I’m sitting here trying to describe how I felt when I devoured this copycat of the Buffalo wings from Applebee’s. It was more than love. It was an unstoppable obsession. An addiction. As soon as I was done eating I started to plan making them again. And again. So what makes them so different? It’s the addition of flour to what is a pretty typical Buffalo wing sauce. You wouldn’t think that it would make that big of a difference, but it helps the sauce stick to the wings. You don’t usually get that with Buffalo wings. They may be sauced, but a lot of that sauce ends up on your plate or shirt and not in your mouth.
There’s no such thing as making too many Applebee’s Buffalo wings or making them too often. No matter how you cook them, everyone will love them. I’ll end my thoughts there because I’m off to make another batch…
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.
I was busy. Way too busy to even think about making a lunch that took more than 5 minutes of my time. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I heated up some pre-made chicken nuggets. Don’t judge me, I had to do it. Plus, truth be told, I like them. I can’t help it. But I wasn’t just going to dip them in ketchup or mustard. No, I took an extra 30 seconds and whisked up a copycat of the Chick-fil-A dipping sauce and tossed it into the fridge so that the flavors got happy while the chicken was heating. For a nice twist on this Chick-fil-A sauce swap out a spicy BBQ sauce for the smoky hickory BBQ sauce. Or just add a few splashes of hot sauce to the recipe below.
I eat fast food about as often as there’s a total solar eclipse. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t think about it. And when I do, the first thing that comes to mind are McDonald’s French fries. In my younger years I gobbled up my share of Mickey D’s fries, that’s for sure, and I’ve wanted to recreate that taste and crunch at home for a while now. Finally, I have found the perfect recipe. The perfect flavor and texture. This is it. Make sure you re-freeze the brined fries before deep-frying them. You want the brine to set up. If it does not it will cause a lot of grease splatter when you lower them into the hot oil.
I served these copycat McDonald’s fries along with my copycat of the famous original McDonald’s hamburger.
Going to the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday is a treat for us. Luckily, there’s a Ruby Tuesday right down the street from our house. They always keep the salad bar super-duper cold and super-duper stocked. Never have I gone up with my plate and said “oh no! there’s only one pea left!” (I love peas on a salad). When I get to the end of the salad bar, I find my two favorite things: Ranch dressing and pumpernickel croutons. Now, there’s an art and an order to putting them on your salad, mind you. You do NOT put the dressing on first. I used to think you had to to keep the croutons from sliding off. No, the croutons go first, and lots of them. Make sure you kinda wedge them in any nooks and crannies so they don’t fall off. Then drizzle with the dressing, getting half of the croutons nice and Ranchy while leaving the rest naked. Trust me on this. Do it next time you hit up the Ruby Tuesday salad bar. I used a fresh loaf of pumpernickel bread when I made copycat Ruby Tuesday croutons. Fresh bread takes longer to bake but I think it makes for a better duplicate of the original: a little crunch but mostly soft and tender crouton. You do not want a hard, dry crouton that bursts into a billion pieces when you bite into it. If you do use older or stale bread, keep an eye on them while baking because they won’t take as long.
If I’d known how easy it is to make a copycat of the great side dish, Rice-A-Roni, I would’ve already been making it for years. Rice-A-Roni was a staple in our house when I was growing up. For some reason I loved the smell of the seasoning packet that came with Rice-A-Roni. This recipe is a spot-on copy of what I remember, from the seasoning to the aroma to the texture, all using ingredients that I always have on hand. I could actually eat Rice-A-Roni (the original or this copycat) by itself. But, given the chance, I like to cover it in a generous amount of gravy. It’s like chicken and rice soup I guess. Mighty tasty chicken and rice soup at that.
Chicken base can be found by the chicken broth or bouillon in the grocery store. I love the flavor of chicken base, so I added a bit more than the teaspoon that the recipe calls for.
A few years back I made a copycat of Arby’s Beef-n-Cheddar sandwich, one of my all-time favorites by a country mile. A commercial came on the tv a few days ago for Arby’s roast beef sandwiches, and I instantly started jonesin’ for one. As much as I loved my beef-n-cheddar copycat, I wanted to take a copycat of the roast beef sandwich to a new level. The level of true copycatness. And here it is. Tender, tasty thin-sliced beef. Tangy Arby’s sauce. Onion buns. And of course, seasoned curly fries. It’s impossible to make enough of it because no matter what, I’m going to make it disappear. I actually used Sriracha ketchup for making the Arby’s sauce, and left out adding any additional hot sauce. It had some kick, and wasn’t 100% a copycat of the original, but it was fantastic. In fact, I’d recommend that Arby’s make a Sriracha version of the sauce for their restaurants. It’d be a big hit, trust me.
If you’re like me and you’re kind of addicted to Arby’s sauce, I’d double the amount below. If it’s not running down your forearm when you take a big bite of this copycat Arby’s roast beef sandwich, you’re not doing it right!
My first trip to a Primanti Brothers restaurant was years ago in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. I was always sad that there wasn’t one in Indiana… until now! Yep, we have Primanti Brothers! Woo hoo! Anita and I ate lunch there the other day. We both ordered salads, even though they are famous for their sandwiches. The Buffalo and Crispy chicken entree salads are very good. For a starter we ordered the Terror Tots. It took about 5 seconds for us both to agree: we had to make them at home. So here it is, my copycat of Primanti Brothers Terror Tots. Crispy tots topped with cheese, bacon, spicy Sriracha sauce, and even spicier fresh jalapeno slices. You cannot possibly eat these fast enough. The salads at Primanti Brothers were incredibly fresh, as were the jalapeno slices on the Terror Tots. And they weren’t that hot. They in fact were quite tame, and very tasty. I saw the fear in Anita’s face when they first came to our table. She was worried they would be too hot. But, they must grow their peppers specially lightly spicy because we thought they were perfect. They all disappeared.
I’ve made my share of Stove Top Chicken Stuffing. It’s fast, easy, cheap and good. In my bachelor days you’d always find a box or two in my pantry. Now that I cook a lot more from scratch, I decided it was time to give making a copycat of the classic boxed stuffing a shot. And you know what? Man, was it ever as good as the boxed stuff and mighty fun and easy to make! I will definitely double (or triple) this recipe for copycat Stove Top Chicken Stuffing next time. I admit, as much as I love Thanksgiving turkey, I’m really more partial to the stuffing and mashed potatoes, each loaded up with tons of gravy. And for me, my go-to gravy is my make-ahead holiday gravy. I don’t just double the gravy recipe either. More like 6 times as much as the recipe states. Maybe 7. Or 8. Like I said, I love gravy.