Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Home-Cooked TV Dinner

When I was a kid, I loved eating microwave dinners. Mostly because they were kind of like a treat. Let me be clear: Momma Lynn was pretty much anti any prepared/ready-made/preservative-packed foods. So we ate good, quality foods. On rare occasions, mostly when we had a babysitter that wasn't our grandparents, we'd go to the store and pick out a microwave dinner. Of course I usually picked something like chicken nuggets with macaroni and cheese. Most often, the "kids" meals had a dessert, too. It was so awesome!

As an adult, I had a roommate that loved microwave dinners more than anyone should ever love anything. All too often my house smelled like microwaved meats. It was pretty gross. Eventually, we parted ways, but not before I swore I'd never eat Salisbury Steak, ever, in my whole life.

Well, that didn't happen. Lately I've been struggling with cooking dinners. I'm tired of eating the same 10 meals over and over. I had picked up some ground beef on Monday night, and needed to cook it or freeze it. So, I settled on Salisbury Steak for dinner last night. I did a bit of research to figure out the best way to season the meat - I mean, I figured it would be just like meat loaf. Until I got home, and found I had no ketchup, no Worcestershire sauce, no BBQ sauce. Well then, there goes that idea! Good thing I'm pretty much a professional! I used dehydrated onion, caldo de res (beef bullion from Knorr - I know it's in Spanish, you'll actually find it in the Hispanic foods aisle at the grocery store!), black pepper, and my go to thing for pretty much everything, creamed horseradish. Frank voted for mashed potatoes instead of rice, and I had a can of corn in the pantry. And I have to admit, the mashed potatoes I made last night were probably the best I've ever made. Voila! Dinner! Frank and I both remarked how good this meal was, and how much it was like a TV dinner, right down to the corn. Except that it was nothing like a TV dinner, because it was delicious and all home made :)

Salisbury Steak with Mashed Potatoes

Salisbury Steak
1 lb lean ground beef - I'm talking 93/7 at the fattiest
2 tbsp dehydrated onion flakes
1 tsp beef bullion powder
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup creamed horseradish
1 tsp olive oil
1tsp butter

1 small onion, thinly sliced/shaved
1 tsp butter
1 1/2 cup beef broth
2 tbsp horseradish
1 tsp corn starch

Place beef, onion, beef bullion, black pepper, and horseradish in a large mixing bowl. Knead with hands to combine. Form meat mixture into 3-4 oval-shaped patties. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Cook patties about 4 minutes on each side. Once browned on both sides, remove to plate.

For gravy: Add onion and butter to skillet. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until onion is soft. Stir in about 1 1/4 cups hot beef broth and horseradish. Bring to simmer and dissolve cornstarch in remaining broth. Let thicken and stir into broth. Simmer about 2 minutes, then place beef patties back in skillet and let them warm, about 3 minutes. Serve with potatoes* (recipe below) and enjoy!

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

8-10 red potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut into chunks
2 tbsp chicken bullion powder or 4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk - don't use fat free - use at least 2%, I use whole milk for this
1/2 stick butter

Add potatoes to a large pot. Add enough water to cover, once pot it on stove, cook on high heat. Adding chicken bullion powder once water is warm. (if using pre-made broth, add broth first, then add enough water to cover potatoes). Stirring occasionally, cook until potatoes are tender enough to break about with a fork. Do not over cook.

Drain potatoes and return to pot. Mash potatoes using a potato masher. Add 1/2 the milk, and stir. Cut butter into small chunks and add to potatoes. Mash and stir until desired consistency is reached**. Add remaining milk and season with salt, as desired. Serve with gravy from Salisbury steak.

* If you're watching your carb intake, you can serve this with mashed cauliflower, or even yams. I am moderately watching my carbs, so I had just a small spoonful of potatoes.

**I like some chunks in my potatoes, so I use a potato masher. If you prefer no-lump potatoes, you can place your potatoes in a large bowl and use a hand mixer or an immersion blender. This is how Momma Lynn makes her potatoes.

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