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When the holidays roll around, we love the creamy-eggy goodness of deviled eggs. And since today is one of those off-the-wall, unofficial holidays (Deviled Egg Day), we thought we would share a few tips and recipe with you.
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Since the main ingredients in deviled eggs are usually mayo and egg yolk, this food doesn’t usually win any awards for being light. But here at Cooking Light we love to take on any challenge of making delicious foods light, so why would be stop at deviled eggs?
Put these recipes on the docket for this holiday season, they are lighter than traditional deviled eggs, but still just as tasty.
1. This Creole Deviled Eggs recipe uses reduced-fat Greek yogurt and cream cheese instead of mayo. Spiced up with creole spices and southern veggies, this is sure to be a hit.2. What’s the secret ingredient here with these Shrimp and Bacon Deviled Eggs? Potato flakes! They help give the filling a creamy taste, and helps cut back some of the mayo. Shrimp and bacon make the yum factor up a few notches.3. What could be more perfect for a brunch get-together than these Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Herbs? Light sour cream and chives make the filling delish, and light – of course.4. And if the traditionalists, we have out classic Deviled Eggs, with all of the home-style glory that comes with this dish. Don’t miss out on these for Holiday family gatherings.
Celebrate Easter by hosting family and friends for a spectacular brunch. No mid-morning meal is complete without a crowd-friendly egg dish, and the Easter Frittata with Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Spring Herbs that's pictured here absolutely fits the bill. But a frittata isn't the only way to serve this much-loved protein at your holiday brunch. There are a number of other tasty, inspired ways to serve eggs for Easter. Start your celebration with one of the most basic (but delicious) recipes: Classic Deviled Eggs get a pop of color for Easter with turmeric and beets two separate batches cook in the natural-dyed water, which tints the whites unexpected shades of yellow and pink. Top your eggs with a ramp pesto or a beet-horseradish mixture for an unexpected hit of flavor.
Another must-have dish for Easter brunch is a heaping plate of scrambled eggs. The key to getting eggs that are soft and creamy is to cook them in a nonstick pan over very low heat. While this method may be a little more time consuming than you're used to, the result is fluffy curds. Who knew that such a simple egg dish could be so impressive?
Of course, we're including several recipes that are a step above the rest&mdashand are surprisingly easy to prepare too! To avoid having too many dishes to wash at the end of the day, stick to a one-pan meal such as this vegetarian Sheet Pan Vegetable Hash with Eggs. It's chock-full of seasonal vegetables and is easy to serve alongside breakfast potatoes, mixed berries, and mimosas. A casual, easy brunch recipe for a larger group are Egg Sandwiches for a Crowd our trick is to make them in one big baking dish. The entire mixture&mdasheggs, cream, cheese, and shredded turkey&mdashis whisked together, baked, and sliced into individual servings.
From frittatas to eggs Florentine, these egg recipes for Easter brunch are perfect for feeding a crowd.
Heat olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Saute shallots until softened. Stir in onion and bacon, and cook until bacon is evenly browned. Stir in garlic when bacon is about half done. Remove from heat.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain pasta, then return it to the pot.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cream, and shredded Parmesan. Pour the bacon mixture over the pasta, then stir in the cream mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Brownies were what got me started with this whole love of duck eggs so it is only natural to start here. My student prefers to use a store bought mix to make her brownies. It does help from understanding the difference in taste since everything else should be the same but I will always prefer scratch over a boxed mix!
The taste really is fudgier and is perfect right out of the oven. Combine it with coffee or chocolate and it is ideal for a rainy day treat.
I found this recipe and altered it – instead of using four eggs, I used two duck eggs.
This was the second recipe I had to try after making sure that it was okay to eat duck eggs. Despite the richer flavor of the egg, the lack of sugar in this recipe means that it is not as sweet. I think it makes for a better tasting custard and your sugar levels will not spike!
Maybe you are after the sweeter version that is thought about when Christmas rolls around. The addition of nutmeg makes this custard even more of a simple delight. If you are okay with a little sugar spike, then give this recipe a try. Be sure to let me know which one of the two you prefer!
I personally would not have thought of this however, when an owner/chef of a five-star restaurant recommends a duck egg over a hamburger in a manner that makes your mouth water, you do not second guess him.
Make the egg over medium (yolk runny and whites done) and cook the burger the way that you normally would. Add the egg to the top of the meat and cheese on top, if desired. I dare say… it tastes as good as he made it sound when recommending it to us.
Since we are on the topic of great meats that pair well with eggs, steak and eggs should be something that we eat during a time in which we can really savor it. I prefer to have it on the weekend in the winter time. Things seem to be a little calmer during the winter and I can fully embrace the perfect combination of tastes.
Naturally, substitute the four eggs for two or decide to enjoy the larger egg as a part of the meal.
Going above and beyond the article‘s recommendation, in the winter months, I can grab a coffee ale from my local brewery. The coffee ale washes this weekend morning breakfast down perfectly.
If you are more of a potato person, then this should be right up your alley. The great aspect of this recipe is that you could tweak it to what you like, omitting the shallots and adding peppers or whatever you prefer.
I am a big supporter of taking a recipe and tweaking it. I would make this in a heartbeat for my husband who really enjoys a good hash recipe.
Thankfully for those of us who are not as big of fans of potatoes (like me), this recipe has duck eggs – which means the eggs are large enough so the taste doesn’t feel submerged with potatoes. It is, honestly, a nice blend of the two.
Pasta is super simple to make and this recipe makes it seem that much easier. And fresh pasta tastes so different than what is bought at the store. Dare I say, it was a life-changing moment for me when, at the age of fifteen, I tried my grandmother’s homemade noodles at Thanksgiving. Why had she and my mother been hiding this secret all my life?
I highly recommend a breadboard if you have one as it helps you with clean up.
I just want to throw it out there that the ingredients the author of this recipe advises with the pasta, makes me want to make a batch right now!
This recipe probably seems so simple but boiled eggs are good for so many different recipes and my girls will eat them by themselves.
My personal favorite boiled egg recipe is egg salad. You know, the kind with mayonnaise on toasted wheat bread.
Other recipes that call for boiled eggs include deviled eggs, salad nicoise, and smoked salmon and egg sandwich.
Poached eggs are sometimes deemed as too hard to make but with practice, they become easier and easier.
The taste of a poached egg alone makes the practice worth it. Much richer in flavor than an over medium egg, it still gives the runny yolk that goes perfectly with toast.
This recipe adds in whipping cream and chives which makes it that much more delicate tasting. Combine the recipe with some fresh vegetables from the garden and I’m convinced we have a winner!
Quiche is one of my daughters’ favorite breakfast foods and to get my picky eaters excited about something I enjoy, always gets me excited.
The flaky crust combined with the eggs and whatever ingredient you want to add in makes for a delectable main dish.
My girls request bacon and cheese while I prefer to add vegetables, such as mushrooms and onions as well. Whatever you choose to add to this recipe, be sure to savor every bite!
I tweaked this recipe a bit by using light olive oil. Extra virgin, which most people hear about, is really strong, but light olive oil is lighter in taste (hence, the name) and makes for a wonderful mayonnaise.
Also, he talks about whisking that and I recommend letting the food processor do the whisking while you just slowly pour in the olive oil!
He also goes one for one on chicken vs. duck egg but notes that you don’t get the great taste of the duck egg if you substitute. All I can say is it will turn out differently. I do recommend a lot of tweaking of his recipe but no matter what, homemade mayonnaise is worth the effort.
If brownies become fudgier, imagine what it can do for cookies!
One of the first articles that I read on duck egg usage had a person recommend sugar cookies as a recipe. Even better is chocolate chip cookies. I like my cookies to be a little less on the chocolate and a little more on the cookie. Add some pecans to the mix for an extra crunch of goodness.
No matter how you like them, chocolate chip cookies pretty much sell themselves. Perfect for a snack after work or school, dessert, or well, anytime. These extra fudgy cookies will disappear very quickly!
We all know what sponge cake pairs well with – whipped cream and strawberries! I grew up with the round ones from Walmart and the taste reminded me of cardboard… YUCK! So when I was able to make sponge cake on my own, I was shocked by how light and fluffy the cake was when homemade.
That was amped when I made this recipe and I will never go back. I prefer everything else the way it was made for my summers – with strawberries that had been sitting on the counter soaking up the sugar for a couple of hours and a dollop of fresh whipping cream.
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Whip up the most delicious morning meal with these sweet and savory brunch recipes.
The best way to soak up the weekend is with a family breakfast loaded with your favorite dishes. And while we can obviously all get behind meeting for quick breakfasts, lunch or easy dinner recipes, our best brunch ideas might just make the breakfast-lunch hybrid your new favorite meal of the day. (After all, there's no other time you can stack bacon, eggs and a burger on your plate all at once.)
Whether you favor Mexican-inspired breakfast fare or sky-high piles of Southern comfort food, these sweet and savory recipes can't be beat. Want stacks of pancakes? Got 'em. Easy egg recipes? They're here, too. All you need to do is mix some mimosas, set the table and decide which brunch option deserves a spot on your plate &mdash and we won't judge if you decide it's more than one . or three. And for even more delicious ways to start your day, check out these recipes.
These cucumber and feta rolls are the light and refreshing Easter recipe you’ve been looking for.
In a bowl, mix together the feta, tomatoes, oregano, yogurt, lemon juice, and pepper. Scoop a small portion of the mixture and roll it into a cucumber slice. So easy!
Start your day right by making bunny pancakes. You can add banana slices, raspberry, jam, choco chips, or any sweet topping your babies love for plating decor.
There are easy Easter recipes you can serve for brunch and/or dinner. Take this roasted red pepper and baked egg galettes for example—its combination of roasted vegetables and baked galettes make it such a versatile dish!
Have this puffy pastry for Easter breakfast or brunch:
I wouldn’t mind having these caramel egg-stuffed Easter croissants for breakfast every day. Or, maybe, I would—they’re filled with chocolate.
But for Easter, I can make an exception.
Here’s how to make these: put some Cadbury caramel eggs inside a roll of dough, bake, and voila! You have the sweetest Easter croissants.
Deviled eggs are a classic favorite you can serve on your Easter table feast. But if you’re aiming to catch attention, you can add a touch of Easter color to them:
Here’s a slightly healthy Easter recipe: bunny-shaped carrot cinnamon rolls with cream cheese.
To make them, unroll some of the cinnamon rolls and use them to make the rest of the batch look like cute Easter bunnies. Use raisins for the eyes and nose and almonds for their teeth!
Among these easy Easter recipes, this hash brown, spinach, and tomato pie contains the most energy.
Just saute some spinach, garlic, and tomatoes in olive oil, place them on a crust made of potatoes, and pour over the egg mixture. Once the pie is baked, sprinkle some mozzarella and enjoy!
This dish takes an entire night to prepare, but it’s worth it.
Since eggs are a staple of Easter recipes, what better way to celebrate Easter than by taking your eggs Benedict to the next level? The secret to this recipe is the use of English muffins.
They are topped with spinach, which is in turn topped with crab meat. With this as the bed of your eggs Benedict, your guests might just never leave the dining table.
This lamb rack will be the star of your Easter dinner. Roast it with Harissa and an herb pistachio crust and serve it with caramelized onions to change the game!
Tender meat wrapped with perfectly-cooked bacon? Heaven.
To get a taste of this heavenly dish, make sure you use quality meat and make your glaze just the way you want it. Be precise when baking in the oven!
If you’ve always wanted to add a twist to your Easter recipes, then this Coca-Cola-glazed ham is the dish to make.
There are secrets to great easy Easter recipes, and for this one, it’s the perfect combination of soy sauce, balsamic vinaigrette, water, and brown sugar in the overnight marinate. Absolutely mouth-watering!
These smashed potatoes are certainly a smash hit among these Easter recipes!
A good braised beef brisket is really hard to pull off, but not if you do it with this guide. The red wine and two-step cooking process (baking and broiling) guarantee your beef brisket is moist and flavorful.
A rich casserole made with corn, bacon, butter, and cheese—what more could you ask for? This dish was made for an Easter feast!
Make sure to bake a second batch because this will be a crowd favorite.
If Easter recipes are meant to celebrate life, then you have to serve invigorating pan-seared brussels sprouts. They’re easy to make:
Easter recipes must be able to accommodate a variety of diets. You can never be too sure of what your guests are into.
Make a mixture of lemon, thyme, rosemary, garlic, and ghee to marinate your organic chicken in. Roast the chicken for about an hour and serve with a slice of lemon.
What’s an Italian Easter pie? Well, it’s just ricotta, pepperoni, soppressata, salami, mozzarella and two more kinds of cheese baked into one huge mouth-watering pie! No guest, no matter what diet he or she is on, will be able to resist this Easter recipe.
Here’s something to warm the tummies of your family and visitors before the main course is served. The soup, veggies, and meat are all up to you.
Another Italian dish for Easter because why not? They certainly know how to eat.
For this tortellini Bianco, you’ll need a sauce made of melted butter, cream, mushroom, and garlic. Add some ham for some light meat. Make sure to cook your tortellini al dente.
A classic side dish should always be included in Easter side dish recipes. And here’s my secret: the best macaroni salad is a combination of mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, and pickle juice in which your perfectly cooked elbow macaroni will be swimming.
The light, warm weather of spring requires Easter recipes to have cool drinks like this white Riesling sangria.
Simply put all the fruits into individual glasses, pour the Riesling, and let them sit in the fridge for 20 hours. When it’s time to serve them, add frozen grapes on each glass.
Floating bunnies in a martini? Just the right kind of humor and whim everyone needs on a fun Easter celebration.
Include this peek-a-boo martini in the Easter recipes you’ll be making to blow away your guests.
Who doesn’t love a good slice of cake? I don’t know anyone.
I guess that’s the reason why most homes have their own set of Easter cake recipes, including Bugs’ favorite.
Make this strawberry basil sorbet bellini for your Easter gathering or, well, any time you feel like it. All you need to do is make a strawberry puree, sugar syrup, and procure some sorbet.
The drinks on our list of Easter recipes are indeed for grown-ups, but this boozy Cadbury creme egg milkshake can be made for kids too—just make a milkshake without the booze!
A pastel-colored smoothie certainly belongs on a list of fantastic Easter recipes! If the taste of three fruits combined into a milky and fruity Easter egg smoothie doesn’t satisfy your Easter cravings, I don’t know what will.
Smooth, thick, and creamy cheesecakes are just irresistible. And if you’re a fan of extreme tastes, the sweet, sour, and salty combination of lemon and cheese in this Easter cake recipe will capture your taste buds.
A cocktail that looks like cotton is the perfect representation of Easter celebrations. This recipe features coconut rum and whipped vodka, plus coconut shavings or stick and marshmallow for garnish.
Cake, cake, and more cake! I love them, and they bring life to every party.
We love them for dessert, and children want only them. So, here’s more: a classic favorite with festivity and youth spirit sprinkled all over it.
Nothing says Easter better than eggs. Top your delicious chocolate milkshake with Robin’s eggs, and I’m sure everyone will have a delightful time chilling.
We’re closing off this list with two more Easter-inspired cocktail drinks. For this one, you need Easter bunny chocolates that are hollow in the center, some Jackson Morgan Whiskey, and peppermint. That’s it!
This cocktail is the sister of the tomato-based drink, Bloody Mary. So this might just be something you serve to cure a hangover post-Easter party.
Or, you can just serve it after dinner, when everyone’s chit-chatting or already feeling a little hazy.
Because Easter is all about celebrating life and rebirth, I think it’s only fitting we strive to make the occasion special through the best Easter recipes. Food and drinks give us life every day after all.
I hope you were able to fill your Easter menu with the help of this list, and I hope you share photos on social media later on. Do tag @homemaderecipesofficial!
Which of these easy Easter recipes are you planning to include on your Easter feast? Let us know in the comments below!
Don’t forget to keep in touch, foodies! You can also WRITE FOR US and share your delectable recipes!
Also, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter!
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
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.
Includes eight (8) 79¢ recipes of your choice each month!
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Includes eight (8) 79¢ recipes of your choice each month!
Getting a table at the 123-year-old original Rao’s restaurant in New York City is next to impossible. The tables are “owned” by regulars who schedule their meals months in advance, so every table is full every night, and that’s the way it’s been for the last 38 years. The only way an outsider would get to taste the restaurant’s fresh marinara sauce is to be invited by a regular.
If that isn’t in the stars for you, you could buy a bottle of the sauce at your local market (if they even have it). It won't be fresh, and it's likely to be the most expensive sauce in the store, but it still has that great Rao's taste. An even better solution is to copy the sauce for yourself using this new and very easy hack.
The current co-owner of Rao’s, Frank Pellegrino Jr., told Bon Appetit in 2015 that the famous marinara sauce was created by his grandmother many years ago, and the sauce you buy in stores is the same recipe served in his restaurants. The ingredients are common, but correctly choosing the main ingredient—tomatoes—is important. Try to find San Marzano-style whole canned tomatoes, preferably from Italy. They are a little more expensive than typical canned tomatoes, but they will give you some great sauce.
After 30 minutes of cooking, you’ll end up with about the same amount of sauce as in a large jar of the real thing. Your version will likely be just a little bit brighter and better than the bottled stuff, thanks to the fresh ingredients. But now you can eat it anytime you want, with no reservations, at a table you own.
You might also like my #1 recipe of 2019, Texas Roadhouse Rolls.
I never thought dinner rolls were something I could get excited about until I got my hand into the breadbasket at Texas Roadhouse. The rolls are fresh out of the oven and they hit the table when you do, so there’s no waiting to tear into a magnificently gooey sweet roll topped with soft cinnamon butter. The first bite you take will make you think of a fresh cinnamon roll, and then you can’t stop eating it. And when the first roll’s gone, you are powerless to resist grabbing for just one more. But it’s never just one more. It’s two or three more, plus a few extra to take home for tomorrow.
Discovering the secret to making rolls at home that taste as good as the real ones involved making numerous batches of dough, each one sweeter than the last (sweetened with sugar, not honey—I checked), until a very sticky batch, proofed for 2 hours, produced exactly what I was looking for. You can make the dough with a stand mixer or a handheld one, the only difference being that you must knead the dough by hand without a stand mixer. When working with the dough add a little bit of flour at a time to keep it from sticking, and just know that the dough will be less sticky and more workable after the first rise.
Roll the dough out and measure it as specified here, and after a final proofing and a quick bake—plus a generous brushing of butter on the tops—you will produce dinner rolls that look and taste just like the best rolls I’ve had at any famous American dinner chain.
Crafting a clone of Olive Garden’s signature Lasagna Classico became the perfect opportunity to create a beautiful multi-layered lasagna hack recipe that uses up the whole box of lasagna noodles and fills the baking pan all the way to the top. This Top Secret Recipe makes a lasagna that tips the scale at nearly 10 pounds and will feed hungry mouths for days, with every delicious layer copied directly from the carefully dissected Olive Garden original.
I found a few credible bits of intel in a video of an Olive Garden chef demonstrating what he claims is the real formula on a midday news show, but the recipe was abbreviated for TV and the chef left out some crucial information. One ingredient he conspicuously left out of the recipe is the secret layer of Cheddar cheese located near the middle of the stack. I wasn’t expecting to find Cheddar in lasagna, but when I carefully separated the layers from several servings of the original dish, there was the golden melted cheesy goodness in every slice.
This clone recipe will make enough for 8 big portions, but if you make slightly smaller slices this is easily enough food to fill twelve lasagna-loving bellies. If you like lasagna, you're going to love this version.
Browse my other Olive Garden clone recipes here.
This 220-unit downscaled version of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro targets the lunch crowd with a smaller menu that features bento boxes, bowls, and small plates. The bestseller on the menu is this orange chicken, which I have to say is pretty damn good orange chicken. Obviously, a clone is needed for this one, stat.
The name “Wei Better Orange Chicken” is a competitive callout to Panda Express's signature orange chicken, which is made with pre-breaded and frozen chicken. Pei Wei claims its orange chicken is prepared each day from scratch with chicken that is never frozen, so we’ll craft our clone the same way. But rather than assemble the dish in a wok over a high-flame fast stove like they do at the restaurant, we’ll prepare the sauce and chicken separately, then toss them with fresh orange wedges just before serving.
By the way, this dish goes very well with white or brown rice, so don’t forget to make some.
A popular staple of any Chinese chain is the fried rice so it better be good, and the version served at Panda Express most certainly is. Here's an easy hack when you need a stress-free, low-cost side for your entrées. But I do suggest that you cook the white rice several hours or even a day or two before you plan to make the finished dish. I found that the cooked rice called for in this recipe works best when it's cold.
As for a shortcut, bagged frozen peas and carrots will save you from the hassle of petite-dicing carrots since the carrots in those bags are the perfect size to produce an identical clone. And they're already cooked.
Now, how about some Honey Walnut Shrimp, or Beijing Beef to go with that rice? Find all my Panda Express copycat recipes here.
A recipe for Portuguese sweet bread inspired the soft rolls that became a big hit at Robert Tiara's Bakery & Restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii in the 1950s. It wasn’t long before Robert changed the name of his thriving business to King’s Hawaiian, and in 1977 the company opened its first bakery on the mainland, in Torrance, California, to make the now-famous island sweet rolls sold in stores across the U.S.
King’s Hawaiian Rolls are similar to Texas Roadhouse Rolls in that they are both pillowy, sweet white rolls, so it made sense to dig out my Texas Roadhouse Rolls clone recipe and use it as a starting point. These new rolls had to be slightly softer and sweeter, so I made some adjustments and added a little egg for color. And by baking the dough in a high-rimmed baking pan with 24 dough balls placed snugly together, I ended up with beautiful rolls that rose nicely to the occasion, forming a tear-apart loaf just like the original, but with clean ingredients, and without the dough conditioners found in the packaged rolls.
Use these fluffy sweet rolls for sandwiches, sliders, or simply warmed up and slathered with soft European butter.
This recipe was our #3 most popular in 2020. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes for the year: Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce (#1), Olive Garden Lasagna Classico (#2), Pei Wei Better Orange Chicken (#4), Chipotle Mexican Grill Carnitas (#5).
Braised and shredded pork shoulder is a staple of Mexican cuisine that Chipotle prepares with a simple blend of flavors, and a surprising ingredient you may not have expected: juniper berries. Once you track those down (they’re easy to find online), the berries are combined with thyme and bay leaves in a braising liquid that will transform your own pork roast into an easily shreddable thing of beauty in under 3 hours. Then you can use your freshly cloned carnitas on tacos, in burritos, or in a bowl over rice and beans just like they do in the restaurant.
When picking your pork roast, try to find one without too much fat. If your roast has a thick cap of fat on it, trim off the excess. You want some fat in your braising liquid, but if the cap of fat is too thick, it may not fully render down and you’ll get chunks of fat in the shred.
It’s often assumed that the pork butt is from the rear end of the pig, even though cuts from the back region already have a name: ham. The pork butt, also known as a Boston butt, is cut from the other end, the upper shoulder of the pig. It’s called a “butt” because in pre-Revolutionary War New England the roasts were stored and transported in barrels called “butts”, and the confusing name stuck.
The Southern-themed chain famous for its gift shops filled with made-in-America products and delicious homestyle food is also known to have a particularly good meatloaf. This dish ranks high in popularity, right up there with the Chicken ‘n Dumplins and the Hash Brown Casserole, so a good hack is long overdue.
Making meatloaf is easy. What’s hard is making it taste like the meatloaf at Cracker Barrel which is tender and juicy, and flavored with onion, green pepper, and tomato. I sought to turn out a moist and tender loaf of meat, and one that’s not dry and tough, but my first attempts were much too dense. I wasn’t happy about that, but my dog was thrilled.
After playing around with the eggs-to-breadcrumbs-to-milk ratios and being careful to use gentle hands when combining everything and pressing it into the loaf pan, the final batch was a winner and I get to pass it along to you.
It's best to use a meatloaf pan here which has an insert that lets the fat drip to the bottom, away from the meat. A regular loaf pan will still work, but you’ll want to pour off the fat in the pan before slicing.
Satisfy your Cracker Barrel cravings with more of my copycat recipes here.
There are many acceptable ways to formulate good queso, but to make this specific queso the ingredients must be correct, and most copycat recipes seem to get it wrong. A few recipes get one of the peppers and two of the cheeses right, but pretty much every recipe out there is a bit of a mess that I will now save you from.
Quesos can be made with a variety of cheeses that include queso fresco, asadero, and Muenster, but this particular queso includes a cheese you probably didn’t expect: Swiss. That cheese is slow to melt, so we’ll shred it first, along with the Jack. And you won't need to gum up the queso with flour or cornstarch by making a roux because the white American cheese in the mix contains sodium citrate or sodium phosphate—additives that help the cheese melt smoothly and stay that way.
Authors of recipes that call for tomatoes in this dish haven’t looked closely. Those are red bell peppers and they are roasted, peeled, and seeded along with the poblano and jalapenos before they are diced and added to the cheese sauce. The sauce cooks on low heat, never bubbling, so that it stays smooth and creamy.
When done, the queso might seem thin in the pan, but it will thicken as it cools to a perfect consistency for dipping tortilla chips, or as a topping for tacos and burrito bowls.
Here’s a hack that might help when you feel like doing something special with those steaks in the fridge. Or maybe you have salmon fillets in there? Doesn’t matter, this recipe works great on both. And it also makes a great pasta sauce.
The secret Toowoomba sauce is a variation on alfredo sauce that Outback served over pasta at one time. These days the sauce is only used to top steak and salmon at the restaurant, but you can also use it on just about any type of pasta.
In my early batches of the sauce, I noticed that if the shrimp are added at the beginning they get too tough. To solve that problem, I sautéed the seasoned shrimp separately, then added them closer to the end, and they came out perfect.
Spoon this clone of the Toowoomba sauce over grilled tenderloin filets (or salmon filets) for an easy way to elevate your entrée. This recipe will make enough for four servings.
If you love Outback Steakhouse, check out my other clone recipes here.
Korean chicken is famous for its extra crispy coating, and Bonchon’s recipe—especially the wings—is one of the best in the world. That chain's famous formula is why there are now over 340 Bonchon outlets in nine countries, including over one hundred in the US and more planned to open here in the near future.
The biggest challenge when recreating Korean chicken wings is finding the perfect magical mixture for the batter that fries to a golden brown, and with tender crispiness that stays crunchy long after the wings have been brushed with the flavorful glaze.
I knew that a traditional double-frying technique would help create the crunchy coating we needed, but it would take some trial-and-error to determine the best time splits. The wings are par-fried, rested, then fried again until done, but just how long to give each stage was yet to be determined since every recipe I found for Korean chicken used different times and temps. Some recipes even changed the temperature between frying steps, but I found those made the recipe too difficult to manage when frying multiple batches.
I eventually settled on 350 degrees F with most of the frying done up front in the par-fry stage. A three-ingredient batter is all that’s needed for crispy golden-brown wings, and the soy garlic sauce is an easy hack that’s made quickly in your microwave oven. The spicy version is made by adding Korean red chili paste (gochujang) and Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru) to the soy garlic recipe. You can find these ingredients at Asian markets or online, and if you like your wings spicy you'll want to add these perky ingredients.
Click here for more delicious appetizer recipes.
Imagine a giant soft sugar cookie with sweetened cream cheese on top and served warm as if it just came out of the oven and you have California Pizza Kitchen's Butter Cake, a delectable dessert described on the menu with five simple words: “Trust us…just try it.”
This dessert is an easy one to prep in the restaurant since the cakes are made ahead of time and chilled until ordered. Once an order comes in the cake is zapped for a minute in the microwave, then topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and surrounded by dollops of whipped cream. You can prepare yours this way at home as well—make your cakes in advance, then chill them until dessert time. Or, you can serve the cakes right after they come out of the oven. Either way works.
The construction is an easy one—you’ll need four 4-inch cake pans, or ramekins, or anything you can bake in that is 4-inches across. To make the batter I used a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and it worked great, but a hand-held granny mixer also works.
I think you're gonna love this one. Trust me. just hack it.
Find more amazing CPK copycat recipes here.
Over a century ago, Detroit, Michigan became the Coney Island chili dog capital of the world, even though Coney Island is nowhere near there. Greek immigrants who entered the U.S. through Ellis Island adapted a recipe for the hot dogs they ate while visiting Coney Island, New York, on their way to the Midwest. When they settled in southern Michigan, many opened restaurants to sell their clones of the food they ate when they first got to America, turning New York-style Coney Dogs into a Midwest phenomenon.
Two of the most famous Coney Island restaurants in Detroit are Lafayette Coney Island and its next-door neighbor, American Coney Island. The two buildings were originally one building with a single restaurant inside, built by brothers Gus and Bill Keros in 1915. But somewhere along the way the brothers had a falling out and split the restaurant in half, right down the middle, and it stayed that way. Today, the two Coney Island restaurants are under different ownership, but they still remain next-door rivals.
I decided the best Coney dog to hack is from American Coney Island, not only because of the restaurant’s deep history, but also because I was able to order the chili dogs shipped to my house in a kit. That’s always good news, since shipped foods must list ingredients, and I get to see exactly what’s in the chili. Built the traditional way, a typical Detroit Coney Island chili dog features a natural-casing hot dog in a soft white bun, smothered in chili sauce, drizzled with mustard, and topped with a pile of diced sweet onion. The kit came with everything I needed, including the tub of chili with clearly-labeled ingredients that I was counting on.
With the help of that information, I was able to create a thick, flavorful chili sauce that you can use on your favorite hot dogs to make a delicious clone. Crushed soda crackers thicken the chili, and extra beef fat adds a smooth quality that mimics the famous 100-year-old recipe.
The chili must simmer for four hours to properly tenderize the meat, so plan your Coney dog cloning adventure accordingly.
And now if you're craving French fries, try my Mcdonald's Fries copycat recipe here.
For many years this entree has been a top menu choice at Maggiano's, the 54-unit Italian chain from Brinker, the same company that operates Chili’s Grill & Bar. The $30 restaurant dish consists of three 2½-ounce tenderloin steaks, swimming in a fantastic balsamic cream sauce with sliced portobello mushrooms—but a home version of the signature dish is only seven easy steps away, and it won't hit you in the wallet as hard as the pricey original.
Cracking this dish required a perfect hack of the sauce, and that came quickly after obtaining some very reliable information from my incredibly helpful server/informant at a Las Vegas Maggiano’s. Let’s call him Skippy.
According to Skippy, the balsamic cream sauce is as simple as mixing a sweet balsamic glaze with the chain’s creamy alfredo sauce. So, I first got a sample of Maggiano’s alfredo sauce and figured out how to replicate it. Once that was done, I measured increments of balsamic glaze into the alfredo sauce until the color and flavor matched the original. The rest of the recipe was easy.
This recipe will make two servings of the dish and includes preparation for the tenderloins and sauce. If you’d like to complete the dish the way it’s served at the restaurant (as in the photo), add some garlic mashed potatoes on the side, using my hack for Olive Garden Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
The barbecue at Jim N' Nick's is good food. But it's the irresistible mini cheese biscuits served with every meal that have become the signature specialty of this 40-store chain. The sweet little biscuits are made from scratch every day at each restaurant using the same wholesome ingredients I'm including here.
A bag of dry mix can be purchased at the restaurant, but you’re still required to add eggs, butter, cheese, and milk, so why not just make the whole thing from scratch? It's much cheaper than buying the bag of mix, and the biscuits come out better when you use fresh buttermilk rather than relying on the powdered buttermilk included in the dry mix.
Use a mini muffin pan here to make your biscuits the same size as the originals or use a standard muffin pan, if that's all you've got, for bigger muffins. It will take a little longer to cook the larger biscuits (instructions are below), but they will still turn out as addictively delicious as the famous tiny restaurant originals.
Now, what's for dinner? Find recipes your favorite entrees here.
Samuel Bath Thomas immigrated from England to New York City and opened his first bakery there in 1880. That is where Thomas created skillet bread that would one day become the famous muffins known for their craggy texture when split in half. This hack for Thomas’ English Muffins uses a special kneading process to give the muffins the "nooks and crannies" they are famous for, making craters in the finished bread to better hold on to melted butter and jam.
I have seen several recipes that claim to re-create these muffins, but none produce the large air pockets that a proper clone requires, in addition to great flavor and a perfectly cooked interior. To ensure proper nooks and crannies and muffins that are cooked all the way through, I've included some important steps.
The dough you'll make here is like a ciabatta dough in that it is very wet. So rather than kneading the dough, you stretch and fold it over several times on a well-oiled surface. Then, when the portioned-out dough has proofed on baking sheets for another 1½ to 2 hours, you par-bake the muffins.
After baking, the muffins are cooked on a griddle or in a pan until dark brown on both sides, then they must cool. This is the hardest part. The muffins will be too soft to open for at least four hours, and now you have to fight off the temptation to eat one. It’s hard, I know. The muffins smell great and you’ve waited all this time, but resist for now and your patience will be rewarded.
When the muffins have had their rest, split them with a fork and toast them as you would any English muffin.
Check out all my top secret recipes for famous bread here.
Menu Description: “Creamy potato soup topped with melted cheese, bacon, and green onions.”
It’s not called baked potato soup because the potatoes in it are baked. It’s called baked potato soup because it’s topped with shredded cheese, bacon, and green onion, and it tastes like a baked potato. Other hacky hacks for this recipe miss that point and add over an hour to the preparation process by preheating an oven and baking the potatoes, all while hungry stomachs are growling on the sidelines. My version skips that part by adding the raw potatoes directly into the pot with the other ingredients, where they cook in 20 minutes, and the soup is ready to eat in less time than other recipes take just to get the potatoes done.
Also, other clones add way too much flour to thicken the soup—¾ cup! Sure, flour is good at thickening, but it doesn’t add any flavor, so I found a better way. I ended up using just a little flour to make the roux, then later thickening the soup mostly with dehydrated potato flakes, which are usually used to make quick mashed potatoes. The flakes not only do a great job of thickening the soup, but they also add more delicious potato flavor to the pot.
Top your finished soup with shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, and green onion, and every spoonful will taste like a fully loaded baked potato.
Finish off your meal with a famous entrée from Outback like Alice Springs Chicken, or Toowoomba Steak.
To get their Extra Crispy Chicken so crispy KFC breads the chicken two times. This double breading gives the chicken its ultra craggy exterior and extra crunch, which is a different texture than the less crispy Original Recipe Chicken that’s breaded just once and pressure fried.
As with my KFC Original Recipe hack, we must first brine the chicken to give it flavor and moisture all the way through, like the real thing, then the chicken is double breaded and deep fried until golden brown. KFC uses small chickens which cook faster, but small chickens can be hard to find. If your chicken parts are on the large side, they may not cook all the way through in the 12 to 15 minutes of frying I’m specifying here. To be sure your chicken is cooked, start frying with the thickest pieces, like the breasts, then park them in a 300-degree oven while you finish with the smaller pieces. This will keep the chicken warm and crispy, and more importantly, ensure that they are cooked perfectly all the way through.
On my CMT show Top Secret Recipe I chatted with Winston Shelton, a long-time friend of KFC founder Harland Sanders. Winston saw the Colonel's handwritten secret recipe for the Original Recipe chicken, and he told me one of the secret ingredients is Tellicherry black pepper. It's a more expensive, better-tasting black pepper that comes from the Malabar coast in India, and you should use it here if you can find it. Winston pulled me aside and whispered this secret to me when he thought we were off-camera, but our microphones and very alert cameramen caught the whole thing, and we aired it.
I first published this hack in Even More Top Secret Recipes, but recently applied some newly acquired secrets and tips to make this much-improved version of one of the most familiar fried chicken recipes in the world.
This recipe was our #2 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1), Olive Garden Braised Beef Bolognese (#3), Pizzeria Uno Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (#4), Bush's Country Style Baked Beans (#5).
KFC's Chicken Pot Pie is a classic. It's packed with lots of shredded white and dark meat chicken, potatoes, peas, and carrots all of it swimming in a delicious creamy gravy and topped with a tantalizing flakey crust. It seems more like homemade food than fast food. And now it can be made at home better than ever before with this improved hack of my original recipe. The crust now has a better flavor (more butter!), and the gravy tastes closer to the original with the addition of more spices.
You can make these in ramekins or small oven-safe baking dishes, or get some recyclable aluminum pot pie pans you can find in many supermarkets. Those pans are the perfect size for four single servings, and they make cleanup easy after the feast.
Find more of my KFC copycat recipes here.
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.
The real Dole Whip is a non-dairy dessert that includes artificial flavoring, a small amount of real pineapple juice, and more gums than a candy store. Everything in this Hawaiian ice cream is combined in a powdered form including the pineapple juice in 4.4-pound bags that are sold to soft-serve machine operators at fairs, sporting events, and amusement parks. On the back of the Dole Whip mix are instructions to dissolve the powder in 2 gallons of cold tap water, then immediately pour the syrup into a soft serve machine and hit the switch.
Up until now, almost all recipes that claim to reproduce Dole Whip—including one shared by Disneyland during the coronavirus outbreak—include ice cream, to make what is supposed to be a "non-dairy" dessert one that is quite full of dairy. The results you get from these recipes may be tasty, but they are nothing like Dole Whip because Dole Whip is sorbet and sorbet isn't made with ice cream.
One thing that makes Dole Whip special is its creamy consistency, which may lead some people to believe it has dairy in it. Dole Whip creates this thickness with the assistance of six different natural gums and gels: cellulose gum, xanthan gum, locust bean gum, guar gum, karaya gum, and pectin. In addition, there is a small amount of coconut fat solids in the mix to help simulate the fat found in dairy.
For this hack, I limited the gels to two that are easy to find: unflavored gelatin and pectin. When these two ingredients are heated, then cooled, they form a gel similar to what’s in the real Dole Whip, and the result is a thick-and-creamy consistency. Another trick often used to help thicken sorbets is the use of viscous corn syrup to replace much of the sugar. Corn syrup will give the sorbet body and it helps tone down the acidic pineapple juice.
But the best part of this Dole Whip copycat recipe, unlike the real thing, is that it contains all-natural ingredients and it's mostly made of real Dole pineapple juice, plus a little tangerine juice to round out the flavor and enrich the color. This homemade Dole Whip is ridiculously easy to make (you'll need an ice cream maker) and fans of the real thing will love it. Plus, now you can have this DIY Dole Whip whenever you want—no amusement park required.
Click here for more hacks of delicious desserts and sweet treats.
In November 2020, Taco Bell said “adios” to several classic items from their menu including Mexican Pizza—one of my long-time favorites—and anything with shredded chicken in it including the chicken soft taco. But teary goodbyes from fans of the tasty spiced chicken can be avoided if we have a good (and easy) recipe to craft a duplicate at home. Since the fast Mexican chain announced the changes several months in advance, I had time to work up a good hack before the tacos were gone forever.
After cooking the chicken several ways I settled on poaching the fillets in chicken broth, which kept them moist and added great umami flavor. When the chicken cooled, I shredded it, and added it to a sauce seasoned with spices and lime juice, and flavored with Knorr tomato chicken bouillon.
As the sauce thickens it will reduce and infuse the chicken with flavor, then it’s ready for you to use on tacos, burritos, salads, or whatever. And don't forget the hot sauce!
A requirement of any visit to Chicago is eating at least one slice of deep dish pizza in the city that perfected it. Deep dish pizza quickly became a Chicago staple after Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo opened the first Pizzeria Uno in 1943 and served a hearty new style of pizza constructed in a high-rimmed cake pan. The yeast crust was tender and flakey, like a pastry, and the cheese was layered under the sauce so that it wouldn’t burn in a hot oven for the long cooking time.
While researching a home hack of this now-iconic recipe, I discovered an unexpected technique that I hadn’t seen in other deep dish recipes. Employees told me the pizza crusts are partially cooked each morning to cut down on the wait time for customers. Before the restaurant opens each day, cooks press the dough into a pan and then sprinkle it with a little shredded cheese. The shells are then partially baked and set aside. Later, when an order comes in, the pizza is built into one of the par-baked crusts and finished off. This way customers get their food faster, and the tables turn over quicker.
Copying that delicious, flakey crust was the task that took me the longest. After two weeks of baking, I finally settled on a formula that was a mash-up of yeast dough and pie crust and made a perfectly tender deep dish crust, with great flavor that exactly mimicked the original. If you like Uno, you will love this.
Regarding the cheese: be sure your cheese is at room temperature, not cold, or it may not melt all the way through. Also, it’s best if you buy cheese by the block and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese is dusted with cornstarch so that the shreds don’t stick together in the bag, and it won’t melt as smoothly as cheese you shred by hand.
This recipe will make enough sauce for two pizzas. I just thought you should know that in case you get the urge to make another deep dish after this one disappears.
This recipe was our #4 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1) KFC Extra Crispy Fried Chicken (#2), Olive Garden Braised Beef Bolognese (#3), Bush's Country Style Baked Beans (#5).
Menu Description: “A baked blend of Italian cheeses, pasta, and our signature five-cheese marinara.”
Hacking Olive Garden’s famous baked ziti would not be possible without a perfect clone of the chain’s popular five-cheese marinara sauce. I started with my previous hack of the plain marinara for Olive Garden’s Chicken Parmigiana and enhanced it with the addition of five kinds of Italian cheese and heavy cream.
Determining which five types of cheese are in a prepared sauce is tough without some insider assistance, so before cooking I focused my efforts on convincing a server to ask the chef for the list…and I got it! The blend of cheese used here in the sauce comes straight from the kitchen of my local Olive Garden. When you taste it you’ll know the intel was legit.
After the sauce is added to the pasta it’s topped with a cheese-and-breadcrumb mix called “ziti topping,” then it’s browned under a salamander (for the restaurant version) or a broiler (for your version). The result is a beautiful dish with great sauce and a cheesy topping that should satisfy even the pickiest baked ziti fanatics.
I've cloned a ton of dishes from Olive Garden. See if I hacked your favorite here.
I’m not sure why Einstein Bros. claims there are just four cheeses in the new Twice-Baked Hash Brown when the ingredients clearly list six kinds of cheese, plus cream cheese. Regardless, the shredded Asiago, Romano, Parmesan, provolone, and mozzarella listed there can be found combined in an “Italian Blend” at many supermarkets, making for an easy start to our home clone. And don’t just be thinking about breakfast for these cheesy potatoes. They work great as a side for any meal.
In the detailed description of the new item, Einstein Bros. claims the hash browns contain two kinds of schmears, which is true, but a little misleading because one of them is just plain cream cheese. The other is onion-and-chive cream cheese, which we can make from scratch. We’ll combine those two shmears into one blend by doubling the cream cheese added to our onion-and-chive schmear formula.
Mix everything together and load the ingredients into a standard 12-cup muffin pan with circles of parchment paper cut out to fit into the bottom of the 12 cups. Without these parchment circles, the hash browns may stick and break when they’re released. You can also use paper muffin cups, if you don’t mind the less crispy, ridged sides.
Bake them the first time for 30 minutes, then cool and store. Now you have a dozen servings of cheesy hash brown potatoes that are easy to finish off by baking them a second time until crispy. They are great served with breakfast, or for dinner as your starchy side alongside beef, chicken, lamb, and many other savory entrees.
You can also make homemade Einstein Bros bagels, sandwiches, and shmears. See if I hacked your favorites here.
Popeyes offers two sides with rice: the ultra-popular Red Beans and Rice, which I previously cloned here, and this rice made Cajun-style with ground beef and spices.
The real recipe at the chain most likely includes chicken gizzard, but that ingredient is not always easy to find outside of buying a whole uncooked chicken that includes a bag of giblets tucked inside. So I set out to design a recipe without that ingredient and the results were great.
The secret to the fabulous taste, after all, is not found in the gizzard, but in the flavors contributed by the “holy trinity” of green pepper, onion, and celery salt accentuated by the ground thyme and oregano.
If you’re making rice tonight, bump it up to something special with just a little extra work for delicious results.
Can't get enough Popeyes? Find all of my recipes here.
Menu Description: “Sauteed chicken, shrimp, red bell peppers in a spicy Cajun Alfredo sauce, Parmesan-Romano and fettuccine. Served with a warm garlic breadstick.”
In 1997, I published a clone recipe for T.G.I Friday’s Spicy Cajun Chicken Pasta because it was one of the chain’s most popular dishes at the time. But as the years pass and menus get tweaked, old food favorites are decommissioned to make way for fresh, new ideas. Sometimes the new dishes are twists on old favorites, as is this improved version of the classic Spicy Cajun Chicken Pasta, which now includes extra-large shrimp and a better spicy alfredo sauce.
To make a home clone of this top entrée from T.G.I. Friday’s start with a quick brine for moist, flavorful chicken. Prep the chicken and creamy sauce in one pan the shrimp, bell pepper, and garlic in another.
When you’re ready to serve the dish, toss the sauce with the pasta, then plate it and top it with minced parsley and you've got a perfect restaurant-style hack.
There's a lot more T.G.I. Friday's clone recipes over here.
In March 2020, Wendy’s entered the fast food breakfast wars with 18 new items, and the star that emerged from the bunch is a bacon-lover’s dream. The Breakfast Baconator help lead Wendy’s to morning meal sales success in the midst of a pandemic, as other fast feeders, like McDonald’s, struggled in the a.m.
Wendy's substantial sunrise sandwich is made with a square (of course) sausage patty, a fried egg, 2 slices of American cheese, and 6 halved bacon slices. That's good right there, but when you slather Wendy's delicious top secret Swiss cheese sauce onto a brioche bun, you've got something really special. And filling. All the building instructions are here, including an easy hack for the Swiss cheese sauce using just 4 ingredients!
One of the ingredients—Swiss cheese Singles—is what allows us to make a smooth, non-gritty sauce. If you can’t find Singles, use any other brand of Swiss cheese “product” that contains sodium citrate. That’s the secret ingredient that helps make the sauce so creamy.
Find more of my Wendy's copycat recipes here.
Over the years I've hacked a bunch of items from Chili's menu, including their Fajitas, Baby Back Ribs, Salsa, Chili Queso, Southwestern Eggrolls, Chicken Crispers, Boneless Wings, and more, but it wasn’t until recently that I got the chance to work on a hack for the chain’s award-winning Original Chili. Why it took so long, I have no idea.
The chili served at Chili’s is a Texas-style con carne recipe, which traditionally means no beans and no tomato. You won’t find any beans in this recipe or chunks of tomato, but their chili does have a tomato base to boost flavor, so I’m adding that into the mix by including one 6-ounce can of tomato paste. As it turns out, that small can is just the right amount.
The preparation technique is simple: brown the beef, drain off the fat, then add some of the fat back to the empty pan to sauté the onions and peppers in. When those are done, you add the beef back to the pan along with the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1½ hours. That will be just long enough to braise the beef and tenderize it, and to thicken the chili to a perfect consistency.
When the chili’s done, top each serving with a cheddar/pepper Jack blend, and some crispy tortilla bits. Then pass out the spoons.
Check here more of my Chili's copycat recipes.
One of two pasta dishes currently on the pizza giant’s menu, the Meaty Marinara Pasta was first introduced in a 2008 April Fool’s publicity stunt when Pizza Hut claimed it was changing its name to “Pasta Hut.” No one fell for the prank but they did fall for the pasta, and that's why the Tuscani Creamy Chicken Alfredo Pasta and Meaty Marinara Pasta have been on the menu ever since. The sauce is the big secret here it's simple and classic, but customized to produce a marinara with that distinct Pizza Hut taste. And the recipe will make more than enough pasta to go around.
The hack is an easy one. After browning the seasoned beef you add it to the sauce, simmer the sauce until thick, then spread it over one pound of rotini pasta in a baking dish in two layers so that every bite is filled with flavor. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over the top and melt it until golden brown under your broiler. Boom! No one can resist. You rule.
This simple and inexpensive meal will feed eight, and leftovers keep well in the fridge for a couple of days.
Also check out my clone recipe for Pizza Hut Tuscani Creamy Chicken Alfredo Pasta.
To help fill the void left by a lack of dine-in customers when the coronavirus pandemic struck the U.S. in early 2020, restaurant operators had to get creative. That spring and summer we saw a surge in ghost kitchens and virtual restaurants where all the food was prepared for delivery only. Ghost kitchens are kitchens without seating and minimal, if any, signage. Virtual restaurants are delivery-only services where food is prepared in established restaurant kitchens.
It's Just Wings is a concept cooked up by Brinker, the team behind Chili’s and Maggiano’s, with a menu limited to wings in three styles—bone-in, boneless, and smoked—tossed in your choice of eight creative sauces or two dry rubs. Since I've already hacked a variety of traditional wings and boneless wings, I chose to clone this chain's stand-out smoked wings which are prepared in the same pecan wood smoking ovens (called Combitherms) Chili’s uses to make baby back ribs.
The secret is to brine the chicken first, then blot it dry and rub the skin with oil to help make it crispy while it smokes. If you don’t have a smoker, you can smoke the wings on your grill by heating one side of the grill and placing the wings on the other side. Set wood chips or pellets in foil over the heated side, then close the lid.
I’ve included hack recipes for three of the chain's most notable sauces: Honey Sriracha, Honey Chipotle, and Truffle Hot Sauce. Pick one (or more), toss your wings in it, and dive in. Or maybe you just want to go naked? These wings also taste great without any sauce at all.
In the Bush’s Beans commercials, Duke, the family golden retriever, wants to sell the secret family recipe, but the Bush family always stops him. The dog is based on the Bush family’s real-life golden retriever, and the campaign, which began in 1995, made Bush’s the big dog of the canned baked beans market practically overnight. Their confidential baked beans formula is considered one of the top 10 biggest recipe secrets in the U.S.
Bush Brothers & Company had been canning a variety of fruits and vegetables for over 60 years when, in 1969, the company created canned baked beans using a cherished recipe from a family matriarch. Sales jumped from 10 thousand cases in the first year to over 100 thousand cases in 1970. And just one year later sales hit a million cases. Today Bush’s makes over 80 percent of the canned baked beans sold in the U.S., and the secret family recipe remains a top food secret, despite Duke’s attempts. A replica of the original recipe book—without the original recipe in it (drat!)—is on display at the company's visitor center in Chestnut Hill, Tennessee.
I chose to hack the “Country Style” version of Bush’s Beans because I don’t think the Original flavor has enough, uh, flavor. Country Style is similar to Original, but richer, with more brown sugar. The recipe starts by soaking dry small white beans in a brine overnight. The salt in the water helps to soften the skins, but don’t soak them for more than 14 hours or the skins may begin to fall off.
My first versions tasted great but lacked the deep brown color of the real Bush’s beans, which include caramel coloring—an ingredient that can be hard to find on its own. I eventually discovered that the “browning” sauce, Kitchen Bouquet, will add the dark caramel color needed to our home version of the beans so that they’ll look just like the real thing.
This recipe was our #5 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1) KFC Extra Crispy Fried Chicken (#2), Olive Garden Braised Beef Bolognese (#3), Pizzeria Uno Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (#4).
Before a generous portion of bacon bits—followed by a strip of crispy bacon—are stacked on top of Outback’s signature salmon, the fillet is brushed with a delicious, slightly spicy bourbon sauce that must be properly duplicated, or this hack would be a fail.
After several batches I settled on glaze that’s made by cooking a brown sugar and corn syrup mixture until thick, then adding cider vinegar, bourbon and liquid smoke after the pan comes off the heat to keep the acidic flavors bright.
For the bacon bits sprinkled on top of the salmon, I used thick bacon and diced it into bits before cooking it until crispy. The strip of bacon that goes on the top of each fillet should be made with thinner bacon, so it’s easy to cut. That’s how Outback does it, but you can use whatever bacon you like for the bits and on top, and I’m sure no one will protest.
I say that with confidence because I know it’s impossible to complain while eating any food with lots of bacon on it. Totally true fact.
See if I hacked more of your favorites from Outback Steakhouse here.
For decades, Carl’s Jr. has effectively cornered the market on fried zucchini at major fast food chains by serving a great crispy breaded version that’s flavorful all the way through. Now you can make zucchini that tastes just as good, as long as you know the secret step that other fried zucchini recipes miss. It makes all the difference.
The secret is a brine. I found that this fried zucchini tastes best when it takes a salted water bath before breading. In 60 minutes, the salt in the brine is absorbed by the zucchini, spreading good flavor all the way through. After the brine, the zucchini is rinsed, coated twice with flour and once with seasoned breadcrumbs, and fried to a beautiful golden brown.
I’m giving you a couple choices here. You can make the recipe all the way through and serve it immediately, or if you want to serve it later, you can par-fry the zucchini and freeze it for several days. After that, when an occasion arises, a couple minutes is all it takes to finish off the dish and serve it. This recipe makes enough for a small gathering, but you can easily cut it in half for a more intimate hang.
Click here for more amazing Carl's Jr. copycat recipes.
What started as a single food cart in Madison Square Park in New York City in 2000 has become one of America's fastest-growing food chains. In 2014, Shake Shack filed for its initial public offering of stock, and shares rose by 147 percent on the first day of trading. The chain’s success can be attributed to a simple menu of great food that makes any bad day better, including juicy flat-grilled burgers, thick shakes, and creamy frozen custard.
Custard is made just like ice cream with many of the same ingredients, except custard has egg yolks in it for extra richness. Also, custards are made in ice cream machines with paddles that move slowly so minimal air is mixed in. Home ice cream makers work great for custard, and will churn out a thick, creamy finished product. Using the right ratio of cream to milk and just enough egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla, you can now make an identical hack of Shake Shack’s custard, which is great on its own or topped with syrups, fruit, and candy bits.
And don’t forget that custards taste best when they’re fresh. Shake Shack serves the custard within a couple of hours of making it, so consume your copycat custard as quickly as you can after it’s churned.
Find out how to duplicate the chain's famous Vanilla Milkshake by just adding milk using the recipe here, and re-create the juicy Shake Shake Burger with my hack here.
For a great chicken tortilla soup that doesn’t skimp on chicken and comes packed with other goodies like two kinds of beans, corn, chiles, onion, celery, garlic, and cilantro you’ll want to hack Chick-fil-A’s hearty version. Their soup is not only surprisingly good for a fast food chain, but it could also stand up to tortilla soups from any full-service chain, and these preparation secrets will guide you through a spot-on at-home clone.
For the white beans look for canned navy beans or small white beans. Cannellini beans and Great Northern beans are too big for a perfect clone, but if that's all you can find they’ll still work here.
The chicken is made the same way as in my Top Secret Recipe for Chick-fil-A Southwest Chicken Salad—it’s brined for four hours to infuse it with flavor before it gets grilled. Keep that extra prep time in mind when planning your soup.
Chick-fil-A uses natural roasted chicken flavor in their version, and we can do the same by using Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base found in many stores and online. That particular ingredient will give you the best clone, but if you can’t track it down you can also use regular bouillon cubes.
Top your soup with fried tortilla strips sold in bags or just crumble some of your favorite tortilla chips over the top, and grab a spoon.
The Chesapeake brand of cookies from Pepperidge Farm are crispy cookies with a light crunch and filled with various chunks of chocolate and nutty bits. One of the most popular choices features big chunks of dark chocolate along with pecan bits, and it can be duplicated at home with a few twists to one of my chocolate chip cookie recipes.
To make a crispy cookie that’s tender and not tough, I’ve replaced some of the butter with shortening, replaced one egg with an egg white, and tweaked the baking powder/baking soda ratio.
Nestle makes a 10-ounce bag of oversized dark chocolate chips that are delicious and work nicely for this clone. If you can’t find those, you can chop up a couple of your favorite dark chocolate bars into small chunks and add those to the mix.
When the cookies are cool, they should be lightly crispy and filled with flavor. Store them in a covered container in a dry spot.
Try more famous copycat cookies and brownie recipes here.
Menu Description: “Two lightly fried parmesan-breaded chicken breasts are smothered with Olive Garden’s homemade marinara sauce and melted Italian cheeses. We serve our Chicken Parmigiana with a side of spaghetti for dinner.”
Chicken parmigiana is a forever favorite, and it’s not a difficult dish to whip up at home. But for it to taste like the Olive Garden signature entree, we’ll need to take some very specific steps.
Olive Garden’s chicken is salty and moist all the way through, so we must first start by brining the chicken. Give yourself an extra hour for this important marinating step. The marinara sauce used on the chicken is an Olive Garden specialty and no bottled sauce compares, so we’ll make our own from scratch using canned crushed tomatoes and the formula below.
While the sauce cooks, filling your house with its intoxicating aroma, the chicken is breaded and browned. When the marinara is done, top the chicken with the sauce and mozzarella and stick it under your hot broiler until bubbling.
Hopefully, everyone at your house is hungry, because the Olive Garden dinner portion is two chicken fillets, and this recipe will yield a total of four 2-piece servings. Add a small serving of spaghetti on the side, topped with more of the delicious sauce, and you'll have a perfect match to the restaurant plate.
Can't get enough Olive Garden? Click here for more of my copycat recipes.
The crispy banana spring rolls are just one delicious component of this signature dessert—it also comes with a big scoop of coconut-pineapple ice cream for an extraordinary flavor combo. The perfect mash-up of the warm spiced banana and the sweet tropical ice cream is why this is the number one dessert at the restaurant, and no other copycat recipe I’ve seen provides methods for you to make both parts at home.
The bananas are wrapped in spring roll dough and fried, but first they are rolled in sugar and seasoned with Chinese five-spice, which is a blend of anise, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger that you can find in most big food stores.
The ice cream hack is made by combining your favorite vanilla ice cream with toasted coconut bits, coconut extract, and real pineapple in a frozen bowl. Chains such as Cold Stone Creamery mix chunks into ice cream in a similar way—on a frozen slab of stone—so that the ice cream doesn’t melt while mixing.
I’m also sharing with you an easy way to make the vanilla bean sauce from scratch, because there’s nothing better than fresh when it comes to vanilla sauce. For the caramel sauce, just pick your favorite from the many delicious bottled sauces available, and try to get one that comes in a squirt bottle so your dish looks great.
Bring it all together and you’ll have created a beautiful hack of the dessert made famous by P.F. Chang’s, with enough for four to share.
Click here for more amazing copycat recipes from P.F. Chang's.
It’s been nearly 100 years since Walter and Cordelia Knott first started selling berries, preserves, and pies from their roadside produce stand in Buena Park, California. Walter Knott’s berry stand and farm was a popular stop throughout the 1920s for travelers heading to the Southern California beaches.
But Walter’s big claim to fame came in 1932 when he cultivated and sold the world’s first boysenberries—a hybrid of raspberry, blackberry, loganberry, and dewberry. This new berry brought so many people to the farm that they added a restaurant, featuring Cordelia’s secret fried chicken recipe, and the Knotts struck gold again.
The fried chicken was a huge hit, and the restaurant got so crowded the Knotts added rides and attractions to the farm to keep customers occupied while they waited for a table. Over the years the real berry farm transformed into an amusement park called Knott’s Berry Farm—one of my favorites as a kid—which is now ranked as the tenth most visited theme park in North America.
Knott’s Berry Farm is also a brand of delicious preserves, jams, and other foods, including these fantastic little jam-filled shortbread cookies that everyone seems to love. The shortbread dough is piped into closed “c” shapes with a pastry bag onto baking sheets, then a little bit of jam is spooned into the center. You’ll need a pastry bag and a 1M open star tip, plus your favorite seedless jam. Once you’ve got all that, the rest is pretty easy.
Follow this link for more copycat cookies, brownies and treats.
Menu Description: “A deliciously different way to taco. Tangy grilled chicken, sweet Asian chile sauce and dumpling sauce stuffed into crispy wonton shells and topped with a crunchy slaw and cilantro mix.”
Re-creating this hit appetizer requires cloning four parts none of which are difficult: Grilled chicken, coleslaw, secret dumpling sauce, and the crispy wonton shell to hold all of it together. For the chicken, we’ll grill a couple of thighs and chop them up. Then we’ll use bottled sweet chili sauce—usually found in your grocery store where Asian foods are parked—to punch up the flavor.
The coleslaw is easy with a dressing that’s only five ingredients. The slaw is best when it has some time to sit and wilt a bit, so plan ahead for the best flavor. You can slice the cabbage yourself, but a coleslaw kit that’s a combo of sliced cabbage and shredded carrots is a big time-saver. Just measure out 4 cups of the cabbage blend and mix it with the minced cilantro and dressing.
Wonton taco shells are not a thing you can usually find in stores, so we’ll make our own using wonton wrappers and a skillet of hot oil. When the oil is hot, add a wonton wrapper and use tongs to fold it over diagonally as it fries until it’s crispy on both sides. It takes less than a minute to fry each wonton taco shell, and you’ll get better at it as you go. Just be sure to leave plenty of room in the taco for the delicious fillings to come.
I've cloned a lot of dishes from Applebee's. See if I hacked your favorites here.
It’s hard to say exactly when Nashville hot chicken was born, but most agree the Prince family of Prince’s Chicken in Nashville, Tennessee can take credit for the dish’s creation. Today there are over two dozen different hot chicken restaurants in Nashville and the popularity of the dish is still growing. The 70-year-old recipe from Prince’s may be the original, but the fastest-growing Nashville hot chicken chain in the country right now is a much newer concept called Hattie B’s.
Several years ago, Nick Bishop and his son, also Nick Bishop, observed the growth of Nashville hot chicken concepts and wanted a piece of the action. They opened the first Hattie B’s in Nashville in 2012, and business was good. Today there are six Hattie B’s in three southern states and one in Las Vegas at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, where I was able to get my hands on a fresh sample of the real thing without taking a round trip flight to Tennessee.
At the Vegas Hattie B’s I sat at the food counter close to the fryer and watched the chicken being made, which provided some useful intel for my clone. I learned that the fried chicken drenched in the spicy oil paste is the “medium” heat level chicken. For the “hot” chicken an additional dry seasoning blend is sprinkled on the basted chicken.
The oily paste is what makes Nashville chicken special, so I made sure to obtain a sample of the sauce in a small cup for later study. Most of the ingredients were predictable—paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, sugar, and lots of cayenne—but the oil had an unusual taste to it. I recalled reading that the oil used for traditional Nashville hot chicken comes out of the fryer after several batches of chicken have been fried in it. When the chicken fries in the oil it contributes tasty flavors that make the fat a great base for the spicy baste.
To replicate this at home, wait for at least one batch of chicken to cook in the oil, then carefully remove a cup, let it cool a bit, and whisk the spices into it.
Now, what delicious side dishes are you going to make? Click here to see my recipes.
If you feel like diving into a pile of wings with big flavor and no heat, you'll love this hack of a top pick at Wingstop. At the restaurant, these wings are deliciously doused with a buttery garlic Parmesan baste and then sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese. A home clone is easy when you toss crispy wings in this hack of the top secret baste and top them with a snowfall of good Parmesan cheese.
To duplicate the baste, you clarify a stick of butter, then add a little oil so that the butter doesn’t solidify. Parmesan cheese, garlic, and salt are mixed in, then the sauce is set aside to cool and thicken.
Once the wings are fried to a golden brown, toss them with the baste in a bowl, then grab the grated Parm and make it snow.
Check out my other Wingstop clone recipes here.
Braised Beef Pasta Menu Description: “Slow-simmered meat sauce with tender braised beef and Italian sausage, tossed with ruffled pappardelle pasta and a touch of alfredo sauce—just like Nonna’s recipe.”
It’s a mistake to assume that a recipe posted to a restaurant chain’s website is the real recipe for the food served there. I’ve found this to be the case with many Olive Garden recipes, and this one is no exception. A widely circulated recipe that claims to duplicate the chain’s classic Bolognese actually originated on Olive Garden’s own website, and if you make that recipe you’ll be disappointed when the final product doesn’t even come close to the real deal. I won’t get into all the specifics of the things wrong with that recipe (too much wine, save some of that for drinking!), but at first glance it’s easy to see that a few important ingredients found in traditional Bolognese sauces are conspicuously missing, including milk, basil, lemon, and nutmeg.
I incorporated all those missing ingredients into this new hack recipe, tweaked a few other things, and then tested several methods of braising the beef so that it comes out perfectly tender: covered, uncovered, and a combo. The technique I settled on was cooking the sauce covered for 2 hours, then uncovered for 1 additional hour so that the sauce reduces and the beef transforms into a fork-flakeable flavor bomb. Yes, it comes from Olive Garden, but this Bolognese is better than any I’ve had at restaurants that charge twice as much, like Rao’s where the meat is ground, not braised, and they hit you up for $30.
As a side note, Olive Garden’s menu says the dish comes with ruffled pappardelle pasta, but it’s actually mafaldine, a narrower noodle with curly edges (shown in the top right corner of the photo). Pappardelle, which is the traditional pasta to serve with Bolognese, is a very wide noodle with straight edges, and it’s more familiar than mafaldine, so perhaps that’s why the menu fudges this fact. In the end, it doesn’t really matter which pasta you choose. Just know that a wide noodle works best. Even fettuccine is good here.
For the little bit of alfredo sauce spooned into the middle of the dish I went with a premade bottled sauce to save time. You can also make this from scratch if you like (I’ve got a great hack for Olive Garden’s Alfredo Sauce), but it’s such a small amount that premade sauce in either a chilled tub from the deli section or in a bottle off the shelf works great here.
This recipe was our #3 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1) KFC Extra Crispy Fried Chicken (#2), Pizzeria Uno Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (#4), Bush's Country Style Baked Beans (#5).
And browse my other Olive Garden clone recipes here.
It was only a matter of time before the spicy fried chicken made famous in Nashville, Tennessee at shops like Prince's Hot Chicken Shack and Hattie B's would find its way into the mainstream. A dish this good is never contained forever, and KFC became the first fast food chain to give the recipe national exposure. A test run of the new spicy chicken in Pittsburgh was the most successful product test in KFC's recent history.
The original dish from Nashville is made with crispy fried chicken that's doused with a top-secret spicy chili sauce and served on sliced white bread with dill pickles on top. KFC's version is served with just pickles, no bread (a biscuit on the side instead), and is made by soaking the chain's Extra Crispy Fried Chicken with the oily chili sauce from a squirt bottle. Since there isn't any water in the sauce, just oil, the chicken stays crispy, regardless of how much sauce is applied.
To make a home version, you first need to make some chicken, either using my hack for KFC Extra Crispy Chicken, or by baking or frying some of the pre-breaded chicken pieces you can find frozen in just about every grocery store. While the chicken cooks, make the sauce and pour it into a squirt bottle or spouted measuring cup. Apply it to your chicken when it's done (shake it or stir it first!), then top it with dill pickle slices.
“Don’t call them fries,” says KFC about its popular side made with sliced, skin-on russet potatoes. What sets these potatoes apart from all the others is the secret breading made with a similar seasoning blend to the one used for Colonel's Original Recipe Fried Chicken. To achieve the proper crispiness, the potatoes are par-fried, frozen, then fried again until golden brown.
One important ingredient that completes the flavor is MSG. Monosodium glutamate is a food additive derived from glutamic acid, which is an important amino acid found in abundance in nature, food, and in you right now. Over the last 60 years of study and use, MSG has not only been found harmless in normal amounts, but tests have shown glutamate to be a chemical messenger that benefits gut health, immunity, and brain functions such as memory and learning. In addition to all of that, it imparts a unique savoriness that enhances flavors in other ingredients and makes your food taste amazing. Using MSG in your food is, literally, smart cooking.
Another important ingredient is ground Tellicherry black pepper, a select black pepper from India. Winston Shelton, a friend of Harland Sanders who invented the first high-volume pressure fryers for KFC, confirmed this. Shelton recalled seeing the ingredient when Sanders showed him the secret formula for the fried chicken seasoning he had scribbled on a piece of paper.
While we were shooting the first episode of my TV Show, Top Secret Recipe, Winston pulled me aside and whispered to me that Tellicherry pepper is crucial to creating the unique KFC aftertaste. It was a great tip, and fortunately, we caught that moment on camera and you can see it in the show. Later, I conducted a side-by-side taste test with common black pepper and Tellicherry black pepper and discovered Winston was right. If you want the best taste for your clone you'll need Tellicherry pepper, which you can find online and in some food stores. Be sure to grind it fine before using it.
For this recipe, just two russet potatoes are all it takes to make the equivalent of a large serving of fried potato wedges, which will be enough for at least four people.
Making Poached EggsPoached eggs are a breakfast food enjoyed by many people. Here are some recipes for making the perfect poached egg. This is a page about poaching eggs.
Potato Pepper OmeletteThis is a delicious little omelette that helps you get your veggies in. Panfrying the potatoes first gives them a nice crisp texture on the outside, but soft and fluffy in the middle. I like to lay the peppers rings on the pan first so when you flip the omelette onto a plate, you can see the pretty colours.
Instant Pot Hard Boiled EggsI think an Instant Pot has been a great investment. Especially when you can get it used or as a gift, you will save a lot of time and eat lots of good meals. Here's a great recipe for hard boiled eggs. Best part is, they peel straightaway!
Savory Garden EggsUse the bounty from your garden to make a healthy breakfast. This nutritious recipe scrambles eggs with veggies and herbs for a savory start to the day.
Clover Shaped Eggs For St. Patty's DayBake a pan of eggs, milk, broccoli, cheese, spinach, and bell peppers. Once they are done use a heart shaped cookie cutter to make the leaves for your clover shaped eggs. They are a special treat for a St. Patrick's Day breakfast.
Making Baked Egg Tomato CupsThese baked egg tomato cups are a great way to prepare your favorite tomatoes. You can customize them with your favorite herbs and toppings or try one of these simple recipes.
Turkish Scrambled Eggs (Menemen)Many vegetables make these Turkish scrambled eggs a filling main dish. Delicious served with flatbread for a special meal.
Fresh Herb Frittata (Kuku Sabzi)Lots of fresh herbs, spices, nuts, and berries combine with eggs to make this sturdy Persian version of a frittata, known as kuku sabzi. Try it wrapped in pita bread with lots of Greek yogurt. Delicious warm or cold you may become an instant fan.
Cheesy Omelette TacoUse a waffle maker to create this taco like omelette. If you add cheese to the maker first you can even enjoy a nice crunch without the tortilla. Add your favorite fillings, fold, and enjoy.
Spinach and Cheddar QuicheA delicious breakfast, lunch or light dinner, a quiche is enhanced with the addition of spinach and cheese. This is a page about making a spinach and cheddar quiche.
Scrambled Eggs in an Onion RingSunnyside up eggs are sometimes prepared inside of a bell pepper slice, making for an attractive, tasty dish. Using a slice of a red onion you can create a similar serving idea for scrambled eggs. Top with a favorite seasoning and serve. This is a page about making scrambled eggs in an onion ring.
How to Make Egg TortillasA thin omelet can be used to hold your fixing like a tortilla. This page is about how to make egg tortillas.
Crispy Parmesan EggsIf you love cheese, this is a great way to change up your eggs in the morning. Cooking the cheese in butter and heavy cream right under the eggs gives this one-pan dish an amazing cheesy layer, very reminiscent of au gratin potatoes. The eggs will cook perfectly on top, and when you cut into them, you'll get a little of both. It is oh so good!
Olde Thyme Scrambled Eggs RecipeFlavored by thyme, vinegar and ground meat, these eggs are a hearty breakfast dish. The recipe is mixed in the pan. This page contains a olde thyme scrambled eggs recipe.
Scrambled Bitter Melon and Eggs RecipeBitter melon is believed to have numerous health benefits. This egg scramble is a great way to incorporate bitter melon into your diet. This page contains a scrambled bitter melon and eggs recipe.
Making Eggs GoldenrodUse chopped hardboiled eggs to make this delicious sauce, usually served on toast for breakfast. This is a page about making eggs goldenrod.
Ricotta FrittataFrittata can easily be prepared for breakfast or as the main course for dinner. This is a page about making ricotta frittata.
Mini Taco FrittatasI came up with these frittatas because I love egg breakfasts and adore tacos, but don't have much time to hang around to make both. These are so delicious, guilt-free, and gluten-free. I love to make a batch and keep them in the fridge. They're perfect for days you are on the run.
Muffin Tin Asparagus FrittatasThese muffin tin frittatas are easy to make and are the perfect quick breakfast. They also offer easy portion control. This is a page about making muffin tin asparagus frittatas.
Green Potato FrittataSpinach, leeks, and potatoes offer a unique flavor for this easy to make frittata. Frittatas are a healthy dish, that is perfect for any meal. This is a page about making a green potato frittata.
Curried Eggs RecipeTry this curried deviled egg recipe. They are delicious alone or as a garnish. This page contains a curried eggs recipe.
Crispy Quail Eggs RecipesQuail eggs are delicious but need to be cooked delicately as they are very small. Try these delectable crispy quail eggs recipes.
White Zucchini Frittata RecipeWhite zucchini tastes almost identical to regular green zucchini so it can be used in all the same ways. This delectable and healthy white zucchini frittata recipe is easy to make and will surely get gobbled up by whomever you make it for.
Sneaky Scrambled EggsScrambled eggs can be made for just about any meal of the day. This page contains sneaky scrambled eggs.
Cilantro Scramble RecipeA main dish of scrambled eggs can be enhanced by the addition of herbs and vegetables. This page contains a cilantro scramble recipe.
Savoury Cheese and Vegetable TartSimilar to a quiche, this tart is easy to make with veggies that you have on hand. Vary the cheese for a different flavor as well. This is a page about making a savoury cheese and vegetable tart.
Recipes Using Hard Boiled EggsIt can be a challenge to find new ways to use hard boiled eggs other then the typical addition to a salad. This page contains recipes using hard boiled eggs.
Muffin Tin Spinach FrittatasThis page contains muffin tin spinach frittata recipes. These single serving frittatas are a delicious breakfast or dinner main dish or serve them at a party along with your other dishes.
Egg Cloud RecipesThis is a page about egg cloud recipes. This delicious egg dish resembles the sun and fluffy clouds.
Egg Bake RecipesThis page contains egg bake recipes. An easy to prepare alternative to scrambled eggs or omelettes is baked eggs.
Yummiest Microwave OmeletI have been seeing the "Plastic Bag Omelet" on many websites lately. That may be a great idea when you need to make an omelet whilst camping. You only have a pot of boiling water and 20 minutes, but it's my personal choice not to boil my foods in plastics. If you are looking to make an omelet without oil or butter and only have a few minutes, this microwave omelet is your answer!
Baked Omelette RecipesAn alternative to making an omelette on your stovetop is to prepare one in the oven. This page contains baked omelette recipes.
Vegetarian Quiche RecipesA meatless, baked egg dish that is delicious as a main entree for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This is a page about vegetarian quiche recipes.
Caprese Scrambled Egg and Omelet RecipesTomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese combine to give this dish its distinctive flavor. This page contains Caprese scrambled egg and omelet recipes.
Individual Quiche RecipesA fun and practical way to cook and serve quiche is in small containers. This page contains individual quiche recipes.
Frittata RecipesA classic Italian one pan, open faced, egg dish is delicious made with many different kinds of meats, cheeses and vegetables. This page contains frittata recipes.
Sweet Potato Souffle RecipesA delicious baked dish made with stiffly, whipped egg whites. This page contains sweet potato souffle recipes.
Uses for Egg YolksMany recipes call for egg whites leaving the yolk behind. This is a page about uses for eggs yolks.
Recipes Using Boiled EggsThis page contains recipes using boiled eggs. Boiled eggs are great as is and in egg salad, but there are other recipes that use boiled eggs.
Recipes Using EggsEggs are such a versatile food they can be used to prepare meals for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This page contains recipes using eggs.
Baked Egg RecipesBaking is an easy alternative way to prepare eggs including omelets and other great dishes. This page contains baked egg recipes.
Spinach Quiche RecipesMake a delicious spinach quiche for your next get-together or family meal. This page contains spinach quiche recipes.
For many Marylanders, there is no more perfect meal than a pile of steamed crabs or a well-made crab cake (light on filler, please).
These straightforward crab preparations are everywhere: on restaurant menus and backyard tables, especially in the summer months. Their simplicity shows off crabmeat's sweet, delicate flavor and tender texture.
But Maryland's crabby culinary history runs deeper than newspaper-covered tables and piles of discarded shells. Not long ago, restaurant menus listed numerous crab dishes, and home cooks were familiar with dozens of ways to incorporate crabs into meals, from casseroles to imperials.
Today, those old-fashioned crab preparations might not be front and center, but they're still hanging on, thanks to a handful of local restaurants and community cookbooks that make it a point to preserve the past.
After spending years collecting recipes all over the region, Whitey Schmidt published his ode to the cooked crustacean, "The Crab Cookbook," in 1990.
Schmidt's interest in crab recipes was piqued after years of picking crabs with his eight brothers and five sisters in the South River near Annapolis during the 1940s and '50s.
"As kids, we were chicken-neckers. [There was] a pier not too far from us and we would head down, sometimes two or three days a week," he said." We'd have a piece of string about 12 to15 feet long which we would tie to a nail or the end of a pier — wherever we could secure it. The idea was you'd simply tie on a chicken neck or wing and throw it into the water. Since it was tied, all we had to do was watch the line. When the crab would bite it, it would try to run home with it and pull the line straight out from the pier. So hand over hand, we would slowly pull in that line and the crabs would be nibbling away."
They frequently found themselves with a little extra crab meat after a marathon crabbing-and-picking session, and that opened the door to trying different recipes to use it up.
"It became a love of life for me," he says. "So I went out and spent five years eating in the crab houses of the Chesapeake in search of recipes. And now that's been my whole life for the last 30 or 40 years."
Schmidt has published six books on Chesapeake Bay-area cooking. "The Crab Cookbook" includes dozens of variations on traditional recipes: crab imperial, crab dip, crab soup, and more, including 33 recipes just for crab cakes. Everyone has their favorite crab cake or imperial, he says, and they're willing to share the recipes.
Most traditional crab dishes do not have a traceable history, but Schmidt believes they typically started in homes, not restaurants. Though he began his recipe search in bay-area restaurants, he seeks out home cook recipes whenever possible, talking with friends and family and searching for vintage cookbooks.
"Antique markets are full of used books," he explains. "I always spend an hour or two in the used-book section hoping I can find a cookbook from Smith Island or Tangier Island."
Junior League cookbooks are among those prized for their preservation of regional dishes.
"The national Junior League organization takes great pride in the cookbooks coming from different leagues," says Debbie Daugherty Richardson, a past president of the Junior League of Annapolis, which publishes two popular cookbooks of regional recipes, including traditional Maryland favorites like deviled crab and a variety of crab casseroles.
"Part of the pride comes from the tradition of sharing the recipes from generation to generation," she says.
When the Woodbrook-Murray Hill Garden Club published a 50th-anniversary cookbook in 2004, member Gail Smith contributed a crab casserole recipe she remembered from her youth.
"My mother was also a member of the garden club," she says. "The casserole came from my mother's cookbook. She used to make it when she had a big group. My daughter also has a couple recipes in the book — we keep it generational in there!"
Smith says when she cooks for family, she makes a lot of the dishes her mother made. "My kids like them and my grandchildren like them," she says.
Community cookbooks, thick with crab recipes, also help those without deep Baltimore roots quickly tap into the region's food culture.
Woodbrook-Murray Hill Garden Club member Ande Williams grew up in New England, so she was unfamiliar with crab dishes when she moved to Baltimore in 1997. She uses her garden club cookbook for traditional crab recipes, like crab dip. "Cookbooks like this are great for old family recipes and local dishes," she explains.
Local cookbooks are a gold mine for old-school home cooking crab recipes, but certain dishes, like fried hard crab and crab fluff, are more frequently prepared in restaurant kitchens.
Gary Sanders, owner of CJ's Restaurant in Owings Mills, says the fried hard crab — a crab stuffed with crab meat, dipped in batter and deep-fried — has been on the CJ's menu for as long as he can remember. "It came from my mother and father," he explains. "Years ago, my dad used to go down to Duffy's and get a fried crab once a month. I think that's where the idea came from."
Sanders admits that the old-fashioned dish is mostly ordered by older customers. But, he says, when younger people try it, they love it.
At Pappas Restaurant in Parkville, traditional dishes like crab imperial are a hit with "young and old alike," says manager Justin Windle. (Windle's father-in-law, Mark Pappas, owns the restaurant).
"There's something about imperial," says Windle. "It's a hearty dish and has that old-school charm. It's a nice nostalgic dish." Crab imperial, he says, is the second-most-popular dish at Pappas — after crab cakes.
Imperial, like many old-fashioned crab recipes, incorporates fatty ingredients like mayonnaise and butter health concerns may be one reason these dishes have relinquished the spotlight.
"I try to cook healthier during the week," says Smith, of the garden club. Still, when she cooks for her family or friends, she pushes health concerns aside. "If I'm having an occasion with the family, I like to include something that's been in the family. Or if I'm having a dinner party. I cook more fattening food for a crowd!"
Even if they mean a few extra hours at the gym later, old favorite crab recipes should not be forgotten. They are part of the fabric of Chesapeake Bay culture and an important part of regional history.
And with sweet, delectable crab as a centerpiece, they are absolutely delicious.
Next week, we'll explore the world of soft shell crabs — what they are, what people love (and hate) about them, how to cook them and where to find them.
Mobjack Imperial Crab
Whitey Schmidt's "The Crab Cookbook" includes recipes for crab prepared nearly every way imaginable — including this classic take on crab imperial. "Crab imperial is just the dish for a warm summer's evening," writes Schmidt, recommending a light appetizer and fruit kabobs served alongside the crab. Recipe reprinted with permission.