Are You Curious Why All It Takes Is Salisbury Steak?


October 7, 2014 by Joanne T Ferguson

Salisbury-meatballs-mushroomsAre You Curious Why All It Takes Is Salisbury Steak?

I now know why bears hibernate in winter…YOU?

I am not a big fan of the Adelaide cold, wintry, rainy weather and then add in high winds like the other day, I am running for comfort food from yesteryear and in my memory, yesterday!

Even though it is now officially Spring here in Adelaide, some days still feel like winter wants to rear its ugly head!

The other day was one such day and somehow, it brought back memories of being in a diner in New York and Salisbury Steak!

For those people who may not be familiar with Salisbury Steak, the term has been used in the United States since 1897!

Salisbury steak is made of up of “beef mince” aka ground beef and “other stuff” lol, and is usually served with a brown gravy sauce!

The ingredients are formed to “resemble a steak!”

I recently came across Michaela from An Affair from the Heart‘s Salisbury Steak Meatballs (A Pioneer Woman‘s Salisbury Steak Meatballs recipe) and even though I have never made Salisbury Steak ever, I do have VERY fond childhood and adult memories of it!

I had to laugh when Michaela asked, “Did you eat Banquet TV dinners growing up?”

Frozen dinners were very popular in the States from the 1950’s until the mid 1980’s.

As a child growing up in New York in the 70’s, it was always a “special treat” to have a Swansan frozen dinner; my choice!

While some people may react to these frozen dinners in a different way, I can assure you, those times were MUCH different than now and food has come a very long way!

One of the most popular (was my dad’s favorite) was the Salisbury Steak Dinner; always a family winner!

Swansan-frozen-dinner                                Image Courtesy of

Don’t get me started on the Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup and the Peach Cake Cobbler!

It didn’t look THAT bad when the packaging changed and had a choice of roast potato and peas!

Wwanson-Salsbury-steak-dinner                                 Image Courtesy of HowStuffWorks

Here is the history of the Swansan trays which started off as having to be heated in an oven and now can be easily heated in a microwave.

trays                                     Photo Courtesy of

See how distracted I get by food, nostalgia and memories?

FAST FORWARD to adulthood….still in New York and STILL love New York diners and New York diner foods!

Many years ago, (as seems like I have now lived in Australia almost forever), Lady Top Cop (her pseudonym) and I used to enjoying going to the local diner with her father and sometimes her uncles.

If anyone has ever been to a diner (worldwide) and/or specifically a New York diner, you will know that it could literally take days to read and absorb the full menu with all the selections, pages and photos!

Most people have their favorite thing to order and thankfully we always had a waitress with “a good sense of New York humor” as she would bring us all the menus and give us time to place our orders.

While we were perusing the numerous things to order and asking each other, “So what are your going to order?”, by then she would have brought our coffees, hot cocoas, ice cream sodas or iced coffees with extra whipped cream depending on the season; she would always somehow “magically” know what we all would order EACH and every time; WHAT a memory!

Lady Top Cop’s father would ALWAYS (and I mean ALWAYS) order Salisbury Steak and whipped mashed potatoes!

We used to jokingly ask him EACH and every time, “Why don’t you try something new?”

His reply would be, “I am and will have the Salisbury Steak with Mashed Potatoes!”

Hopefully, you can FEEL the sentiment today in now having made Salisbury Steak Meatballs with mashed potatoes (and yummy gravy) for the very first time and the Cheshire Cat smile that even the mention of Salisbury Steak creates for me!

For those who follow my blog on a regular basis, would know I LOVE the Keep Calm quotes like recently via Who Wants to Keep Food Calm and Come By And Say G’day and this one made me smile today too!

keep-calm-and-smile-like-a-cheshire-cat                  Image Courtesy of

These also make me smile too!

Wine Calm-and-followSo, even thought the lighting was not the best on the day, what can I say about the Salisbury Steak Meatballs?

Psst…here’s a little secret between you and me!


And said (along with Chef Georgio), “They were GREAT!”

Salisbury-steak-meatballs-potato Salisbury-steak-meatballs Salisbury-steak-texture


In order to provide a bit more flavor (and in knowing Chef Georgio loves his pepper sauce), I included “heaped” tablespoons of Homefresh Pepper Gravy Mix (granules) and seeing I like my sauce/gravy to be thick, I included more cornstarch (dissolved in water) than the original recipe calls for!

I diced my onion finely as suggested by Michaela and based on my “frozen food treat” history, mashed potatoes were definitely the perfect accompaniment; Chef Georgio thought so too!

I used two satchels of Bouquet Garni and would highly recommend to include, as opposed to being optional, as I think the herbs added more flavor to the beef broth.

I also simmered the Salisbury Meatballs (covered….as is the key to the texture and how “melt in your mouth” these meatballs can be!) for 40 minutes, instead of the previous suggested time in both recipes.

Next time?

I will use up some homemade beef broth I have in the freezer, but I thought using Campbell’s Beef Broth (seeing it was Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup from yesteryear) was most appropriate today!

Would you like to try these Salisbury Steak Meatballs now?

Do you enjoy reading about my childhood food memories?

Would you serve these with pasta or potatoes?

Today, you have my curiosity and I would surely like you to PIN, SHARE and COMMENT Are You Curious Why All It Takes Is Salisbury Steak?

31 thoughts on “Are You Curious Why All It Takes Is Salisbury Steak?

  1. Such a cute story, but now I’m hungry! Thank you for sharing at the Merry Monday Link Party!

  2. Dawn Kropp says:

    Oh my goodness! I so remember those aluminum tv tray dinners from Swanson 🙂 Thank you for the memory spark.. yummy Salisbury Steak!!

  3. swathi says:

    Delicious meal Joanne, thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop. pinning.

  4. I remember those dinners well–this is like a walk down memory lane (I always liked the fried chicken LOL) Thanks for sharing.

  5. I remember eating Salisbury stakes as a child also! Although it’s not called the same thing in Finland but it looks just the same. I’ve never made them either. Thank you for the memories and the recipe 🙂

  6. Julie V says:

    Joanne, I don’t let me puppy dog lick my plate. Usually I will get up to get us more water or something, and will come back to catch my husband feeding our dog a bit of something. Then my husband looks so guilty. Awhile back he explained, “But dinner was so good, I wanted to share it with the rest of our family!”
    Secretly, I think sharing a little is cute.
    Anyway, thanks for your tricks to add flavor. This has been pinned to the Retro Re-pin Party board.

  7. dishofdailylife says:

    I definitely grew up on Banquet TV dinners. Ugh. My kids have never had one. All those fast prepared things I have never fed my kids. I remember one time my son had Spaghetti-O’s at a friends house and asked me to buy them. I bought one can, thinking to myself that I couldn’t believe he actually liked those. He ate them and said to me, don’t buy those again, I really don’t like them after all! Yay!! At any rate, my oldest does love salisbury steak…a local family owned grocery store used to make it and I would buy it there. They’ve since gone out of business. It would be a real treat if I were to make it…I might have to try!

  8. I used to always hear about Salisbury steak on American tv! 😀

  9. I’ve never heard of Salisbury steak but it sure is an economical steak! It looks and sounds great and yes, perfect with mashed potato. I love New York diners too. And yes, we grew up with TV dinners too but only had them on the rarest of occasions. It was always so exciting when we did xx

  10. Nancy Fox says:

    Comfort food at its best Joanne!

  11. Oh Joanne, you really brought back some memories with this post! My late mom used to buy me a tv dinner as a treat the nights that she and my dad would go out – and I always asked for the Salisbury steak version! The Salisbury Steak meatballs look even better though and I look forward to trying them 🙂

  12. babso2you says:

    Pasta! 🙂 Be well! ^..^

  13. I haven’t had Salisbury steak in so long and yes, as a child, we ate them in frozen dinners! I’m craving some now, love hearing about your memories and story to go along with it. Thanks for sharing this!

  14. Thanks for the shout out! This is a really good recipe!! The original one that I tweaked from the Pioneer Woman was actually for Salisbury Steak. I have made that way, too. We love the meatballs, and it just gave her recipe a fun new twist! 🙂 Loved the vintage “foil” TV Dinner photos!! Funny they used to have to be baked!

  15. Oh I need to check out the link, I have always been curious about this tasty morsels we used to enjoy in TV dinners. have a G’day

  16. bakesinslippers says:

    looks good, reminds me of childhood dinner

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Joanne T. Ferguson

Passionate Home Cook who tries to inspire one recipe and one event at time!


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