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For All You Chain Haters...Secret Copy Cat Recipes...

f
fourunder Mar 16, 2011 09:46 AM

http://www.recipesecrets.net/home.htm...

  1. BobB Mar 16, 2011 11:37 AM

    Maybe I'm missing the irony here, but why would I spend money to get a book of recipes for things served at places like Applebee's and Olive Garden? To burn it?

    Plus - a warning to those at work: when you click on that link, a loud obnoxious voice starts up a couple of seconds later telling you why it's such a wonderful book to buy ("as seen on TV!")

    19 Replies
    1. re: BobB
      f
      fourunder Mar 16, 2011 01:23 PM

      I'm just giving you another thread to to voice your displeasure with chains....in fairness though, there are other restaurants in the book copied other than the only two you mentioned. For those who like chains, there may some interest and value.

      1. re: BobB
        C. Hamster Mar 21, 2011 09:03 AM

        Bob Evans? Cracker Barrel? PF Changs? Applebees? Red Lobster? Golden Corral?

        Yikes.

        1. re: C. Hamster
          s
          sommrluv Mar 21, 2011 10:10 AM

          Just think of the book like we think of Rachel Ray...the gateway drug to good cooking. I grew up in a household where no one cooked and if my friend's mother's did, it was out of a box and I thought it was homemade.

          When I was about 19 I purchased a copy of one of those books in a used bookstore specifically to copycat Hooter's wings. :) And that was my gateway drug to cooking for myself, so I look upon it with affection.

          1. re: sommrluv
            s
            sedimental Mar 21, 2011 10:23 AM

            Funny! I bought a copy cat book when I was in my 20's for the KFC chicken recipe :)
            I still use it too, nothing beats the thrill and danger of pressure cooking chicken in hot oil -and there is no way to pan fry chicken to fall off the bone and be that tender!

            My kids beg for it mid summer.

            1. re: sedimental
              s
              sommrluv Mar 23, 2011 02:17 PM

              I'm way to wussy to try pressure frying. Hat's off! LOL

              1. re: sommrluv
                t
                tomishungry Mar 23, 2011 03:17 PM

                Oy.

                I've been resisting a pressure cooker because I don't need any more kitchen toys. But pressurized deep frying? Now I'm excited. I've avoided deep frying because of the mess. The thought that I can have a new toy and add another technique to the arsenal?

                I think this now deserves it's own thread.

                1. re: tomishungry
                  C. Hamster Mar 23, 2011 04:07 PM

                  It's incredibly dangerous to fry in a regular pressure cooker.

                  You need to make sure yours is capable of frying before you try it.

            2. re: sommrluv
              c
              cleobeach Mar 21, 2011 11:45 AM

              "Just think of the book like we think of Rachel Ray...the gateway drug to good cooking. I grew up in a household where no one cooked and if my friend's mother's did, it was out of a box and I thought it was homemade."

              RR and Molto Mario truly taught me how to cook. Like you, no one cooked in my house and further, it was actively discouraged - why cook when we could go out? After I got married, I would watch Foodnetwork when I came home from work and one day decided cooking didn't look that hard. The rest is history!

              1. re: cleobeach
                o
                Oboegal Mar 21, 2011 04:55 PM

                Same thing with Rachel Ray for me. Yes, she's a tad bit perky for me, but after I graduated from college, I would order a pizza or something and watch her shows. I loved how easy she made it look and would just eyeball measurements. I cook homemade meals from scratch now all the time, mostly making up my own recipe ideas, and RR was a gateway for me.

                1. re: cleobeach
                  s
                  sommrluv Mar 23, 2011 02:18 PM

                  Exactly! Why cook when we could go out must have been a bumper sticker on my mother's car.

                  Now I think, save a few exceptions, why go out when I could cook?

                  1. re: sommrluv
                    c
                    cleobeach Mar 24, 2011 10:26 AM

                    I hear you. I have a rule about eating out - it has to be cheaper and faster than what I cook at home or it has to be better than I could cook myself.

                    1. re: cleobeach
                      f
                      fourunder Mar 24, 2011 10:38 AM

                      Cheaper is relative to perception, or actual cost and clean up in my book. To give you a couple of examples.....Pizza or Fried Chicken. Can both be made cheaper at home, yes. Can both be made better at home, yes. Is it worth it? I'd say yes for pizza, but not for the chicken. In my area, the average cost of a pizza is between $13-14.....some places as high as $18. this is for a take-out pie. The actual cost at home just for the ingredients are probably $5 or less. As for the chicken, the cost of flour, seasonings and chicken probably cost the same $5 or less.....but when you factor in the oil needed to fry and the clean up afterwards.....it's not so attractive for me to make at home. Thankfully, I have Popeye's available for my fried chicken fix.

                      1. re: fourunder
                        s
                        sommrluv Mar 24, 2011 11:33 AM

                        Oh my word I love Popeye's. It's my only fast food weakness. The closest one is 30 miles, but when we go downtown (philadelphia) we get off the highway early and grab a bucket and eat it for a week. LOL. It's an annual weakness.

                        I agree with Cleo about the rule...it's springtime here in the country and that usually means a mouse in the house here. After I found offending signs in the kitchen I scoured the whole thing until it shone yesterday, and than looked at my husband and said..."So, Chinese or cheesesteaks?".

                        1. re: sommrluv
                          f
                          fourunder Mar 24, 2011 12:09 PM

                          Sorry to tell you this now after the fact......but yesterday they had their national *Pay Day* 8-Piece Promotion for $4.99. In the past, people have been known to get a little crazy.....especially when they ran out of chicken.

                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eiG5FCYJ8k

                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVfJjH...

                      2. re: cleobeach
                        s
                        southernbelly Mar 24, 2011 10:58 AM

                        +1

                2. re: C. Hamster
                  mattstolz Mar 21, 2011 04:23 PM

                  if it can teach me to make a homemade version of:
                  bob evans sausage gravy
                  cracker barrels chicken and dumplins
                  pf changs mongo beef and chicken lettuce wraps
                  applebees...?
                  red lobsters cheddar biscuits
                  golden corrals.....?

                  then id be happy

                  1. re: mattstolz
                    s
                    sommrluv Mar 21, 2011 07:12 PM

                    I think it does have a biscuit recipe. Really, any biscuit recipe will work...the big difference is adding 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar to the batter, spraying the sheet, and when they come out, brush them with a mixture of melted butter and garlic. I like to put chives in them, and brush them with the same oil/butter herbed mixture you would use for a scampi. They taste identical.

                    1. re: sommrluv
                      mattstolz Mar 21, 2011 08:03 PM

                      well... i am on my way to happiness then

                    2. re: mattstolz
                      mamachef Mar 22, 2011 07:15 AM

                      mattstolz: the recipes for copycats of RL's Cheddar Bay biscuits, Mongolian Beef and Lettuce Wraps at PF Chang's are all available online. Just google Cheddar Bay, and PF Chang's, and you'll get a dozen hits. Can't speak for the other places, but this is a starting point to your eternal happy place. Enjoy.

                3. cowboyardee Mar 16, 2011 06:30 PM

                  I don't have any interest in cooking Olive Garden or Red Lobster classics, but I would actually find that book fascinating if it provided the real recipes exactly as the chains make them (complete with emulsifiers and thickeners and preservatives). But I'm sure this is just a bunch of 'close enough' reconstructions written for mediocre home cooks, which is a bummer.

                  17 Replies
                  1. re: cowboyardee
                    CindyJ Mar 18, 2011 07:48 AM

                    A few months ago, I would have said exactly the same thing. But then I went on a search for pasta fagioli that resembled that served at Olive Garden. I located this recipe and found it makes an incredible soup. I use my own homemade pasta sauce for the sauce called for in the recipe. Try it -- it's amazing! http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs...

                    1. re: CindyJ
                      m
                      melo7 Mar 20, 2011 04:41 PM

                      Ground beef in a pasta e fagioli? My brain just exploded.

                      1. re: melo7
                        CindyJ Mar 21, 2011 08:45 AM

                        *LAUGH* Is that sacrilegious? ...like sprinkling grated cheese on pasta with seafood?

                        1. re: CindyJ
                          m
                          melo7 Mar 21, 2011 03:50 PM

                          It'd be like ordering matzoh ball soup and getting tomatoes in the soup. Just not right.

                          1. re: melo7
                            CindyJ Mar 24, 2011 06:43 AM

                            Maybe it's all in the name. Rather than calling it "pasta e fagioli," call it "hearty vegetable with beef soup." Mangia!

                          2. re: CindyJ
                            mattstolz Mar 21, 2011 04:26 PM

                            i will defend the judicious use of cheese with some seafood until i die.

                            grandma pelligrino is rollin in her grave right now but im sorry grandma it can be good!

                            1. re: mattstolz
                              c
                              cleobeach Mar 22, 2011 06:23 AM

                              I hear yeah!

                              I can still taste the shrimp and scallop scampi with homemade pasta, sprinkled with cheese, from our favorite date place.

                            2. re: CindyJ
                              The Professor Oct 12, 2011 04:39 PM

                              Linguini (or buccatini) with white clam sauce is another case where a bit of cheese sprinkled over it works beautifully. Most Italians I know eat it that way as well.

                          3. re: CindyJ
                            mamachef Mar 21, 2011 06:34 AM

                            There are a few sauces and dressings I enjoy, "as created by" Chain restaurants. One would be the KFC coleslaw clone; another off the top is the ginger salad dressing from Benihana (and every other Japanese "Steakhouse.) I had good luck with one of those books. Wouldn't use it for much else, since I don't particularly want to know how to craft a "Moon over My-Hammy" sandwich (a la Denny's) but it was helpful in a few instances.

                            1. re: mamachef
                              C. Hamster Mar 21, 2011 09:00 AM

                              I made tons of KFC coleslaw (and other sides) as a youth in first job. The stories aren't pretty.

                              But back then we made the vegetation part fresh every day and mixed it with the sauce that came from HQ.

                              1. re: mamachef
                                c
                                cleobeach Mar 21, 2011 09:07 AM

                                another off the top is the ginger salad dressing from Benihana (and every other Japanese "Steakhouse.)

                                Yep, I could drink that stuff. I absolutely love it.

                                1. re: cleobeach
                                  mamachef Mar 21, 2011 12:19 PM

                                  Cleobeach, if you make a recipe of it and then pour it over thinly shredded cabbage and top it off with a good handful of toasted sesame seeds, weight it with a plate and refrigerate it for a day or so........heavenly. I'd wash my hair with that stuff.
                                  I also like to shred iceberg and thinly slice cukes, and drench it....granted the greens are just a vehicle for the dressing, but what a nice vehicle!

                                  1. re: mamachef
                                    c
                                    cleobeach Mar 21, 2011 12:25 PM

                                    Do you have a recipe!?!?!!

                                    1. re: cleobeach
                                      mamachef Mar 21, 2011 06:00 PM

                                      Sure do, cleobeach, and will post it before tomorrow a.m.

                                      1. re: cleobeach
                                        mamachef Mar 22, 2011 06:40 AM

                                        Cleobeach, here's the recipe.
                                        Ginger Dressing
                                        1/2 c. minced onion
                                        1/2 c. peanut oil
                                        1/3 c. rice vinegar
                                        2 T water
                                        2 T fresh minced ginger
                                        2 T fresh minced celery
                                        2 T ketchup
                                        4 ts. soy sauce
                                        2 ts. sugar
                                        2 ts. lemon juice
                                        1/2 ts. minced garlic
                                        1/2 ts. salt
                                        1/4 ts. black pepper
                                        Blend in blender until emulsified; enjoy.

                                        1. re: mamachef
                                          c
                                          cleobeach Mar 22, 2011 08:14 AM

                                          thank you, thank you! I am chaning this week's menu just to incorporate this.

                                          1. re: mamachef
                                            The Professor Oct 12, 2011 05:53 PM

                                            wow...that Ginger Dressing actually looks pretty good.

                                            I think that a dash or two of sesame oil might even enhance it.
                                            Gonna whip up a batch tomorrow!

                              2. s
                                Shann Mar 17, 2011 05:16 AM

                                While I'm not particularly interested, I do like some of the sauces at chain restaurants. If you have kids, it would be fun for them to have home made foods from the restaurants that they probably want to go to, even if you don't.

                                1. s
                                  sedimental Mar 18, 2011 10:20 AM

                                  I love to look at "copy cat" sites and I often find really great recipes to use or tweak. Most of the time, the recipes are better when made at home using fresher ingredients (or better quality) and better technique.

                                  I love it when my foodie friends rave over something....and I tell them where it's from. The look on their face is priceless.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: sedimental
                                    DiveFan Mar 26, 2011 04:57 PM

                                    To use the AOL shortcut, +10 !!

                                    There is nothing wrong with recreating the flavor of selective chain resto dishes. In fact, reverse engineering them back to their preprocessed roots could be good for training the taste buds of tomorrow ...
                                    OTOH I will rail against perversions of a traditional cuisine like Taco Hell (and surprisingly, Chipotle) until I die. Corporate chains rarely change their formula except to hit a lower common denominator, so best to vote with your pocketbook and shun them. /rant

                                  2. chef chicklet Mar 18, 2011 12:56 PM

                                    Funny, I don't eat at many chain foods restaurants but I have at one time or another when I was working and mostly because I had limited time for lunch. I developed quite a liking for Chili's chicken enchilada soup, Chilis wraps, and their chicken fried chicken, Max's Diner's Matzoh Ball Soup and their salads. That's just a few. Rubios, I had an obsession with 360 burritos green salsa- crazy good, and Rubio's HOT salsa, so much I learned to make the salsas. I also make a better than Starbucks scone, used there scone as my proto-type. Whatever the case may be, I've seen many requests on CH for Ruth Chris's stuffed chicken breasts, or some other restaurant's creamed spinach. In that regard, I think some people might find the book helpful, I can't knock that.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: chef chicklet
                                      p
                                      pine time Mar 20, 2011 12:20 PM

                                      Ohhhhh, my hubby would be thrilled if you would share the Rubio salsa recipe. I've tried numerous versions on my own, and just can't get it right (we love the hot one, chipotle and the tomatillo).

                                      1. re: pine time
                                        chef chicklet Mar 26, 2011 10:22 AM

                                        Okay first I too thought it was make with chipotles, well it is and isn't since a chipotle is a toasted/ smokey chile, but its packed in that vinager sauce. Surpised you didn't find this link, it's here already.
                                        Remember to taste, don't be so exact that you can't rely on your own taste buds. Like most salsa they get better as they sit, the next day its killer.
                                        I don't know who to make the tomatillo one yet, should work on that too huh?
                                        here it is Let me know if you have any questions, sharonhttp://chowhound.chow.com/topics/411444

                                        1. re: pine time
                                          chef chicklet Mar 26, 2011 10:24 AM

                                          Forgot the picture

                                           
                                          1. re: chef chicklet
                                            p
                                            pine time Mar 27, 2011 11:17 AM

                                            Wow, does look simple, and I never would have thought those were the ingredients--will give it a try tomorrow (we're having burritos, so perfect timing). Thanks!

                                      2. mattstolz Mar 20, 2011 12:50 PM

                                        i think this would be really helpful. even though im not a fan of many chain restos, alot of their dishes start off with good intentions and are diluted with poor ingredients and lack of prep care. alot of this can be salvaged at home into a pretty solid dish with a few tweaks and twists. sometimes a good starting point is all ya need!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: mattstolz
                                          girloftheworld Mar 20, 2011 01:59 PM

                                          I remember once a friend of my moms was staying at our house with her kids and we had eggs benedict for breakfast and she said " now is this what egg Mcmuffins are supposed to be?"
                                          Though Ruths Chris and McDonalds are not exactllllllllly the same.....and I admit to loving Ruth Chris potatoes

                                        2. tcamp Mar 21, 2011 09:34 AM

                                          I too am not much of a chain eater but I confess to having searched the internet several times for Perfect Pita's Navy Bean soup recipe. I love that stuff - perfect cheap lunch at work when I'm tired of brown-bagging it.

                                          1. BobB Mar 21, 2011 09:52 AM

                                            Hmmm... cat recipes..... no wonder they have to publish it as a Secret Copy. ;-)

                                            Now we know what the chains REALLY serve!

                                            1. Sensuous Mar 24, 2011 05:29 PM

                                              http://dozenflours.com/2009/04/better...
                                              This Starbucks lemon poundcake copycat recipe is now on my to-bake list after reading about it here on Chowhound. I can't wait to try it!
                                              I have made a Panera Bread broccoli soup copycat recipe many times and it is great!

                                              1. DiveFan Oct 10, 2011 03:35 PM

                                                FWIW, the CMT channel (!) has dared to go into non-competition food related shows where FN now fears to tread. No need to spend $$ on a book or time surfing the I-net for recipes :-).

                                                The host of ' Top Secret Recipe' attempts to recreate trade secret recipes in his mobile kitchen.
                                                Web site at cmt.com: http://www.cmt.com/show/top_secret_re...

                                                I've only seen the first epi on the KFC fried chicken recipe. Not a fried chicken fanatic, but that pressure deep frying looked interesting and dangerous .... OTOH the 'judges' were all from the Colonel's home town of Corbin, TN. Can you say 'product placement'?

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: DiveFan
                                                  p
                                                  pine time Oct 11, 2011 01:44 PM

                                                  I certainly could be wrong, but as a Kentuckian, I believe the Colonel hailed from Corbin, KY.

                                                  1. re: pine time
                                                    Sensuous Oct 11, 2011 02:01 PM

                                                    "Kentucky" Fried Chicken.

                                                  2. re: DiveFan
                                                    DiveFan Oct 11, 2011 04:11 PM

                                                    Oops, don't know how my fingers typed That ....

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