Salisbury Steak with Mushrooms

A grown-up version of Salisbury steak that will make you wonder why you ever thought the TV-dinner versions were so appealing.

Salisbury steak with mushrooms over wide egg noodles and served with green beans. Food is on a blue and white plate.

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Two distinct memories come to mind whenever I think about Salisbury steak. 

In the first, I'm looking at a brightly colored handout outlining the school lunch menus for the upcoming month, marking the days that Salisbury steak appears on the schedule, and, in the second, I'm bouncing down the frozen foods aisle in the grocery store because I'm giddy with happiness over being allowed to select a Salisbury steak TV dinner as a treat. 

Whether at school or at home, there was something oddly comforting to me about eating a gravy-covered slab of beef accompanied by a scoop of mashed potatoes.

I've tried to get back to that place, to those feelings and those memories, a handful of times throughout my adult life by going against my better judgment and eating Salisbury steak TV dinners. Unfortunately, I was met with the disappointing reality that those dinners didn't taste the way I remembered.

The beef was rubbery, the gravy greasy and salty. And the scoops of mashed potatoes? They resembled the lumpy piles of paste that were passed out by my elementary school art teacher at the beginning of class.

I had nearly given up on the possibility of ever enjoying a Salisbury steak dinner again. But when I saw a recipe for Salisbury Steak with Mushrooms in Food Network Magazine, I decided to see what would happen if I made the dish from scratch.

Would all those nostalgic memories come flooding back?

Salisbury steak with mushrooms over wide egg noodles and served with green beans. Food is on a blue and white plate.

At first, yes.

But the more I ate, the more I moved past those memories. This version was better than the versions I remembered by leaps and bounds. And by the time I finished eating, I wondered two things -- why did it take me so long to try making Salisbury steak from scratch and why did I ever think those TV dinners were so good?


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