I’m a Serial Cheater. Are You?

Alright. That’s a clickbait title. Hopefully, you aren’t too disappointed. This post has nothing to do with infidelity. It’s all about cheating when making meals. Please read on and then comment about how big of a cheater you are!

I once made a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner.  I was very proud of my spread. Upon my mother’s arrival, she asked what I cheated on. What did she mean? She wanted to know what wasn’t made from scratch. Turned out, I had cheated on 90% of the meal. The only thing I made from scratch was the turkey. But even then, can you consider that “from scratch”? I mean, all I did was inject butter under the skin and rub seasoning all over it. Then I threw it in the oven and left it alone.

SIDE NOTE: Some believe, myself included, that opening the oven multiple times to baste the turkey lets the heat out, making the cooking time longer. Just put the turkey in and leave it alone. It’ll be fine.

Back to the story.

I was thinking about Thanksgiving in February because I was craving a French dip Sandwich. (It’s related, I promise) Ahhhhh, the cheese oozed over the meat. The warmed bun. Slurping up the Au Jus from a fresh dip in the sauce. So delicious.

Immediately, I was all for heading to my nearest Arby’s. You can’t go wrong with their French dip. It is reliable in its taste, always warm, but a little pricey. I couldn’t go, though. On February 3rd, 2022, I made a pinky promise my son that I would abstain from eating take-out foods for 365 days.

Then I tried to hit up my mother-in-law. She makes a French dip sandwich that is to die for. She slow-cooks or sometimes smokes the roast for hours on end. Then she has an Au Jus recipe that is a secret that is kept from me too. I’m salivating thinking of it. Oh! I almost forgot, she smears some butter on her rolls and then toasts it on a griddle to absolute perfection. Crispy on the inside, soft on the out.

Is *chef’s kiss* still a thing? If it is, insert here.

Unfortunately, I wanted the sandwich today. It was already too late to start a roast going.

So, what did I do?

You guessed it, I CHEATED!!!!!! I don’t feel an ounce of remorse about it either.

Here is what happened:

I set my oven to 350 degrees. While it pre-heated, I got out my jar of Orrington Farm’s Restaurant Style Au Jus Mix. I’ve tried many a packaged Au Jus Mix. I’ve also attempted to make my own from scratch, no cheating. Since I was cheating, though, Orrington Farm’s is, by far, my choice of affair partner.

I made the Au Jus per the instructions on the back of the jar. Once it was warmed, I threw some rare roast beef lunch meat that I got from the grocery store deli counter. While that was soaking up juice, I cut open 4 hoagie buns. I placed a slice or two of Provolone cheese on each. Then, I forked the roast beef out onto the sandwiches. Put together sandwiches went on a foil-lined baking pan and into the hot oven.

About 8 minutes later, WAH LAH! I now had a perfectly okay French dip sandwich.

If I want to get really fancy, I’ll spend the extra time making fries. But let’s be honest, here. No one can make Arby’s curly fries at home. Even the bag from the frozen section heated up doesn’t taste great. Or does it if you have an air fryer? I don’t have one, so if you do, give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Now it’s your turn! I want to hear about the meals you make that are “cheat meals.” Not the stuff you eat when you’re taking a break from your healthy eating. I’m talking Stove Top Stuffing versus drying out bread pieces. Or gravy from a jar versus making it from the pan drippings. Or a French dip from lunch meat. Comment below! Let’s get enough stories to fill a cheaters cookbook!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *