ThePrep: Restaurant Copycat Dinners That Are High in Protein

Flavors from your favorite restaurants with the benefits of home cooking!

2 bowls of Copycat Panera's Tomato-Basil Soup
Photo: Photographer: Jen Causey; Food Stylist: Ali Ramee; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

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While I really enjoy eating out, there's nothing like a home-cooked meal. Home cooking not only saves you money, but sometimes it even takes less time than ordering and picking it up. And with copycat recipes, I can bring the flavors of my favorite restaurants home and get the best of both worlds! This week's dinner recipes showcase favorites from restaurants like Panera and Bonefish Grill. We tailored our recipes to maintain the same delicious flavors but with less sodium and saturated fat. Plus, these meals deliver at least 15 grams of protein per serving and more veggies to keep me satisfied for longer.

Your Meal Plan

Copy Cat Taco Bell Mexican Pizza
Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

I'm starting off this week of copycat dinners with these flavor-packed Copycat Taco Bell Mexican Pizzas. This recipe reminds me of a traditional Mexican dish called tlayudas. This dish is an iconic street food originally from Oaxaca. Nowadays, you can find the original or similar versions in other cities across Mexico. A tlayuda is a huge tortilla usually topped with refried beans, cheese and some sort of meat (mainly pork or beef). People love adding other ingredients, such as sliced avocado, salsa and shredded cabbage. Our copycat version of Taco Bell's Mexican Pizzas delivers 23 grams of protein per stack. And similar to tlayudas, we added some veggies like shredded red cabbage, sliced radish, scallions and cherry tomatoes. I'll add more cheese and salsa for a delicious finishing touch.

Next up is Monday's Copycat Panera's Tomato-Basil Soup. Warm soups are always a winner when it comes to comfort and coziness, especially during colder weather. And this tomato-basil soup is as good as it gets. I love this recipe because the tomatoes and shallots are roasted first to bring out their flavors, before getting pureed. You don't need to eat animal-based ingredients like chicken, beef or fish to get your fill of protein. This soup delivers 9 grams of protein per serving, and I'll serve it with whole-wheat sourdough bread on the side to add 6 grams more protein per slice, and for dunking, of course.

Friday's Copycat Bonefish Grill Bang Bang Shrimp delivers 25 grams of protein per serving and is ready in a quick 20 minutes. The light batter coating the shrimp adds a nice crunch that perfectly pairs with the creamy, spicy sauce made from mayonnaise, yogurt, chili sauce, honey and Sriracha. To balance out this meal, I'll serve the shrimp over Whole-Wheat Couscous and a side of Steamed Fresh Green Beans. I bet you could make amazing shrimp tacos with them, as well!

Sunday: Copycat Taco Bell Mexican Pizzas
Monday: Copycat Panera's Tomato-Basil Soup with a slice of whole-wheat sourdough bread
Tuesday: Copycat Sweetgreen Chicken Pesto Parm Bowl
Wednesday: Copycat Chick-fil-A Kale Salad with Garlic-Butter Salmon Bites and a slice of whole-wheat sourdough bread
Thursday: Copycat Olive Garden's Chicken & Gnocchi Soup
Friday: Copycat Bonefish Grill Bang Bang Shrimp over Whole-Wheat Couscous and a side of Steamed Fresh Green Beans

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Something to Sip On

Copycat Starbucks Pink Drink
Ali Redmond

This week of copycat recipes just keeps getting better with this Copycat Starbucks Pink Drink. I love Starbucks just as much as the next person, but I can do without all the added sugar they add to some of their drinks. The recipe uses 100% juice and frozen and fresh fruit like strawberries and passion fruit to add sweetness without added sugar. The bright pink color comes from strawberries and juice blend, giving it its signature name. A little bit of coconut milk adds some delicious creaminess to finish it off.

Get the Recipe: Copycat Starbucks Pink Drink

What's Inspiring Me This Week

an illustration of someone in bed having trouble sleeping
Getty Images

There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to fall or stay asleep, and we all know the low energy levels and moodiness that follow a poor night of sleep. While I don't have insomnia per se, 30% to 35% of adults in the U.S. experience insomnia symptoms, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. New research found that people with insomnia have an increased risk of heart disease by 69% compared to those who regularly get a good night's sleep. If you find yourself in this boat, there are some things you can do to help make for a better night's sleep, like bedtime stretches, limiting your caffeine intake and ditching the screens at night. Read on to learn more about this research and learn other helpful sleep-inducing techniques.

Find Out More: Insomnia Linked With a 69% Greater Risk of Heart Disease, a New Study Suggests

I wish you all a great week, and if you have any questions or requests for future newsletters, please let me know by emailing! Don't forget to add a recipe review if you try one.

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