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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 5

    Chi-Chi's cofounder Marno McDermott named his restaurant chain after his wife Chi Chi. He claims the name is quite memorable as it translates in Spanish into something like "hooters" in English. The Minneapolis Star quoted McDermott in 1977 shortly after the first Chi-Chi's opened in Richfield, Minneapolis, "English-speaking patrons remember it because it's catchy. And the Spanish-speaking customers are amused. Either way, it doesn't hurt business."

    One of the side dishes included with several of the entrees at Chi-Chi's is the Sweet Corn Cake. It's sort of like cornbread, but much softer, almost like corn pudding. You'll find it goes well with just about any Mexican dish. The recipe requires a bain marie, or water bath—a baking technique commonly used to keep custards from cracking or curdling. This is done by baking the corn cake in another larger pan filled with a little hot water.

    Try more of my Chi-Chi's copycat recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 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 irresistible side dish just like the popular restaurant side.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Our original 'eggrolls' stuffed with Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, green onions and a touch of jalapeno peppers. Served with marinara."

    This variation on the popular fried cheese sticks appetizer conceals spicy jalapeno peppers and green onions in the middle, and it's all wrapped up in large spring roll wrapper before frying. The marinara sauce on the side is perfect for dipping the cheesy tidbit, but you might also try your favorite salsa. To save time—and we all like that—use your favorite bottled marinara sauce for dipping so you won't need to whip up some from scratch.

    Pair these with a Roadhouse 'Rita and some baby back ribs.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 8

    Menu Description:  "Chunks of Fresh Avocado, Sun-Dried Tomato, Red Onion and Cilantro Deep Fried in a Crisp Chinese Wrapper."

    In 1995, Forbes Magazine named The Cheesecake Factory in its list of the 200 best small companies in America. At more than 90 stores now, The Cheesecake Factory plans to continue growing at a rate of about 11 new restaurants per year, and still does not franchise.

    The Avocado Eggrolls are one of the most popular appetizers on the menu at the Cheesecake Factory, and it's not hard to see why. The combination of avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, and the cilantro-tamarind sauce makes this one of the tastiest appetizers I've had at any restaurant chain. The trickiest part of this Cheesecake Factory avocado egg rolls recipe might be finding the tamarind pulp at your market. It's a brown, sticky pulp that looks like pureed prunes, and can be found in the spice section or near the ethnic foods—or try a Middle Eastern market. The pulp sometimes contains the large seeds of the fruit, so be sure to remove them before measuring. If you can't find the tamarind paste, you can get by substituting smashed raisins or prunes.

    Find more of my famous appetizer copycat recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.90. Votes: 10

    McDonald's enlisted Destiny's Child, Venus Williams, and Bob Greene (Oprah's trainer) to kick off its balanced lifestyles campaign in the spring of 2005, starting with this salad and the tagline "Get a fruit buzz." Most of the recipe is no big secret: two kinds of sliced apples, red seedless grapes, and low-fat vanilla yogurt. If there is a secret ingredient it's the candied walnuts which we can clone from scratch using honey, peanut oil, sugar and vanilla. 
     
    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 6

    Panera Bread's Baked Spinach and Artichoke Egg Souffle reminds me of a breakfast Hot Pocket, if a Hot Pocket tasted really good. With eggs, cheese, spinach, and artichoke hearts baked into a buttery crust, this super-cool presentation will earn you big bonus points from your crew in the a.m. And the best part about this copycat Panera spinach souffle recipe is you won't stress out over making the dough from scratch since you use premade Pillsbury Crescent Dough that comes in a tube. Just be sure when you unroll the dough that you don't separate it into triangles. Instead, pinch the dough together along the diagonal perforations to make four squares. After the dough is rolled out, line four buttered ramekins with each square, fill each ramekin with the secret egg mixture, and bake. 

    Find more of your favorite recipes from Panera Bread here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked 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. The basic Stouffer's Mac and Cheese ingredients are 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. 

    If you're still hungry, check out my copycat recipes for famous entrées here. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    When PepsiCo shelled out $100 million for a 67 percent share of the trendy pizza chain back in 1992, founders Lawrence Flax and Richard Rosenfield thought they had it made. Unfortunately, the company behind Pizza Hut found expanding the more upscale eatery an unfamiliar struggle. The company expanded too quickly, and as costs began to dwarf sales figures, fresh ingredients were replace with cheaper frozen products. Customers noticed and sales took a nosedive. By 1996, PepsiCo decided to bail out.

    The following year, PepsiCo's share of the chain was picked up by New York investment firm Rosser, Sherrill and Co. Fresh ingredients returned to the kitchens, and the size of the pizzas was increased without adjusting the price. Sales once again blossomed, and the chain was on its way back to turning its first profit since 1991.

    Here's a great pizza to clone if you need to take a little time off from delicious-yet-fat-filled mozzarella cheese. With the marinated, grilled eggplant and tasty honey-wheat dough, you won't even miss that gooey white stuff. Be sure to start this one a day before you plan to eat it. The dough needs that long to rise in the fridge for just the right California Pizza Kitchen-like taste.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–3 slices
    Total servings–2
    Calories per serving–380
    Fat per serving–8g

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

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    Who needs meat when you can make a pizza taste like this without it? It's grilled veggies and mozzarella cheese stacked on a great clone for the chain's tasty honey-wheat dough. With regular mozzarella cheese, the total fat for three slices comes in at around nineteen grams, which is still much less than you'd get from, say, the pepperoni-topped variety tipping the scales at about fifteen grams per slice. Just remember to prepare your dough a day before you plan to make the pizza. This way you'll get the best consistency in the final product. And one heck of a better clone.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–3 slices
    Total servings–2
    Calories per serving–632
    Fat per serving–19g

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

Items: 4150 of 136, per page

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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