FAVORITE RECIPES ~ copying the best

Our family loves to eat out! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, appetizers, brunch, linner, midnight snack….you name it we’ll eat IT out!

BUT, we have become a frugal family. Read about it here.

We miss going out, having the food prepared for us, and some wonderful person cleaning up for us. How can you beat that??

We’ve also missed the GREAT food!

Today, I’m going to share with you all the great recipes we’ve found that are copycats of our favorite restaurant items.


1 lb. flank steak
1/4 cup cornstarch
vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup)
2 large green onions

2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. ginger, minced
1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup dark brown sugar

  • Make the sauce by heating 2 tsp. of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over med heat. Don’t get the oil too hot.
  • Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches.
  • Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
  • Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4″ thick bite-size slices. Tilt the blade of your knife at about a 45 degree angle to the top of the steak so that you get wider cuts.
  • Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.
  • As the beef sits, heat up one cup of oil in a wok (you may also use a skillet for this step as long as the beef will be mostly covered with oil). Heat the oil over medium heat until it’s nice and hot, but not smoking.
  • Add the beef to the oil and saute for just two minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges. You don’t need a thorough cooking here since the beef is going to go back on the heat later.
  • Stir the meat around a little so that it cooks evenly.
  • After a couple of minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, then pour the oil out of the wok or skillet.
  • Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and simmer for one minute.
  • Add the sauce, cook for one minute while stirring, then add all the green onions.
  • Cook for one more minute, then remove the beef and onions with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate.
  • Serve over steamed white rice.
Stir-Fried Chicken and Broccoli


Marinade for chicken slices:
16 oz. chicken breast sliced
2 eggs
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Combine ingredients and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

For the sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup chicken stock

Combine ingredients and set aside.

Vegetables and aromatics:
2 Tbsp minced ginger
2 Tbsp minced scallions
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 pound broccoli trimmed to 2-3 inch flowerets

Finishing touches:
4 Tbsp dry cornstarch dissolved in 8 Tbsp cold water
1 tsp pure sesame oil

  • In a seasoned wok, place 1 1/2 pints of chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil then down to a simmer.
  • Carefully place marinated chicken slices into the simmering liquid.
  • Carefully separate with a pair of chop sticks to cook evenly about 2/3 of the way (app. 2-3 minutes).
  • Remove chicken from liquid and drain.
  • At this point you can either cook the broccoli until tender-crisp in the liquid you cooked the chicken in or steam the broccoli until tender-crisp in a bamboo or metal steamer.
  • Assemble cooked broccoli in a ring pattern onto your serving plate. Keep warm.
  • Drain liquid from wok, clean thoroughly and heat 3 Tbsp of vegetable oil in the bottom.
  • Stir-fry the ginger, scallions and garlic on medium heat until the flavors and aromas are
    released, about 5 to 8 seconds.
  • Add sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the cooked chicken back in while stirring and cooking until tender and cooked
    through about 2-3 minutes.
  • While sauce is simmering, add in half of the cornstarch mixture to thicken.
  • Cook briefly and check consistency. Sauce should coat the back of a spoon.
  • You can add more cornstarch mixture as needed. Taste sauce and adjust seasonings if needed.
  • Drizzle with 1 tsp. of sesame oil and pour chicken with sauce into the center of the broccoli ring.
  • Serve with steamed white or brown rice or noodles.


3 Tbsp oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup water chestnuts
2/3 cup mushrooms
3 Tbsp chopped onions
1 tsp minced garlic
4-5 leaves iceberg lettuce

Special Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp water
1-2 tsp garlic

Stir Fry Sauce 
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar

  • Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl.
  • Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil.
  • Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you’re ready to serve.
  • Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well.
  • Eventually add your desired measurement of mustard and garlic to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps.
  • Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.
  • Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or done.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and cool.
  • Keep oil in the pan, keep hot.
  • As chicken cools mince water chestnuts and mushrooms to about the size of small peas.
  • Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.
  • When chicken is cool, mince it to the same size as the mushrooms and water chestnuts.
  • With the pan still on high heat, add another Tbsp of vegetable oil.
  • Add chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts and mushrooms to the pan.
  • Add the stir-fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes then serve it in the lettuce “cups”.
  • Top with “Special Sauce”.


2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
8 oz chicken breasts, cut into 1-2″ thin strips
1 1/2 oz white wine, Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio
1 1/2 oz Marsala wine
14 oz chicken broth
16 oz heavy cream
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 Tbsp basil, fresh
1/2 Tbsp parsley, fresh
1 Tbsp butter
8 oz rigatoni pasta, made according to package
8 oz baby portabello mushrooms
3/4 cup onions, chopped

  • In a large skillet, heat oil, mushrooms, onion, garlic puree, salt, pepper, and brown lightly.
  • Lower heat, add chicken, simmer for 10 minutes or until all of the chicken is cooked.
  • Add the white wine, marsala wine and chicken broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, or about 15 minutes.
  • Add cream and bring to a boil while stirring, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Boil the rigatoni al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Do not rinse.
  • Add the well-drained rigatoni to the skillet and finish with parmesan cheese, basil, parsley, and butter. Stir well, then serve hot, with a garnish of grated parmesan cheese.

These are some of my family’s favorite meals. Try them and let me know what you think.


Love ya,