Applebee's Tijuana Philly Steak Sandwich copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur
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Applebee's Tijuana Philly Steak Sandwich

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Menu Description: "Lean shaved Philly steak folded into a grilled tortilla roll with Monterey Jack and Cheddar, sauteed mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, bacon and jalapenos."

With the acquisition of 13 Rio Bravo cantinas in 1994, Applebee's made its move into the competitive "Mexican casual dining sector." Perhaps it's the company's interest in Mexican food that inspired this Philadelphia-Tijuana hybrid sandwich. The steak, cheese, mushrooms, and onions give the sandwich a Philly taste, while the tomatoes, bacon, jalapenos, and the tortilla take you across the border.

I really like this newer addition to the menu, probably because I'm a big cheesesteak fan who also loves Mexican food. As you can see from this dish, Applebee's has a knack for breathing new life into old sandwich concepts. I hope you'll find this one worth a try.

If you want to make a "lite" version, refer to the Tidbits at the bottom of the recipe.

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • 1 mushroom, diced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon butter, softened
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces chipped beef or 1 1/2 slices Steak-Umm frozen sandwich steaks
  • 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 10-inch ("burrito-size") flour tortilla
  • 1 heaping tablespoon diced tomato
  • 1 teaspoon diced red onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 slice bacon, cooked
On the Side
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa
  • Do This
    • Restaurant/Brand
    • Instructions

      1. Saute the mushroom in a small pan with 1/2 teaspoon butter and a dash of salt and pepper. The mushroom pieces should start to turn brown when they are done.

      2. Break or cut the beef into bite-size pieces and grill it in another pan over medium heat until brown. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Drain off the fat.

      3. Build your sandwich by first sprinkling both cheeses into the center of the tortilla. Keep in mind when adding the cheese that you will be folding in the sides like a burrito, so leave some room on each side.

      4. Sprinkle the tomato, onion, sauteed mushroom, and cilantro over the cheese.

      5. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle it over the cheese as well.

      6. Sprinkle the cooked beef over the other ingredients, then add a bit more salt and pepper, if desired.

      7. Fold the sides in, then use the 1 tablespoon of butter to butter the top and bottom of the "sandwich" and grill it in a hot pan over medium heat for 2 minutes per side, or until the tortilla becomes golden brown and the cheese is melted.

      8. Slice the "sandwich" in half diagonally and serve hot on a plate with shredded lettuce, sour cream, and salsa on the side.

      Tidbits: If you want to lower the calories and make this sandwich "lite," follow the recipe but reserve the butter leftover from the sauteed mushrooms. Use this remaining butter to grill the sandwich. Substitute turkey bacon for the real bacon.

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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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