Copycat Quarter Pounders with Cheese

After making a copycat of the Arch Deluxe burger from McDonald’s, I could not stop jonesin’ for a good version of my all-time favorite fast-food burger, the Quarter Pounder with cheese. Simple but tasty. Sure, I might have cheated a bit and actually made a Third Pounder cheese burger, but hey, that just means I had more yumminess!
copycat-quarter-pounders-with-cheeseIt wasn’t until after my teen years that I also became a fan of the Big Mac, which I’ve made at home several times. And now that I think about them, I’m going to have to make them again, and soon. Want an even bigger Big Mac? Try my Big Mac hoagies. Yep, that’s right, all the great flavors of a Big Mac on a big ole hoagie bun. Not into big Big Macs? My Big Mac sliders are perfect for a party.

Copycat Quarter Pounders with Cheese
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
 
Ingredients
For the burgers
  • 2 1/4 pound burger patties (to keep it authentic use pre-made patties from your grocery store)
  • 2 sesame seed burger patties
  • 4 slices American cheese (get the deli style, it's a bit thicker and tastier)
  • Prepared yellow mustard
  • Ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 dill pickle slices
For the burger seasoning (makes enough for several burgers)
  • 4 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Accent
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Instructions
  1. Combine the seasoning ingredients.
  2. Season both sides of the patties.
  3. Cook your patties in a hot skillet or on a griddle.
  4. Top each patty with a slice of cheese.
  5. Toast the buns.
  6. Add the patties to the bun bottoms.
  7. Squirt 5 little dots of mustard around the patties.
  8. Do the same with the ketchup.
  9. Add 1 tablespoon of onion and 2 pickle slices to each patty.
  10. Top each patty with another slice of cheese.
  11. Add bun top and serve.

Copycat Pizza Hut Creamy Italian Dressing

I grilled up a few marinated chicken breast last week. I sliced them thin and began what I call ‘salad week’. That means big salads, lot of greens and good stuff on top, and homemade salad dressings. This copycat of the creamy Italian dressing from Pizza Hut was one of my favorite dressings of the week. It has a nice herby flavor with a hint of nutty Parmesan, and the kick of vinegar and citrus.
Copycat Pizza Hut Creamy Italian DressingAlthough it wouldn’t still be a copycat recipe, I wouldn’t hesitate to add a pinch or two of dried red pepper flake to this dressing. It’s great as is, but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of kick in your creamy Italian dressing.

Copycat Pizza Hut Creamy Italian Dressing
Author: 
Recipe type: Copycat
Cuisine: Dressing
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1+ cups
 
Note: I like to grind the oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary with a mortar and pestle before adding them to the dressing.
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Add the oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary to a medium bowl.
  2. Stir in the salt, pepper, vinegar and lemon juice.
  3. Whisk in the mayonnaise.
  4. While still whisking, pour in the olive oil.
  5. Add the cheese and stir.
  6. Store in an air-tight container.

Copycat Outback Steakhouse Green Beans

Green beans are in season, which means I usually grab a pound or so every few days at the grocery store. Although I often grill my green beans if I’m already outside grilling, this copycat Outback Steakhouse green bean recipe is a big favorite of ours. The beans take only a few minutes to make.
Copycat Outback Steakhouse Green BeansYou can also add carrots to these beans for a great twist on the restaurant classic. Just peel a few carrots and slice them thin. Put them into the boiling water for a minute or two before adding the beans so they all come out done and tender at the same time.

For another variation, and one with a little kick, toss in a few pinches (or more) of dried red pepper flake when you saute the beans.

Copycat Outback Steakhouse Green Beans
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed as desired
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the beans and boil for 6-8 minutes or until just turning tender.
  3. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  4. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the sugar and let dissolve, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the beans and toss to coat in the butter mixture. Saute for 3-4 minutes, flipping once or twice.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

 

Copycat Schlotsky’s The Original

Anita and were driving to Nashville, TN, when we passed a sign on the interstate for a Schlotsky’s. I instantly flashed back to the days when we had a Schlotsky’s near where I worked in Indianapolis. It was my favorite lunch spot. I so loved their bread. Sadly, it was early in the morning so the Schlotsky’s was closed. At that moment I went on a journey to recreate my favorite sandwich, Schlotsky’s The Original. This copycat is a fantastic copycat of the classic great sandwich, from the bread to the meats to the garlic dressing.
Copycat Schlotsky's The OriginalIt may look like it takes a lot of work and ingredients to make a copycat of the Schlotsky’s The Original, but it’s actually quite simple and the end result will more than reward your efforts. The key is the sourdough bread, which comes out light, airy, and full of air bubbles. It holds up perfectly to the ingredients, including my favorite, the garlic mayonnaise. I made a big squeeze bottle of the dressing and also find myself using it on burgers and wraps.

Copycat Schlotsky's The Original
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 slices
 
Ingredients
For the sourdough bread starter
  • 1 cup warm water (110 F)
  • 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
For the bread
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk (110 F)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Sourdough starter, from above
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • Corn meal
For the creamy garlic dressing
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
For the sandwich
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 thin slices Cotto salami
  • 8 thin slices Genoa salami
  • 8 thin slices ham sandwich meat
  • Yellow mustard
  • Red onion, sliced thin
  • Tomatoes, sliced thin
  • Lettuce, shredded or chopped
  • Sliced black olives
Instructions
For the sourdough bread starter
  1. Add the water to a medium bowl.
  2. Stir in the yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes until foamy.
  3. Stir in the flour.
  4. Cover loosely and place in a warm place 8-12 hours.
For the bread
  1. Add the warmed milk to a large bowl.
  2. Stir in the sugar, salt and baking soda until the dry ingredients are dissolved.
  3. Ad the flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to combine until smooth. The dough will end up sticky and thick.
  4. Spray two 8" (or three 6") pie pans with non-stick spray.
  5. Sprinkle the bottoms of the pans with the corn meal.
  6. Divide the dough between the pans. Just plop into the centers of the pans. Don't worry about it being pretty, it'll spread out as it rises.
  7. Lightly spray the tops of the dough with non-stick spray.
  8. Loosely cover the pans and let rise for 1 hour in a warm spot. I recommend covering the dough with something that won't stick to it, such as upside down pie pans.
  9. After the dough has risen, preheat your oven to 375 F.
  10. Spray the tops of the dough again with non-stick spray and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove to racks to cool.
For the creamy garlic dressing
  1. Whisk together all ingredients. Store in a squirt bottle for easy dispensing.
For the sandwich
  1. Cut the bread in half, horizontally.
  2. Squirt the bread with the garlic dressing and yellow mustard.
  3. Add the remaining sandwich ingredients.
  4. Slice into quarters and serve.
  5. Note: I like to have my cheese melted a bit, so I wrap the assembled sandwiches in foil and insert them into a preheated 350 F oven for 5-10 minutes.

Copycat Panera Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing

Strawberries are in season. I’ve been waiting for this moment to make this copycat of Panera’s strawberry poppy seed dressing. My patience was definitely rewarded. This could easily be my favorite dressing of all time. Smooth strawberry flavor with just a bit of sweetness. White balsamic vinegar, while not as cheap as the dark version, is more mellow and adds a great tang.
Copycat Panera Strawberry Poppy Seed DressingI was curious what makes white balsamic vinegar more gentle than dark, so I Googled it. Turns out dark balsamic vinegar is aged for at least twelve years in barrels that have been fired and were previously used for other batches of balsamic vinegar. White balsamic vinegar, on the other hand, is aged at least twelve years in new barrels that have not been fired or used before. That explains the cleaner flavor! It’s perfect in this copycat Panera strawberry poppy seed dressing.

After I use up this batch of dressing (read: tonight), I think I’ll try the same recipe but using raspberries instead. Or peaches. I think this same approach could work well with any good in-season fruit.

Copycat Panera Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad Dressing
Cuisine: American
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar (or regular, but the dressing will be darker)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon stevia (or your favorite no-calorie sweetener)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the dressing ingredients except the poppy seeds together in a high-speed blender or food processor and mix until smooth.

Copycat Boston Market Tuscan Herb Chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy

This copycat Boston Market Tuscan Herb chicken is exactly why I bought my Char-Broil Big Easy: crazy good chicken. Sure, I cook a lot of things on my Big Easy (well, Big Easys actually, since I have 3), but it cooks poultry like you’ve never had. Perfect every time and easy as you can possibly get. These split chicken breasts were packed with herb flavor, and had the most insanely crunchy tasty skin you’ve ever had. And oh so moist meat. This may be the best chicken I’ve ever made.

Copycat Boston Market Tuscan Herb Chicken on the Char-B roil Big EasyYou can use skin-less chicken breasts if you prefer, just rub the herb mixture over the meat. The original recipe was for a whole chicken, which you could also do, but make sure you check the meat temperatures in several places before removing the full bird from the cooker. I prefer split chicken breasts for the simplicity of cooking and carving.

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

Copycat Boston Market Tuscan Herb Chicken on the Char-B roil Big Easy
Author: 
Prep time: 
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Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
You'll need the Char-Broil Big Easy Bunk Bed Basket if you want to cook more than 2 split chicken breasts at a time.
Ingredients
  • 4 skin-on split chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Big Easy. Spray the basket with non-stick spray.
  2. Using your fingers, carefully separate the skin from the chicken meat, creating a pocket between the skin and breast.
  3. Combine the oil and the basil, oregano, rosemary and garlic.
  4. Rub the mixture between the skin and meat. Be generous with it.
  5. Salt and pepper the outsides of the breasts.
  6. Place into the Big Easy cooker and cook until the breast meat reaches 165 F. Depending on conditions and the size of the chicken breasts, plan on 10-15 minutes per pound.
  7. Remove and devour.

Copycat Applebee’s Clubhouse Grille

We both really enjoyed this copycat version of Applebee’s Clubhouse Grill sandwich. I had plenty of smoked turkey on hand after smoking a few turkey breasts. The light smoke flavor of the very tender turkey, along with gooey cheese and the best part, a bit of smokey BBQ sauce, really made for a great sandwich. It’s like a grownup take on a grilled cheese.
Copycat Applebee's Clubhouse Grille SandwichAny ‘plain’ sandwich can have that little extra something just by adding a bit of BBQ sauce to it. Not a lot, you’re not making a pulled pork sandwich. But just enough so you know it is there. You’ll remember it more than just a sandwich just say, mayonnaise.

Copycat Applebee's Clubhouse Grille
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 serving
 
Ingredients
  • 2 slices thick sliced bread
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoon mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons barbecue sauce (I used Weber's Hickory Smoke sauce)
  • 3 slices ham
  • 3 slices turkey
  • 1 slice extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 slice Jack cheese
  • 2 slices cooked bacon
  • 2 thin slices tomato
  • Shredded or pieces of iceberg lettuce
  • A few thin slices of avocado, optional
Instructions
  1. Warm a skillet over medium-high heat or fire up a griddle on your grill.
  2. Spread butter on one side of each slice of toast.
  3. Place butter side down onto the skillet and cook until the butter is melted and the bread is golden brown.
  4. Remove to a plate, butter sides down. Slather one bread slice's un-buttered side with mayonnaise and the other slice's with the BBQ sauce.
  5. Add ham, turkey and cheeses to skillet all in a pile.
  6. Heat until the cheeses start to melt.
  7. Remove and place on top of a bread slice.
  8. Top with bacon, tomato and lettuce and serve.
  9. Optional: Add a few thin slices of avocado!

 

Copycat Tony Roma’s Blue Ridge Smokies Sauce

My first experience at Tony Roma’s was in Salt Lake City, Utah, many, many years ago. I instantly fell in love with their ribs. When I later moved to Indianapolis there was a Tony Roma’s just a few blocks from where I lived. Ribs, ribs, ribs. I think Tony Roma’s started my love of ribs. I make them often at home on my own smoker. I have to because Tony Roma’s closed here 10 or so years ago.

This copycat of Tony Roma’s Blue Ridge Smokies sauce is fantastic. It has some of your ‘standard’ BBQ sauce ingredients, such as ketchup and liquid smoke. That’s not what made it so special to me. It’s the red wine vinegar. The vinegar really adds a nice edge to the sauce. It’s like a nice combination of a KC BBQ sauce with a little North Carolina vinegar-based sauce.
Copycat Tony Roma's Blue Ridge Smokies SauceI rubbed a rack of ribs down with a copycat Famous Dave’s rib rub, let it get happy overnight, then tossed the ribs onto my Weber Smokey Mountain for 6 hours, saucing them in the last 30 minutes. The end result was tender, tasty, and finger-licking amazing.

If you don’t like liquid smoke, substitute smoked salt and leave out the Kosher salt.

Copycat Tony Roma's Blue Ridge Smokies Sauce
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I substituted Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer, stirring often, for 30 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved.
  4. Sauce gets better when refrigerated overnight. Warm slightly before using.