In pre-pandemic, pre-inflationary times, my family and I used to go out to eat once every weekend, and Outback Steakhouse was one of the restaurants in our rotation.
When the world started opening back up, we ventured out to reunite with our beloved Bloomin' Onion and other favorite menu items but were instead met with food that left a lot to be desired at prices that put pits in our stomachs.
We haven't been back since. But when I came across a TikTok take on Outback's famous Alice Springs chicken dish, I figured I'd adjust my swearing off of Outback to include a "cheaper copycat recipes at home are acceptable" clause. Here's how it turned out.
@cookinginthemidwest Easy Alice Springs Chicken & Potato Skillet🔥 Recipe •2 chicken breasts •4 - 5 small/medium sized potatoes •olive oil + salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika (for potatoes) •1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper, and paprika •1 tsp each of onion powder and garlic powder •5 pieces of bacon, cut into small pieces •4 oz chopped mushrooms •1 cup of shredded colby Jack cheese •honey mustard Instructions •peel potatoes, wash, and cut up into small cubes •toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika (I don’t use exact measurements for this part) •cook potatoes in the air fryer at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes shaking them around at least a couple times while they cook •once potatoes are cooking, cut chicken into cubes and chop uncooked bacon into small pieces •cook bacon in a skillet and remove from the pan when cooked •remove some of the bacon grease and add chicken to the skillet •season chicken with 1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper, paprika, and 1 tsp each of onion powder and garlic powder •once chicken is almost finished cooking add the chopped mushrooms to the skillet •once chicken and mushrooms are cooked add cooked potatoes to the skillet •add honey mustard and stir everything together •top with shredded colby Jack cheese and bacon bits •broil in the oven for just a few minutes to melt the cheese (you could also cover with a lid and let this sit on the stove until cheese melts) Enjoy! #easydinners #recipes #weeknightdinner #easymeals #dinner #potatoes #chickenrecipes #alicespringschicken ♬ Candy Paint - Post Malone
First, let's talk cost — because that's just as important as taste. At the Outback Steakhouse closest to me, an Alice Springs chicken entree, which comes with two side dishes, costs $20 and feeds one person.
At my preferred store, the price of chicken breasts is $1.99 a pound, and I used about 2½ pounds to make the homemade version, so, about $5 worth of chicken. I also used a 1-pound package of smoked peppered bacon that cost $5 and spent $10 for mushrooms, shredded colby jack cheese, honey mustard dressing, and russet potatoes. Some of the ingredients were left over and will live to see another meal.
For my family of six, the dish, served with a Caesar salad, cost about $27 — only slightly more than a single serving at the restaurant after factoring in tax and tip.
Now, let's get cooking. The Alice Springs chicken served at Outback is a grilled breast topped with sauteed mushrooms and crisp bacon, and topped with cheese and honey mustard sauce. But the TikTok recipe is an adaptation incorporating diced, air-fried potatoes with chicken and the rest of the ingredients found in the traditional menu item that are chopped and then sauteed in a skillet.
After baking the diced potatoes in the air fryer, combine them with the cooked chicken, bacon, and mushrooms. Then mix in the honey mustard dressing, top with cheese, pop into the oven just long enough to melt the cheese, and dinner is served. Since everything is chopped before it's cooked, the dish requires no cutting at the table — and for parents with small children, that's a huge convenience.
I found this version to be even better than Outback's, and I loved that I could taste each ingredient, from the sweet honey mustard to the subtle zest of the peppered bacon. Seeing as everyone went back for seconds, I'd say the dish was a hit.
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