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A Hommage to TV Dinners: Salisbury Steak with Mashed Potatoes

Ok, so TV dinners are pretty awful, I know... but I actually loved them as a kid. So, why not pay tribute to them by making a good tasting dish that isn't too far from the source.

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A Hommage to TV Dinners: Salisbury Steak with Mashed Potatoes

by zirbirt

When I was a kid, TV dinners were a very normal dinner in ours and most other households. I remember impatiently waiting about 1 hour for these bad boys to heat up in the oven.

For some reason my parents always chose to buy a variety of dinners, so you would have 2 turkey, 2 Salisbury steak, 2 roast beef and 2 enchilada ones... or whatever else. The point being, there were 4 of us, and we all wanted the Salisbury steak... and no one.. would want the Enchilada ones.

As you can imagine, when the time came for us to decide who would get what dinner, a dark hush would fall over the kitchen as we each plotted our path to the Salisbury steak. My sister, would usually take the direct route and yell out, "I am having Salisbury steak!", to which my other sister would then jump in "me too!"... leaving me an my brother to either raise our voices or be doomed to the life of a bottom feeder.

As you can imagine, this would escalate to an often bloody war between us, and though the initial teams were drawn, they would quickly disintegrate through intrigue and deception. Deals would be offered, plans would be made.. Things would be thrown.. and eventually.. My poor mother would intercede and tell us who was having what.

Calm would return to the kitchen, but dirty looks would be given to the lucky ones who got the Salisbury steak, as they sat and ate in their silent victory.

So, in honor of the many battles and those who have suffered in the quest to get the Salisbury steak dinner, I bring you my tribute to the greatest TV dinner of all time... The Salisbury Steak Dinner.

I guess before I begin, I should get those pesky ingredients out of the way. So, here is what you will need:

separated trays or just normal plates, depending how dedicated you are.
1 large cooking pot
1 small cooking pot
1 baking pan
1 skillet or griddle
1 large skillet (can use just this instead of the skillet/griddle above).
1 medium bowl

Mashed Potatoes
2-3 lbs. of Potatoes (3 large russets seemed to work well)
1/2 cup of cream
1/2 cup of milk (you can just use 1 cup half and half even 1 cup of milk instead of cream and milk)
3 cloves garlic chopped fine
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. butter

Salisbury Steaks: the Steaks
1 lb. hamburger (I chose lean 90/10)
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Salisbury Steaks: The sauce
1 onion (1/2 chopped, 1/2 sliced thin)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 1/2 cups water
1 packet onion soup mix
1/2 tsp mustard powder
3 tsp. corn starch combined with 3 tsp water

Roasted Broccoli
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Starting the Potatoes

Boiling my potatoesI start with the potatoes, they take the longest. Normally for mashed potatoes, I like to use a combination of potatoes to get a good combination of lumpy and creamy. This theme, to me, seemed to call for just straight russet potatoes, so that is what I used.

I begin by filling my large pot about 2/3 full of water. Then I add in about a Tbsp. of salt. I put that over a medium high heat and let it come to a boil.

While it is heating up, I peel my potatoes and cut them in to equal sized pieces. I want to make sure the pieces are all about the same size to ensure they cook evenly.

Once the water comes to a boil I drop my potatoes into it. I let that boil until the potatoes are tender.

Getting the broccoli going

I preheat my oven to 350 degrees, then while the potatoes are boiling, I grab my medium bowl. I put my broccoli in the bowl and add in 1 Tbsp of olive oil. I sprinkle in some salt, then toss until the broccoli is fully coated in oil.

I spread the broccoli evenly, in a single layer, in a baking pan and stick it in the oven.

The Meat

Next up, I heat my griddle, or skillet over medium heat until it is very hot. Because I want it hot, I usually start heating it just as I'm putting the broccoli in, but before I begin prepping the patties.

I clean out my medium bowl and add in my beef. I then add all my meat ingredients (Bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, egg, Worcestershire)

I then combine all of this with my hands. I do this by kind of squeezing it and squishing it until everything is fully incorporated.

Basically, this is more like meatloaf than it is like hamburgers.

I separate the meat into 4 equal sized balls, then flatten and shape them into a kind of oval shape.

These go onto the skillet and cook about 5 minutes on either side. I don't add any additional seasoning to them, I simply put them straight on the griddle and cook them.

Finishing my Mashed potatoes

While my meat is cooking, I go ahead and get a small pot and add in 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk. You can use 1 cup half and half or even 1 cup of milk instead if you prefer. I like the cream or half and half because the potatoes seem to have less of a "watery" taste to them, and are usually a lot fluffier.

I add in my 3 Tbsp of butter, diced garlic and salt. This goes on the stove over a medium low heat, and will heat until the butter is melted and it just begins to boil.

I pour my cooked potatoes into a strainer to drain. I then add them to my (once again cleaned) medium bowl.

Once my milk mixture is just beginning to boil, I just pour that directly into the potatoes. It will seem like way too much liquid, but trust me, magic will happen.

I have a potato masher, but that just seems like way to much physical labor to me, so I just use a hand mixer.

You could add some cheese to this.. perhaps Colby jack.. better would be some freshly grated parmesan, or just enjoy it as it is...which is fantastic.

Time for my sauce

By now, my meat is almost done or done. If your using the same pan method, simply remove the meat from the pan and set it aside. If your using a different pan method, wait till the meat is done, then simply remove it from the pan and set it aside. If your using the I want my meat burnt to hell method, simply leave it on the pan until it is burnt to hell (I don't recommend this method).

In my large skillet, I add my butter, and heat it over medium high heat. I then toss in my chopped onion, and sauté it until it begins to turn brown. Once that happens, I add in my sliced onions and continue to cook until they become a little tender.

I then pour in my 2 1/2 cups of water, and my onion soup mix, as well as my ground mustard. I stir everything together and let it heat until it comes to a boil.

Once boiling I reduce heat and let it simmer for about 3 minutes.

I then add in my cornstarch mixture and bring it back up to a boil.

Then I just put my meat back in, and cover it with the sauce and onions. I let that cook for about 3 more minutes.

Now it's time to put everything on the plate.. or trays, as the case may be.

I figured most good tv dinners came with a dessert, so I made a quick blackberry lunchroom cake. Also I wanted rolls, so I made rolls.

I know the presentation is kinda lackluster and lunchroom(ish) but that's the point, this is a tribute to TV dinners, not a tribute to fine dining. The results however, were very flavorful and delicious.

That's it, I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. As always, thanks for reading.

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