Eat “Out” at Home {Day 5}


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Welcome to Day 5: Eat Out at Home of the 31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero Challenge!

This is the fifth day of my 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero challenge. To read all the posts in order, start with Day One or visit the Overview Page.

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My family really loves going to restaurants so eating out has always been our biggest non-essential expenditure (and money waster!)   I know I’m not alone; many of you shared the same struggle last week when we talked about searching for financial peace.

And while I know it is not essential and often a huge waste of money, I do still really miss eating out. For my family, it has probably been the hardest part of this entire spending freeze. Rather than wallow, however, I decided to search the internet for a substitute so that we could eat “out” at home. I found 20 delicious-looking restaurant copycat recipes that I can’t wait to try.

Check out these 20 restaurant favorites you can have fun recreating at home!


1. Homemade Olive Garden Bread Sticks {via Full Bellies, Happy Kids}

2. Chili’s Southwest Eggrolls {via CopyKat Recipes}

3. TGI Friday’s Baked Potato Skins {via CopyKat Recipes}

4. P.F. Chang’s Lettuce Wraps {via Iowa Girl Eats}

5. Texas Roadhouse Cinnamon Honey Butter {via Fly Through Our Window}

6. Macaroni Grill Rosemary Bread {via Readable Eatables}

7. Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits {via ABC News}

Main Courses:

8. Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken {via Fabulously Creative}

9. Panera Almost-Famous Broccoli-Cheddar Soup {via Food Network}

10. PF Changs Mongolian Beef {via}

11. Applebee’s Bourbon Street Steak {via}

12. Bennigan’s Meatloaf {via Cajun Cooking Recipes}

13. Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce {via Budget Savvy Diva}


14. Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice {via Skinnytaste}

15. Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole {via Restaurant Recipes Network}


16. Applebee’s Walnut Blondie with Maple Butter Sauce {via Get Off Your Butt and BAKE}

17. The Cheesecake Factory™ Cheesecake {via Chef Pablo’s Restaurant Recipes}

Other Treats:

18. Starbucks Frappucinos {via Savory Sweet Life}

19. Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls {via Balancing Beauty and Bedlam}

20. IHOP Cinnastack Pancakes {via Copy Kat}


Your assignment today is to eat “out” at home with your family or friends. Choose from one of these recipes, or search for your own homemade version of your favorite restaurant meal. Prepare it together and make a fun evening of it. If you have them, use candles and cloth napkins and the “good” china to make it extra special.

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Does your family eat out a lot, order takeout, or eat mostly home cooked meals? Have you ever tried a restaurant copycat recipe? Do you have any to share?

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{Go to Day 6}


  1. October 5 at 08:13AM

    This is exactly what I needed! Just boomarked this page. We eat out way too much, but if we could copy some of our favorite meals, then we could save a lot of money.

    • Ruth
      October 6 at 07:37AM

      That’s what I’m hoping too 🙂

  2. Chef Pablo
    October 5 at 12:00PM

    Thanks for the link! Love the other recipes you’ve included.

    • Ruth
      October 6 at 07:38AM

      Thanks for the great recipe! 🙂

  3. Sam
    October 5 at 12:14PM

    I just wish sushi tasted as good homemade. My own personal Kryptonite:)

    • Ruth
      October 6 at 07:38AM

      Oh sushi….mmmmm….have you ever tried making it yourself? I’ve heard it is pretty easy but it looks so intimidating!

  4. Ruth V.
    October 5 at 01:15PM

    Great post! I’m pinning this 🙂 I’m going to have to try some of these – especially that Hash Brown Casserole!

    • Ruth
      October 6 at 07:39AM

      Thanks Ruth! 🙂

  5. Jenny
    October 5 at 03:59PM

    I can’t believe you found a recipe for those Red Lobster bisquits. My husband is going to be so excited!

    • Ruth
      October 6 at 07:39AM

      I know! Those biscuits are my favorite! So excited to try them!

  6. October 6 at 07:37PM

    I am CRAZY excited about your series, it is so well done! And finances are exceptionally tight so I appreciate you sharing what you have learned

  7. Yesenia
    November 5 at 09:14AM

    It took us a month, but we built up the courage to go on our own spending freeze for november! On day five now, but so far so good.. Can’t wait to try one of these yummy recipes tonight 🙂

  8. Bee
    October 5 at 12:56PM

    Making ribs, mac & cheese, grilled veggies & biscuits. And we’re hosting @ home. Everything I already had in the freezer/pantry. Thanks!

  9. November 20 at 06:47PM

    Totally agree with what you wrote. A few days ago bought a
    nest of tables for my living room and am a bit let down, inclined to do
    some customization!

  10. Jayne
    January 15 at 10:52PM

    We don’t have a problem with this one.
    I love cooking most nights & got used to not eating out when I was a finically challenged single(5 years ago). Now I have a family with 3 teens it costs us a fortune to eat out, so we have take out once every school holidays.
    Go out for dinner on each of the kids birthdays & when our youngest has his drama performance in the city twice a year.
    Hubby’s b’day is Christmas Day, so that’s always a feast & I’m nearly always interstate working on Fashion week on my birthday(so eating out a lot that week).
    Friday night we have fast food home cooked style – pizza, tacos/burritos or burgers.

    • Jayne
      January 15 at 11:04PM

      I also make all our own bread & rolls which save heaps & has none of the nasty additives most store bought bread has.
      I was surprised going through these recipes how unhealthy many of them are.
      We buy very little packaged food & lots fresh, whole food every week. My husband says I still spend less per week feeding 3 teens & 2 adults, than his ex, 7 years ago, who was feeding 5, 7 & 9 year old children & two adults.

  11. March 30 at 02:56AM

    Your Cheesecake Factory cheesecake link be broken. 🙁

    • Ruth Soukup
      March 31 at 11:55AM

      Thanks for letting me know. I just fixed the link.
      Hope you enjoy!

  12. christi
    May 15 at 11:28AM

    we actually eat out less not only to save money, but because i’ve become aware of alot of the harmful hydrogenated oils and preservatives used now to cut corners and save money in food prep. Making the food at home wiht teh ability to substitue out the things we don’t consume makes me feel much safer and our bodies will be much more efficient to detox itself when we do slurge, money and food wise lol. Thank you for this compilation… i love your other posts as well and plan on doing a “stuff” purge of the entire house stat!

  13. alexis
    November 10 at 10:20AM

    I’m have to try the rolls.. maybe the chicken…. but isn’t the point of eating out to get out of the house once a month and enjoy the ambience of a nice restaurant

    • alexis
      November 10 at 10:23AM

      Once a month or at least birthdays and special occasions. 🙂

  14. December 12 at 04:08PM

    Ohhh lord! That’s all what I can say.
    I can’t stop thinking of the CINNAMON HONEY BUTTER…

  15. Anonymous
    January 4 at 05:31PM

    How do you do this and not spend money for the ingredients??

  16. April 12 at 04:19PM

    For me, eating out is all about not having to do the cooking. 🙂 Occasionally, when I want to go out my husband will offer to make burgers – We save money and I don’t have to cook. Win-win! I do love finding copy-cat recipes though for my favorite restaurant foods, then when I’m in the mood to cook I have new things to try. One of my favorite copy-cat recipes is Cracker Barrels chicken tenders – they are yummy and so easy. Thanks for collecting these in one place for us to check out.

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