Get Off The Couch and Cook

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Beef and Mushroom Gravy over simple mashed potatoes

beefmushroomgravytitleDo you ever get a craving that is so out of character for you that even you wonder why you’re craving it?  Something that you typically don’t even like much less crave?  That’s kind of how this recipe came about. Last week I had a sudden craving for a flavor from my childhood that I didn’t even really like when I had it as a kid: hamburger gravy.

Hamburger gravy was a weird concoction they would sometimes serve for hot lunch in school.  I don’t remember getting hot lunch very often in school, except in the winter when Mom wanted me to have something warm.  Or when they had pizza.  There was something magical about the large rectangular piece of sausage pizza they served that fit perfectly in the large rectangular compartment of the divided tray.  I would beg to get hot lunch on pizza day.  I mean, pizza.  Duh. Of course I’d beg for pizza.

Anyway, hamburger gravy.  Yeah, they’d serve it over mashed potatoes and it was nasty.  It looked nasty.  It smelled nasty.  It tasted… okayish.  But, when the greasy, slimy gravy with bits of browned beef was mixed together with the potatoes, it was okay.  It was warm and filling and a good tummy filler before going outside to play at recess.

beefmushroomgravy1One thing that still amazes me about wintertime recess when I was in grade school was the temperature cut off.  If it reached 0-degrees or below, we would get to stay inside.  1-degree or higher, and we were still forced to play outside.  Unless you had a note from your parents saying you had to stay inside due to cold, etc.  I think we ended up with more notes than actual kids with colds because I don’t care how hardy you are or how far North you’re from.  Below freezing is freaking freezing.

Anyway, back to the weird craving for hamburger gravy.  Of course I didn’t want to recreate the grey goop over mashed potatoes so I decided to come up with something that would resemble it but actually taste and look good.  I also made a very simple mashed potato to serve as a base.  The guys were surprised that I made this since I don’t typically make gravies but they ate it up quite happily.

beefmushroomgravy2The prep took about 30 minutes but then it cooked for 10 hours in the slow cooker.  You could easily brown the beef the night before as well as cut up the mushrooms and mix the sauce then add it to your slow cooker before you leave for work the next day.  Then all you’d have to do is make the mashed potatoes and a vegetable for dinner.

I had this for lunch the following day as well.  And no, I didn’t eat it cold for a change.  The microwave was my friend that day. 🙂

Beef and Mushroom Gravy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 servings
  • 1½ - 2 lb boneless beef sirloin, ¾"-1" thick
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Nonstick cooking spray (I used canola oil in my Misto)
  • 1lb white button mushrooms
  • 1½ c low sodium beef broth
  • ½ c red wine
  • ¼ c Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp jarred minced garlic (6 whole cloves, minced)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp water
  1. Heat large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.
  2. While the pan is heating, cut the steak into 1" pieces and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray and add the beef pieces. Cook slightly, stirring frequently, until mostly browned but not cooked through. Add the beef to 4-5 qt slow cooker.
  4. Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and quarter them. Add the mushrooms to the cooker.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix the beef broth, red wine, mustard, garlic, and thyme until well combined. Pour over everything in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours on LOW or 4-5 hours on HIGH.
  6. If cooking on low, turn the slow cooker to high. Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl with a fork until well mixed. Slowly stir into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes until mixture thickens. (I used this time to make the mashed potatoes, below)
Adapted from

Simple Mashed Potatoes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 6 cups
  • 3 lb russet potatoes (7-8 potatoes)
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp sour cream
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  1. Fill a 5-7 qt stock pot half way with water. Cover and put over high heat.
  2. While the water is heating, peel the potatoes and cut them in half. Cut each half into quarters.
  3. Once the water starts boiling, carefully add the potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes. You can tell the potatoes are done when 1) the tip of a sharp knife slides easily into the potato or 2) the potato crumbles easily when pinched with tongs. Drain well.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, add the butter and sour cream to a large bowl.
  5. Add the potatoes, salt and pepper and mash with a potato masher until it reaches the desired consistency.
If you don't have a potato masher, you can also use a whisk as a masher.

You can easily convert the size of this recipe. For every 1 pound of potatoes, use 2 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp sour cream, ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. One pound of potatoes will give you roughly 2 cups of mashed potatoes.


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