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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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    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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    A deserted Kroger grocery store in Richfield, Minnesota, was the site for the first Chi-Chi's in 1976. That was the year restaurateur Marno McDermott got together with ex-Green Bay Packer football player Max McGee to open the first of what would soon become a growing chain of Mexican food restaurants. Today, with around 100 restaurants found mostly in the Midwestern and Eastern states, Chi-Chi's has become famous for its large portions of food, and for the expression, "don't touch the plate, it's very hot!" 

    Alongside many of the entrees served at the restaurant is this sweet side dish. It's sort of like a combination of custard and cornbread, with corn and cornmeal in it. But the original is loaded with butter. That means if you eat just a very small scoop of the tasty corn cake you'll be putting away around a dozen grams of fat. By using light butter or margarine and substituting milk for the heavy cream, we knock those fat grams down to about half of the real thing served in the restaurant. Yet the flavor and texture is just as good.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 scoop
    Total servings–8
    Calories per serving–125 (Original–185)
    Fat per serving–6.5g (Original–13g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    In the biz, it’s called home meal replacement. And Boston Market was one of the first companies out of the gate to enter into this recently very competitive sector of food service. The company was started in 1989 and offered its special recipe of marinated rotisserie chicken, along with several home—style side dishes. The butternut squash was not one of the company’s first side dish offerings, but has recently become one of the favorites. The light-tasting vegetable, seasoned with nutmeg and sweetened with sugar, is a healthy alternative to more fat-filled fare. 

    According to the nutrition sheet, the chain’s version of this bright yellow side dish has some fat in it-probably from butter. We can make a great fat-free clone of Boston Market’s butternut squash, using Butter Buds Sprinkles to replace any fat, along with the same type of spices that are found in the real thing. 

    Nutrition facts 
    Serving size–½ cup 
    Total servings–4 
    Calories per serving–74 (Original–160)
    Fat per serving–0g (Original–6g)

    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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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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