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America's Most Wanted Recipes: Delicious Recipes from Your Family's Favorite Restaurants (America's Most Wanted Recipes Series) Paperback – July 7, 2009
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About the Author
Ron Douglas is a former finance director at JP Morgan and founder of the #1 copycat recipe website, RecipeSecrets.com. He lives in New York with his wife and two children.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
This cookbook is a compilation of the most beloved restaurant dishes in America based on research and consumer surveys. These recipes generate billions of dollars for the restaurant industry every year. But while everyone enjoys eating out, there's nothing like a home-cooked meal made from scratch. Why not have the best of both worlds? With these "secret recipes," you can enjoy your favorite restaurant dishes at home and save money in the process!
To give you a little background, I grew up in a family of people with southern roots who loved to cook. As a kid, I used to be my grand-mother's "personal assistant," helping her at the grocery store and in the kitchen as we prepared dinner for the family. The best feeling came from the smiles on their faces and the quiet in the room as they enjoyed the meal.
It is no wonder that I'm a foodie today. But it wasn't until my wife challenged me to make KFC's famous fried chicken for her that I became hooked on the idea of recreating restaurant recipes that tasted just like the originals. The first place I went to research recipes was the Internet, which was a frustrating experience at the time. I found lots of recipes that were either incomplete or not even close to the originals. But I also discovered that there were thousands of people who were into "recipe cloning" and were searching the Internet every day for new secret recipes to try at home. Having been in ecommerce at the time, I thought it would be a great idea to set up a community Web site where these people could share their results and work together to create accurate clone recipes. The Secret Recipe Forum was launched and became the research hub and "virtual think tank" that inspired this cookbook. Today, RecipeSecrets.net has more than 70,000 recipe cloners and over 179,000 newsletter subscribers.
Each week, I would try to clone a new restaurant recipe and share the results with my members. Needless to say, I became a regular at many of the restaurants and was on a first-name basis with a lot of the servers.
Members of the Web site would also try the recipes and add their feedback and recommendations. As the Web site grew, it became more than just a hobby. Cooking experts and even professional chefs began getting involved with our recipe-cloning movement.
For many people, recreating restaurant recipes at home was not just a fun way to impress their family and dinner guests, it was also a great way to save money.
How Much Money Can You Save?
Studies show that nearly half of all U.S. adults are eating out each day. According to Nielsen Consumer Research:
The restaurant industry in the U.S. is projected to top $558 billion in food and drink sales in 2008, an average of over $1.5 billion a day. Approximately 133 million Americans are food-service patrons on any given day, making the average check size nearly $12 per person. This level of spending is a 13-fold increase in sales since 1970 and today accounts for about 4% of total U.S. GDP. There are nearly 950 thousand places to eat in the U.S., employing over 13 million people. Nearly one in five persons (18%) visits quick-serve restaurants ten or more times per month, and 19% visit sit-down restaurants six or more times per month.
Eating out is typically more expensive than preparing a home-cooked meal because restaurants have to price their food to pay high overhead expenses such as salaries to chefs, managers, and servers, and rent and advertising. By making these dishes at home, you can cut out all the excess costs and prepare each meal to your liking.
The table shows the potential savings per serving for a sampling of ten restaurant dishes featured in this cookbook.
Let's consider the following example of how much you can save over time (assuming an average restaurant bill of $25 and an average athome cost of $10) if you prepare these dishes at home instead of eating out three times per week:
Approximate savings per week = $45
Approximate savings per month = $180
Approximate savings per year = $2,160
Of course, preparing these dishes at home isn't a substitute for the restaurant dining experience, but for those looking to save a few bucks, it's well worth it.
A Healthier Alternative
If you need another reason for making these dishes at home, consider the fact that the foods many people eat when dining out are much higher in calories than foods prepared at home. And children in particular consume substantially more calories when eating a restaurant meal than when eating a meal at home.
The higher caloric density of restaurant food was much less of a factor for obesity when Americans ate out less. Today, though, with nearly half of all persons eating out each day, high-calorie restaurant meals are making much more of an impact.
A University of Minnesota study found that children who never eat at quick-serve restaurants during the week average 1,952 calories per day, while those who average one or two visits per week average 2,192. Children who frequent quick-serve restaurants three or more times per week average 2,752 calories per day, over 40 percent more than those who never eat there. This level of consumption, combined with falling levels of physical activity among children, has helped to drive the doubling obesity rate seen for children in the past twenty years. And teens have seen a tripling of the rate over the same period.
With this cookbook, you can replicate your favorite restaurant recipes at home, and you have complete control over the serving sizes and the ingredients you use.
About America's Most Wanted Recipes
Each recipe in America's Most Wanted Recipes has been tested and tweaked to taste just like the original. Although I can claim to offer only "clones" of these famous dishes, I am confident that if you follow the instructions, you won't be able to tell the difference.
There are tips throughout the book in which I share my personal experience and suggestions for making these dishes as well as tips for saving money, saving time, and preparing healthier alternatives.
I encourage you to put the book to good use and make these famous dishes yourself. Once you've tried the recipes, you'll see what makes them so special and why I have so many satisfied customers.
I hope this cookbook brings enjoyment to you and your family and friends for years to come.
Copyright © 2009 by Verity Associates LLC --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Speaking of seasoned... I also have The Soup Natzi's Mexican Chicken Chilli on cooking. The recipe doesn't include one ounce of seasoning. No salt, no pepper, no chilli powder. Nothing. I'll make something up,but it's guaranteed that it won't be a clone of the original.
Oh, and I really bought this book for the Red Lobster cheese biscuit recipe. I've seen the version in this book many times. Much to my dissapointment, there's nothing new or different in this recipe.
This book gets 2 stars instead of 1, because the loaf and the 'chilli' (well, so far it's more chicken soup than chilli) both smell really great.
If you're a new cook, I'd advise you to stay away from this book. You'd get really bummed out when after all your hard work, the investment of all the ingredients and following a new recipe exactly, you end up with a end result that's not what you're expecting - and deserve!
Except for the cover, there is not a single photo of a single recipe in this 267-page cookbook. Not one, yet one of the most important determiners of buying a cookbook is plenty of photos showing me how the prepared dish should look. In this case, however, photos are not needed. We already know what the dish looks like--it is from one of our favorite restaurants!
An example: MACORONI GRILL, one of my favorite restaurants, has eight recipes in the line-up, one of which is Sesame Shrimp, an Asian-inspired dish, as well as their recipe for Focaccia.
IHOP's Swedish Pancakes, one of only two dishes I always order, is included. Wow! (I don't order anything else because this is what I want every time!) Or Baked Potato Soup by HARD ROCK CAFE.
Over 200 recipes from 57 restaurants
A website which connects you with Ron Douglas's recipe website.
How Douglas obtained the recipes
A way to save money is to cook at home
Eating at home is often healthier than eating in restaurants through substitutions.
Three pages of cooking tips, including "For a juicier hamburger, add a little cold water to the beef before grilling" and "A roast with a bone in will cook faster than a boneless roast. The bone carries the heat to the inside more quickly."
Other pre-cooking topics include: Cooking terms, guidelines for buying fresh vegetables and fruits, description of flavor and use of various spices and herbs, and shelf life for herbs.Read more ›
The book begins by noting its approach--trying to reproduce recipes that people really like. The author, Ron Douglas, notes a benefit of this book--by providing recipes to readers, people can make their favorite dishes and save money in the process. I have eaten Fettuccine Alfredo at Olive Garden. The author notes that one would pay $11.95 for this at the restaurant, but only $4.28 if one makes it at home, quite a saving!
The book opens with helpful cooking tips, with guidelines for buying veggies, and laying out how long one can hold on to herbs/spices before they go stale or bad. But it is the recipes that are at the heart of this book. For example, Applebee's Baby Back Ribs. Ingredients: Ribs, ketchup, cider vinegar, dark brown sugar, Worcestershire Sauce, liquid smoke, and salt. Why just list ingredients? To compare with other rib recipes in this volume! Hard Rock Cafe's BBQ Ribs ingredients: water, liquid smoke, St. Louis ribs, chicken broth, ketchup, maple syrup, pepper, yellow mustard, dark brown sugar, Worcestershire Sauce, bay leaf, white vinegar, and orange juice. Some similarities--but also some interesting differences.
I make fried rice whenever I do a stir fry dinner. Benihana's recipe is different from mine. Many of the ingredients may be similar (e.g., mixed vegetables), but the process is different. I use the "Joy of Cooking" recipe--which is great! It calls for cooling the rice; the Benihana version does not. Thus, similar ingredients but a different process.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed reading through this cook book. There are a lot of recipes from great restaurants. I have only tried a few of them so far but they turned out great. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Natalie
I got a copy of this book and let me tell you, as a fellow food hacker who revels in making copycat recipes at home: this was disappointing. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Abolition of Man
some recipes have a store bought or retaurant bought salsa or ingredient instead of giving the actual recipe to complete the dish. Read morePublished 3 months ago by noelia
It's good if you rather cook ay home I really bought it for the jack Daniels from fridays lolPublished 6 months ago by tito