My fast food dining days are pretty much behind me. Oh I might stop and grab something every once-in-a-while, specially if I’m traveling. I still crave some of my fast food favorites, but now I’m more a make-it-at-home kinda guy. So that’s how we ended up here, with a copycat of my favorite chain burger, the Burger King Whopper (although truth be told, McDonald’s Quarter Pounder and BigMac are close behind on the list!).
I like to cook my copycat Burger King Whoppers on a flat top griddle on my grill. I get the griddle hot, screaming hot, first. That gives me that little char, that little crunch around the edges. And of course cooking on the grill gives you that char-grilled flavor just like at the restaurant!
If you don’t have a grill cook the burgers in a hot skillet!
This is how to fry up some shrimp. The perfect batter, with the perfect consistency and flavor. Not too light and not too heavy. And perfectly crunchy. And the best part of this copycat Chili’s crispy shrimp? You can still taste the shrimp. Don’t mess with perfection, follow the recipe as it is and you’ll (very) soon be enjoying fantastic shrimp.
The first time I made a copycat Chili’s crispy shrimp, Anita took one bite and immediately said that I don’t need to fry shrimp in any other way. Ever again. She also told me to not change anything about it. I tend to do that. You know. A little tweak here. A little something more or less there. Nope, not with these shrimp.
What’s better than onions on a burger? Why, onion straws of course! And what’s better than ketchup on a burger? Why, Campfire sauce of course! Put the two on a hot-off-the-grill patty with good ole American cheese and you don’t have to call me twice for dinner. This copycat of Red Robin’s Haystack Tavern burger is mighty good stuff. Now, when you order it at the restaurant you usually get a double. I made mine a single. In hindsight I’m not sure why because one patty was great, but two would’ve been better!
You might have a bit of the Campfire left after you make your copycat Red Robin Haystack Tavern burgers. That’s a good thing. Slather it on sandwiches. Dip some fries in it. Put it on hot dogs.
I recommend making a few extra onion straws. Half of them won’t last long enough to make it to the burgers. Oh, and they’re great dipped in the Campfire sauce too!
Who doesn’t love a BLT sandwich? It screams summer, with ripe tomatoes and crunchy lettuce. Add avocado and you get a copycat of Red Robin’s BLTA. That’s bacon, lettuce, tomato and of course… avocado! The addition of avocado really takes the classic sandwich to a new, wonderful, place. And serving it on a sweet, pillowy croissant is the way to go.
If you’re missing a little heat in your copycat Red Robin BLTA, mix a teaspoon or two of adobo sauce in with the mayonnaise. You don’t want to go crazy with it, but a little spiciness will offset the sweet bread and avocado perfectly. It also adds a bit more smokiness, helping that wonderful bacon smoke along a bit.
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.
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.
2poundscod filletscut into bite-sized chunks if desired
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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. Most 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!
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.
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.
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. It’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.