Making that restaurant dish at home

GOOD CHILI — Wednesday's Chili is a good imitation of a food establishment that serves this chili, and it is actually quick to make. There are other recipes that have been researched by Gloria Pitzer to taste like the real thing as well. -- Esther McCoy

Have you ever ordered something in a restaurant and enjoyed it so much you’d like to make it in your own kitchen?

Secret Recipes of Marysville, Mich., has worked tirelessly in their kitchens until they came up with a taste-alike for many famous dishes.

For instance, chili that is lip smackin’ good can be almost duplicated from a restaurant that is famous for the dish.

Fried chicken tastes just as super crispy and flavorful as a well known chicken establishment, and chocolate chip cookies are quite easy and are said to be as famous.

We will share some recipes from the recipe detective Gloria Pitzer, and you can try them and see if you agree that they are just as good as getting dressed up to go out and spend much more money when you can eat the great imitators at home at less cost.


This chili is easy to do by combining chili beef soup, onion soup, red beans and chili powder. You can make it as “smokin” as you like or as mild as others prefer.

Wednesday’s Chili

2 cans chili beef soup, 10 ounces each

2 cans stewed tomatoes, 14 ounces each

10 ounce can clear onion soup

15-ounce can Manwich sloppy joe sauce

22-ounce can chili hot beans or red beans plus 1 tablespoon chili powder

10-ounce can spicy V-8 juice

Heat all the soups and other ingredients together gently — don’t let it boil. For a meatier version, you can add 1 pound of browned and crumbled ground sirloin. Serves six to eight people.

Note: One envelope dry onion soup prepared with 10 ounces boiling water can substitute for the canned onion soup.


This chicken is dipped into a liquid and seasoned flour mixture. The chicken pieces are to dry a few minutes before browning them in hot oil and baking to a golden brown.

Big Bucket in the Sky Fried Chicken

3-pound fryer chicken, cut into desired size pieces

1 beaten egg that has been thinned with a bit of milk

2 packages Good Seasons Italian Dressing

1 tablespoon seasoning salt

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

2 cups self rising flour

Dip cut-up chicken into beaten egg and then into the flour mixture made by combining the Italian dressing mix, seasoning salt, poultry seasoning and self-rising flour. Let the pieces dry for a few minutes and brown on both sides in 1 inch of hot oil in a heavy skillet. Transfer to a baking pan in a single layer. Seal the pan with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Remove the foil. Brown a few minutes uncovered until the thickest pieces are tender. They are declared done by cutting into the center of one piece and seeing if it is perfectly cooked.

Note: For honey barbecue chicken, after chicken has been completely baked per recipe, wipe pieces in a mixture of 1 cup honey mixed with 1/3 cup bottled barbecue sauce. Return to oven to bake another 5 minutes or until bubbly and hot.


What child doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies, as well as the grown-ups with a child-like urge for those cookies that are hot and gooey from the oven?

There is a secret ingredient in the recipe that makes it as famous as the Famous cookies.

Famous Nameless Chocolate Chip Cookies

18-ounce box yellow cake mix

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup self-rising flour

1 cup real mayonnaise

12-ounce bag mini chocolate chips or regular chocolate chips

Beat all ingredients together but the chocolate chips to a smooth dough, adding chips last. Measure dough by packing it into a measuring tablespoon and leveling it off over the rim of the mixing bowl to even it out. Place dough 2 inches apart on lightly greased or sprayed baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool a few minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes 4 dozen cookies.


Those watching their calories or their sugar intake can try this dessert that is like Old Country’s Buffet.

Sugar-Free Dessert

1 cup cottage cheese, can be the low-fat kind or not

8-ounce block fat-free cream cheese

4 tablespoons sour cream

2 small boxes sugar-free strawberry gelatin powder

2 envelopes sugar-free Kool-Aid strawberry drink powder

4 ounces lite whipped topping

In a big mixing bowl place cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, gelatin mix and Kool-Aid drink mix. Then beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Fold in the whipped topping and divide between six serving cups for an enjoyable sugar-free dessert.


Fish that is crisp and tasty can be made like Long John Silver’s or Arthur Treachers. Just follow a few rules to make it taste great.

Lone John Silver’s Fish Batter


Club soda

Boxed pancake mix

Moisten fish fillets in water and coat lightly with the flour. Let dry on wax paper while beating together equal parts club soda and boxed pancake mix. Try 1 cup of each and beat until the consistency of buttermilk. If you need, do a small amount of half of both ingredients.

Don’t use tongs for the fish fillets but use the tip of a sharp knife to dip the floured fish into the wet batter and drop into a 385 degree electric skillet of hot oil. Fry a few at a time in 2 inches of oil. Cook a few minutes on each side until golden browned and crispy. Remove with the sharp knife unto a serving plate.

Note: Onion rings or mushrooms can be made with this same procedure and ingredients.

(McCoy can be contacted at