Goulash…It’s a “Family Recipe”

The weekend after Thanksgiving is my own; Chad is deer-hunting and I have 3 days to myself. Do I go to a Chippendale’s show? No. Do I participate in the increasingly-crazy and time-consuming ritual of Black Friday Shopping? Definitely not. Do I get a mani-pedi? Never. So what exciting luxuries do I indulge in when alone? I make food that Chad doesn’t like. Unfortunately, it’s even less naughty than you can possibly imagine. I don’t bake cookies or cakes, or spend hours making fudge or other treats. I make my families goulash recipe. That’s the big event. And as you can tell by the ingredient list below, it is NOT an authentic, ethnic recipe.

  • 1# Ground beef
  • 7 oz Elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 cans Alphabet soup
  • 1 tsp dried, minced onion
  • For some reason, I ALWAYS eat pickles with this, though it is a very salty dish already (check out the nutritional info!)

    Nutrition analysis courtesy of Myfitnesspal.

In case you would like to try this, there are basically three steps:

  1. Brown beef and drain.
  2. Cook pasta and drain.
  3. Mix all ingredients together until blended and hot.
    –This is not a secret family recipe: you can Google “goulash” and “ABC soup” and get many different versions of this recipe…perhaps you have even had something like this before!

My favorite comfort food. Quick, easy and cheap to make.

I have eaten this ever since I can remember, and it is very much an emotional favorite of mine. I remember coming home from college on the weekends and eating HUGE platefuls…it’s one of those foods that I never get enough of, regardless of whether I am actually full! Chad will not eat it for a few reasons. First, he has an aversion to most “hot dishes” or “casseroles,” depending on your geographic location. Second, he hates ketchup, so this goulash, which has a whole cup, is a non-starter for him.

When I got married and was trying to do little things to make my meals healthier, I tried some changes. I tried replacing the pasta–usually Creamette brand and “white,” vs the new whole wheat pastas that are available. I also tried to replace the ketchup, and used fresh onions instead of the dehydrated, minced version. However, any alteration changed the flavor too much, and since I wanted to keep the same taste, now I always make it the “old fashioned way.” (Especially since it’s only once a year!)

Served with the required pickles. The vegetable is either squash or Brussels sprouts, which I also “indulge” in while Chad’s away.

I have had “Fish Sticks to Sushi” meals that are similar to a goulash but had higher-end ingredients and were prepared in a fancier way, such as stroganoffs and bologneses, and countless other soups and stews that are loosely related to the term “goulash.” But this dish will remain as much of a favorite to me as the proverbial “Grandma’s apple pie.” So when Chad trudges off into the woods and I am on my own for dinner (and lunch!) for a few days, I take a break from putting up the holiday decorations to indulge in a once-a-year memory.


4 thoughts on “Goulash…It’s a “Family Recipe”

  1. I really enjoyed this, Michelle. When we were working and Mark was on 2nd shift (3:00 to 11:00 pm), I’d make a hugh batch of my favorite cassarole (layer dinner) and eat it all week long. Mark didn’t like it early on and he’d put the cooled dish in the frig when he came home. All of a sudden, probably 20 years into our marriage, he decided he liked it after all and it only lasted a couple of days into the week. So, don’t be surprised if someday Chad will change his mind and start asking for your goulash! Did your recipe come from Grandma Joyce. Your picture looks pretty familiar. Enjoy thr rest of your solitary weekend!

    • I assume that’s where mom got the recipe…is that right, mom? It’s no big deal if Chad never warms to it; there are family recipes of his I don’t like, and I imagine that’s what its like for most people. Sometimes its the familiarity of the dish that makes it taste good. I wonder if I had it now, for the first time, would like it? We’ll never know…

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