By Carl Hanson
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These delicious, 5-star Philly cheesesteak mashups aren't playing. They're a respectful if unorthodox homage to the original sandwich. But even so, be cautious introducing them to your Philly friends. Philadelphia folks can be phull-on phanatics about their cheesesteaks.

I mean, would you put cheesesteak ingredients in a burrito and deep fry it? Would you use them as a topping for hotdogs? Or for pizza? Would you add them to chili, for crying out loud? Yes. Yes, you would. What's more, you should.

OK, let's get wit' it -- down to the nitty-Gritty, if you will.

This faux Philly cheese steak goes deep, deep undercover. And the cover? A rich, creamy three-cheese sauce made with Gouda, Cheddar, and Parmesan, along with evaporated milk. Arguably, it's not for purists. But undeniably, it's for the rest of us.

Photo by Allrecipes

Of the cheesesteak mashups, this one is probably the least controversial. So if you need to ease your Philly friends into the whole mashup concept, try this first: Take a proper Philly cheesesteak and top it with with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese, and then toast it under the broiler...which will make it a Pizza Steak. Once your friends are emotionally and intellectually comfortable with the pizza steak, flip the concept, and lead with the pizza, adding the cheesesteak ingredients as toppings.

Photo by gnomeygoose

If more transition time is needed, try putting the cheesesteak on a hotdog. For best results, put the dog on an Italian roll, preferably a fresh, Philly-baked Amoroso roll. Baby steps, people. Delicious baby steps. This recipe calls for Cheez Whiz. Also acceptable: American cheese and provolone. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the cheese on cheesesteaks: "White American cheese along with provolone cheese are the favorites due to the mild flavor and medium consistency."

Photo by Christina

Needless to say, there is some debate as to which cheese is actually best on a cheesesteak. Wikipedia quotes a restaurant critic from the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Provolone is for aficionados, extra-sharp for the most discriminating among them." And then, in the next paragraph, there's this from The New York Times: Cheez Whiz is "the sine qua non of cheesesteak connoisseurs." So cheese choice appears to come down to whether you self-identify as an aficionado or a connoisseur.

Now that we're comfortable with the idea of altering a classic, let's go small! Here's Chef John: "Miniaturized sandwiches don't usually float my boat, or submarine, as they're almost always not as good as the full-sized versions, but these mini Philly cheesesteaks really captured everything I love about the classic." The cheese: Provolone.

Photo by Chef John

OK, now we're entering into real mashup territory. It's fusion time, folks. Cheesesteak ingredients spooned into egg roll wrappers and fried. The recipe recommends ketchup as a dipping sauce. You might also try this Super Easy Cheese Dip, starring Whiz. The cheese: American.

Photo by charmae bautista

Now that we're comfortable deep-frying a cheesesteak, let's live large with it. Wrap your cheesesteak ingredients in a tortilla and do the chimichanga! The recipe recommends serving with ranch dressing. Of course, the Whiz dip from above would work wonders here, too. The cheese: Swiss.

Photo by Christina

Keeping in the category of Mexican-style mashups, this one does it quesadilla style. Now, maybe you should have your Philly friend sit down for a sec. Because we have something to confess: This recipe adds BBQ sauce to the cheesesteak ingredients. The cheese: Cheddar.

Photo by LYNNINMA

This chili recipe is called 'Whiz Wit' Chili. Dan explains, "For those of you not from the Philadelphia area, 'whiz wit' is how we order our cheesesteaks (meaning Cheez Whiz with onions)." This recipe also has beans, which should upset your friends from Texas. The cheese: Whiz, of course.

Photo by Heather Brackney

It's Philly by way of Edinburgh, and it manages to outrage purists from both places. This cheesesteak shepherd's pie calls for light beer and spaghetti squash instead of the traditional mashed potato topping. It also calls for leftover steak, which sounds great to us, but maybe not to folks who fall into conniptions whenever a meat pie with beef is called "shepherd's pie" instead of "cottage pie." The thinking: shepherds herd lambs, not cows. But maybe the shepherd's just ready for a change of pace. The cheese: Swiss.

Photo by Meredith

Easy-to-make, this Philly cheese-steak-based hot dip makes a smart addition to your snack table for the Big Game. "Like all great party foods, it's wonderful hot, warm, room temp, and, I've heard from a reliable source, even delicious cold," says Chef John. "Serve alongside sliced baguette. Keep it hot and fresh for guests by baking it in 2 batches, or feel free to do this all at once in a 9x13-inch baking dish." The cheese: Provolone (and cream cheese!)

"A proper Philly cheesesteak is hard to make at home, as you need a professional meat slicer and a very hot flat top grill," explains Chef John. "But with this baked slider method, your average home cook can achieve something very close to the original. Garnish with chives." The cheese: Provolone (and, again, cream cheese!)

Photo by Chef John