My friend Jordan from Fun, Cheap or Free asked me to do a post on how to save money from eating at home instead of going out. That is so up my alley so I told her I would love to. I have to admit even I was shocked that you can save up to 87% by making the same recipes at home. That’s a lot of savings! Here is the post I shared on Jordan’s site. Hope you enjoy a few of my favorite copy-cat recipes 😉

I have to admit one of my guilty pleasures is going out to eat. It’s not that I think their food is any better than I could make in my own kitchen but the fact there are no kids, I’m waited on, and it’s quiet is a huge bonus for me! As much as I love eating out though, the expense of entertainment can add up quickly. For our family of 7 if we go out to eat it can be anywhere from $40-$100, depending where we go. That’s a good chunk of change for one meal. Considering I can feed our family of 7 for $200 for a 2 week period (using Deals to Meals), that’s nearly 50% of my weeks grocery budget. It’s amazing what restaurants can charge for a plate of food–it’s pretty much high way robbery 🙂

I am excited to share with you today some of my favorite copy-cat recipes that can save you legitimate savings compared to eating out. Now…I know making food at home is not quite as relaxing, and takes more effort, but with a little preparation the payoff’s of delicious food can be just as satisfying to eat at home. For me, it’s all about great tasting food. If the food I am eating melts in my mouth and tastes even better than restaurant food I am one happy lady!! Not to mention with teenagers we have a pact that I cook and they clean–it’s awesome 🙂

The other day my husband and I went out to eat for our anniversary. I love Lemon Chicken Picatta and it was $38 a plate at Christopher’s Steakhouse. It came with a roll, chicken and mashed potatoes. Unreal expensive and so not worth the money. I decided to come home and recreate the same meal and was able to make it for MUCH less!

Restaurant price: $38 a plate
Homemade for a family of 7: $10 or $1.50 a plate
That’s a 96% savings!

Who doesn’t love Winger’s Sticky Finger Chicken Salad? Since making this from home several years ago I can’t stomach eating at Winger’s knowing how cheap I can recreate this recipe. This is one of our family’s favorite salad recipes. Delicious!! All of these ingredients are on sale this week as well (chicken $1.69/lb., tomatoes .49/lb., croutons $1, cheddar cheese 2lb. $3.99 (use half), red onion .33/lb., lettuce .88 a head, ranch $1.50, Franks $1, brown sugar $1)

Restaurant price: $10.99 a plate
Homemade for a family of 7:  under $10 or $1.50 a plate
Savings of 86%

Another favorite dish of mine is at Outback–Alice Springs Smothered Chicken. At Outback Steakhouse it costs $16.99 a plate. It comes with bread, mashed potatoes, smothered chicken and honey mustard sauce. This week by following the Deals to Meals website I was able to get all of the ingredients for this dish for under $15 for a family of 7 (chicken $1.69/lb., bacon $2.50, mushrooms $1.69, cheddar cheese 2lbs. $3.99, tomatoes .49/lb., green onions .25 each, potatoes 10lb. .99, and mayo $1.99).

Restaurant Price: $16.99 a plate
Homemade for family of 7: $15 or $2.15 a plate
Savings of 87%

Who doesn’t love a gourmet hamburger? At Smash Burger, Five Guys or Chili’s you will pay over $12 a plate. Hamburger’s are one of the most ridiculously priced items out there. You can get a gross, processed hamburger for a $1 at McDonalds or pay $12 at a nicer restaurant. The bottom line is you can make a healthier, burger from scratch for under $2.00 a plate. And the fact they taste a hundred times better is fabulous!! These ingredients are also on sale–find all of the best deals at Deals to Meals! (Hamburger $2.49/lb., lettuce .88 a head, tomatoes .49/lb., gorgonzola $3, buns $1.50, mayo $1.99, onions .49/lb., mushrooms $1.69, jar roasted red peppers $1.50)

Restaurant price: $12.00 a plate
Homemade for family of 7: $12 or $1.75 a plate
Savings of 85%



I love salads for dinner and California Pizza Kitchen makes a fabulous BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad entree. It is fresh, healthy and full of great flavor. Gourmet salads at restaurants cost a lot of money for how inexpensive lettuce and vegetables are. Their mark up is outrageous. This chopped salad at California Pizza kitchen is over $10 and from home it was under $8 for our family of 7. Deals again this week (chicken $1.69/lb., lettuce .88 each, can of beans .59, frozen corn .99, green onions .25 ea., bbq sauce .49, chips .99, tomatoes .49/lb.)
Restaurant price: $10.00 a plate
Homemade for a family of 7: $8 or $1.15 a plate
Savings of 88%
Visit our blog for MANY more copy cat restaurant recipes you can make for less!