Sometimes you just don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. The pandemic of 2020 has taught a lot of us that, if nothing else. During our periods of lockdown and isolation one of the things we all missed the most was the ability to go out to a restaurant and enjoy a meal with family and friends.
Local restrictions were different for everyone, some people could still access cafes and restaurants albeit only to order take-out or home delivery, while some parts of the world had periods of complete lockdown.
Home cooking was taken to a new level for many during our isolated time with many people tackling new cooking and baking challenges (hello sourdough!). But, what a lot of people really missed, while enjoying these home cooked meals, was the taste and flavors of their favorite meals from their favorite restaurants.
Now I’m no stranger to the idea of copycat recipes. I’ve been known to try a few in my time, in fact I’ve spent hours collating Pinterest boards full of such knock off recipes which all promise amazing results. Unfortunately, they don’t all deliver!
We’ve had too salty, too sweet, nothing like the food it’s meant to be replicating and just plain disgusting! I’m sure this would not be the case for every free copycat recipe out there and I’m sure if I just persevered and kept searching, I would be able to find good copycat recipes that produce results just like the food they are claiming to copy.
But, in this instance, I wasn’t that patient! I had a hankering for some restaurant food and I wanted to get it right the first time. So I did what I normally wouldn’t do and I paid for a copycat recipe book. In fact it was a good deal with an offer to get two volumes of copycat recipes for a very reasonable price.
When I read out the list of restaurants and recipes to my family they were all on board with me buying the cook books, I mean, who doesn’t want to be able to make their own Big Mac or KFC Chicken? (For the record, I’ve tried a free KFC copycat recipe before - it tasted nothing like the real thing. Nothing like it. It was yuck!).
Now, depending on where you are in the world, you may not have access to, or even have ever heard of some of these foods and restaurants, but I’m pretty sure everyone knows about McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut - yes, the books include the recipe for Pizza Hut pizza as well! (I haven’t tried that one yet, in fact I don’t know if I will because my family is addicted to my sourdough pizza!). But, these copycat recipes aren’t just for fast food! Far from it.
There are soups, salads, pasta dishes and all sorts of main meals from a huge variety of American restaurants. I’ll list a few of the restaurants that you’ve probably heard of no matter where you are in the world: Applebee’s, The Cheesecake Factory (if you’ve ever watched The Big Bang Theory then you’ve heard of the Cheesecake Factory), Chili’s, Hard Rock Cafe, Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse and PF Chang’s just to name a few.
Just so you know, when I say I ordered the Copycat Recipe Cookbooks, I didn’t actually receive hard copy, physical books. I believe there was an option to pay for shipping and receive the actual, physical cookbooks but I just opted to receive them digitally.
The beauty of digital cookbooks is you have access to them straight away, so I was able to order my copycat recipe books one afternoon and then have Olive Garden Chicken Marsala served up to my very appreciative family that night for dinner!
Another thing to note about these cookbooks - they don’t have pictures. I was a little concerned at first as I like to know what the food is going to look like, but I guess most of us know what most of our favorite dishes should look like, and the instructions are very easy to follow and detailed so you really can’t go wrong.
The other thing I should point out is, it seems I was a little late in coming to the party as the first volume of the cook book was written in 2009! So, while I’ve been hunting around on Pinterest for free copycat recipes all this time, some clever people have already had access to a treasure trove of copycat recipes that actually work!
Luckily, just like the food they’re recreating, these recipes never go out of style so I’m still very happy with my purchase, I just wish I’d discovered it sooner!
Just so you know that my Olive Garden Chicken Marsala wasn’t a one hit wonder, we had PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef the next night - just as amazing as the real thing! (Who knew the secret was to add a dash of sesame oil at the end of the cooking time?! That was news to me, but it looked and tasted great!).
You know by now that I’m a huge fan of cooking at home and now, with this huge resource of copycat recipes, I’ve got so many fun options for meals and snacks to try. And, the beauty of home cooking is, I can adapt them to suit our likes and needs - make them a bit healthier if I want to or leave out ingredients we don’t like.
I’ve got a very long list of recipes that my family and I have picked out to try, I’ll probably share some of them here on freerangela.com with you, so stay tuned for some more copycat recipes. If you’d like to try some of your own copycat recipes, or just want to check out more info about “America’s Restaurant Recipes” click here.