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.
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!
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.
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! It 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.
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. You 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.
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. It 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.