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How to Win McDonald’s Monopoly Game

McMonopoly-boardSure, I’ll take a Fiat with my fries. And a cool million bucks would certainly make a Filet-o-Fish taste better. But as I peeled the tiny squares off my soft drink and Micky D’s sandwich the other day I wondered, “Is there a Top Secret Recipe for winning McDonald’s latest Monopoly game?” The company claims that one out of every four game stamps is a winner, so I spent a few days looking for a method of play that would greatly improve my chance of coming out ahead. Rather than cracking a recipe this week McDonald’s 20th edition Monopoly sweepstakes is my latest hack.

Here’s the game: Collect Monopoly game board property pieces, complete a full set and win the corresponding prize. There are a total of $300 million in prizes to be scooped up, and this year McDonald’s has doubled the top prize to TWO 1 million dollar rewards — which you win by finding the Boardwalk property game stamp (#946). The odds on finding one of those stamps are 1 in 306,939,484, so good luck to you on that one. The other property game stamp prizes include:

  • 2013 Fiat 500 Sport Hatchback, 20 prizes (Pennsylvania Avenue #944) – 1 in approx. 158,948,243
  • $20,000, 20 prizes (Ventnor Avenue #940) – 1 in approx. 499,516, 192
  • Delta Vacations Trip, 20 prizes (Kentucky Avenue #936) – 1 in approx. 161,914,024
  • $10,000, 20 prizes (Tennessee Avenue #934) – 1 in approx. 518,330,833
  • Beaches Resort Vacation, 250 prizes (Virginia Avenue #932) – 1 in approx. 12,953,122
  • $5000 prize, 20 prizes (Vermont Avenue #928) – 1 in approx. 578,695,060
  • EA Sports Fan Trip, 20 prizes (Short Line Railroad #950) – 1 in approx. 77,263,275
  • $50 prize, 8,500 prizes (Mediterranean Avenue #925) – 1 in approx. 402,602

I know, I know — these odds are pretty intimidating. But fortunately there are many other, simpler ways to win in this game, such as the instant win prizes printed on the game stamps:

  • 5 different food prize stamps (this is the stuff  you will win most often): 1. Quarter Pounder with Cheese, 2. Medium French Fries, 3. Small Frappé or Smoothie, 4. Regular McFlurry or Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait, 5. Any Breakfast Sandwich (excluding McMuffin)
  • Redbox 1 Night DVD Rental
  • My Coke Rewards 40-Point Bundles
  • 2 Snapfish 5 x 7-inch Digital Photo Prints
  • $10 Arch Card
  • $20 SpaWish Gift Certificate
  • $25 Arch Card
  • Monopoly Millionaire Board Game
  • $50 Cash
  • EA Sports Video Game
  • $500 Cash
  • NHL All-Star Weekend Trip
  • EA Sports Ultimate Game Room
  • $5,000 Cash
  • $10,000 Cash
  • Ultimate U.S. Soccer Family Trip
  • $20,000 Cash
  • EA Sports Lifetime of Games
  • $100,000

Each game stamps also has a code on it that can be entered on McDonald’s Monopoly game site for a chance at one of these online prizes:

  • 40 My Coke Rewards Points (900,000 prizes)
  • Redbox One Night DVD Rental (500,000 prizes)
  • EA Sports $10 Promotion Code (100,000 prizes)
  • $50 Cash (600 prizes)
  • Fathead® $14.99 Promotion Code (500 prizes)
  • SpaWish $100 Gift Certificate (500 prizes)
  • Shop.NHL.Com $25 Gift Card (175 prizes)
  • NHL Hat (100 prizes)
  • NHL T-Shirt (100 prizes)
  • 1,000 My Coke Rewards Points (42 prizes)
  • Beaches Resorts Luxury Family Vacation (30 prizes)
  • $500 cash (20 prizes)
  • 2013 FIAT 500 Sport Hatchback (10 prizes)
  • US Soccer Family Trip (4 prizes)McMonopoly-products

TWO game stamps (peels) are found on each of the following products:

  • Medium Fountain Drinks
  • Medium and large Iced and Blended McCafé beverages including Smoothies and Frappés (but excluding large Iced Coffee and McCafé Shakes)
  • Hash Browns
  • Oatmeal
  • Egg McMuffin (but not the Sausage McMuffin)
  • Big Mac Sandwich
  • Filet-O-Fish Sandwich
  • 10-piece Chicken McNuggets

McMonopoly-hashbrownsBut you get FOUR peels on these two products:

  • 20-piece Chicken McNuggets
  • Large Fries

The secret to getting the most chances to win the game for the least amount of money is to buy either a medium or large fountain drink (both $1.00 where I live in Las Vegas) for 2 game stamps. To keep it low-calorie, go with the unsweetened iced tea. Your best bet on the food items is either to buy the hash browns at $1.00 a piece (2 game stamps) or the large fries at $2.00 each (4 game stamps). By weight, the large fries is a much better deal than the hash browns, since two orders of hash browns weigh approximately 3.5 ounces, while the large fries weigh in at approximately 7 ounces. You get twice as much fried potato for the same amount of money with the large fries. I call it “potato-nomics.”

Whether you go with the medium or large fountain drink, hash browns, or large fries, your cost per game stamp is 50 cents each. McDonald’s claims that one out of every four stamps is a winner, so you will need to win something worth more than 2 dollars once out of every four stamps you peel. Since most of the winners are food products and most of them are worth more than 2 dollars you have a very good chance of coming out ahead as long as you stick to the 50 cents-per-peel plan, and your win rate is the 1-out-of-4 that McDonald’s claims it should be. Here are the approximate values of the food prizes (which will vary in price from location to location):

  • Quarter Pounder with Cheese – $3.39
  • Medium French Fries – $1.69
  • Small Frappé – $2.49, or Smoothie – $2.29
  • Regular McFlurry – $2.59, or Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait – $1.00
  • Breakfast Sandwich (excluding McMuffin) $2.69

You will, of course, also have a long shot at bagging one of the bigger instant winners and/or winning something online, but the food prizes listed here will be your most common score.

What you don’t want is an average win rate that comes in at less than 1 in 4. You may even get ridiculously unlucky and have a win rate that is MUCH lower than that, which is precisely what happened to me.

McMonopoly-winnersIn my sampling I acquired 100 game stamps. Out of those, only 10 were instant winners! I scored 5 Medium Fries, 3 McFlurry/Parfaits, 1 Frappe/Smoothie, and 1 Quarter Pounder; and I won only 3 times online, all for 40 My Coke Rewards points. Whoop-dee-do. I’ve got every property except for the winning stamps, but I am still way behind the average win rate. Poops on me.

I have to think that any one of you should be able to do MUCH better than I did at this game. Just stick to the lower-priced items and you should come out fat and happy. It seems like it’s almost impossible to do any worse than my brilliant 1-in-10 win rate if McDonald’s 1-out-of-4 winners claim is on the up and up.

In the end, if you feel like you’re losing too many peels, there is a way you can get all of your game pieces for FREE since many get tossed out unpeeled. But you will have to get down and dirty: Slap on a hazmat suit, hop into a dumpster behind your local McDonald’s, and start digging. You’re sure to find dozens of game pieces without spending a dime, and I guarantee that the smell of victory will linger with you for days.

Todd Wilbur, Food Hacker —

Super Duper Totally Authorized Top Secret Recipes eBook

Super Duper Totally Authorized Top Secret Recipes eBook by Todd Wilbur

Super Duper Totally Authorized Top Secret Recipes eBook by Todd Wilbur

If you love making copycat recipes of famous restaurant dishes, you simply must get the new eBook by food hacker Todd Wilbur! It’s 450 of his best copycat recipes for under 10 bucks and it’s awesome!! I could tell you all about it, but I’ll let Todd do it instead. Here is the entire introduction from the book:

I do love eBooks.

Thanks to this relatively new technology we can have On Food & Cooking, Private Parts and War and Peace with us wherever we go. I actually don’t have any of those books on my eReader at this exact moment, but perhaps I should since I do dig food science, I’m an avid Howard Stern fan, and I just found out that a digital copy of War and Peace can be downloaded for free.

But I will tell you that I am deep into loading up my device with cookbooks. No matter where I go now, I’ve got a pocketful of recipes right there with me since all the books I buy for my reader automatically sync to my phone. Whenever I find myself in a market, hungry and willing to cook, I’ve got the list of ingredients for that night’s feast at my fingertips. That’s pretty sweet. And wherever I may travel, be it to a mountaintop cabin, beach house retreat, or just a hungry friend’s house just down the street, all my favorite recipes are there too, bookmarked and ready to deliver deliciousness.

As a newly converted fan of electronic cookbooks it was just a matter of time before I made it my mission to compile something very special from my complete published library of Top Secret Recipes volumes. I spent weeks rifling through all of my books, carefully choosing from over 1000 recipes that I have developed in the last 24 years. With the work finally done, I am now very happy to bring you this very first volume of Super Duper Totally Authorized Top Secret Recipes in a handy dandy electronic form.

I have never before offered such a huge collection of my work. This eBook contains more than 450 of my best original copycat recipes, each of which were created in my top secret test kitchen through the years, beginning with the very first book that I started writing way back in 1987. If all these recipes were printed on paper it would be expensive and cumbersome, but as an eBook you are now able to have this hefty collection of formulas delivered instantly to your tablet, reader or smartphone in an affordable, lightweight form that can go with you wherever you may wander.

This collection includes recipes from each of my 10 trade paperback cookbooks: Top Secret Recipes, More Top Secret Recipes, Top Secret Restaurant Recipes, Top Secret Recipes Lite!, Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes, Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes, Even More Top Secret Recipes, Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2, Top Secret Recipes Unlocked, and Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3.

I have also added many of my new recipes which have yet to be printed in ANY book. Among these are super cool clone recipes for Starbucks Birthday Cake Cake Pops, McDonald’s McRib Sandwich, Burger King Stuffed Steakhouse Burger, and KFC Grilled Chicken.

In addition, I have included each of the recipes that was developed on the eight episodes of Season 1 of my CMT show, Top Secret Recipe: KFC Original Recipe Fried Chicken, Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls, Outback Steakhouse Bloomin’ Onion, Domino’s Large Cheese Pizza, Dippin’ Dots Banana Split Ice Cream, Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chili’s Grilled Baby Back Ribs, and P.F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps. These recipes have never before been included in a book.

One of the reasons I’ve become so obsessed with eBooks is the interactivity. Some devices allow authors to cross-reference to other online content, so I have taken advantage of that feature by linking several recipes here to my YouTube video cooking demos. If you go to the clone recipes for Snickers, Chili’s Molten Chocolate Cake, Hostess Twinkie (and many others) you’ll be able to click on “Watch a video demonstration of this recipe” and off you go to that video. How awesome is that?

But what truly sets this book apart from any other clone recipe cookbooks is the quality of the content. The internet has been muddied by “copycat” recipes that don’t work, since for several years now collections of clone recipes found online are assembled, copied, and distributed by internet marketers with no experience in food hacking, and who are randomly compiling poorly tested recipes from a variety of unknown internet sources for the sole purpose of making a quick buck.

I’ve used the word “Authorized” in the title of this book so that you’ll know that I personally created each of the recipes here. I’ve spent many, many hours over the years subjecting each of these dishes to a battering array of trial-and-error taste-tests, batch after batch, until the closest representation of the finished product is finally achieved. No one else puts in the work. You can be confident that with this collection you won’t be wasting time and ingredients as is most likely when cooking something from the internet’s replica recipe refuse. While I am flattered to know that a niche I developed decades ago has become so popular, it’s always best to be sure you’re getting your Top Secret Recipes from the original verified source, such as this eBook, my Plume trade paperback books or at my website:

So get ready to fool your table of taste-testers. Now, by re-creating the dining-out experience at home, you retain complete control over the quality of the ingredients that go into your food. You’re going to save money versus eating out. And you will totally impress your eaters with your ability to duplicate delicious famous foods. Top Secret Recipes food cloning is fun, easy, and finally hundreds of the original recipes can always be with you. Hope you enjoy this new collection.

Now I’m off to fetch my digital copy of War and Peace. I probably won’t read it, but I just can’t refuse a freebie.

Happy cloning!

You can get the book here on

Leave a comment here on my blog and let me know what you think. “Happy cloning!’

How to Clone Cocktails with Todderman

Food cloner Todd Wilbur (Todderman on YouTube) just realeased his latest video which shows us how to duplicate signature drinks from two American restaurant chains: P.F. Chang’s and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritavile.

As you learn how to make these drink you will be watching Todd slip into drunkeness since he decides to pound each of the original cocktails…and the clones, too! 

I wonder how he felt the next day! ;)

The full details on these recipes are available at Todd’s Top Secret Recipes website: Cheers to you all, and Happy New Year!

How to Make McDonald’s McRib Sandwich

Todd Wilbur demonstrates the easy steps to making McDonald’s Cult favorite McRib Sandwich. Now when the sandwich goes away againm you’ll be able to make one in your own kitchen. Whoa, that’s pretty cool, man!

Get the full recipe for this clone version of the McRib Sandwich at

TGI Friday’s Jack Daniel’s Glaze from New Book

Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur is out now

Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur is out now

Check out this recipe from Todd Wilbur’s latest copycat recipe book, Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3.

The Jack Daniel’s Glaze is one of the most scrumptious sauces you will ever taste on just about any meat. Introduced in April of 1997, this glaze has become one of Friday’s best-selling items. Its versatile sweet-and-slightly-spicy flavor works well on salmon, baby back ribs, steak, chicken, pork chops…even on chicken wings. Producers at the Oprah Winfrey Show requested that I clone the stuff before I went on the show and I’m happy to say the clone that resulted from my sleuthing is a dead ringer for the real thing. Try it for yourself. Use it on just about any beef, pork, chicken or fish you’re grilling, but apply it at the end just before you take everything off the grill since the sugar in the sauce will burn over the flames.  

1 head of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2/3 cup water
1 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons minced white onion
1 tablespoon Jack Daniels Whiskey
1 tablespoon crushed pineapple
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Cut about 1/2-inch off of the head of garlic. Cut the roots so that the garlic will sit flat. Remove the excess papery skin from the garlic, but leave enough so that the cloves stay together. Put the garlic into a small casserole dish or baking pan, drizzle olive oil over it, and cover it with a lid or foil. Bake in a preheated 325 degrees F. oven for 1 hour. Remove garlic and let it cool until you can handle it.
2. Combine water, pineapple juice, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium/high heat. Stir occasionally until mixture boils then reduce heat until mixture is just simmering.
3. Squeeze the sides of the head of garlic until the pasty roasted garlic is squeezed out. Measure 2 teaspoons into the saucepan and whisk to combine. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and stir.
4. Let mixture simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until sauce has reduced by about half and is thick and syrupy. Make sure it doesn’t boil over.

Makes 1 cup of glaze.

How to clone Oprah’s favorite dessert

Oprah featured Serendipity 3 Frrrozen Hot Chocolate in her 2006 “Favorite Things” show, and she said the dessert makes her want to “dance on the chandeliers.”

In this short video famous food cloner Todd Wilbur shows you how to make your own version of this amazing confection. And it is suprisingly simple!


Click here to get this complete recipe and 149 more brand new original clone recipes in the new book from Todd Wilbur. Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 is in bookstores now.

Todd Wilbur Leaks Blueprints from New Book!

Today on his Facebook page America’s famous food cloner offered up a sneak peak of the schematics for four desserts that will appear in his next book, Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3.

Author Todd Wilbur draws the blueprints by hand in black ink, then scans the art into Photoshop where he converts them to blue and adds a noise filter to simulate blueprints. Check ‘em out for yourself to see if there’s a recipe you’ve been waiting for: 

Cheesecake Factory Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake

Cheesecake Factory Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake


Mastro's Steakhouse Warm Butter Cake

Mastro's Steakhouse Warm Butter Cake


Olive Garden Black Tie Mousse Cake

Olive Garden Black Tie Mousse Cake


Outback Steakhouse Chocolate Thunder from Down Under

Outback Steakhouse Chocolate Thunder from Down Under


Over 4.5 million Top Secret Recipes books have been sold since 1993! Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 is due out in September, and is available now for pre-order on    

Cloning Famous Foods with Rachael Ray

Famous food cloner Todd Wilbur hangs with Rachael Ray in her kitchen to make his top secret recipes for Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese and Burger King Onion Rings. At the end of the segment Rach brings up an audience member to do a taste test.

Get more recipes like these at Todd’s super cool website:

Drinkin’ and Clonin’ in San Fran

Comedian Mark Pitta takes Todd Wilbur around San Francisco to clone drinks from Starbucks, Cheesecake Factory and The Hard Rock Cafe in this video:


You can get Todd’s drink book filled with over 200 recipes (including the clone for Coca-Cola!) here at

Review: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked

[topsecret.jpg]Summary: The kitchen clone recipe king is back with a new Top bestselling Top Secret Restaurant Recipes collection—the first book since his bestselling Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2. Wilbur takes readers behind the scenes, revealing the key ingredients in some of our favorite foods such as Starbucks’ Peppermint Brownie, Krispy Kreme’s original glazed donuts, Panera Bread’s cranberry walnut bagel and Wendy’s Garden Sensations Mandarin Chicken Salad. The book will feature 115 new recipes, including 40 previously unpublished recipes such as:

Panera Bread French Onion Soup
•Burger King Onion Rings
•Chick-Fil-A Honey Roasted BBQ Sauce
•McDonald’s Cinnamon Melts
Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese
Chipotle Mexican Grill Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette
•Popeye’s Buttermilk Biscuits.

Forget takeout—with these fun recipes and blueprints, all using ingredients you can buy at your local supermarket, you can re-create your favorite restaurant signature dishes right in your own kitchen for a lot less! — Plume

With over 4 million copies of Todd Wilbur’s Top Secret Recipes Cookbooks sold, I am obviously not alone in my curiosity about these books. I actually bought two of these cookbooks and gave them to my husband as gifts a few years ago. The latest Top Secret Recipe collection is TOP SECRET RECIPES UNLOCKED: ALL NEW HOME CLONES OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE BRAND-NAME FOODS. I was very excited about checking out this one because I knew it featured some Starbucks’ recipes — namely their Lemon Loaf.

I enjoyed looking through this cookbook and there were a few recipes that I definitely marked to try. While I usually try to make healthy recipes, this cookbook probably isn’t the healthiest; but every once in awhile you have to make an exception! The first recipe I made was the Orange Julius Banana Julius — which actually was a fairly healthy one. I haven’t had the real deal for a long time, but I will say that this version was very good. My fussy-nut daughter even drank one, and that’s really saying something.

The next recipe I tried was the Stouffer’s Macaroni and Cheese. I love their frozen macaroni and cheese plus it’s so convenient, so I couldn’t wait to try this one. I was surprised how easy the recipe was! There were only a six ingredients needed and ones I usually have on hand. I like that this recipe didn’t make a lot and that I can just freeze it and pull it out when I need it. It was really good and did taste a lot like Stouffer’s!

Finally, I made the Starbucks’ Lemon Loaf. It wasn’t hard and it did taste good (a lot like Starbucks’), but I definitely couldn’t have served it to company — my husband wouldn’t even take it into work. (Needless to say — no photo of this one!) The center of the loaf fell while it was cooking so it was really ugly! It also crumbled a teensy bit when I cut it, but I think I might have done something wrong. I would be willing to try the recipe again to see if I had better luck!

The only thing that disappointed me about this cookbook was how many condiment-type recipes are included. Our family doesn’t eat condiments so I kind of just skipped through those pages, but others might like them. In addition, most of the condiments are free at restaurants — right?; so I can’t see actually going to the effort to make them. But that’s just me!

When I sat down to write this review, I decided to look at the Top Secret Recipes website. Oh my! There are a lot of free clone recipes on this site. While I couldn’t find the three recipes that I tried, there were some recipes from TOP SECRET RECIPES UNLOCKED. The closest I could find to anything that I made was the recipe for an Orange Julius Orange Julius. There are also a few free Starbucks’ recipes, but sadly not the Lemon Loaf. While you are there, you can sign up for new weekly recipe reminders.

If you enjoy “knock-off” style cookbooks, then you might want to check out TOP SECRET RECIPES UNLOCKED. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this cookbook.

Posted by Julie P. at 1:39 AM   

Labels: Cookbook, Nonfiction, Review, Weekend Cooking  


Mary said…

Sounds like an interesting cookbook. Sorry the lemon loaf didn’t “hold up” but at least it tasted good. My favorite lemon bread recipe is in The Barefoot Contessa’s cookbook. LOVE IT. Yes, it’s that good!

February 7, 2010 7:22 AM  

Sandy Nawrot said…

Since I am all healthy and everything now, after Game On, that would be my first concern. I have started looking up calories of things on the menus of restaurants, and it is positively HORRIFYING. My daughter had a salad last night at The Elephant Bar that was over 1,000 calories without the dressing! So you figure alot of these recipes would not be something you would eat on a regular basis. I’m going to check out the website though!

February 7, 2010 7:24 AM  

rhapsodyinbooks said…

I also love the lemon loaf at Starbucks! Too bad it didn’t look very pretty when you made it – my cakes rarely do, but as you say, it’s okay as long as it’s not for company! :–)

February 7, 2010 7:36 AM  

bermudaonion said…

I really want to try that Starbucks lemon pound cake recipe. As long as it tastes good, I wouldn’t care if it fell in the middle.

February 7, 2010 8:36 AM  

Beth F said…

I generally try not to bake to many sweets, but it’s fun to try to make restaurant favorites at home.

February 7, 2010 10:05 AM  

S. Krishna said…

This sounds interesting, though I think I’d prefer to just go the finished product from the store! I’ve been curious about this cookbook though, so thanks for the review.

February 7, 2010 10:39 AM  

Heather said…

I’m sure I heard of the earlier book by this author. Nice to read your comments about the book and the recipes your tried. Will be checking their website. Thanks.

February 7, 2010 10:48 AM  

Cindy said…

Julie here in Montreal they have this take out place (which is the shape of a huge orange) called the Orange juliep and they make the best Orange Julius drinks ever.

Okay off to find the recipe because I am craving it LOL

Great review

February 7, 2010 5:47 PM   

Jill said…

I love these books…I’m going to have to check out the latest!

February 7, 2010 6:32 PM  

Lisa said…

To paraphrase “Jerry MacGuire,” you had me at Panera Bread French Onion Soup!

February 7, 2010 9:32 PM  

Bonnie said…

I love the Lemon Pound cake at Starbucks and would love to try the recipe. Mary is right, the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for lemon bread is to die for. She gave me the recipe and it has become a family favorite and a book club favorite. I’d like to give this cookbook a try as there are several recipes that sound good.

February 8, 2010 2:58 PM  

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said…

Funny/weird fact: Howard Johnson’s frozen mac & cheese was always my favorite when I was a kid; I wonder if they still sell it?!

That lemon cake sounds delish, even if it wasn’t too nice to look at.

February 8, 2010 3:59 PM  

Mo’s Mom said…

Well, you don’t have to convince me! I’ve been following this guy for years! I have all 9 of the cookbooks plus a couple special ones I bought from him on QVC. These are my Go To Books for almost everything.

February 18, 2010 2:09 PM