Recreating restaurant favorites


When my kids were little, we made a special treat whenever a jar of pickles was finished. We saved the juice, cut up a couple of chicken breasts or tenders, and marinated them in the pickle juice overnight. The next day, we would dredge the chicken pieces in some well-seasoned flour and pan fry or deep fry them in hot oil. These chicken nuggets might not taste quite as good as the original, but if it is Sunday and you are craving chicken nuggets; what are you to do?

I have always loved to try to find a recipe that tastes like our restaurant favorites. We would find a food we like to eat and then try to make something that tastes like the original. See if you can guess the original of each of these recipes.


These are a couple of our favorite dipping sauces for our nuggets.


Selby’s Chicken Nugget Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise

½ cup ketchup

1 t. garlic powder

¼ - ½ t. salt

1 t. pepper

1T Worcestershire


Mix all these ingredients together and chill for at least two hours before serving. If you want to make it spicy, add a couple dashes of your favorite hot sauce.


Feta dressing

½ cup plain Greek yogurt or mayonnaise

4 oz. or about ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

1 T sour cream

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced, or ½ t. garlic powder

1 t. Worcestershire

2 T olive oil

½ - 1 t. dried oregano


 Mix all ingredients and refrigerate several hours before you eat.


I did not attend the University of Mississippi but my husband did and has many fond memories of Oxford and the amazing eating establishments. One of his favorite hangouts and one that is legend to many people his age was a dive that served a hot Stromboli sandwich complete with a side of salty potato chips.

I love college food, and I insisted that my husband bring me a Stromboli whenever he visited Oxford. For those of you that have never had one, a Stromboli is kind of like a meatball sandwich, only better.

After many years and many attempts, I have tried to recreate a copycat Stromboli. It’s not perfect but it’s a good substitute when the real thing is not an option. Feel free to add the potato chips. . . I always do.



1 lb. ground Italian sausage

1 lb. ground lean beef

1 (15 oz. jar) spaghetti sauce

½ cup parmesan cheese

¼ t. dried rosemary

½ t. garlic salt

1 package pepperoni, finely chopped (optional* but this is my son’s addition)

1 loaf of Italian or French bread

6-8 slices provolone cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Brown sausage and beef in a pan until crumbly, rinse and drain. Return to pan and stir in spaghetti sauce, parmesan cheese, rosemary, pepperoni, and garlic salt. Slice off top of bread and scoop out some of the inside being careful not to tear a hole in the bottom. Line bottom of bread with provolone cheese, then add meat mixture. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and replace top of bread. Wrap in foil that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Slice to serve.


Square Hamburger Sliders

2 lbs. lean ground chuck

1 envelope onion soup mix

Salt/pepper or season salt to taste

American cheese slices

24 small square dinner rolls

Mustard and hamburger dills for topping


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. For the hamburgers: Mix meat, onion soup mix, and seasonings. Press into an ungreased 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan. Be sure to pat meat into a thick and even layer. Prick all over with a fork and bake for 10 minutes. When burgers have finished cooking, drain off any fat. Cool slightly and then cut meat into 24 squares. Cut or split dinner rolls in half and top with mustard, pickle, cheese and one piece of meat. Put hamburgers on a cookie sheet and cover with foil. Warm in a 300 degree oven for about 10 minutes until cheese melts.


Mother’s is a wonderful little dive in New Orleans that serves the best breakfast, shrimp jambalaya, and a spectacular sandwich called the “debris.” It consists of all the yummy meat and drippings from a roast beef. It is my son’s favorite treat when we visit NOLA. This is a super simple crockpot version of this sandwich.


Debris Po’boy

1- 3 or 4 lb. beef roast, trimmed and cut in large cubes

1 can beef broth

1 onion, quartered

5 cloves garlic, peeled

1 envelope au jus gravy mix

1 envelope brown gravy mix


Put all ingredients in the crockpot and cook overnight or until the meat is easily shredded apart with a fork. Serve on French bread, with shredded cabbage or shredded lettuce, mayo and spicy mustard.

* If you are watching your salt, feel free to substitute low sodium broth and gravy mix.


Thin Mint Crackers

1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 sleeve buttery crackers (such as Ritz)

1 t. peppermint extract


Melt chocolate chips in microwave safe dish. Stir in peppermint extract until completely mixed. Dip the crackers and cover each completely in the chocolate mixture and allow chocolate covered crackers to dry on wax paper. You can top the crackers with decorative sprinkles before they dry. Once chocolate is completely cold they can be stored in an airtight container and taste remarkably similar to my favorite cookie sold by the cute little girls in the green skirts.



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