Today is National TV Dinner Day. TV Dinners are one of those “you’ve come a long way, Baby” ways of getting foods conveniently from the freezer to the table for a home-cooked meal. While Swanson was the first to bring packages meals to the consumer in 1953, they were not the first to consider the possibility.
Several smaller companies had conceived the notion of frozen dinners as far back as World War II, but it was Swanson that was able to achieve success. The first TV Dinner was packaged in aluminum trays with separate compartments for the turkey, cornbread dressing, frozen peas and sweet potatoes. Some say Swanson brought Thanksgiving to the frozen food ails when they found themselves saddle with an abundance of frozen turkeys.
In 1960, desserts such as apple cobbler or brownies were added to a new four-compartment tray. In 1969, breakfasts were hitting the market. Once microwaves became commonplace in the American home, a meal that could go from the freezer to the table in 5 minutes were a huge hit.
While I have craved the flavor and texture of a TV Dinner, it’s really not my cup of tea. However; in the spirit of TV Dinner Day, I hope you give Hamburger Steaks with a side of corn and gravy a try. If you insist, try putting these into disposable trays, pop in the refrigerator and warm the next day as your own spin on the TV Dinner rage.
Before we get to cooking, I think it’s good to mention that in addition to TV Dinner Day, today is also National School Picture Day. With all this distance learning, yet another important “treasure” from childhood might disappear. How sad.
Mushroom Hamburger Steaks with Onion-Mushroom Gravy
1/2 cup White Mushrooms
1/2 cup Yellow Onions, minced
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 lb Ground Beef
Black Pepper to taste
Kosher Salt to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
Finely mince mushroom and onion. Place in a bowl. Stir in olive oil. Place in the microwave for about 1-1/2 minutes. Spread mixture out on a plate and allow to cool.
Mix together ground beef, salt, pepper, Worcestershire Sauce and microwaved vegetables. Form into 8 oval shaped patties. Fry in skillet till done, about 3 or 4 minutes per side. Remove from skillet, hold in a warm oven while gravy is made.
8 sliced White Mushrooms
3/4 sliced Yellow Onion
1 cup Beef Stock, divided
1 jar Beef Gravy
Slice onion and mushroom paper-thin. Drain the skillet used to cook patties, leaving browned bits at the bottom. Add 1/2 cup of beef stock to deglaze the skillet. Scrape up any browned bits. Turn heat to medium-high. Add onions and mushrooms, saute until tender, about 3 or 4 minutes.
Add remaining 1/2 cup beef stock and the beef gravy. Lower heat to simmer.
Return patties to the skillet. Spoon some of the gravy over the meat. Let simmer 5 minutes.
To serve, plate Mushroom Hamburger Steaks and ladle gravy over the top.
Serve with mashed potatoes and a vegetable such as corn for a casual supper the whole family will love.