Good Riddance, Restaurants: 8 Delectable Dishes to Make At Home

Ever had a tasty meal at a restaurant and thought you could make the same thing at home? Well, here’s your chance. With these restaurant-inspired recipes, you have the ability to recreate your favorite dishes, all while ensuring that fresh and wholesome ingredients are going into your food. From divine appetizers to savory entrées, these dishes can easily be made at home and will taste just as good (if not better!) Ready to turn your kitchen into a five-star restaurant? Here are 8 mouthwatering dishes to get you started.



1. Outback Steakhouse Wedge Salad

Creamy ranch, crumbly bacon, and flavorful seasonings make this version of the Outback Steakhouse wedge salad a dream come true. After pairing this Lexie’s Kitchen & Living recipe with the savory flavors of the dairy-free ranch dressing, you’ll never want to eat out again. Ingredients:

  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ⅛ cup raw honey
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 to 8 strips of bacon
  • 1 tomato diced
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce quartered


  • 1 cup mayo
  • ¼ cup dairy-free buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon dried chives
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper

Directions: In a small saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar, raw honey, and sea salt, bring to a gentle simmer and reduce to a thick syrup. Meanwhile, brown the bacon, crumble, and set it aside. To prepare the ranch dressing, combine all ingredients except for the dairy-free buttermilk in a medium bowl. To make the dairy-free buttermilk, add 1 and ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Add enough dairy-free milk to bring the total amount of liquid to ¼ cup. Stir and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until the milk curdles (then it’s ready to use.) Slowly whisk in the buttermilk. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Prepare the produce by quartering the iceberg lettuce, dicing the tomato, and thinly slicing the red onion. To assemble the salad, take one large plate, or individual serving dishes, and arrange the top lettuce wedges evenly. On top of the wedges, drizzle a spoonful (or two) of ranch dressing, tomato, red onion, bacon, and a touch of the balsamic glaze. You can also add a few blue cheese crumbles to top it all off.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

2. Outback Steakhouse Bloomin’ Onion

Another Outback Steakhouse favorite, this DIY bloomin’ onion is a bundle of fried goodness. Perfect for your next party or get-together, this recipe won’t disappoint. The recipe yields 8 servings, and for those watching their waistline, there are 690 calories per serving, along with 36.7 grams of fat. (Healthy? No. Delicious? Yes!) Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup cornstarch
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 24 ounces beer
  • 4 vidalia onions

Seasoned Flour

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne

Creamy Chili Sauce

  • 1 pint mayonnaise
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • ½ cup tomato chili sauce
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne

Outback Dipping Sauce

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons creamed horseradish
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 dash black pepper
  • 1 dash cayenne

Directions: For the seasoned flour, combine flour, paprika, garlic powder, pepper, and cayenne, mixing well. To make the creamy chili sauce, combine the mayo, sour cream, chili sauce, and cayenne, also mixing well. For the dipping sauce, blend all of the ingredients together, and let it sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight. To prepare the batter, mix the cornstarch, flour, and seasonings until it’s well blended. Add the beer, and mix well. Cut about ¾ inch off the top of the onion and peel. Cut the onion into 12 to 16 vertical wedges, but do not cut through the bottom root end. Remove about 1 inch of petals from the center of onion. Dip in the seasoned flour and gently shake to remove excess. Separate the petals to coat thoroughly with batter. Gently place in a fryer basket and deep fry at 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 1½ minutes. Turn it over, and fry for 1½ minutes more or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Place the onion upright in a shallow bowl, and remove the center core with a circular cutter. Serve hot with chili sauce and dipping sauce.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Olive Garden Four-Cheese Ziti

Goodbye Olive Garden, hello kitchen! There’s no need to step foot in an Italian restaurant when you’ve got a delicious pasta bake recipe, as shown on Pearls, Handcuffs & Happy Hour, which can easily be made in the comfort of your own home. This easy-to-make dish will taste like you’ve spent all day in the kitchen. (Our secret: It really only takes about 25 minutes!) Ingredients:

  • 1 box penne pasta
  • 1 (15-ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions: Cook the pasta according to the directions and drain. Mix the sauces together in a large bowl. Add the mozzarella and stir to combine. Then toss in the penne to coat. Pour the pasta into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it’s bubbly. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese, and bake for another 5 minutes.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

4. Panda Express Chow Mein

Rather than calling for takeout, you can cure your Chinese craving with this recipe, which yields 4 servings, for a dish that is similar to the chow mein at Panda Express. The only difference? The fresh ingredients and easy recipe will ensure your chow mein turns out better than any dish you’d get at a restaurant. Plus, it only takes 20 minutes to make — you’d still be waiting for your food to arrive if you opted for delivery. Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly-grated ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 (5.6-ounce) packages refrigerated Yaki-Soba, seasoning sauce packets discarded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger, and white pepper; set aside. In a large pot of boiling water, add the Yaki-Soba until loosened, about 1 to 2 minutes; drain well. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the cabbage until it’s heated through, about one minute. Stir in the Yaki-Soba and soy sauce mixture until well combined, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.



5. Panera Bread Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Many people love the creamy and rich flavors found in Panera Bread’s delicious soup. Now you can create those savory flavors yourself. This recipe even mimics Panera Bread’s all-natural and healthy philosophy by including fresh and good-for-you ingredients. Peas & Crayons has managed to concoct a delectable soup that’s oozing with vegetables and cheese. Get it while it’s hot! Ingredients:

  • One bunch of fresh broccoli
  • 2 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
  • ½ cup of sharp cheddar cheese, plus plenty extra for topping (freshly grated)
  • 1 heaping cup of regular Gouda cheese (freshly grated, rind removed)
  • 1 cup of shredded carrots
  • 1 small white onion (about ⅔ cup or 1 cup, chopped)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Half & Half
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried basil
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: Start by cleaning and chopping your veggies. Dice the onions super small, mince the garlic, and shred the carrots if you didn’t buy pre-shredded. This can all be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge for later. For the broccoli, chop two-thirds of it into tiny florets, and then take the remaining one-third and give it a rough chop so you have a few large pieces to add to the soup. Add your veggie stock to a pot on medium-high heat, and add two-thirds of your broccoli (about 2 cups of florets), as well as your onion, garlic, carrots, and bay leaf. Simmer on medium, covered, for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Then, in a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter on medium heat, whisking constantly. Once melted, slowly add 3 tablespoons of flour as you continue to whisk. For a thicker soup, use an extra tablespoon of each. Remove from heat and slowly pour in the broth from your veggie mixture, and stir to incorporate. Next pour in the veggies, and slowly stir in 1 cup of Half & Half. Return to the burner on very low heat, uncovered. Spoon out the bay leaf and season with the above herbs and spices. Once you have added your cheese, tweak the salt to taste. Once the soup has warmed back up, stir in the grated cheeses and remove from the heat immediately. Take your extra broccoli and blanch in boiling water, steam in your microwave, or cook it however you’d like, and stir into your completed soup for an extra burst of broccoli. Garnish with a little extra grated cheddar. You can also add a sprinkle of parsley and spicy red pepper flakes.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

6. California Pizza Kitchen Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Ooey, gooey Gouda, mozzarella cheese, tasty chicken, and savory barbecue sauce create a tantalizing barbecue chicken pizza similar to the tasty pie made at California Pizza Kitchen. Food Network says the recipe yields one 10-inch pizza, and takes about 50 minutes to prepare. Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • ½ pound prepared pizza dough, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark barbecue sauce
  • 1 (8-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper
  • ⅔ cup grated smoked Gouda cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • ⅔ cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • fresh cilantro, for topping

Directions: Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Shape the pizza dough into a ball, add it to the bowl, and turn to coat with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes. Position racks in the upper third and middle of the oven. Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the top rack, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes. Then lay out a sheet of parchment paper and brush with olive oil. Transfer the ball of dough to the parchment and roll it out into a 10-inch round, stretching it with your hands as needed. Lightly brush the dough with olive oil, cover with another piece of parchment, and set aside to let it rise slightly, about 30 minutes. While the dough rises, mix 2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small bowl. Put the chicken in a baking dish, season with salt and pepper, and brush with the barbecue sauce mixture. Bake on the middle oven rack until it’s cooked through, about 20 minutes. Let it cool, then cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Uncover the dough and spread with the remaining ⅓ cup of barbecue sauce, leaving a ¾-inch border. Top with the chicken, Gouda, mozzarella, and red onion. Slide the pizza (on the parchment) onto a pizza peel or another inverted baking sheet, then slide onto the hot stone or baking sheet; bake until the cheese melts and the crust is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

7. Applebee’s Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip

There’s nothing better than dipping some warm bread or crunchy pita chips into a batch of creamy and cheesy dip. This recipe is so delicious that your friends will be begging you to start hosting happy hours at your house. The recipe yields 10 servings, with each containing 118.5 calories. Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan-Romano cheese mix
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 10 ounces prepared Alfredo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • Pepper (optional)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Combine the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl, and spread the mixture into a small baking dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheeses are bubbling and melted. Serve with chips or bread and enjoy!



8. Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Delicious, easy to make, and a tasty side to any meal, these cheddar bay biscuits taste even better than Red Lobster’s! The garlic butter and cheese help take a plain biscuit from drab to fab. These biscuits are great served warm, but can be just as delicious with lunch the next day. Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups Bisquick baking mix
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup cold whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Brush on Top

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • Pinch of salt

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the Bisquick and cold butter using a fork or pastry cutter. Don’t combine too thoroughly. There should be small chunks of butter in your mixture. Mix in cheese, milk, and garlic powder by hand, only until combined. Drop ¼ cup portions onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until golden brown. After the biscuits finish baking, remove from the oven. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, garlic powder, parsley, and salt. Brush all of the garlic butter on top of the biscuits. More from Life Cheat Sheet: