How many times have you taken a bite of food at a restaurant and said, "I wish I had this recipe". I know I have.

Too bad most recipes for really famous food dishes are closely guarded secrets. Fortunately there are copycat recipes that can put the home foodie a little closer to his or culinary nirvana without having to stand in line waiting for a table. Here are some of my favorites. (Click on the food item to get the recipe.)

  1. Bang Bang Shrimp - The original version comes from the Bonefish Grill and is a must have appetizer for me. For my wife it is a large enough portion to be called a meal. If you like the zip and zing of this delightfully delicious shrimp dish you've got to check out this very close to the original recipe.
  2. IHOP Pancakes - There is nothing better than a really good pancake. The folks at IHOP have built an empire on this humble breakfast staple. A good pancake is light, fluffy has the ability to hold syrup and doesn't sit in your stomach like a cinder block after you have had a tall stack.
  3. Carrabba's Chicken Bryan - I am not sure who Bryan is or why he decided to bless this Earth with such an incredible chicken dish. If you love a succulent breast of chicken bathed in the flavors of tomato, basil and garlic this Carrabba's dish is a dish for you. It never disappoints when I order out so why not go for the gusto in your home kitchen.
  4. Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole - There are not many things in this world that will make me peel off of the Interstate during a family vacation road trip. Cracker Barrel hash brown casserole is one of them. The creamy texture, the delightful mix of onion, potato and magic are worth arriving an hour late at my final destination. The only problem I see with this recipe while traveling, it is a major nap inducer. Therefore it is better to create the deliciousness at home where the couch isn't that far away.
  5. Ruth's Chris Sweet Potato Casserole - With every bite I hear the sounds of angels singing in my ears. This stuff is that good. If you are looking to make the average sweet potato incredible, this recipe is it. This is so good it should be classified as a dessert and not a side dish. Ruth's Chris is so much more than steaks, their side dishes deserve almost equal billing as the main courses do.

These are just some of my favorite recipes to borrow from the big boys and girls. Of course to enjoy the original flavor and to provide an accurate comparison for your cooked at home versions I suggest you visit these restaurants often. You can tell the family you are just doing research.


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