Whether you’re trying to cut back on spending or the thought of eating out with children sounds like a nightmare, there are many delicious restaurant recipes you can easily master at home. I’ve rounded up a few of my family-approved favorites, as well as some others for you to test out on your own. And if you have any restaurant recipes up your sleeve, don’t forget to share them in the comments section with us. Remember, sharing is caring! And us moms can always use a helping hand—even if it’s a virtual one.
Olive Garden’s Fettuccine Alfredo
I’m not one to watch my carbs 24/7, so if you’re keto or super carb-conscious, this might not be the best one for you. But if you want a cheat meal, or you want to send your family into a creamy carb coma, this is the winning ticket right here. My kids LOVE this recipe, and it’s cheap and easy—so that’s a win in my book, too.
To take it to the next level, find the signature Olive Garden salad dressing at the store and whip up their signature salad, too. And while this recipe calls for no meat, you can always add some grilled/shredded chicken or sauteed shrimp on top if you want to add in some extra protein. And if you’ve ever wondered how it is that Olive Garden makes theirs so creamy, the trick is cream cheese! Here’s what Food.com recommends and I’ve relied on personally.
- 1/2 cup butter (get the real kind like Kerrygold Irish Butter, makes for a better sauce)
- 8 ounces cream cheese (don’t get the cheap kind or diet kind)
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (I swap this out and use fresh, finely minced garlic)
- 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (I add in about a 1/3 cup asiago, too)
- 1 lb fettuccine
- Heat water and cook pasta according to water suggested on the box. Don’t overcook.
- Melt butter over medium heat in saucepan, then add cream cheese.
- Once cream cheese has softened, add in your heavy cream, steadily stirring.
- Add garlic powder/minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Reduce heat to low, simmering for 15-20 minutes while consistently stirring to blend.
- Turn off heat and add the fresh cheese, stirring until creamy.
- Add al dente pasta and coat. Sprinkle with any additional cheese or freshly chopped parsley should you choose and serve.
PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps
This is another one that my kids and I love—well, with the exception of my autistic son who’s all about that chicken nugget life still. The cool thing about lettuce wraps is that you can create them based off your own personal tastes. If you’re not in the mood for chicken, swap out for ground turkey or pork. We typically do the pork ones and they turn out great. Want some extra spice? Add some sriracha sauce or chili paste on top for an extra kick on top of the sweet and salty goodness of whatever protein mixture you choose. DamnDelicious.net shares their recipe below which I’ve used several times:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 1 pound ground chicken, pork, or turkey
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, either regular or low sodium
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 (8-ounce) can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced, salt and pepper to taste
- 1 head butter lettuce
- Heat oil in saucepan on high. Add your protein and cook until browned. Be sure to crumble well. Drain fat.
- Stir in your garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger until your onions have softened.
- Add green onions and water chestnuts and cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- When ready to serve, spoon mixture into lettuce leaves taco-style and wrap to eat.
For an extra treat, I’ll make ginger carrot fries as a side dish to make this more of a restaurant meal versus an appetizer. Simply cut carrots fry-style diagonally, and toss them in avocado, olive, or grapeseed oil. Add freshly minced ginger and stir evenly to coat, sprinkling with additional salt and pepper to taste. Roast them at 425°F for about 20 minutes, check on them periodically so they don’t burn. Your house will smell scrumptious as an added bonus!
Panera’s Cheesy Broccoli and Cheddar Soup in a Bread Bowl
Pretty much everyone loves a good bowl of broccoli and cheddar soup. And if there’s one place that does it just right, it’s Panera Bread. Want to learn how to make their delicious soup at home? This is a restaurant recipe that’s got a lot of ingredients but don’t let that fool you. It’s super simple to make. TasteofHome.com shares their recipe version of this classic soup below.
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 8 ounces)
- 1 large carrot, finely chopped
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups half-and-half cream
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water or additional chicken stock
- 2-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 6 small round bread loaves (about 8 ounces each) if you’d like bread bowl style
- Optional toppings: Crumbled cooked bacon, additional shredded cheddar cheese, ground nutmeg and pepper
- Use a 6qt. stockpot and heat to medium to melt your butter. Add garlic and onion, and stir while cooking for 6-8 minutes.
- Stir in your broccoli, carrot, stock, cream, and seasonings, and bring to a boil. Keep uncovered and lower temperature. Simmer until all veggies are tender, about 10-12 minutes.
- Mix in your cornstarch and water until blended smooth with cooking spoon. Bring to boil, stir occasionally and allow your mixture to thicken for a few minutes. Remove the bay leaves and add the cheese, stirring until perfectly melted.
- If you’d like to use a bread bowl for your soup, cut off a slice at the top of each bread loaf. Be sure to leave bread walls at least 1/4″ thick to hold soup in. Fill with soup and desired toppings.
Mexican Burrito Bowls – With Signature Chipotle Rice
This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but I often make this and people always ask me how I get my rice to taste just like the one Chipotle uses. The trick is the type of rice that they use is basmati rice, not traditional long grain white. It has a distinct aroma and flavor and, when complimented with freshly squeezed lime and chopped cilantro, explodes in your mouth with each bite.
You can do a number of different protein choices on this one or just stick with veggies. It’s your call. Ground beef is always a hit, and we often grill chicken and chop it up before adding it on top of the bowl. To give your chicken a smoky flavor, try adding some ground chipotle pepper to your chicken breasts before cooking.
For your imitation chipotle rice, here’s what you’ll need. And if you have a rice cooker, use it. I’d be lost without mine!
Cook your basmati rice according to directions on bag should you not have a rice cooker, be sure not to burn or overcook. Then, for four servings, grab 3 limes, a handful of cilantro, a heaping tablespoon of butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. I like to add a little seasoned salt, too, for added flavor. If you want to step it up a notch, do a little bit of lime zest on top of your rice.
Squeeze limes into rice, add your seasonings to taste, add as much chopped cilantro as you feel you need (at least 3 tablespoons), and butter. Stir to coat ingredients evenly in rice. You can stick with the traditional Chipotle toppings, but we always add a few of our own, too, such as: sliced radish, colorful tomatoes, and chopped baby bella mushrooms. And if you can’t go without Chipotle’s carnitas, there’s a recipe courtesy of TasteofHome.com here.
Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole
Who doesn’t love a good casserole? I know my kids do! (I’ve got some kid-friendly ones for you, too, if that helps!) Cracker Barrel is known for their delicious comfort food, and for this yummy casserole is a perfect breakfast option. You can even do breakfast for dinner and make this delicious recipe in a pinch on nights when you’re pressed for time. Want to make this easy meal even better? Throw a dollop of sour cream on top, chives, and crumbled bacon for extra yum.
- 2 pounds frozen hash browns, thawed
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 can (10.75 ounces) cream of chicken soup
- 1 pint sour cream
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
This super simple restaurant recipe just needs a few easy steps.
- Preheat your oven to 350° F and grab a 11 x 14 inch casserole or baking dish and coat with cooking spray.
- Take a large mixing bowl and combine all of your ingredients together.
- Spread the mixture evenly into your pan and bake for 45 minutes. The top should be a nice golden brown when ready. Enjoy!
Want to make things extra fun? Encourage your kids to pitch in and help you master these restaurant recipes you can make at home!
Did you enjoy this little collection of restaurant recipes? Test them out for yourself and tell us which one was your favorite!