Once you’ve had three Thanksgiving meals in three different cities, you enter a zone where your next meal needs to be the complete and total opposite of turkey and dressing. A light palette cleanser, perhaps? Maybe a crisp, refreshing sorbet?

Oh, HELL no.

When you’re serious about hitting the reset button on your palette and your appetite, you’ve really got to go with something like a Philly Cheesesteak. Something packed with beef and onions and peppers and, yes, Cheez Whiz.

DON’T YOU JUDGE ME.

I’m not a huge fan of processed foods, either, but an authentic cheesesteak requires an ample slathering of the orange stuff.

‘Tis the season.

When in Rome.

Oh, just do it.

We don’t have a griddle, so Jeff and I double-teamed the sandwiches using two cast-iron skillets. I sauté the onion and green pepper slices in Skillet 1, while Jeff slices and cooks the steak in Skillet 2. The process takes a little more than five minutes. Once the steak is done, I transfer the vegetables to Skillet 2, toss everything together, and pile the mixture into two warm sandwich rolls (split in half vertically, like hot dog buns). Then Jeff dips a spatula in the Cheez Whiz and runs it over the meat and vegetables. And that’s not a euphemism.

After bellying up to untold casseroles and sweets, taking that first bite of gooey, peppery cheesesteak was something to be thankful for, indeed. If only the pilgrims had had Cheez Whiz.

Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse (Food Network)

Makes 2 sandwiches

  • 2 fresh Italian sandwich rolls, split in half vertically
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound rib-eye steak, very thinly shaved or sliced
  • 1/3 pound thinly sliced white American cheese or Provolone OR 4 ounces melted Cheez Whiz
  • Garnish: Italian pickled peppers
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Place the rolls on a baking sheet, and warm them in the oven.
  2. In the meantime, heat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Add oil, onions and bell peppers, and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Push off to 1 side of the griddle.
  3. Add the meat to the hot pan and cook, stirring and breaking up with the back of 2 metal spatulas, until almost no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Mix in the sauteed vegetables.
  4. If you’re using cheese slices, lay them on top of the meat and vegetable mixture, and melt. Spoon the cheesy meat mixture into the warm buns.
  5. If you’re using Cheez Whiz, put the meat and vegetable mixture in the bun, dip a spatula in the Cheez Whiz, and wipe the spatula down the inside of the bread. Serve immediately.