It’s a treat when I get to fire up my deep fryer. And because I’m a sucker for being influenced by cheesy ads on TV for fast food joints, I had to make a copycat of the popcorn chicken you can get at Popeyes. I couldn’t help myself. I was weak. Crunchy, spicy and addicting, I gobbled them up just like Annie (the lady on the Popeyes commercials) said I would. I figured I needed a few dipping sauces for my copycat Popeyes popcorn chicken. I decided to pick up a few bottles of Sweet Baby Ray’s dipping sauces at the store. SBR makes great BBQ sauces (perfect as-is or as a base for your own creation), so I was pretty darn sure that their dipping sauces would be great too. And they were. Between the popcorn chicken and the dipping sauces and a few fries, it was a happy deep-frying kind of day!
I used to work just down the street from a Quizno’s. I went there often for lunch. Ok, very often. I loved their toasted bread and great meats and toppings. Now I work from home and I prefer to make my own lunch, so I make a copycat of the classic Quizno’s Italian sub, my favorite item on their menu. The sweet balsamic dressing and pesto are what really make this sandwich memorable. Even if you don’t follow the recipe for the toppings exactly, make the dressing and add the pesto. I find pepperoncini peppers to be a must-have on a sub. And on a pizza for that matter. I prefer them over pickles. They’re crunchier and tangier and really wake up whatever you put them on.
The first time I tried the Thai Curry Wings at Buffalo Wild Wings I was blown away. It was in West Chester, Ohio, and I remember it like it was yesterday because I absolutely loved the combination of coconut, curry and just a bit of heat. I could’ve just licked the sauce off the wings, but then we were in a public place and that would’ve been awkward. Ever since I’ve been looking for a copycat of BW3’s sauce, and here it is. Now I can lick the sauce off the wings in the privacy of my own home! I could not find Thai chile peppers in our supermarket, so I had to go to plan B. I picked up a few packages of dried cayenne peppers, reconstituted them, and chopped them up. It was a great save.
I found the Shan chicken white karahi mix in the Pakistani section of our international supermarket. If you can’t find it nearby you can always order it online.
Place wings in a large resealable baggie or container.
Add the oil, salt and pepper. Seal and toss to coat.
Refrigerate for 4-8 hours.
Cook wings as desired. Click here for our guide on cooking wings in a grill, smoker, deep fryer, oven, or a Char-Broil Big Easy.
Toss wings with sauce before serving.
For the sauce (start cooking when you start the wings)
Mince the peppers and then pound in a mortar and pestle or grind into a paste using the side of a knife blade. You want the peppers to form a paste.
Place the peppers and remaining ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat.
Stir until the ingredients are combined.
Reduce heat to a simmer and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, while the wings are cooking. You want the sauce to thicken slightly.
NOTE: I could not find Thai peppers at our grocery store. You can substitute jalapenos or seranos for more heat. Preferably you want to use a red pepper. I bought dried cayenne peppers, which I then reconstituted in hot water for 1 hour. I then removed the seeds and minced the peppers into a paste.
I admit that back in my bachelor gotta-make-something-for-dinner-but-I-can’t-cook days I went through my share of boxes of Hamburger Helper. Easy to make and hearty, any flavor of Hamburger Helper would do. That’s why I just had to make this copycat version of the classic cheeseburger mix. Just as easy as the stuff out of the box and darn tasty too! You can easily modify this recipe and make your own. Add jalapenos or a dash or two of cayenne pepper for a little kick. Swap Monterey Jack cheese for the cheddar. Use ground turkey instead of ground beef and add a pinch or two of dried sage. Your copycat cheeseburger Hamburger Helper doesn’t have to be exactly like the stuff out of the box, but it’s ok if it is!
I love any restaurant, chain or not, that serves chicken wings. I have my favorites for sure, and Buffalo Wild Wings is one of them. BW3s Parmesan garlic wing sauce is to die for. It’s creamy, a little nutty thanks to the Parmesan cheese, and definitely packed with garlic. This copycat of the chain sauce is spot-on crazy good. I absolutely could not stop eating it. So much so that I made wings covered in the Parmesan garlic sauce two days in a row. Is that wrong?
I say without hesitation that you should double the amount of sauce. It’s not so much that you need to drown the wings in it, no. It’s because it’s good on sandwiches and subs too. Crazy garlicky good.
Anita requested that I make patty melts for dinner. So, I made patty melts for dinner. But not just my usual patty melts. No, it was time to bring out the big guns – a copycat of Applebee’s Classic Patty Melt. This is what a patty melt should be. Griddled patties, sauteed onions, a delicious sauce and of course, cheese. And thick bread. You have to have thick bread or you’ll end up with sandwich sadness. No one wants to have their patty melt fall apart when they take a bite. The sauce is best with a clove of roasted garlic mixed in. I roasted an entire head of garlic ahead of time. I squeezed out one clove for this recipe and saved the rest for something else. It really makes this Applebee’s Classic Patty Melt better than the rest, so don’t skip the effort.
I could make (and eat) ‘fried’ chicken using my Vortex BBQ all day long. It has never let me down. It has never been anything but easy. This copycat of Church’s fried chicken was no exception. Incredibly crunchy skin. Unbelievably moist and flavorful meat. And as easy as coating it, grilling it, eating it. Done. There are no tricks or special handshakes that you need to know to get fried chicken right using the Vortex. And although a lot of sites say to rotate the lid every 15 minutes while cooking, I’ve not found that it makes a difference. I don’t over-crowd my grill and I make sure I have a super-hot fire. If you’ve found that rotating the lid is a requirement, let me know but so far, I’ve not had anything but success just keeping the lid right where it is. I also do not flip my chicken while it is cooking. Doing so will result in ‘batter loss’, a bad thing. Just keep it right where it is.
Also try my insanely-awesome proper pub fried chicken, another fantastic recipe for deliciously crispy tasty chicken cooked using the Vortex. You can also use off-the-shelf fried chicken coating to make spectacular chicken on the Vortex. Check out my Kentucky Kernel chicken too!
It’s summer. That means iced tea for me, and in particular, Snapple. This copycat of the fantastic bottled version hits the spot on a hot day for sure. Just toss a few ingredients into your slow cooker and in a few hours you get great tasting tea. I prefer peach- or lemon-flavored tea, but you can use any flavor you’d like. For lower calorie, lower carb tea use artificial sweetener and any one of the sugar-free fruit flavors of Torani syrup. I’ve found that some syrup flavors can be hard to find locally but thankfully, shipping isn’t bad so I ordered a few bottles online. You don’t have to worry about the syrups expiring either, so don’t be afraid to try several different flavors in your teas.