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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    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: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Freshly prepared alfredo or marinara sauce, served warm." 

    The soft breadsticks served at Olive Garden (here's my clone) taste awesome by themselves, but dunk them in one of these warm sauces and...fahgeddaboutit. You can use these clones as dipping sauces or pour them over the pasta of your choice to duplicate a variety of entree items available at the chain. Use the alfredo sauce over Fettuccine and you get Fettuccine Alfredo. Pour the marinara sauce on Linguine and you've cloned Olive Garden's Linguine alla Marinara. Make up your own dishes adding sausage, chicken or whatever you have on hand for an endless variety of Italian grub.

    Find more of your favorite copycat recipes from Olive Garden here.

    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: 1

    Since Panera Bread makes all its ingredients known, it's not hard to find out that there’s no chicken broth in the original recipe, yet every copycat recipe I located online calls for chicken broth, as well as other ingredients clearly not found in Panera's version. Unlike those other recipes, this hack uses the same or similar ingredients to those listed on the company’s website.

    One of the ingredients in the soup, according to the posted list, is yeast extract. This tasty ingredient adds an MSG-like savoriness to Panera’s soup, and we can duplicate it by using nutritional yeast—often called "nooch"—now found in many stores, including Whole Foods. A little bit of nooch will provide the umami deliciousness that replaces chicken broth or bouillon.

    Panera keeps its soup gluten-free by thickening it with a combination of rice flour and cornstarch, rather than wheat flour. I’ve included those ingredients as well so that your clone is similarly gluten-free. Use the steps below and in about an hour you’ll have 8 servings of a soup that is a culinary doppelganger to Panera Bread's all-time favorite soup, and at a mere fraction of the cost.

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    Outback takes a traditional Mexican street corn recipe and lightens it up for this new premium side menu addition. The corn comes off the cob after grilling it, and butter steps in where mayonnaise and Mexican sour cream are included in the traditional recipe. Want to do something cool for dinner tonight with those fresh ears of corn? Try this easy side.

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    Score: 4.75. Votes: 4

    Garlic mashed potatoes are a great side for many entrees, especially when the mashed potatoes are as creamy and flavorful as those at Olive Garden. In our hack, the cloves of peeled garlic are boiled with the potatoes. When the potatoes get passed through a potato ricer (or mashed) the softened garlic cloves go along for the ride and get mashed up too. This way you’re guaranteed to get the perfect amount of flavorful garlic in every bite.

    I settled on cream as the dairy here after my attempts using milk and half-and-half resulted in thin and runny potatoes. I found that cream adds the perfect thickness and smooth richness to the mashers, and it made the closest duplicate.

    This side goes great with our Olive Garden Stuffed Chicken Marsala copycat recipe.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    These Einstein Bros. schmear recipes are very easy to make, and if you would like yours to firm up more after mixing in the ingredients, just pop the finished spread (in a microwave-safe bowl) for a minute or two, stir, cover, and chill completely. Use these spreads with bagels of your choice.

    Click here for more of your favorite copycat recipes from Einstein Bros. 

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    Menu Description: "Lightly fried Brussels sprouts tossed in Big Poppa Smokers Desert Gold seasoning with sweet sriracha crema."

    Brussels sprouts have been exploding on chain restaurant menus in recent years, and the best I've tasted are served as starters. The cruciferous wonders are usually roasted or fried, then dressed with a sauce meant to override the sprouts' inherent bitterness. And when they’re done right, those Brussels sprouts will be the most memorable dish at the table.

    BJ’s preparation technique of choice for Brussels sprouts is to fry them, then sprinkle them with a lemony seasoning blend by Big Poppa Smokers just before they get drizzled with sweet sriracha crema. For the seasoning, there’s no need to buy the real thing since I’ve come up with an easy hack. And the sriracha crema copycat couldn’t be simpler, with just four ingredients.

    This recipe makes a share plate appetizer-size serving for 2 to 4 people, but you'll have enough seasoning and sauce here for a bigger serving (such as a side dish) if you just add more sprouts.  

    Now, how about a bowl of famous chili or a Pizookie from Bj's Brewhouse?

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    It’s a good thing that Panera’s delicious tomato soup is made with pear tomatoes so we can use canned San Marzano-style tomatoes for a quick and easy hack, and we’ll pump up the tomato flavor with added tomato paste.

    Other hacks will call for some form of broth here, but the broth is unnecessary and it's not in the real thing so a good clone recipe wouldn't include it. There is plenty of flavorful liquid in the canned tomatoes and we’ll sculpt the final flavor with herbs and spices, sugar, and lemon juice.

    You can buy premade croutons to use on top of your soup, but I’ve also included an easy hack to make black pepper croutons from focaccia or ciabatta bread just like those you get at the restaurant. 

    Check here for more of my Panera Bread copycat recipes. 

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    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.

    The hack here 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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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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