Let’s celebrate a little nostalgia and cook homemade TV dinners! On tonight’s menu, a TV dinner classic serving up salisbury steak!
When I was little, eating TV dinners was a special treat. Whenever my parents would go out, they would warm up those TV dinners before the babysitter arrived. My sister’s choice was fried chicken while my choice was always salisbury steak.
We went for the Hungry Man dinners only because we wanted the chocolate cake that was in the small middle compartment. I mean, how cool was that, that a dessert was served right there with the dinner. For a young gal like me, that was the bee’s knees. So, it only made sense that I make my own version of a salisbury steak TV dinner, complete with mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, and a chocolate brownie for dessert.
I’ve tested a lot of different salisbury steak recipes, and although most were good, none really stood out. I wanted to create one that brought me back to my childhood TV dinner memories, but upped the ante with flavor.
I knew that cubed steak was the meat of choice. Although tough, baked at a long length would garner tenderness. At first attempt, I decided to see what would happen if I pan seared the steaks and then added store-bought gravy.
Turned out gross.
The steaks were tough and tasted like I swallowed a sodium tablet.
To bring on a beefy flavor, I needed to add beef broth, and to add just that, would be too liquid-y and borderline blah. Turning to another trick I have stored in my book, I reduced the broth by half which concentrated the beef flavor.
Yet since I really wanted complex flavor, I needed to add a brightness, too. I invited balsamic vinegar to come to the party, and that ingredient delivered big time. It brought the brightness that I was looking for, and totally completed the flavors of this recipe.
With the flour from the beef coating, the sauce will thicken while baking to deliver that luscious gravy to encompass those gorgeously browned cube steaks.
To keep with the TV dinner theme, I found these super cute TV dinner compartment plates that fit the bill to a T, and bring back that nostalgia that we all crave. These plates are dishwasher safe, which in my book, totally ups the ante.
Here is the video on how to make the perfect TV dinner, with salisbury steak! The recipe follows!
Salisbury Steak TV Dinner
- 4 cube steaks
- 2 tbsp (each) salt and black pepper
- 2 cups flour for dredging
- 4 cups beef stock
- 10 ounces cremini mushrooms sliced
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 onion white or yellow, chopped fine
- 1 carrot chopped
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Pour flour in a bowl, and add salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
- Dredge the steaks in flour on both sides. Set aside.
- In a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil and brown steaks, in batches if necessary, on both sides; about 2 minutes per side. Set aside and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, reduce beef stock by half.
- Season mushrooms with salt and pepper to taste.
- Saute sliced mushrooms in the same pan as the meat, in the leftover olive oil, until very brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add butter, minced onion, carrot, thyme and garlic. Cook until vegetables are caramelized, about 5 minutes.
- Add balsamic vinegar and reduce for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add broth, and slide the meat back into the sauce.
- Cover and bake until tender, about 1 hour.
- Serve hot.
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Linda Marin Lant says
I loved TV dinners when I was a kid! Thank you for bringing back some great memories!
Brooke Fedigan says
Nostalgia at its finest! And total comfort food!