Dinner on the Fly : A Step by Step Guide to Fake Cooking

AUTHOR: | POSTED: October 23, 2012 | COMMENTS: 8 Comments

Carolyn Savage

I can cook.

That’s not an emphatic statement.  It’s more like a “Stuart Smally Affirmation”  in the spirit of …


I’m good enough…

I’m smart enough…

And doggonit, people like my cooking!”

I admit that in the beginning of my marriage I wasn’t the best chef.  Cooking for two is, well, rather boring and after a long day at work the last thing I wanted to do is come home and stand at the stove.  I was more in the “come home and collapse on the couch” camp. 

This was an acceptable approach until Drew started wanting to eat more than pureed carrots and peaches.  That’s when the mom guilt kicked in and I felt compelled to give the cooking thing a swing.  Unfortunately, when I kicked up my career a notch with my principalship, I realized that being a working mom and cooking are two difficult tasks to coordinate.  That’s when, after a snarky comment from Sean about our family eating take-out for the umpteenth night in a row, I remember growing desperate to make him think I had this working mom thing down.  Hell yes I could bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan…but I often preferred to bring home the bacon already fried..you know what I mean?

That’s when the charade of fake cooking began.

How does one fake cook?

Well, I’ve managed to fake cook with a few special recipes.  I slaved over these concoctions with stellar results. 


Fake Home Cooked Meal # 1

Enchilada Bake

1.  Drive through Taco Bell and buy four Grilled Stuft Chicken Burritos. 

2.  Transfer burritos to greased  9×13  glass baking dish.

3.  Pour jar of salsa and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over top. 

4.  Turn on oven to 350, cover casserole dish and microwave it until cheese is melted.

5.  Turn off oven  and place casserole dish in warm oven.

6.  Throw out Taco Bell bag and receipt…preferably in a place where no one will see it.  (I like to wrap stuff like this in a used diaper.  Sean would never check there.)

This is one of my family’s favorite meals.  I’ll never forget one of the boys asking me how I got the grill marks on the tortilla.  I panicked but quickly channeled my inner-politician and said, “Grill marks?  What grill marks?  There are no grill marks!”.  Ah…the power of suggestion works when you are saying something your audience really wants to hear!


Fake Home Cooked Meal # 2


1.  Stop at Sofos on the way home and buy a frozen lasagna.

2.  Stuff it into a 9×13 pan. 

3.  Bake according to directions.

4.  Dispose of original foil pan.  (Note…This  won’t fit in a diaper.  For larger items I usually insert them in an empty cereal box and place them in the recycling bin.)

*Tip*   Familiarize yourself with  the ingredients of the Sofo’s lasagna.  I didn’t and it came back to bite me in the arse.  You see, I faked this meal for a “lasagna bake off” at my mother-in-laws.  Imagine the horror when my lasagna won and Sean’s sister asked me what kind of cheese I used.  My response,  “Uh….American?” didn’t serve me that well!

Fake Dinner #3

Beef and Broccoli

1.  Buy two beef and broccoli dinners from a Chinese restaurant. 

*TIP*  Savvy fake chefs don’t go to the best Chinese restaurants.  A drive thru version will do.  If it’s too good, you’re likely to blow your cover.

2.  Pour contents into casserole dish.

3.  Follow steps #5 and #6 from recipe #1. 

4.  Pour white rice from take out containers into sauce pan.  Cover.  Leave on stove top at warmest temp.

5.  Grab your frying pan and lay it in the sink.  If you really want to “sell it” sprinkle some water on it so it looks like you just washed the pan.

6.  Dispose of evidence using tips from previous recipes. 


I know, on the surface, it seems like fake cooking may require more effort than it’s worth.  Trust me, when I say the feeling of getting away with a little charade here and there is somewhat exhilarating in my otherwise mundane life.  

Oh…and I really do cook.  To prove it, tune in tomorrow for some redemption. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite and simple week night dinner recipes.

Now Spill Your Fake Cooking Stories for A Turkey Give Away!

Have you ever fake cooked?  Please do tell! The best story will win a gift certificate to Sautter Market to put towards a fresh turkey for your very real Thanksgiving dinner!   Leave your story in the comments below! 










8 Comments on “ Dinner on the Fly : A Step by Step Guide to Fake Cooking ”

  • Peggy | October 23rd, 2012 11:44 am

    been lurking for several weeks, now I have to comment:
    My favorite fake cooking involves potlucks at work — I never know what to bring, I don’t have a lot of potluck-worthy recipes & if I do have the recipe, I don’t have the ingredients !!!
    I found that Mrs. Kroger & Mrs. Anderson (and Mrs. FoodTown, in the old days) will fill your casserole/serving dish with their products so it looks like you made it. I used to try to guess how much a dish would hold, and often couldn’t pull it off. Now I take in the dish, they weigh it, fill it & charge me the difference !!!

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  • Jill | October 23rd, 2012 12:55 pm

    I have never fake cooked. How did I never think of this???

    I need to start!!!!!

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  • Marcia Comes Savickas (Facebook Comment) | October 23rd, 2012 4:09 pm

    I am laughing so hard!! Thanks so much for some great tips!!

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  • Nicole Kawajafraser (Facebook Comment) | October 23rd, 2012 4:10 pm

    You are SO funny. I have never fake cooked before! The diaper was the best!!!!

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  • Dee | October 23rd, 2012 5:02 pm

    Hysterical! And SO true! I once ‘made’ a dinner for a family at church who just had a new baby, and it included ‘broccoli salad’ from the deli (that I had transferred into a Tupperware bowl) and the mom asked me for my recipe because she loved it! *blush*

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  • Real and Easy Go-To Dinner Recipes | Mama On The Fly | October 23rd, 2012 8:14 pm

    […] the spirit of redeeming myself from yesterday’s post about fake cooking, I’m going to give you a few of my favorite “go-to” easy weeknight dinner […]

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  • @bluenotebacker | October 24th, 2012 11:31 am

    I’ve never fake cooked, but I totally would. I’m going to try that Taco Bell thing for sure. My kid is so picky I only cook a few things and the rest of the time I’m unabashedly picking up take-out

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  • Allie | October 26th, 2012 3:55 am

    Love this, really made me laugh. I couldn’t get away with fake cooking as i work as a nanny and can’t spend my money on take out when i have a fridge full of food and I’m the mother would notice that all the food is still there, but will keep these tips in mind for when I’m cooking for friends or in the future when i have kids of my own!

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