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Side Dishes

Good job. 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 side dishes here. New recipes added every week.

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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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    It's time to clone America's best-selling brand of instant macaroni & cheese. This recipe is for the "Deluxe" variety of this popular product—that is, the one that comes with an envelope of thick cheese sauce, rather than the dry, powdered cheese. I think the "Deluxe" version, with its two-cheese blend, is the better tasting of the two. Now, with this Top Secret Recipe, you can make creamy macaroni and cheese that tastes like Kraft's original at a fraction of the price of the real thing.

    Try more of my copycat recipes from Kraft here.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 5

    Other Mexican food chains such as Chi-Chi's and El Torito call it "Sweet Corn Cake." But at Chevys, the corn-filled, pudding-like stuff that's served with most entrees is known as "Tomalito." That masa harina in there corn flour is what's used to make tamales, and it can be found in your supermarket either with the corn meal and flour, or where the other Mexican/Spanish items are stocked. Everything else here is basic stuff. While other corn cake recipes may require canned corn or canned cream-style corn, Chevys "no cans in the kitchen" commandment requires that we use frozen corn for a proper clone. You may also use corn that's been cut fresh from the cob.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.75. Votes: 4

    This easy-to-clone dish comes alongside many of the tasty entrees at this Mexican restaurant chain, or it can be ordered up, pronto, on the side. It's a nice clone to have around since it goes well with so many of your homemade dishes, Mexican or otherwise. Get yourself four large russet potatoes and start peeling, but you don't need to peel all the skin off. Leave a little skin on there for texture. And when you boil the potatoes, toss the whole garlic cloves right in the pot. That way the garlic begins to flavor the potatoes as they boil, and when you mash the potatoes the cooked garlic gets mashed up too.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    The low-carb craze is influencing menus of America's restaurant chains, but no chain has embraced the trend as enthusiastically as Ruby Tuesday. Nation's Restaurant News awarded the chain "Best Healthy Choice Menu Selection for 2004," based on more than 30 new low-carb dishes added to the menu, including low-carb cheesecake, burgers in high-fiber tortilla wraps, and other low-carb stand-ins such as Creamy Mashed Cauliflower. This most talked-about of the new selections is a side dish stunt double for mashed potatoes, with a carb count coming in at a measly 9 net carbs per 3/4-cup serving, according to the menu. Spices and cream are added to steamed and pureed cauliflower to give this dish the taste, texture and appearance of America's favorite side. Serve this up with any entree that goes well with mashed potatoes, and you'll never miss the spuds.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Here's a hack for a new menu item at Tony Roma's that's served alongside the Carolina Honeys BBQ Salmon. Combine maple syrup, cinnamon and pecans with sweet potatoes and you've got an irresistable side dish just like the popular restaurant side.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.85. Votes: 26

    What is it about Stouffer's Macaroni & Cheese that makes it the number one choice for true mac & cheese maniacs? It's probably the simple recipe that includes wholesome ingredients like skim milk and real Cheddar cheese, without any preservatives or unpronounceable chemicals. This basic formula is great for kitchen cloners who want an easy fix that doesn't require much shopping. I found the recipe to work best as an exact duplicate of the actual product: a frozen dish that you heat up later in the oven. This way you'll get slightly browned macaroni & cheese that looks like it posed for the nicely lit photo on the Stouffer's box. Since you'll only need about 3/4 cup of uncooked elbow macaroni for each recipe, you can make several 4-person servings with just one 16-ounce box of macaroni, and then keep them all in the freezer until the days when your troops have their mac & cheese attacks. Be sure to use freshly shredded Cheddar cheese here, since it melts much better than pre-shredded cheese (and it's cheaper). Use a whisk to stir the sauce often as it thickens, so that you get a smooth—not lumpy or grainy—finished product. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    In 1991, the world's largest chicken chain introduced a new logo to better reflect the addition of non-fried chicken products. Kentucky Fried Chicken morphed into KFC.

    One of the chain's classic side dishes is the tasty macaroni and cheese, which has been on the menu for years. Using the light version of Velveeta cheese and some reduced-fat Cheddar, we duplicate the taste while cutting the fat grams in half here in this reduced-fat conversion.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–4.5 ounces
    Total servings–6
    Calories per serving–95 (Original–180)
    Fat per serving–4g (Original–8g)

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

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    Everyone seems to love these delicious mashed potatoes at the "Fresh Mex" Mexican Food chain. Sure, mashed potatoes may seem like a healthy side dish, but when the traditional recipe includes cream and butter, it's easy to consume more than just a few grams of fat in one small serving.

    This fat-crushing hack proves that mashed potatoes don't have to include fat to taste good.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 1/4 cups
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–285 (Original–338)
    Fat per serving–0g (Original–9g)

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

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    When Boston Market first opened in 1989, it was called Boston Chicken. That's because at that time chicken was the only meat served at the chain. But three years later, in 1992, the chain added meatloaf, turkey, and ham, and officially became Boston Market. Yes, a lot of signs had to be changed at considerable expense.

    This popular side dish, which contains three types of cheese, normally has 24 grams of fat per serving. So, for this recipe, we will be using two fat-free cheeses along with regular Provolone, and we'll be able to re-create the taste of the real thing, but with just 25 percent of the fat in the original.

    Nutritional Facts
    Serving size–1/2 cup
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–180 (Original–300)
    Fat per serving–6g (Original–24g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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