Missing your favorite restaurants? Check out these copycat recipes

If your favorite restaurants are closed, roll up your sleeves and check out some of these copycat recipes you can cook yourself

We all know how it feels when you really crave a dish that is unavailable because your favorite eatery is closed. However, there is hope! Take a look at our list of some of the most popular chain restaurant dishes that you can make in the comfort of your own kitchen.

P.F. Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps

P.F. Chang's China Bistro is a national chain restaurant known for its American Chinese food. It has a great Asian theme and a popular menu, but one of our favorite dishes is its Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Fortunately, this appetizer is a simple recipe:

Ingredients for the dipping sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon of chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Chinese hot mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of Sriracha (for heat)
Ingredients for the main dish:
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 2 scallion of chopped stalks
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 pound of ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 1 8-ounce can of water chestnuts (drained and minced)
  • 1 6-ounce can of straw mushrooms (drained and minced)
  • 2 tablespoons of mirin
  • 4 to 5 cups of iceberg lettuce
Directions for the dipping sauce:
  1. Whisk the granulated sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili oil, chopped chives, water, Chinese hot mustard and Sriracha in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.
Directions for the main dish:
  1. Get your large skillet and heat (only) 2 tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the chicken, making sure to chop the chicken until it is thoroughly ground up and browned.
  3. Remove the chicken and put it aside. Then, add in the rest of the oil and sauté the straw mushrooms, water chestnuts, scallions and garlic for 3 - 5 minutes.
  4. Finally, put the chicken back into the skillet with the soy sauce, mirin, oyster sauce and rice vinegar. Stir all the ingredients until they are all nicely combined.
Once heated, serve with the lettuce wrap leaves and a side of the dipping sauce.

Applebee’s Bourbon Street Chicken And Shrimp

With almost 2,000 locations around the country, there’s a good chance you’ve visited an Applebee’s restaurant. One of their most popular orders is the Bourbon Street Chicken And Shrimp, and we have the recipe:

Ingredients for main dish:
  • 1 pound of peeled frozen shrimp, thawed
  • 1 pound of chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of bourbon whiskey
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 sliced green pepper
  • 1 sliced white onion
  • 1 quartered lemon
  • Salt and pepper
Directions for main dish:
  1. Get a large bowl and thoroughly whisk together the brown sugar, bourbon, olive oil, soy sauce and minced garlic until it becomes a viscous marinade.
  2. Place the shrimp and chicken into the bowl and make sure they are fully covered and coated in the marinade.
  3. Put the bowl into the fridge and let it soak for about an hour.
  4. When the meat is almost ready, grab your large skillet, heat it up at a medium heat and add the butter until it melts.
  5. Add the chicken and shrimp into a single layer on the pan — we want an even cook — and add the salt and pepper. Remember: Make sure you save the marinade in your bowl.
  6. Cook the chicken until white, then flip and cook further. Cook the shrimp until it’s pink, then flip and cook further.
  7. Throw in the veggies and cook until they’re tender.
  8. Remove both veggies and meat, then put them aside for now.
  9. Add the rest of your marinade into the skillet and wait until it starts to boil, then whisk it until it is thickened (about 5 minutes).
  10. Now, add the meat and veggies to the skillet and toss for a bit until everything is evenly coated. When everything is warm, check the chicken and shrimp's temperature to make sure it's done — the chicken should be 155° - 165°F and the shrimp should be 120°F.
Once the dish is ready, lay the meat on top of the veggies and serve. There should be enough here to serve 4, and don’t forget to add the lemon wedge to the plate.

Chili’s Molten Lava Cakes

For dessert, we have a fun recipe from one of the biggest franchises in the country — Chili's. At first glance, the Chili’s Molten Lava Cakes seem complicated, but you can actually make them at home with little effort:

Ingredients for cake:
  • 1 box of fudge cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 a cup of oil
  • 1/2 a cup of sour cream
Ingredients for hot fudge:
  • 1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt
Ingredients for the magic shell:
  • 2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
Additional ingredients:
  • Ice cream and caramel!
Directions for the hot fudge:
  1. Heat your saucepan over medium heat and add the condensed milk, semisweet chocolate chips, unsalted butter, pure vanilla extract and a pinch of salt until all the ingredients are melted.
  2. Bring to a boil and constantly stir for about 2 minutes.
  3. Once ready, remove the pan from the heat but stir for another minute.
  4. Let the fudge sauce cool.
Directions for the cakes:
  1. Mix the dry cake mix, eggs, sour cream, milk and oil in a large bowl until it’s blended and smooth.
  2. Coat your large cupcake pan with the oil and distribute batter into each one 3/4 of the way full.
  3. Bake according to package directions.
  4. Once the cake is done, pull the pan out, turn the cakes over and let them cool.
  5. After the cakes are cool, use a knife to gently cut a hole in the center without cutting the bottom. Keep the cake from the holes you have cut.
  6. Fill the cakes with hot fudge and then recycle a small piece of cake you removed to cap the hot fudge like a lid.
  7. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the cakes from the freezer and reheat in the microwave for about 30 seconds until warm.
Directions for the magic shell:
  1. Put the chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl with the coconut oil and place in the microwave.
  2. Slowly heat for 30 second intervals, stirring often until melted.
Finally, top the warm cakes with the ice cream, caramel and the magic shell.

Hopefully, these 3 dishes will get you exploring new recipes and feed that craving that’s been unfulfilled with a closed restaurant. If you’re looking to upgrade your kitchen to make your cooking a breeze, check out our list of great appliance companies.

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