classic restaurant recipes

Recreate 3 classic restaurant recipes for less than $2 per serving

If you are on a budget, you can still eat your favorite meals from your favorite restaurants —homemade!

If you miss going out for dinner but you are struggling with your budget, no worries! Here are 3 classic copycat recipes you can make for $2 (or less!) per serving.

1- California Pizza Kitchen inspired Original BBQ Chicken Pizza

Price per serving: $1.50


•    2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
•    1/4 teaspoon pepper
•    1 cup barbecue sauce, divided
•    1 tube (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
•    2 teaspoons olive oil
•    2 cups shredded Gouda cheese
•    1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
•    1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro


•    Sprinkle chicken with pepper; place on an oiled grill rack over medium heat. Grill, covered, until a thermometer reads 165°, 5-7 minutes per side, basting frequently with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce during the last 4 minutes. Cool slightly. Cut into cubes.
•    Divide dough in half. On a well-greased large sheet of heavy-duty foil, press each portion of dough into a 10x8-in. rectangle; brush lightly with oil. Invert dough onto grill rack; peel off foil. Grill, covered, over medium heat until bottom is lightly browned, 1-2 minutes.
•    Remove from grill. Spread grilled sides with remaining barbecue sauce. Top with cheese, chicken and onion. Grill, covered, until the bottom is lightly browned and cheese is melted, 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro.

SEE ALSO: Save money and make your own Shake Shack Sloppy Joes

2- IHOP inspired pumpkin pancakes

Price per serving: $0.26 to $0.50


•    1/2 cup butter, cubed
•    1/4 cup maple syrup
•    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
•    1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
•    1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
•    2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
•    2 teaspoons baking powder
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    2 large eggs, room temperature
•    1-1/3 cups 2% milk
•    3/4 cup canned pumpkin
•    1/2 cup ricotta cheese


•    In a small heavy saucepan, cook butter over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg. Remove from the heat; stir in pecans.
•    In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, pumpkin and cheese. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
•    Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until the second side is golden brown. Serve with cinnamon butter.

READ ALSO: Tasty on a budget: make your own Fig Newtons

3- BRAVO Cucina Italiana inspired spaghettini + meatballs

Price per serving: $1.40


•    2 cans (28 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
•    2 teaspoons sugar
•    2 teaspoons dried basil
•    2 garlic cloves, minced
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    1/2 teaspoon pepper
•    3 cups soft bread crumbs
•    1/2 cup water
•    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
•    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
•    2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
•    1 garlic clove, minced
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    1/4 teaspoon pepper
•    1 pound ground beef
•    1 pound ground pork
•    Hot cooked spaghetti


•    In a 6-qt. stockpot, combine the first 6 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
•    For meatballs, preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs and water; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in eggs, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Add beef and pork; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1-in. balls.
•    Place meatballs on a greased rack in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Add meatballs to sauce, stirring gently to combine. Serve with spaghetti.
Freeze option: Freeze cooled meatball mixture in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a covered saucepan, stirring gently and adding a little water if necessary.

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