Dine out at home: The best copycat recipes for your fave restaurants
Nowadays, it has become difficult to dine out in restaurants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and having take-out every night is sure to break our bank accounts. That said, does anyone actually expect us to make struggle meals and bland foods until we’re let outside again – eating the same ol’ boring foods from our pantry?!
To combat the food monotony from our quarantined lives, we have compiled some of the best copycat recipes to try from the comfort of your homes. And perhaps, even recreate an ambient dine-in experience by adding some drinks, candlelights, and your treasured china to your stellar home-cooked meal.
If you’re dreaming about some yummy chicken tenders or some great Chinese food for a night in, give this collection of iconic copycat recipes from your favorite restaurants a try:
Copycat Applebee’s tequila lime chicken
Missing some Tequila & lime goodness from Applebee’s? Don’t miss out on the zesty Tex Mex flavors of this chicken dish which is usually served with spiced rice, pico de gallo (salsa), avocado, and tortilla strips in the restaurant.
Chicken marinade: 4 chicken breast cutlets (or 2 chicken breasts sliced in half lengthwise), 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons tequila, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon lime zest, 4 cloves of minced garlic, ½ cup shredded tex mex cheese.
Spiced rice: 1 cup dry white rice, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 teaspoon butter, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon salt.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Mix all ingredients for chicken marinade together and let marinate with chicken in a ziploc bag or bowl for fifteen to twenty minutes. Meanwhile, make rice by adding all ingredients to a rice cooker.
- When chicken is ready to cook, add to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for ten minutes. While the chicken is cooking, prep your preferred toppings like sliced avocado, salsa, lime wedges, etc.
- Remove chicken from the oven and top with grated cheese, then bake another ten minutes until cheese is melted and chicken is fully cooked.
- Top chicken with the prepared toppings of choice and serve with Mexican spiced rice. Enjoy the wholesome dish!
Copycat P.F. Chang’s Mongolian beef
The copycat recipe for P.F. Chang’s Mongolian beef is perfect for some at-home Asian cuisine. And the best part is that it’s super quick & easy to make. So, stock up on soy sauce in your kitchen and give this scrumptious meal a try!
1 pound flank steak (thinly sliced across the grain), 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 thinly sliced green onions.
Sauce: 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 2 teaspoons grated ginger, 2 teaspoons vegetable oil.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients with half cup water. Heat soy sauce mixture in a medium saucepan for about five to ten minutes or until slightly thickened and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flank steak & cornstarch.
- Heat half cup vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add beef and fry for about one to two minutes till browned & cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and discard excess oil.
- Add beef and soy sauce mixture to the saucepan over medium heat and cook until sauce thickens for about two to three minutes. Stir in some green onions while sprinkling some on top.
- Serve immediately with some plain, cooked white rice.
Copycat Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana
Zuppa Toscana is a hearty Tuscan-cuisine inspired soup made of potatoes, kale, and Italian sausages. Straight from Olive Garden’s menu to your kitchen, this rich & creamy soup makes for a ravishing dinner!
1 & ½ pounds Italian sausage, 1 large chopped onion, ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons flour, 4 cups chicken broth, 3 cups whole milk, 2 pounds of sliced russet potatoes, 1 large bunch kale, 2 cups heavy cream, ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, salt & pepper to taste.
- In a large soup pot, add the sausage over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion to the pot and stir.
- Add the kosher salt & crushed red pepper. Sautée for about seven to ten minutes until the sausage is thoroughly cooked.
- Add minced garlic and sauté for one more minute until garlic is fragrant.
- Turn off the heat and drain the grease from the soup pot. Turn the heat back on to medium high and stir in 2 tablespoons flour.
- Once the flour has incorporated & absorbed the remaining oil, slowly add the chicken broth while stirring. Go slow to avoid the flour getting clumpy in the broth. Repeat the process by adding the whole milk while stirring slowly.
- Add the sliced potatoes to the pot while turning the heat down to medium and bringing the mixture to a low boil.
- Once the soup is at a low simmer, continue simmering for about twenty minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- When the potatoes are tender, add bite-sized pieces of torn kale to the soup.
- Add two cups of cream and stir very gently without mashing the potatoes.
- Turn the heat to low and let cook for another fifteen minutes or until the kale is wilted. Gently stir in the Parmesan cheese and serve!
With the restaurants temporarily closing or reducing their menus, make these signature copycat recipes at home to satisfy your cravings. Let us know which of these copycat recipes you are planning to make in the comments.