Monday, January 30, 2023

By Gini Rainey

If you are anything like the typical millennial (born between 1982 and 2004) then you are undoubtedly dining out a minimum of 1 time a week.  Most of us dine out even more than that.  And with over 600,000 restaurants in the United States to pick from – why, the choices are unlimited!  Of course, if you are like a typical millennial, your disposable income might not be what you would like it to be to enjoy this experience as often as you’d like.  I mean, what are you supposed to do when you get a hankering for some of P.F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wrap, Benihana’s Hibachi Steak, Chili’s Baby Back Ribs, or Olive Garden’s Pasta e Fagioli?  Well, I came across a pretty good cookbook a couple weeks ago that can help take care of that dilemma!

“America’s Most Wanted Recipes” by Ron Douglas is a veritable mother-lode of copycat recipes of everyone’s best-loved food.  Published in 2009 by Atria, it has over 200 recipes from 57 of America’s most popular restaurants, including The Cheesecake Factory, KFC, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Outback Steakhouse along with many, many more.  With this New York Times Best Seller cookbook in your arsenal, you will be able to eat like a king and save a fortune.  I’m certainly not saying you should stop patronizing your favorite eateries, but when the mood strikes you for one of those yummy menu items and funds are a bit low, you can pull this book out and create a meal for many pennies less than a night out would cost.

In addition to the yummy recipes, Mr. Douglas shares a cost comparison chart of dining out versus making a specific dish at home using his recipe along with a food substitution chart designed to make a healthier version of as dish for your family.  Excuse me, but if I’m giving up the ambiance of a dining out experience for cooking at home, you bet your booty I’m going to want the full meal deal.  No substituting for healthier stuff around here!

So, I found it rather interesting that there is a recipe included that I had already copied years ago – Red Lobster’s Cheddar Garlic Biscuits.  These are super easy to make, and admit it, who hasn’t stuffed themselves silly on these before the main course arrived?  So, here’s Ron’s recipe for those yummy balls of good.  First, preheat your oven to 450°. Then stir together 2 cups of biscuit mix, ½ cup shredded mild cheddar cheese, and 2/3 cup of milk until a soft dough forms.  Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet and smooth down the tops to prevent hard points from forming (I pat mine out onto a floured surface and cut with a biscuit cutter – I also dredge in melted butter before putting on cookie sheet).  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the tops are brown.  Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a pan and stir in ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (I mix my garlic powder into the biscuit mix).  Once the biscuits are done, brush with the garlic butter and sprinkle with parsley flakes.  Serve hot.  This recipe makes 10 biscuits, but they are so yummy, you might want to double the recipe.  These go really well with casseroles and soup. Oh, and seafood!

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