Copycat Captain D’s Batter Dipped Fish

I’m a big fan of battered fried fish. Add in some fries, a side of tartar sauce, and give me a bottle of malt vinegar and I’m one happy guy. This copycat of Captain D’s batter dipped fish checks all my boxes. Slightly crunchy. Tasty. Oh, and easy. Crazy easy. This is just like the great fish you can get at the restaurant.
Copycat Captain D's Batter Dipped Fish

I use a little FryDaddy when I cook my copycat Captain D’s batter dipped fish. It’s perfect for small pieces of fish and it heats the oil to the perfect temperature. But for larger pieces or when making dinner for more than just a few people, I use a Dutch oven or a bigger deep fryer.

No matter what you use to cook your fish, make sure that you don’t overcook it. The fish will dry out and not be good at all. Also make sure you get the oil temperature high enough. Low temperatures won’t cook the fish correctly. Low oil temperature will also saturate the fish with oil. That’s not good either.

Also try my copycat Long John Silver’s fish-and-chips!

Copycat Captain D's Batter Dipped Fish

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil or canola oil, for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more, for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups water plus more, if needed
  • 2 pounds cod fillets cut into bite-sized chunks if desired

Instructions

  • Heat 3" of oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 350 F.
  • In a large bowl add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cayenne. Whisk to combine.
  • Slowly whisk in the water. You want a pancake-like batter. If it's too thick add a bit (a very small bit!) more water and whisk.
  • Rinse and pat the fish dry. I prefer to cut mine into bite-sized pieces.
  • Working in batches, add the fish to the batter and turn to coat completely. Transfer to the oil and deep fry 3-4 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. If desired, sprinkle the fish with salt.

Notes

Note: If you like to cut your fish into bite-sized pieces before frying, you might need more batter to fully coat them. I usually double the batter ingredients just to make sure I have enough.

Copycat Manwich Sloppy Joes

I ate my share of Manwich Sloppy Joes as a kid. I was quite sure I never ate enough of them. Well, I can certainly make up for lost time (and meals) now by making this copycat Manwich Sloppy Joes at home. And you know what? It’s even better than I remember. Perfect thick tomato-y sauce. Just a hint of onion and green bell pepper. And the light tang of mustard. And messy. The messier the better!
Copycat Manwich Sloppy Joes

I do not add garnish to my copycat Manwich Sloppy Joes. Nothing. Nada. No pickles. Skip the extra mustard. And no cheese. Nothing needs to come between me and my Sloppy Joes.

If you think of Sloppy Joes as ‘kid food’ this will change your mind.

Also try my Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes.

Copycat Manwich Sloppy Joes

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon green bell pepper chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • You favorite toppings, optional shredded cheddar cheese, dill pickles, more prepared mustard

Instructions

  • Crumble the beef into a large skillet over medium-high heat and saute until browned.
  • Drain any fat and add the remaining ingredients except the buns and garnishes.
  • Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Toast the buns as desired.
  • Serve buns topped with Sloppy Joe mixture and garnishes.

Notes

I highly recommend doubling this recipe because it goes fast.

Copycat Golden Corral Crab Salad

Easy and delicious. That’s exactly what this copycat of the crab salad at Golden Corral is. You can easily up-size this to make a batch for a crowd without breaking the bank. That’s the point. This is a good, inexpensive dish that is perfect as a side and even better piled up on a bun or bread as a sandwich. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!

Copycat Golden Corral Crab Salad

You can also serve this copycat Golden Corral crab salad as an appetizer. It’s great on crackers. Or grab some mini-croissants and serve it as finger food at your next party.

I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m betting this salad would be good with imitation lobster too! And hey, if you want to put in real crab or lobster instead, go for it!

Copycat Corral Crab Salad Sandwich

Also try my crab pasta salad.

Copycat Golden Corral Crab Salad

Course Salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 pound imitation crab meat shredded
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup green onions sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 large hard boiled eggs chopped fine
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Gently combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Serve as a salad or on bread or croissants as sandwiches.

Copycat Taco Bell Tacos

Years ago, Taco Bell was my food craving after a night of bowling. Nothing beat grabbing a 10-pack of crunchy tacos from the drive-thru. Yes, 10. Bowling is hard work you know. Well, it turns out that making copycat Taco Bell tacos at home is about as easy as you can get. The key is the rinsing and draining of the ground beef and of course, a great seasoning mix. You end up with great beef flavor without the fat.
Copycat Taco Bell TacosMost grocery stores now carry masa harina, but if you can’t find it you can grind tortillas or just use finely-ground corn meal instead. Or, visit your local Hispanic grocery store which is quite sure have some on the shelves. The flavor and texture are distinct and really cannot be accurately duplicated by something else. Masa harina really makes these copycat Taco Bell tacos the perfect after-bowling meal!

If you enjoy taco sauce on your Taco Bell tacos, try my copycat of regular taco sauce, or for more kick, try my spicy version.

Copycat Taco Bell Tacos

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 tacos
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the beef filling

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons masa harina
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon beef bouillon powder
  • 1 pound lean ground beef

For the tacos

Instructions

For the beef filling

  • Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Heat a large over medium-high heat and add the ground beef. Chop the meat with a spatula and cook until done.
  • Remove from heat and let cool slightly then transfer to a strainer. Rinse under hot water to remove any residual grease. Drain well.
  • Optional: I prefer my ground beef to be fine, so at this point I place the meat in a food processor and pulse a few times to get a nice small grind.
  • Return the meat to the skillet and add the seasoning mix along with 1 cup of water.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and continue simmering, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed or evaporated.
  • Remove from heat.

For the tacos

  • Warm the taco shells per package instructions.
  • Divide meat between the tacos and add the lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and taco sauce if using.

Copycat Applebee’s Peppercorn and Garlic Shrimp

Only one thing is going to happen when you put a plate of a copycat Applebee’s Peppercorn and Garlic shrimp in front of me. They are going to disappear so fast you’re head will spin. The coating is amazing. The perfect crunch. With a hint of garlic. And the batter is the best kind, the kind that sticks. No one wants batter holes. You know what I mean. Missing batter. That’s not good.
Copycat Applebee's Peppercorn and Garlic Shrimp

Although I have a big fryer for when I’m cooking for more than two people at a time, or am frying something large like fish fillets, my preferred fryer is a Presto FryDaddy. The FryDaddy is perfect for making a batch of copycat Applebee’s Peppercorn and Garlic shrimp. The shrimp cook up perfectly in no time. The FryDaddy also doesn’t use much oil so I’m not being as wasteful as when I use my big fryer.

For a little kick, mix in a good pinch or two or more of cayenne pepper into the breading before coating the shrimp.

Also try my copycat Applebee’sSriracha shrimp.

Copycat Applebee's Peppercorn and Garlic Shrimp

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 pound
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the shrimp

  • 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined (I use 21-25 count shrimp and keep the tails on)
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the flour mixture

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

For the egg mixture

  • 2 large eggs beaten

For the breading

  • 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Heat 3" of oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • Combine the flour mixture ingredients in a shallow bowl.
  • Place the beaten eggs into another shallow bowl.
  • Last, combine the bread ingredients in another shallow bowl.
  • Working in batches, dip the shrimp into the flour, then into the eggs, and lastly in the breading, counting well.
  • Fry shrimp 2-3 minutes, flipping once.

Copycat White Castle Burgers

I like my burgers griddled. But sometimes, that just isn’t an option. Time for Plan B, and this time Plan B was to make a copycat of the famous sliders from White Castle. White Castle burgers are rather addicting. Even though you know you should stop eating them at some point, you just can’t. They’re about as easy to make as you can possibly get, and just as easy to devour.
Copycat White Castle BurgersIt’s possible that I often double the cheese on my copycat White Castle burgers. It’s also possible that I sometimes add a bit of BBQ sauce. Beyond that, White Castle sliders should not be messed with.

Serve your burgers with some copycat Five Guys Fries!

Copycat White Castle Burgers

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 24 sliders
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef I recommend 80/20 beef
  • 1 tablespoon beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dried minced onions
  • 2 packages 12-piece dinner rolls
  • Dill pickle slices American cheese, prepared yellow mustard

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 F.
  • In a large bowl combine the beef, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  • Spread minced onions out evenly on a baking sheet.
  • Add the beef mixture and spread out evenly to the edges of the tray.
  • Cut into 24 square equally-sized pieces.
  • Puncture tops of patties with a straw in a few places.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes or until the meat is done.
  • Drain beef.
  • Cut rolls in half. Add the pickles, cheese and mustard. Add the beef patty and top bun and serve.

Copycat Bubba Gump Tangy Honey Shrimp

Give me some perfectly cooked shrimp in a wonderful tasty broth and I’m one happy guy. This copycat Bubba Gump tangy honey shrimp is what regular ole shrimp stir fry wishes it could be. Packed with flavor, it’s the kind of dish that disappears before you know it. And hey, it’s from one of my favorite restaurant destinations, Bubba Gump.
Copycat Bubba Gump Tangy Honey Shrimp

We’ve had the joy of eating at a number of the Bubba Gump restaurants. It’s always been a good experience. This copycat Bubba Gump tangy honey shrimp is just one example of all the great food on the menu. You should stop by one near you for lunch or dinner soon. You’ll have a blast! Oh, and watch the movie classic Forrest Gump again so you’re ready for the trivia questions you’ll be asked at the restaurant!

Also try my Bubba Gump Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp.

Copycat Bubba Gump Tangy Honey Shrimp

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds large fresh shrimp peeled, deveined
  • 2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger root peeled, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro plus more, for garnish
  • 2 green onions sliced thin

Rice Timbales

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large skillet or wok.
  • Add shrimp, garlic, and ginger root and stir fry for 3-5 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink.
  • In a small bowl combine the broth, cornstarch, honey, ketchup, white vinegar, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and red pepper flake. Add to the shrimp and bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat to medium.
  • Stir in the sesame oil, chopped cilantro, and green onions.
  • Serve over rice timbales, garnished with chopped cilantro.

Rice Timbales

  • Combine 3 cups water and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. 
  • Add rice and stir. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender and water is absorbed.
  • Lightly spray 4 6-ounce custard cups or ramekins with non-stick spray. Press rice into bottoms and invert onto serve plates.

Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Boy, talk about something that flew off the table so fast that I was starting to wonder if we’d been robbed. We all thought that this copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits was even better than the restaurant favorite. They aren’t quite as crumbly. They held up to dunking in pot roast gravy, and that’s saying something. Granted, you probably can’t find pot roast gravy at Red Lobster.
Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

I admit that when I made these copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits that I used a bit more parsley than the recipe below calls for. The biscuits are a little sweet (I’m not saying that in a bad way). The parsley gave a nice little herby contrast to that.

Next time I might try cutting back on the parsley, but increase the cayenne. I do like a little heat!

These biscuits are great for soppin’ up the broth from my NOLA smoked shrimp.

Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Course Bread
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted, cooled

For the topping

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh parlsey minced

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 475 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silpat.
  • In a large bowl,whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, garlic powder and cayenne. Fold in the cheddar cheese.
  • In a separate bowl stir together the buttermilk and melted butter until the butter forms clumps.
  • Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and mix gently with a spatula just until a dough forms and there are no dry ingredients remaining.
  • Lightly spray a 1/4 cup measuring cup with non-stick spray. Scoop out 1/4 cup of dough at a time and place on the prepared baking sheet, 1" apart.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and brush with melted butter parsley mixture.

Copycat Quaker Steak and Lube Thai ‘R’ Cracker Wings

Whenever we are in the Cincinnati area we make a stop at Quaker Steak & Lube for wings. They have the best sauces and service around. Anita’s favorite sauce there is Thai ‘R’ Cracker, a somewhat sweet chili sauce. We also usually pick up a few bottles of sauce to take home. Those bottles don’t normally last long, so I decided to make a copycat of the sauce. Just like the original, this chili sauce-based mixture combines a bit of sweet and a bit of heat all with a slight Asian zing. It’s really, really good stuff. The kind of stuff that makes you want to lick your wings, which is borderline weird.
Copycat Quaker Steak and Lube Thai 'R' Cracker WingsThe secret to this copycat Thai ‘R’ Cracker sauce is in the chili sauces you choose. Both garlic and sweet chili sauces come in a lot of different variations, making it difficult to match the original taste exactly. I recommend getting a few bottles of each different sauce and mix them and try them to find the combination that you prefer. Our local grocery store had several different brands of each. You can also try your local Asian market for others.

I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.

Copycat Thai 'R' Cracker Wings

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds chicken wings flats and drumettes separated, tips discarded or saved for making chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

  • 1/4 cup garlic chili sauce or more as desired
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil I used a bit less than 1 teaspoon. You might want to start with 1/2 teaspoon and taste and add more if you desire. A little sesame oil goes a long ways.
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger I substituted 1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

Instructions

For the sauce

  • Combine all ingredients. Add more garlic chili sauce and sesame oil as desired.

Copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

We absolutely love meatloaf. We don’t consider it to be just a cold-weather dish, either. Heck, one of our favorite meatloaf recipes involve smoking it, which isn’t that much fun to do when it’s -20 F and windy out (although I’ve done it). That’s why I’m always excited when I come across a new-to-me recipe, like this copycat Cracker Barrel meatloaf.

This is great meatloaf. It has the perfect balance of texture and flavor. It’s not crazy different than what grandma would make. It’s old school and it’s incredibly great. Great on a plate sliced or on bread as a meatloaf sandwich. You can’t beat it.
Copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

This is the part of my blog posts where I suggest ways to change up a recipe. Add a bit of kick. Do things differently. Not this time. Not for this copycat Cracker Barrel meatloaf. I wouldn’t change this. Ever. The idea to change it never entered my mind. We loved this meatloaf just as it is.

Also try my easy Creole meatloaf.

Copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Resting time 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 sleeves Ritz crackers crushed
  • 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper finely diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Topping

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the crushed crackers, onion, bell pepper, milk, salt, pepper and cheese. Mix well.
  • Add the ground beef and combine. Transfer to the foil-lined pan and shape into a loaf that is 2-3" thick,
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Mix the topping ingredients and brush over the top of the loaf. Bake for another 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 F.
  • Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.