Enjoying a nice meal out at a restaurant is a lovely way to spend a weekend evening, but what if you want the famous Shrimp Scampi from the Cheesecake Factory or the Honey Grilled Salmon from Applebee’s on a busy week night? These copycat restaurant recipes taste just like the real thing so any night can feel like a night out. Don’t be surprised if your family leaves you a tip!
Shrimp Scampi (Cheesecake Factory)
One taste of this rich, creamy sauce and you’ll swear you were sitting at your neighborhood Cheesecake Factory. (Makes 4 Servings)
1-2 lb fresh shrimp, cleaned, deveined, butterflied
1 lb angel hair pasta
1 diced tomato
6 -8 whole garlic cloves
1 shallot, diced
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup dry white wine
Olive oil (varying amount, approximately ¼ cup)
5 -7 leaves fresh basil
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 ⁄ 2 cup all-purpose flour
1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon salt
1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Cover the bottom of a large sauce pan with olive oil and turn to medium high heat. Soak the shrimp in milk and combine the dry ingredients (flour, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper). Coat the shrimp with the dry ingredients and let them fry in the olive oil for approximately 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. The flour that falls off the shrimp will add great flavor and consistency to the sauce. Add more oil when needed between batches of shrimp. Dab the shrimp with a paper towel, cover and set aside on range top to keep warm. Add the garlic to the oil and stir for a few minutes. After a few minutes turn the heat to medium low and add the wine, bring it to a boil. Next turn the heat to low and cover, let the wine reduce, about 10-15 minutes. In a separate pot, bring water to simmer – this is for the pasta later.
Add the cream, and bring it back to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 more minutes.
While it is simmering dice your shallot and tomato, and chiffonade your basil. Now add the basil, diced tomato, and remaining 2T Parmesan cheese. Stir for a few minutes then add the fried shrimp, and remove the pan from heat. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
Bring pasta pot to a boil and add angel hair. To plate, pour some sauce on a dish and arrange the shrimp around the bottom (10 or so), then take a ball of the pasta and plate that above the shrimp. Garnish with a little parsley.
Bang Bang Shrimp (Bonefish Grill)
When you want the taste of the Bonefish Grill this quick, savory recipe will hit the spot. (Makes 4-6 Servings)
1 lb shrimp, shell and deveined (smaller shrimp work best)
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Thai sweet chili sauce
3-5 drops hot chili sauce (just a few drops!)
½ -3/4 cup cornstarch, to coat shrimp
Mix mayo and sauces for coating. Bread shrimp in cornstarch and deep fat fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towel then put shrimp in bowl and coat with sauce. Serve in a lettuce lined bowl and top with chopped scallions.
Honey Grilled Salmon (Applebee’s)
The combined flavors of sweet and savory are always a hit. Try this recipe that tastes just like the real thing from Applebee’s. (Makes 4 Servings)
¾ cup honey
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
¼ cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
4 (8 oz) salmon fillets (without skin)
In a medium to large sauce pan, combine all the above ingredients except salmon over medium/low heat, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce begins to boil simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until it becomes syrupy. Caution: do not let the sauce bubble over.
Preheat barbecue grill to medium heat. Rub each salmon filet with vegetable oil and add a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Grill each salmon for 4-7 minutes on each side. Serve salmon filets with a small cup of honey pepper sauce on the side.
Chicken Marsala (Carrabba’s)
Chances are you won’t have any leftovers with this delicious crowd-pleaser, based on an original dish from Carrabba’s. (Makes 4 Servings)
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 tablespoons butter
4 shallots, chopped fine
½ lb mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup dry Marsala
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pound chicken breasts to even out thickness then lightly salt and pepper. In large skillet sauté chicken in butter until lightly golden brown. This should take approximately 2 minutes on each side. When done, remove from pan and set aside. Melt remaining butter in pan and add shallots and mushrooms. Continue cooking until mushrooms are lightly browned. Add Marsala and bring to a boil. Add cream and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Return to pan for approximately 3-5 minutes to reheat and finish cooking. Serve over buttered fettuccine.
Bloomin’ Onion (Outback Steakhouse)
When you think of Outback, you think of the Bloomin’ Onion. Bring out this recipe next time you’re looking for a perfect, easy appetizer. (Makes 4 Servings)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 ½ teaspoons ketchup
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon drained horseradish
¼ teaspoon paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large sweet onion (Vidalia works best)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon paprika
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cumin
freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 gallon corn oil
Combine all the dip ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate. Slice the onion. Whisk flour,cayenne, paprika, thyme, oregano, cumin and ½ teaspoon black pepper in a bowl. In a separate, deep bowl, whisk eggs, milk and 1 cup water.
Next, cut the onion using the following steps. Cut off ½ inch from the pointy stem end of the onion, peel. Place the onion cut-side down, then starting with the ½ inch from the root, make a downward cut all the way through to the cutting board. Repeat evenly to create four space cuts around the onion. Continue slicing the onion like this until you have 16 evenly space cuts.
Place the onion in a separate bowl, cut side up, and pour all the flour mixture over it. Cover the bowl with a plate and shake to distribute the flour. Check a few times. Once the onion is fully coated (including petals), lift the onion by the core and turn over to pat off the excess flour. Keep the bowl of flour for later.
Using a slotted spoon, fully submerge the onion in the egg mixture. Spoon more on top, if needed. Remove and let the excess egg drip off. Repeat the flouring process. Refrigerate onion while oil heats.
Heat the oil in a large deep pot over medium/high heat. The deep fat fryer should be 400 degrees. Pat off excess flour from the onion. Gently lower the onion into the oil, cut-side down.
Fry for approximately 3 minutes then turn the onion over to cook until golden brown (about another 3 minutes). Take out and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and serve with dip.