TV dinners and those divided plastic trays full of cafeteria food both exist in my mind largely in the black and white of Patty Duke and Dobie Gillis reruns. Salsbury steak, in particular, is known to me only as a punch line in the realm of fake high schools. But this Salsbury steak, given full TV dinner treatment by the Pioneer Woman, looked so good smothered in a thick layer of onions that I had to make it. If you are looking for a lighter meal to fit your New Year's resolutions, I substituted ground turkey for the beef and I think bison might be even tastier if you can get it. I might have overdone it on the onions, ending up with about a 2:1 onion to meat ratio, but they were so sweet neither of us minded. Sweet peas in browned butter and smashed roasted potatoes finished out our (undivided, ceramic) plates.
And who needs a TV dinner more than a house-bound man in the 50s? A man who spends his days, perhaps, watching his neighbors out his Rear Window? I've been avoiding Alfred Hitchcock movies for a long time. Mostly because I'm a well-known scaredy cat and also because my mother was traumatized by The Birds (seriously, she still gets freaked out by the presence of more than about three birds). I really enjoyed Rear Window and I was surprised to be surprised at the ending since it is more than 50 years old. While Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly were both good, my favorite character was the nurse played by Thelma Ritter who was also fantastic in All About Eve.
Flush from not being scared by Hitchcock, I watched Strangers on a Train (good, not amazing) and my mom and I watched the new Hitchcock biopic between Christmas and New Years (truly excellent). So now I'm ready for some more - what next? Vertigo? North by Northwest? Or should I jump straight to Psycho and The Birds?
p.s. My memories of the few TV dinners I had as a child always included a really gross microwave brownie. However, I have recently discovered this actually quite good version of a peanut butter chocolate cake from Budget Bytes. You're welcome. Also, I'm sorry.