–4.5g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Led by CEO Leonard Rawls, the Hardee's Company opened its first hamburger restaurant in 1961 at the corner of Church Street and Falls Road in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Hardee's has grown steadily through the years, with a number of well-planned acquisitions: first, the purchase of the 200-unit Sandy's chain in 1972, then the buyout of the 650-unit Burger Chef chain in 1983. The company's latest acquisition was the 1990 buyout of the 648 Roy Rogers restaurants. This latest purchase made Hardee's the third largest hamburger chain in the world, just behind McDonald's and Burger King. With that acquisition, the company claimed to be operating close to 3,800 restaurants in forty-one states and nine foreign countries. 

    Hardee's was the first major hamburger chain to switch to all-vegetable oil to cook its fried products. One of those products is french fries, the most popular item on the Hardee's menu.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    This is a simple little recipe that is healthy and delicious. Along with your chicken order from this fast-growing West Coast chain, comes your choice of side orders. Pinto beans is the most popular choice. But the real thing has some fat that you won't need to include in this light version. And this recipe will give you pintos that taste just like the original, along with a little heat from finely minced jalapeno peppers. Spoon some of these beans into a tortilla along with chicken. Or maybe just serve them on the side.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1/2 cup
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–96 (Original–145)
    Fat per serving–0g (Original–3g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.50. Votes: 2

    Here's a hack for a dish served with your chicken from El Pollo Loco. We cut the fat in this version, but still get Spanish rice that still has all of the flavor of the original side. Be sure to use converted rice, and not the instant stuff. 

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–3/4 cup
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–187 (Original–155)
    Fat per serving–0g (Original–4g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    How would you like a killer biscuit recipe that has 75 percent less fat than typical biscuits, and still tastes great? And what if I told you they would still taste like those introduced to the world in 1982 by the world's largest chicken chain? Here you go—a clone recipe for making a low-fat version of KFC's Buttermilk Biscuits. Reduced-fat Bisquick and Butter Buds Sprinkles are the secret ingredients that help make this TSR low-fat conversion of a fast food favorite.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 Biscuit
    Total servings–8
    Calories per serving–115 (Original–180)
    Fat per serving–2.5g (Original–10g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    The secret to cloning the Colonel's famous gravy at home is to first darken the chicken broth with a roux. Roux is a mixture of flour and oil that is cooked in a saucepan over low heat until it's browned, but not burned. This magical mixture not only colors the gravy for us, but also thickens it. The small amount of oil used here and no addition of drippings will give you gravy that tastes as good as the stuff from the world-famous chicken chain, but with significantly less fat.

    And when you're done with the gravy, you can easily make mashed potatoes that taste just like KFC's with the popular Potato Buds instant potatoes. And fat-free butter-flavored spread adds butter flavor without fat. You're going to love this one.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1/2 cup potatoes and 3 tablespoons gravy
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–120 (Original–120)
    Fat per serving–2g (Original– 6g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur. 

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