Amy Clark

Works-For-Me Wednesday: Making Restaurant Food From Home

Welcome to this edition of Works-For-Me Wednesday. After being on hiatus last week, it is up and rolling again. Please visit Shannon’s blog for a listing of all the participants and their solutions.

I have decided that I no longer enjoy going out to dinner. The only time I really enjoy it is for a special treat or a really nice date night with my husband. If it is not a special occasion, chances are that you will find us eating at home.

I do enjoy certain foods from restaurants, but the hassle and the poor service usually outweighs the desire to go out to dinner.

When I am really hungry for restaurant food, I go to my recipe files and pull out these recipes (for whichever food I am craving that particular night).

Craving Olive Garden?

Italian Veggie & Pasta Soup

2 lbs ground turkey, 3 carrots, chopped very small, 4 stalks celery, 2 cans diced tomatoes (do not drain), 2 cans red kidney beans (drained, 3 cans beef broth, 1 jar spaghetti sauce, 8 ounces noodles (elbow macaroni works great), salt & pepper to taste.

Brown the ground turkey in a skillet. Drain fat from turkey and place in the slow cooker. Add to the slow cooker all of the ingredients except for the pasta. Cook soup on low for seven to eight hours or on high for four to five hours. During the last thirty minutes (if on high) or one hour (on low) add the pasta.

Rosemary & Cheese Breadsticks

1 cup grated Parmesan, Asiago, Romano cheese (made by Kraft in the dairy aisle) 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves, 1 (11-ounce) container refrigerated breadstick dough (recommended: Pillsbury), 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with silicone baking sheets or parchment paper. Pour cheese and chopped fresh rosemary on a paper plate to roll the dough in. Separate the dough strips. Using a pizza cutter or a large sharp knife, cut each dough strip in half lengthwise to form thin strips. Working with dough strip at a time, coat each strip with the cheese mixture, pressing very gently. Twist each cheese covered dough strip and place onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with the salt, if you wish.
Bake until the breadsticks are golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the warm breadsticks to a basket or tall glass and serve.

Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs, 1 egg beaten, 4 teaspoons butter, 2 cups spaghetti sauce, 4 slices mozzarella cheese & 1 teaspoon of grated parmesan.

Pound chicken to flatten. Salt & pepper to taste. Dip chicken in egg; then in breadcrumbs. Fry in butter in hot skillet, turning & browning for ten minutes or until chicken is done. Remove from skillet. To skillet, add the spaghetti sauce & heat thoroughly. Add chicken back to the skillet. Place slices of mozzarella on top of chicken and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Cover & cook until the cheese is melted. Serve this with a side of spaghetti.

Craving Red Lobster?

Easy Garlic-Cheese Biscuits

2 Cups Original Bisquick, 2/3 cup milk,½ cup shredded Cheddar Cheese,¼ cup butter or stick margarine melted, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix Bisquick, milk, and cheese until soft dough forms; beat vigorously 30 seconds. Drop dough by ten to twelve spoonfuls about two inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake eight to ten minutes or until golden brown. Mix butter and garlic powder; brush on warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

Linguine with Clam Sauce

1 pound linguini, Salt, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of butter, 4 cloves garlic, chopped, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup dry white wine, Juice from ½ a lemon, 2 (15-ounce) can whole baby clams, with their juice, Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the linguini and cook as directed or until al dente. The linguini will continue to cook in sauce, later.
To a large skillet heated over medium heat, add oil, butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook together. Add wine and the juice from the clams to the pan and give the pan a shake. Finally, add the clams. Drain pasta and add it to the clam sauce. Toss and coat the pasta in sauce with clams until the pasta absorbs the flavor and juices, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt, add parsley and serve.

Salmon Baked In Foil

4 (5 ounces each) salmon fillets, 2 teaspoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons, Salt and freshly ground black pepper, 3 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained, 2 chopped shallots, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Sprinkle salmon with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir the tomatoes, shallots, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Place a salmon fillet, oiled side down, atop a sheet of foil. Wrap the ends of the foil to form a spiral shape. Spoon the tomato mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and tomato mixture, covering completely; seal the packets closed. Place the foil packet on a heavy large baking sheet. Repeat until all of the salmon have been individually wrapped in foil and placed on the baking sheet. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Using a large metal spatula, transfer the foil packets to plates and serve.

Craving IHOP?

Pumpkin Pancakes with Yogurt

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour,1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 3 eggs, 1 cup plain yogurt, 3/4 cup milk, 1 cup pumpkin, canned.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, adding yogurt, milk and pumpkin puree. Mix well. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Spoon the batter onto a preheated, oiled griddle, using 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook pancakes slowly over a low-medium heat for approximately 4-6 minutes, flipping after 3 minutes.

Fluffy Pancakes

1 egg, 1 cup flour,¾ cup milk, 2 tablespoons margarine, melted, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt.

Beat egg until fluffy. Add milk & melted margarine. Add dry ingredients.

Banana Pancakes

1 cup flour,1 tablespoon white sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 egg, beaten, 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 ripe banana

Combine flour, white sugar, baking powder cinnamon, & salt. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla, & bananas. Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop batter onto the griddle, using approximately ¼ cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot.

Oven Fried Bacon

Use a large, rimmed baking sheet, such as a jelly-roll pan, that is shal
low enough to promote browning, yet tall enough (at least 3/4-inch in height) to contain the rendered bacon fat. To save time, you can add the bacon to the oven before it reaches 400 degrees, but exact cooking time will vary from oven to oven. If cooking more than one tray of bacon, exchange their oven positions once about halfway through the cooking process.Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange bacon slices in a large jelly-roll pan or other shallow baking pan. Roast until fat begins to render, 5 to 6 minutes; rotate pan front-to-back. Continue roasting until is crisp and brown, 5 to 6 minutes longer for thin-sliced bacon, 8 to 10 minutes for thick-cut. Transfer with tongs to paper towel-lined plate, drain, and serve.

Craving Tacos?

Slow Cooker Taco Meat

3 tbsp taco seasoning, 1 cup chicken broth, 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Dissolve taco seasoning into chicken broth. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker and pour broth over them. With two forks, shred the chicken meat into bite-size pieces. To freeze, place shredded meat into freezer bag with juices. Press out all the air & seal.

Taco Soup

1 pound ground turkey, 1 can chili beans, with liquid, 1 can kidney beans, with liquid, 1 can whole kernel corn, with liquid, 2 cans diced tomatoes, 1 can tomato sauce, 2 cups water, 1 package of taco seasoning mix.
In a medium skillet, cook the ground beef until browned over medium heat. Drain & set aside. Place the ground beef, chili beans, kidney beans, corn, tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, & taco seasoning mix in a slow cooker. Mix to blend and cook on Low setting for eight hours.

How about a burger?

Amy’s Famous Burgers

1 pound ground beef, 1 egg, 1 package dry onion soup mix, ½ cup cheddar cheese, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, 1 t. oregano, Salt and pepper to taste.
Mix all ingredients together and form into patties. Grill according to grill instructions. I usually throw these on the George Foreman grill for ten minutes to cook quickly.

Amy’s Butter Burgers

1 ¼ pound 80% lean ground beef, 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce, Salt and Pepper, 1 pat of butter per burger

In a large bowl mix together the ground beef, Worcestershire Sauce, salt, and pepper. Shape into four patties and make an indentation in the center of each burger. Fill this indentation with a pat of butter and gently shape the meat around the butter until the butter is sealed. Grill five minutes on each side or until you have achieved desired doneness.

Cheddar Cheese-Stuffed Burgers

10 ounces ground sirloin or lean ground beef, 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, 2 large (4 1/2-inch-diameter) English muffins, split horizontally

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Combine meat, onion, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper in medium bowl; blend well. Divide meat mixture into 2 equal portions. Shape each into ball. Poke deep hole in each ball and fill each with half of cheese. Mold meat around cheese to enclose. Flatten each filled burger to 3/4-inch-thick patty. Grill burgers to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium. Grill muffin halves until beginning to color, about 1 minute per side. Serve burgers in muffins.Serves 2; can be doubled.

Oven Steak Fries

5 russet potatoes, cut into thin wedges 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon dried thyme. 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon steak seasoning blend, such as Montreal Steak Seasoning or, salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to high. Cut potatoes and spread out on a cookie sheet. Coat potatoes with extra-virgin olive oil, dried herbs and steak seasoning or, salt and pepper. Spread potatoes to the corners of the cookie sheet. Cook potatoes in very hot oven 25 minutes. Turn potatoes once, half way in the cooking process. Serve fries hot from the oven.

Now you know some of my cooking secrets! I hope you can reach for one of these recipes if you are in the mood to dine out. It will be much friendlier on your wallet!

Published October 25, 2006 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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