Eat at Home-Copy Cat Restaurant Meals

“People copy people they look up to, and good products inspire copycats.” Innocent Mwatsikesimbe

One of the most inspiring books I’ve ever heard about is a book called, “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon. The premise of the book is to take ideas from things you enjoy and turn them into your own creation. One of the key rules of “Stealing Like an Artist” is to give full and proper credit to the source of your inspiration. With that, I give to you one of my absolute favorite things to “steal”-restaurant recipes.

If you remember my post about my Top 5 Money Saving Tips from a few weeks back, number 5 was, “Eat at Home”. There’s LOTS of money to be saved by simply staying out of restaurants. That said, sometimes you just crave your favorite restaurant meal. Sticking to a budget and eating at home does not mean you need to totally sacrifice your favorite meals out-you just need to figure out a way to duplicate them at home.

The absolute master of the cloned restaurant recipe is a man by the name of Todd Wilbur. He has written several books on duplicating restaurant recipes, and I’m the proud owner of several of them. To be honest, some of the things he duplicates are just for the sake of it, and in my not-so-humble-opinion, it’s just easier to buy the real deal (Oreo cookies!) than it is to make your own. BUT, if you’re wanting the 9 Layer Dip from TGI Friday’s, Todd’s recipe is the absolute BEST! I’ve made this dip as my contribution to several potluck dinners I’ve been invited to, and it’s rare that I ever bring any leftovers home.

The internet offers a myriad of choices when it comes to duplicating restaurant recipes, as well. Enter the words, “Copycat [insert dish name here] recipe” into your favorite search engine and see what happens! One of the few items I’ll actually eat from Taco Bell is their Cantina Bowl. It’s probably the healthiest item on their menu. Rice, black beans, corn, and avocado in a bowl topped with grilled chicken! I’ll admit I haven’t tried this recipe yet but I still think it’s worth sharing,

So now I challenge you-what are some of your favorite restaurant meals? Do a search in your favorite search engine and find a copycat recipe to fix at home. If you’re feeling adventurous, try fixing it at home. If I feel adventurous, maybe I’ll give some of your faves a try. Either way, please share your results in the comments.

Be well and God Bless-until we meet again…


Top Secret Recipes

Author: olderwisermoneymiser

I’m a 50-something wife, mom, and full time accounting administrator sharing my observations about life and money.

17 thoughts on “Eat at Home-Copy Cat Restaurant Meals”

  1. I totally enjoyed this post — but don’t have any recipes to think of. I’m kind of a food snob and often point out how a restaurant recipe could be so much better (i.e., tasty and healthy) if one or two things are done. My problem is usually that I don’t keep the ingredients for so many of the simple things I enjoy at restaurants, in the house – your post inspires me to do that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Kim! We love to cook and don’t eat out very often these days mainly because when we do we are disappointed with the quality for the price charged. We aren’t scrooges but we do expect a quality meal if we are going to pay top dollar for it. Cooking is a time for my husband and I to bond and chat so we do enjoy making special dinners at home. Thanks for the recipe for the dip which I will look up. Have a great week! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Kim – Your Post has inspired my dinner choice for tonight—rice, black beans, corn and avacodo. I just happen to have all of the ingredients at home.
    The only direct copy cat recipe that I have used so far is for Tim Horron’s ice Capp (frozen coffee). I actually preferred my version because I could adjust the sweetness. Thank you for this practical and inspiring post! #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Kim – I’m a great lover of plain and simple, down-to-earth food so we tend to eat at home all the time. I can’t justify paying the big dollars to have someone cook me something that is the same as I’d cook but with a fancier name – I get so tired of all the trendy names they give to ingredients these days – organic flour, un-salted butter, etc – it works just the same with normal flour and butter and costs a lot less!
    #MLSTL 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Kim, great topic. My husband and I cook, and it is one of our favorite “hobbies” to do together. I echo what others have said with regard to value and quality. When we do eat out, it has to meet that standard. My favorite copy-cat quick meal is Chipotle’s Burrito Bowl. That dish is really just inspiration for a healthier version. We skip the rice on the bottom and use shredded lettuce instead.


  6. My husband and I haven’t been eating out as much lately, but we’re not too creative in the kitchen either. We tend to work through a line up of old standbys. Maybe we should try some copycat recipes. The challenge I have with new recipes is if you only cook them once, you’re left with a host of ingredients you don’t use again. I do enjoy cooking. Maybe I’ll branch out more once I retire. At least you got me thinking about it. It’s a start. #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christie, one of my cooking classes in year’s past focused on creating multiple meals with a set of ingredients — I had one that created 22 dishes for the same 8 vegetables. I’d be happy to give you ideas if you have some ingredients you aren’t sure what to do with.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I was thinking I don’t eat out in chain restaurants enough to explore copycat recipes, and then I saw Donna’s comment about making Tim Horton’s ice capp and thought, Hmmmm….this is something I need to look into! I agree that eating at home saves money, but I am weak when it comes to eating out. Especially in the summer. As an alternative we’ve tried some of the boxed dinner kits and even though more expensive than buying ingredients in grocery store, it has kept us out of restaurants, and has saved us money. I love the name of your blog and will explore some other posts. I do like to try to find ways to save money as practice for retirement. #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I must admit, when it is just the two of us, I sometimes think it is cheaper to eat out than to prepare at home (so many leftovers that go bad in the refrigerator). However… when the kids were at home I would often try to duplicate Chipotle rice and make burritos at home for a fraction of the cost! Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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