Going out to eat is awesome. Paying the bill is oftentimes not. While I believe you need to treat yourself to a meal out occasionally, if you find yourself wistfully driving by KFC just to see if they're giving away hot wing samples, you may want to figure out how to satisfy those urges at home.
While you may be tempted to remove some of the sodium and fat from these winners, realize you may be saving your life, but you won't be fulfilling your chain restaurant jones.
From Applebee's to Olive Garden, I've got the recipes you want.
T.G.I. Friday's Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip
Not surprisingly, this recipe is as dairy-rific as I assumed. While I cribbed this from a friend, there are a lot of recipes floating around out there with different, healthier variations. But healthy isn't why we eat at Friday's, now is it?
What you'll need:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese in small chunks
1 to 2 teaspoons minced garlic, or garlic powder
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together and put in a small casserole dish. Bake for 15 minutes, or until top begins to brown slightly.
Chili's Baby Back Ribs
They created an entire marketing campaign around these things, so they've got to be good. Instead of spending $15 on a rack, take a gander at this top secret recipe from Chili's and DIY.
Outback Steakhouse Bloomin' Onion
From the Outback Dippin' Sauce to the crispy ends, this recipe for the bloomin' onion will have your guests crunching it up in under an hour. Throw some steaks and shrimp on the grill (ahem, the barbie) and you'll never need to visit the Australian wilderness again.
Romano's Macaroni Grill Penne Rustica
Not much of a secret, but still exciting, there's a website with many, many of your Macaroni Grill favorites. I happen to be very into the penne rustica, and once you see this recipe filled with bacon and cream, you'll see why.
Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad
If you really want to eat good in your neighborhood, make sure you've got some corn flakes and mayo on hand. The most popular salad at Applebee's requires a lot of ingredients, but don't sweat it, as you have many in your pantry.
Olive Garden's Chicken With Lemon Sage Sauce
These Italian joints really don't seem concerned about us stealing their recipes and starting our own trattoria. Olive Garden even features its recipes on their website! Check out the nummy chicken with lemon sage sauce recipe and make it for yourself. But don't forget the bread sticks for the whole "family" experience.
Benihana's Fried Rice
Sure the fun of going to Benihana's is the knife-waving dangerously close to your head, but sometimes you've got to enjoy knife-throwing in the comfort of your own kitchen. With this secret recipe for Benihana's fried rice, you've got your first dish in your Japanese food arsenal.