From Copycat Recipe Guide
Main dish recipes are typically the largest, or primary, item served at a meal. Often, these dishes highlight a protein-packed ingredient such as chicken, fish, or beans. Main dishes are often referred to as entrees and may range from a simple pasta and sauce dish to an elaborate roasted meat with numerous seasonings. When searching for main dish recipes, some cooks find it best to match the type of protein preferred, then narrow down the selection further based on seasonings, complimentary ingredients, and cooking method.
Many chain restaurants feature their main dishes as the pinnacle of a meal. Fast food chains offer entrees such as fried chicken and sandwiches, while sit-down restaurants such as Olive Garden feature a wide range of menu options. These dishes are often influenced by regional, international, and cooking style differences. For those on a restricted diet, preparing restaurant copycat recipes at home gives them the chance to make necessary adjustments.
|Also known as||Main course, entree, primary selection|
|Main ingredients||Chicken, beef, pork, lamb, seafood, beans, cheese, pasta, tofu|
|Cooking methods||Broiled, baked, fried, stir-fried|
|Served at||Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Texas Roadhouse and most restaurant chains|
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Main Dish Portion Sizes
Portion sizes for main dishes vary widely, depending on the restaurant, the meal, and the time of day diners visit. For example, at Olive Garden, restaurant guests who visit during the lunch hour typically receive a smaller portion size, while dinner guests receive a higher one. This difference is reflected in the nutrition counts for the restaurant's lunch and dinner entrees. The calories in Olive Garden Lasagna Classico at lunch are just 580, while the dinner entree's calorie count is 850. When making this dish at home, cooks have the option to divide the meal into smaller portions for fewer calories per serving.
Vegetarian Main Dish Substitutions
While many restaurant main dishes are centered around meat, it is possible to adapt them for vegetarians and vegans. For example, if you enjoy the taste of Panda Express Orange Chicken, it's simple to replace the chicken with a vegetarian-friendly option such as firm cubed tofu or a vegetarian "chicken" replacement such as that made by the Beyond Meat brand. Similarly, cooks can substitute the Italian sausage in a main dish such as Maggiano's Gnocchi and Italian Sauce with a tofu-based Italian sausage such as Tofurky Sweet Italian Sausage links.
Pairing Main Dishes with Wine
Choosing the right wine to go with a main dish can make or break a meal. If you intend to cook a seafood dish, you'll probably need a different wine than you would serve along with a land meat such as beef or turkey. For example, crab dishes such as Joe's Crab Shack Crab Cakes are usually best with light or white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, but they can also be served with sake.
For a holiday dinner such as Emeril Lagasse's Turkey recipe, you may prefer to use a white wine such as White Burgundy along with the meat, but a red such as Rioja Tempranillo to complement the gravy.
Tips for Pairing Food and Wine
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Pages in category "Main Dish Recipes"
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