Archive for the ‘Copycat Recipes’ Category

Homemade Gyro Meat and Tzatziki Sauce.

January 21st, 2009 5 comments


WOW.  I finally made my own Gyro Meat and it turned out terrific.  I captured the flavor and consistency without a rotisserie.  I researched several Gyro Meat recipes online to arrive at this perfect combination of a few.  And the preparation is relatively easy for the authentic tasting results.  The short RECIPE goes like this — Mix all ingredients together, puree, form into loaf, bake on a rack, let rest and slice thinly — EAT with Tzatziki.  If that doesn’t tell you everything, the step by step photos and ingredients are shown below.



1/2 pound of Ground Lamb
1/2 pound of Ground Beef
1/4 cup of minced Onion
1/2 teaspoon of minced Garlic
1/2 teaspoon of dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon of dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon of dried Rosemary
1/2 teaspoon of dried Marjoram
1/2 teaspoon of ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon of ground Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon of Salt


1.)  Combine and mix ALL ingredients together, then place in a food processor and puree until a paste consistency (1 – 2 Minutes).

2.)  Scoop mixture out of the food processor and into a plastic wrap lined loaf pan.  Press firmly into the pan to close all air pockets in the meat.  Tightly wrap the plastic around the meat and let chill overnight (or several hours) in the fridge.

3.)  Remove formed Gyro Meat from the loaf pan and plastic wrap and place on a rack on a foil lined cookie sheet — This allows all sides of the meat to cook and the fat to run off.  Bake in the oven at 325° for 1 Hour.

4.)  After baking, remove from the oven, cover and let rest for about 10 minutes, then thinly slice for a Gyro Sandwich or alone with Tzatziki Sauce.

The photographs note the progression from (L – R) downward.

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Tzatziki Sauce Recipe:

1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup of grated English Cucumber
1 – 2 minced Garlic Cloves
1 teaspoon of Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of Lemon Juice (I’m heavy-handed)
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped Dill (Optional)

Mix all ingredient together and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight while the Gyro Meat mixture is doing the same.

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For LEFTOVERS, when the Gyro Meat is cold and easier to slice thin, I cut a few slices, lay them on a Pita or Flat Bread, drizzle a little Olive Oil around the edges, then cook it in the toaster oven.  All you have to do is fold and eat.   It turns out great.

Or I’ll cook the sliced Gyro Meat in a skillet with/without a little Olive Oil.  It’s fun to have the meat on hand for quick lunches and dinners throughout the week.

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NOTE:  This Gyro Meat Recipe makes a fair amount for two, but the ingredients can easily be doubled to serve more.

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Our Sleepover Cake Interpretation.

September 21st, 2008 6 comments

We saw this recipe in a cookbook I recent bought for my Niece’s Birthday  — We thought it was so clever and cute that we made it during a sleepover at a family cabin in Lake Arrowhead.  That’s us on the cake from left to right, my sister Ami, Niece Lexi, Mom, Me and Niece Bailee.    

We look a bit like zombies, but it was fun to make.  Our heads are Nilla Wafers, the pillows are Marshmallows, and the bodies are Twinkies.  We used Jawbreakers for the eyes, sweet and sour Candy Rope for the bed skirt and trim, and made a Milk Chocolate Cake instead of a Vanilla one.




Here’s a picture of the book cover and recipe.  The original looks more polished — It was harder to make than we expected.  It’s tricky frosting over the Twinkies, we added toothpicks to hold them in place.  The softer the Frosting and bed trim Candy, the better.  It was a cool experience together.

Our Cake was posted on Culinarty by Lore as one of (10) Original Food Photos.  Take a look at it there and check out her other picks.  They are all pretty amazing.  Thanks Lore.

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Corned Beef Hash Wannabe Inspired By Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.

September 6th, 2008 2 comments

It was very good, but more like diced Corned Beef and Potatoes with Onion, Garlic and Salt, rather than “Corned Beef Hash.”  I was watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and saw a similar recipe being made by a featured Diner.  I later looked it up on the TV Food Network’s website, re-watched the video online, and reviewed the posted recipe.  The recipe actually differs from the TV footage, so I prepared my own variation of the two.

I sauteed Sweet Onion, blanched the Potatoes and then combined them with the Onion and Salt.  I fried all a little longer then added the minced Garlic and Corned Beef, and after a few minutes placed the skillet in the oven and baked all at 450° for 15 minutes.  Although it was super tasty, it didn’t stick together like a true Corned Beef Hash.  Perhaps I should have mashed it or chopped all smaller to make it more authentic.  I believe Eggs are optional to this dish.

Gourmet Affordable Cupcakes Easily Made At Home.

September 2nd, 2008 No comments

I’m saving $3 a Cupcake.  The trick is to make them, so I created My Own Cupcake Shoppe.  I’ve tried to make mine better than those previously reported on Nibbles of Tidbits.  Some Cupcakes are better than I’ve purchased, but none as good as the best.  I’m still striving towards that. 

I made all Cupcakes pictured and will post the step by step process when advised that it’s not being published elsewhere.  That’s currently unknown.  Until then, enjoy the concept.  It was fun making them.  Better pictures to be provided in a future post.

So far I’ve made the following flavors:  Orange, Lemon, Lime, Raspberry, Pineapple Coconut, Carrot Pecan, Snickerdoodle, Marble, Bailey’s Irish Cream, White and Milk Chocolate Chips, and Chocolate Mint.

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Houston’s Braised Red Cabbage with Goat Cheese.

August 11th, 2008 17 comments

Have you had it before?  Houston’s Restaurant makes a fabulous Braised Red Cabbage.  I like it so much, I created this Copycat Recipe.  To me it tastes just like it — It’s super easy too.

Braised Red Cabbage Recipe:

1 Head of Red Cabbage (Chopped or Shredded) 

1/2 Cup White White Vinegar

1/4 Cup Water

2 1/2 Tbsp. Butter

2 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar

Add the Vinegar, Water, Butter and Sugar to a Dutch Oven.  Heat all on the stove for about 5 minutes.  When the Sugar is dissolved, add the chopped Red Cabbage. 

Stir all together, then cover and braise in the oven at 325° for 2 hours.  Stir every half hour or so.  If the liquid completely evaporates, just add a little extra Water.

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Houston’s serves their Braised Red Cabbage with Goat Cheese.  Since I wanted to create the entire experience, I purchased a Goat Cheese trio from Trader Joe’s

TJ’s trio includes a combination of Plain, Garlic & Herb and Four Pepper flavored Goat Cheese.  I had already used the plain, so I used the Garlic & Herb for this dish.  Each is 3.5 ounces and individually wrapped, which is great for freshness.

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Houston’s Spinach Dip Recipe (My Version).

June 17th, 2008 2 comments

Since I like Houston’s ‘Chicago-Style Spinach Dip’ so much, I wanted to make it at home.  I researched the Internet and came across a few Copycat Recipes, so I tried a couple. 

I combined and fine tuned all that I learned to decide on the following as my version of the restaurant’s tasty dip, with a little more of the goodies — Artichokes and Spinach.  The Houston’s flavors are there.

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Recipe and Ingredients: 

As shown above, first cut off the tough ends of the Artichoke Hearts (if necessary), then mix all ingredients together.  Transfer the mixture to an oven proof dish, then bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

1 (16 oz.) Bag of Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed and squeezed or drained of all water

1 (12 oz.) Jar of Marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped (Unmarinated is fine)

1 Large Garlic Clove, minced or pressed

1 Cup of Mozzarella Cheese, grated (Jack Cheese can be substituted)

2/3 Cup of Parmesan Cheese, grated or shaved

1/2 Cup Sour Cream (Heaping Cup)

1/4 Cup Cream or Half & Half  (Less, if too runny or watery, add a little at a time)

Houston’s serves their Chicago-Style Spinach Dip with Tortilla Chips, Sour Cream and Salsa, which is great, but at home I usually have it with Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips.  It’s hard to find a good bagged Tortilla Chip — But if you prefer the complete Houston’s combination, Have’a Chips are recommended as one of the better packaged Tortilla Chips.