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Products: 124 of 31
Show: 24
  • Not rated yet
    Chickie’s & Pete’s Famous Crabfries

    Waiting for a plane in Philadelphia isn’t so bad if your gate is near the airport location of this 20-unit crab house and sports bar chain where weather delay frustrations melt away over a cold beer, a Philly cheesesteak, and a bucket of Chickie’s & Pete’s Famous Crabfries.

    Crabfries, despite the name, do not have any crab on them. When the first Chickie’s & Pete’s opened its doors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1977, the restaurant served crab only in the summer. While brainstorming off-season uses for the seafood seasoning, founder Pete Ciarrocchi sprinkled some over crinkle-cut fries, served them with a side of secret cheese dipping sauce, and the most popular dish at his crab house was born.

    The beauty of this Chickie’s & Pete’s Crabfries recipe is its simplicity since you’ll need to prepare only two things, and they’re both easy: the secret crab seasoning and the secret cheese sauce. Since the chain’s cheese sauce is also used on their cheesesteak sandwiches, I surmised that a combination of the two easy-melting cheeses most commonly used on Philly cheesesteaks—white American and Cheez Whiz—would make a sauce with the taste and color of the restaurant version. This smooth sauce goes great with the fries, and it also puts the "Philly" into your next homemade cheesesteak.

    Once your cheese sauce is done and your seasoning is mixed, cook up a bag of crinkle-cut fries following the directions on the package, toss them with the seasoning, and serve immediately with the warm cheese sauce on the side.

    Find more famous french fry recipes from KFC, Taco Bell, and McDonald's here.

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  • Not rated yet
    P.F. Chang's Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts

    Use my recipe for P.F. Chang’s incredible Kung Pao sauce and toss it with fried Brussels sprouts, peanuts, and Thai chilies and you get one of this Chinese bistro’s most popular new starters. And now, with this exclusive Top Secret Recipe, you'll have possibly one of your new favorite ways to serve Brussels sprouts. 

    You’ll get a half cup of the secret kung pao sauce—that will be enough to sauce 1 pound of Brussels sprouts in 2 separate batches.

    Oven baking, like other "hackers" recommend, will not give you the crispy texture of the original. These must be deep-fried. Even though you’ll be frying 8 ounces of Brussels sprouts at a time, you’ll want a wide-mouthed pan like a large saucepot, Dutch oven, or a deep fryer so that you don’t crowd the Brussels sprouts. Also, they will spatter for about 30 seconds when they first hit the oil, so a lid or a spatter guard will definitely come in handy.

    Once the oil is hot and the sauce is made, it takes just 5 minutes to get this delish dish on your table.      

    Have you decided on an entrée to serve with this? There are a lot more P.F. Chang's copycat recipes here.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    KFC Secret Recipe Fries

    In the Summer of 2020, to the dismay of many fans, KFC stopped selling the famous potato wedges that had been on the menu for decades and replaced them with battered French fries.

    Like the wedges, these fries are coated with a flavorful batter, but the seasoning used on the fries is a different blend than what was used on the wedges. Are these new fries better than the classic wedges? That depends. Some may prefer the rare treat of fast food skin-on wedges, while others may prefer the crispiness of these new fries. Some don’t care and just want a clone, so here you go.

    My recipe for KFC Secret Fries is simplified by using par-fried French fries found in the freezer section of your store. After coating the fries with this clone of the seasoned breading, spray them with water, then fry them for 3 to 4 minutes. That’s it. Be sure to have a clean squirt bottle filled with water to transform the breading into a thin batter giving your finished product the same crispy coating as the original.

    KFC’s new fries are coated with a blend that includes onion, celery, and carrot powder. It’s easy to find onion powder in most supermarkets, but I had to go online to find celery and carrot juice powders. The blend of vegetable powders adds great flavor, but if you want to omit the celery and carrot powders and just use onion powder, the recipe will still make delicious copycat fries.

    Click here for my KFC Original Chicken recipe or search for your favorites here.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Qdoba Fiery Habanero Salsa

    I’ve yet to taste a better habanero salsa at a quick-service Mexican chain than the one made daily at Qdoba Mexican Eats. Yes, it is very spicy, but the simple combo of fire-roasted habanero, tomatillo, and garlic is not as fiery as you might expect from a salsa that includes so much habanero in it.

    And that’s exactly what makes Qdoba Fiery Habanero Salsa so good. Because the habanero peppers are roasted, and the seeds are removed, you can enjoy the complex flavor of the habanero without your taste buds being numbed by the heat. A good salsa should enhance your food, not upstage it.

    You can roast the peppers in your oven or by holding them over the high flame of a gas stove with a skewer until the skins have charred to black. Resting the blackened peppers in a covered container for a few minutes will help to steam the skins, and they will wash off easily under cold water. 

    How about using this salsa to spice up some Qdoba Grilled Chicken Adobo? Ger my recipe here

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  • Not rated yet
    Healthy Choice Traditional Pasta Sauce

    It was a heart attack that inspired Charles M. Harper of ConAgra Foods to come up with a new product line. In 1988, the Healthy Choice brand introduced frozen dinners with reduced fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Hundreds of other products followed through the '90s, including this fat-free pasta sauce, which hit stores in 1992. It's a cinch to make and goes great on any pasta, pizza, or meatball sandwich.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1/2 cup
    Total servings–5
    Calories per servings–50
    Fat per serving–0g

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

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  • Not rated yet
    Cheesecake Factory Bruschetta

    Menu Description: "Grilled Bread Topped with Fresh Chopped Tomato, Red Onion, Garlic, Basil and Olive Oil."

    In 1972, Oscar and Evelyn Overton moved from Detroit to Los Angeles to build a wholesale bakery that would sell cheesecakes and other high-quality desserts to local restaurants. Business was a booming success, but some restaurants balked at the high prices the bakery was charging for its desserts. So, in 1978, the couple's son David decided to open a restaurant of his own—the first Cheesecake Factory restaurant—in posh Beverly Hills. The restaurant was an immediate success and soon David started an expansion of the concept. Sure, the current total of 20 restaurants doesn't seem like a lot, but his handful of stores earns the chain more than $100 million in business each year. That's more than some chains with four times the number of outlets rake in.

    Bruschetta is one of the top-selling appetizers at the restaurant chain. Bruschetta is toasted bread flavored with garlic and olive oil, broiled until crispy, and then arranged around a pile of tomato-basil salad in vinaigrette. This salad is scooped onto the bruschetta, and then you open wide. My Cheesecake Factory Bruschetta recipe makes five slices just like the dish served at the restaurant, but the recipe can be easily doubled.

    Now, what's for dinner?

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Simon Kitchen & Bar Wok-Charred Edamame

    In 2008 Chef Kerry Simon packed up his knives at the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel and moved across the Las Vegas Strip into the Palms Place tower at the Palms. The new restaurant features some of the same comfort food favorites as the old joint, such as truffled & cheese and cotton candy for dessert, but Kerry has now added a sushi bar and a broader menu which includes breakfast, lunch and a must-try Sunday brunch where you may be eating alongside the likes of Avril Lavigne or Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends. When you're noodling over which appetizers to try you must check out this delicious addicting edamame starter: A pile of soybeans are cooked over high heat in a wok until their pods are blackened in spots, then they're tossed in fresh lime juice and a Japanese 7-spice seasoning called shichimi togarashi. Togarashi is a spicy blend of orange peel, sesame seeds, seaweed and chili that you can purchase in most Asian markets or online. The blend usually doesn't include salt, so you'll have to add some of that as well before you dig in. Or, you can use Szechwan seasoning such as one made by Sun-Bird that's found in most grocery stores where the Asian foods are parked. These blends will usually have salt in them, so you probably don't need to add additional salt if you use the Szechwan seasoning. You'll want to cook these in a wok that's been preheated over a flame on a gas stove, or you can use a cast-iron skillet that's been preheated for at least 10 minutes - you should see a lot of smoke when you drop those beans in the pan! Turn on the vent over your stove before you start cooking unless you need to test your smoke detectors.

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  • Score: 3.50 (votes: 2)
    California Pizza Kitchen Tuscan Hummus

    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)
    Boston Market Butternut Squash

    Here's a technique for making flavorful butternut squash that's crazy easy. Most of your time will be spent cutting the squash into 1-inch cubes so that you can steam it. Use a sharp peeler to remove the tough skin, then skip on over to the chopping block (but please, no skipping with a sharp knife). You can alternately use a microwave to cook the squash whole (see Tidbits), although I prefer the texture from good old-fashioned steaming. After the squash is cooked, mash it up, mix in the other ingredients, and you've got a great side that fits right in with many meals, especially spicy dishes. Since this squash comes in varying sizes, you may want to start with just 1/4 teaspoon of salt, give it a taste, then add more as needed.

    Find more of your favorite Boston Market copycat recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 6)
    Baja Fresh Salsa Baja

    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. Crafting the rest of my Baja Fresh Salsa Baja recipe was simple...

    Find more cool dips and salsa recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 15)
    On the Border Guacamole Live!

    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.

    Wash it all down with this copycat for On the Border's Mexican Mojito.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.63 (votes: 8)
    P.F. Chang's Garlic Snap Peas

    Menu Description: "Stir-fried with garlic."

    This is a standard side dish at the country's biggest Chinese dinner chain, and it'll take you just a couple of minutes to duplicate at home as a good veggie side for any meal, Chinese or otherwise. It's especially good when you're pressed to slam together a last minute vegetable for tonight's dinner. You can use a wok for this, but I always just use a medium-size sauté pan. The trick is to sauté the snap peas quickly over high heat, tossing often, until they're hot, yet still crispy and bright green. You get the garlic in right at the end, and then quickly pull the pan off the heat, so the garlic doesn't scorch. 

    Have you decided on an entrée? There's a lot more P.F. Chang's copycat recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Not rated yet
    Healthy Choice Chunky Tomato, Mushroom and Garlic Pasta Sauce

    Healthy Choice was one of the first low-fat brands to hit the stores. The Wall Street Journal reported in 1993, "When Healthy Choice dinners first arrived in stores, big competitors were caught off guard: nothing quite like it had ever been marketed on a large scale." But nowadays the competition ain't so lean. You'll find more than a dozen brands devoted to the same low-fat, healthy claims in stores, all fighting it out for shelf space and market share.

    If you like your marinara sauce with big chunks of veggies in it, then this is the one you'll want to make. The canned tomatoes, plus fresh mushrooms, onion, and garlic make for a thicker sauce that works great over your favorite pasta dish.

    Nutrition Facts
    Servings size–1/2 cup
    Total servings–5
    Calories per serving–45
    Fat per serving–0g

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

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  • Not rated yet
    Hardee's French Fries

    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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  • Score: 4.75 (votes: 4)
    Islands Island Fries

    Menu Description: "Our famous fries are fresh cut daily from whole potatoes with the skins left on."

    Not only can I show you the best way to make french fries at home in this clone of Islands top-selling version, but I'm also supplying you with a super simple way to make the same type of salt blend that Islands uses to make those fries so dang addicting. As with any good french fry recipe, you'll need to slice your potatoes into strips that are all equal thickness. That means you need a mandoline, or similar slicing device, that makes 1/4-inch slices. Once you've got your potatoes cut, you must rinse and soak them in water to expel the excess starch. The frying comes in two stages: A quick blanching stage, and the final frying to put a crispy coating on the suckers. Islands uses a combination of peanut and vegetable oils in their fryers, so you simply combine the two in your home fryer. The whole process is not that tough once you get going, and certainly worth the effort if hungry mouths are waiting for the perfect homemade french fries. However, if you want to simplify the process because your hungry mouths aren't of the patient sort, you could certainly buy frozen french fries, cook 'em up following the instructions on the bag, and then sprinkle on this garlic/onion salt blend for a quick-and-easy kitchen clone.

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  • Not rated yet
    Houston's Couscous

    This cold couscous salad side dish served at the 96-unit chain is very unique, and seriously delicious. The secret is cooking the couscous with orange juice so that it is filled with flavor. Then you toss in some golden raisins, almonds, radishes, tomatoes, mint, green onion and parsley, and the couscous party is on. This is a great warm weather side for pool parties and picnics that can be made a day ahead. It’s easy. It’s tasty. It’s finally cloned, so get cracking on my Houston's couscous recipe below. 

    See my other Houston's copycat recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.81 (votes: 16)
    Olive Garden Bruschetta

    Menu Description: "A traditional topping of roma tomatoes, fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil. Served with freshly toasted ciabatta bread."

    Olive Garden's recently redesigned bruschetta recipe improves on the Italian chain's previous version. The tomato salad includes a little sun-dried tomato and balsamic vinegar, and it is now served in a separate dish rather than on the bread. Now the bread doesn't get soggy. The tomatoes are finely diced before mixing with the other ingredients, and the ciabatta bread is sprinkled with a little grated Parmesan cheese before it's toasted. Try to find a nice, chewy loaf of Italian bread for this dish—get the best bread in the store. The better your bread, the better your bruschetta.

    I've hacked a ton of dishes from Olive Garden. Find your favorites here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.47 (votes: 15)
    Sabra Classic Hummus

    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, when getting your Sabra hummus ingredients ready, 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)
    P.F. Chang's Spicy Green Beans

    Menu Description: "Stir-fried with Sichuan preserves, fiery chili sauce and garlic."

    Here's an easy side dish that you can start a day or two before you plan to serve it. Planning ahead like this will allow the spicy Sichuan mixture some time to pickle in the salt and acids. When you're ready to cook, a high-heat saute is put on the beans, and in less than five minutes you've got yourself an impressive, flavorful side that goes great with a slew of entrees—Asian-style or not.

    Try pairing my clone recipe for P.F. Chang's Kung Pao Chicken recipe with these spicy green beans. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.19 (votes: 21)
    Fritos Hot Bean Dip

    Re-create the popular bean dip at home in minutes with a food processor: just pour in all the ingredients and fire it up. It's nice that we can duplicate the taste of the popular dip without any added fat. If you check out the label of the real thing, you'll see that there's hydrogenated oil in there. We avoid this trans fat without sacrificing flavor in this home clone that's a healthier choice for dipping. Bring on the chips!

    Try more amazing copycat recipes for famous dips here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    El Pollo Loco Spanish Rice Fat-Free

    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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  • Not rated yet
    El Pollo Loco Pinto Beans Fat-Free

    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: 5.00 (votes: 13)
    El Pollo Loco Avocado Salsa

    This creamy green sauce is available at the salsa bar at each of the 389 El Pollo Loco outlets located throughout the western United States, and folks are going crazy over it. The problem is, you can only get it in small quantities at the restaurant, and once you taste a little there you're going to want a lot more of it at home. Use a food processor to mix this one up (everything but the cilantro and onion goes in there) and prepare for a delicious, spicy concoction that you can pour over your favorite homemade Mexican-style dishes, from taco salads to fajitas. Big props go out to Pancho Ochoa, who opened his first roadside chicken stand in Guasave, Mexico in 1975. Today Pancho's El Pollo Loco is the number one quick-service, flame-broiled chicken chain in America.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Claim Jumper Spicy Thai Coleslaw

    Menu Description: "Mixed greens, carrots, zucchini, green onions, peanuts. Tossed in a sweet and spicy dressing."

    If you like the sweet, sour, and spicy flavor combinations of Thai food, you'll love Claim Jumper's tasty twist on coleslaw. Just find yourself a medium-size head of Napa cabbage and a few other special ingredients, and you're on your way to a perfect side dish for grilled grub, sandwiches, or as a quick solo snack. The menu mentions cappellini but we'll substitute with soba noodles that can be found in the supermarket aisle with other Asian foods (the rice vinegar and chili paste will be over there too). If you can't find soba noodles, the thicker chow mien noodles will also work. The mixed baby greens can often be found in ready-to-serve-plastic bags in the produce section. But the real secret to my Claim Jumper coleslaw recipe is patience. The flavors of coleslaw improve after several hours in the chill box, and letting it sit overnight is even better.

    Find more of my famous side-dish copycat recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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Products: 124 of 31
Show: 24

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  • Not rated yet
    Chickie’s & Pete’s Famous Crabfries

    Waiting for a plane in Philadelphia isn’t so bad if your gate is near the airport location of this 20-unit crab house and sports bar chain where weather delay frustrations melt away over a cold beer, a Philly cheesesteak, and a bucket of Chickie’s & Pete’s Famous Crabfries.

    Crabfries, despite the name, do not have any crab on them. When the first Chickie’s & Pete’s opened its doors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1977, the restaurant served crab only in the summer. While brainstorming off-season uses for the seafood seasoning, founder Pete Ciarrocchi sprinkled some over crinkle-cut fries, served them with a side of secret cheese dipping sauce, and the most popular dish at his crab house was born.

    The beauty of this Chickie’s & Pete’s Crabfries recipe is its simplicity since you’ll need to prepare only two things, and they’re both easy: the secret crab seasoning and the secret cheese sauce. Since the chain’s cheese sauce is also used on their cheesesteak sandwiches, I surmised that a combination of the two easy-melting cheeses most commonly used on Philly cheesesteaks—white American and Cheez Whiz—would make a sauce with the taste and color of the restaurant version. This smooth sauce goes great with the fries, and it also puts the "Philly" into your next homemade cheesesteak.

    Once your cheese sauce is done and your seasoning is mixed, cook up a bag of crinkle-cut fries following the directions on the package, toss them with the seasoning, and serve immediately with the warm cheese sauce on the side.

    Find more famous french fry recipes from KFC, Taco Bell, and McDonald's here.

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  • Not rated yet
    P.F. Chang's Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts

    Use my recipe for P.F. Chang’s incredible Kung Pao sauce and toss it with fried Brussels sprouts, peanuts, and Thai chilies and you get one of this Chinese bistro’s most popular new starters. And now, with this exclusive Top Secret Recipe, you'll have possibly one of your new favorite ways to serve Brussels sprouts. 

    You’ll get a half cup of the secret kung pao sauce—that will be enough to sauce 1 pound of Brussels sprouts in 2 separate batches.

    Oven baking, like other "hackers" recommend, will not give you the crispy texture of the original. These must be deep-fried. Even though you’ll be frying 8 ounces of Brussels sprouts at a time, you’ll want a wide-mouthed pan like a large saucepot, Dutch oven, or a deep fryer so that you don’t crowd the Brussels sprouts. Also, they will spatter for about 30 seconds when they first hit the oil, so a lid or a spatter guard will definitely come in handy.

    Once the oil is hot and the sauce is made, it takes just 5 minutes to get this delish dish on your table.      

    Have you decided on an entrée to serve with this? There are a lot more P.F. Chang's copycat recipes here.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    KFC Secret Recipe Fries

    In the Summer of 2020, to the dismay of many fans, KFC stopped selling the famous potato wedges that had been on the menu for decades and replaced them with battered French fries.

    Like the wedges, these fries are coated with a flavorful batter, but the seasoning used on the fries is a different blend than what was used on the wedges. Are these new fries better than the classic wedges? That depends. Some may prefer the rare treat of fast food skin-on wedges, while others may prefer the crispiness of these new fries. Some don’t care and just want a clone, so here you go.

    My recipe for KFC Secret Fries is simplified by using par-fried French fries found in the freezer section of your store. After coating the fries with this clone of the seasoned breading, spray them with water, then fry them for 3 to 4 minutes. That’s it. Be sure to have a clean squirt bottle filled with water to transform the breading into a thin batter giving your finished product the same crispy coating as the original.

    KFC’s new fries are coated with a blend that includes onion, celery, and carrot powder. It’s easy to find onion powder in most supermarkets, but I had to go online to find celery and carrot juice powders. The blend of vegetable powders adds great flavor, but if you want to omit the celery and carrot powders and just use onion powder, the recipe will still make delicious copycat fries.

    Click here for my KFC Original Chicken recipe or search for your favorites here.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Qdoba Fiery Habanero Salsa

    I’ve yet to taste a better habanero salsa at a quick-service Mexican chain than the one made daily at Qdoba Mexican Eats. Yes, it is very spicy, but the simple combo of fire-roasted habanero, tomatillo, and garlic is not as fiery as you might expect from a salsa that includes so much habanero in it.

    And that’s exactly what makes Qdoba Fiery Habanero Salsa so good. Because the habanero peppers are roasted, and the seeds are removed, you can enjoy the complex flavor of the habanero without your taste buds being numbed by the heat. A good salsa should enhance your food, not upstage it.

    You can roast the peppers in your oven or by holding them over the high flame of a gas stove with a skewer until the skins have charred to black. Resting the blackened peppers in a covered container for a few minutes will help to steam the skins, and they will wash off easily under cold water. 

    How about using this salsa to spice up some Qdoba Grilled Chicken Adobo? Ger my recipe here

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    Healthy Choice Traditional Pasta Sauce

    It was a heart attack that inspired Charles M. Harper of ConAgra Foods to come up with a new product line. In 1988, the Healthy Choice brand introduced frozen dinners with reduced fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Hundreds of other products followed through the '90s, including this fat-free pasta sauce, which hit stores in 1992. It's a cinch to make and goes great on any pasta, pizza, or meatball sandwich.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1/2 cup
    Total servings–5
    Calories per servings–50
    Fat per serving–0g

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

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  • Not rated yet
    Cheesecake Factory Bruschetta

    Menu Description: "Grilled Bread Topped with Fresh Chopped Tomato, Red Onion, Garlic, Basil and Olive Oil."

    In 1972, Oscar and Evelyn Overton moved from Detroit to Los Angeles to build a wholesale bakery that would sell cheesecakes and other high-quality desserts to local restaurants. Business was a booming success, but some restaurants balked at the high prices the bakery was charging for its desserts. So, in 1978, the couple's son David decided to open a restaurant of his own—the first Cheesecake Factory restaurant—in posh Beverly Hills. The restaurant was an immediate success and soon David started an expansion of the concept. Sure, the current total of 20 restaurants doesn't seem like a lot, but his handful of stores earns the chain more than $100 million in business each year. That's more than some chains with four times the number of outlets rake in.

    Bruschetta is one of the top-selling appetizers at the restaurant chain. Bruschetta is toasted bread flavored with garlic and olive oil, broiled until crispy, and then arranged around a pile of tomato-basil salad in vinaigrette. This salad is scooped onto the bruschetta, and then you open wide. My Cheesecake Factory Bruschetta recipe makes five slices just like the dish served at the restaurant, but the recipe can be easily doubled.

    Now, what's for dinner?

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Simon Kitchen & Bar Wok-Charred Edamame

    In 2008 Chef Kerry Simon packed up his knives at the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel and moved across the Las Vegas Strip into the Palms Place tower at the Palms. The new restaurant features some of the same comfort food favorites as the old joint, such as truffled & cheese and cotton candy for dessert, but Kerry has now added a sushi bar and a broader menu which includes breakfast, lunch and a must-try Sunday brunch where you may be eating alongside the likes of Avril Lavigne or Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends. When you're noodling over which appetizers to try you must check out this delicious addicting edamame starter: A pile of soybeans are cooked over high heat in a wok until their pods are blackened in spots, then they're tossed in fresh lime juice and a Japanese 7-spice seasoning called shichimi togarashi. Togarashi is a spicy blend of orange peel, sesame seeds, seaweed and chili that you can purchase in most Asian markets or online. The blend usually doesn't include salt, so you'll have to add some of that as well before you dig in. Or, you can use Szechwan seasoning such as one made by Sun-Bird that's found in most grocery stores where the Asian foods are parked. These blends will usually have salt in them, so you probably don't need to add additional salt if you use the Szechwan seasoning. You'll want to cook these in a wok that's been preheated over a flame on a gas stove, or you can use a cast-iron skillet that's been preheated for at least 10 minutes - you should see a lot of smoke when you drop those beans in the pan! Turn on the vent over your stove before you start cooking unless you need to test your smoke detectors.

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  • Score: 3.50 (votes: 2)
    California Pizza Kitchen Tuscan Hummus

    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)
    Boston Market Butternut Squash

    Here's a technique for making flavorful butternut squash that's crazy easy. Most of your time will be spent cutting the squash into 1-inch cubes so that you can steam it. Use a sharp peeler to remove the tough skin, then skip on over to the chopping block (but please, no skipping with a sharp knife). You can alternately use a microwave to cook the squash whole (see Tidbits), although I prefer the texture from good old-fashioned steaming. After the squash is cooked, mash it up, mix in the other ingredients, and you've got a great side that fits right in with many meals, especially spicy dishes. Since this squash comes in varying sizes, you may want to start with just 1/4 teaspoon of salt, give it a taste, then add more as needed.

    Find more of your favorite Boston Market copycat recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 6)
    Baja Fresh Salsa Baja

    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. Crafting the rest of my Baja Fresh Salsa Baja recipe was simple...

    Find more cool dips and salsa recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 15)
    On the Border Guacamole Live!

    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.

    Wash it all down with this copycat for On the Border's Mexican Mojito.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.63 (votes: 8)
    P.F. Chang's Garlic Snap Peas

    Menu Description: "Stir-fried with garlic."

    This is a standard side dish at the country's biggest Chinese dinner chain, and it'll take you just a couple of minutes to duplicate at home as a good veggie side for any meal, Chinese or otherwise. It's especially good when you're pressed to slam together a last minute vegetable for tonight's dinner. You can use a wok for this, but I always just use a medium-size sauté pan. The trick is to sauté the snap peas quickly over high heat, tossing often, until they're hot, yet still crispy and bright green. You get the garlic in right at the end, and then quickly pull the pan off the heat, so the garlic doesn't scorch. 

    Have you decided on an entrée? There's a lot more P.F. Chang's copycat recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Not rated yet
    Healthy Choice Chunky Tomato, Mushroom and Garlic Pasta Sauce

    Healthy Choice was one of the first low-fat brands to hit the stores. The Wall Street Journal reported in 1993, "When Healthy Choice dinners first arrived in stores, big competitors were caught off guard: nothing quite like it had ever been marketed on a large scale." But nowadays the competition ain't so lean. You'll find more than a dozen brands devoted to the same low-fat, healthy claims in stores, all fighting it out for shelf space and market share.

    If you like your marinara sauce with big chunks of veggies in it, then this is the one you'll want to make. The canned tomatoes, plus fresh mushrooms, onion, and garlic make for a thicker sauce that works great over your favorite pasta dish.

    Nutrition Facts
    Servings size–1/2 cup
    Total servings–5
    Calories per serving–45
    Fat per serving–0g

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

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  • Not rated yet
    Hardee's French Fries

    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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  • Score: 4.75 (votes: 4)
    Islands Island Fries

    Menu Description: "Our famous fries are fresh cut daily from whole potatoes with the skins left on."

    Not only can I show you the best way to make french fries at home in this clone of Islands top-selling version, but I'm also supplying you with a super simple way to make the same type of salt blend that Islands uses to make those fries so dang addicting. As with any good french fry recipe, you'll need to slice your potatoes into strips that are all equal thickness. That means you need a mandoline, or similar slicing device, that makes 1/4-inch slices. Once you've got your potatoes cut, you must rinse and soak them in water to expel the excess starch. The frying comes in two stages: A quick blanching stage, and the final frying to put a crispy coating on the suckers. Islands uses a combination of peanut and vegetable oils in their fryers, so you simply combine the two in your home fryer. The whole process is not that tough once you get going, and certainly worth the effort if hungry mouths are waiting for the perfect homemade french fries. However, if you want to simplify the process because your hungry mouths aren't of the patient sort, you could certainly buy frozen french fries, cook 'em up following the instructions on the bag, and then sprinkle on this garlic/onion salt blend for a quick-and-easy kitchen clone.

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I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker

For over 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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