Everyday Mom's Meals: My Go-To In A New Way

Sunday, April 23, 2023

My Go-To In A New Way

 Do you ever see those questions on Facebook "What's your go-to meal when you too tired to cook? Or money is tight? Or you have $20 and have to feed 5 people, what are you making?" I'm sure you have. Any time I read one, the same answer always pops into my head. Goulash. 

If you've been a fan here for any length of time, you know my recipe is about as easy as it comes, and isn't my recipe at all. It is how my mom made it, and her mom before her. It's simple, quick and cheap. Oh, and like I've said before, it is how my husband's grandma made it too, so it happens to be a recipe he grew up with as well. 

Goulash is one of those meals every family has a recipe for, and each one varies from the next. People will "throw down" that their way is the best,  and take it very seriously. What's funniest to me, is what we Americans call goulash almost always never is. Not in the traditional way that it began anyway. That's okay though, we can all have our favorite and call it whatever we want!

This version came to be when I wanted to make my go-to, but had some fresh mushrooms and shredded cheese I need to use up. (I HATE throwing food out!)  

I thought my basic goulash recipe could really be jazzed up with some sautéed mushrooms, ooey gooey mozzarella and baked in the oven. Boy was I right! This was DELISH! The boys couldn't eat it fast enough and it was even yummy warmed up the next day for my lunch. 

You could easily leave the mushrooms out, or maybe add some veggies you have in the crisper drawer that have been ignored a little too long. Zucchini, peppers or eggplant would be great too! 

Baked Goulash is a new twist on an old family favorite that might have happened on a whim, but will definitely become part of our regular rotation now. 

What Is Goulash?

Goulash is actually a Hungarian stew of meat and vegetables seasoned with paprika and other spices. The Americanized version varies a lot among families. Many of us consider goulash a pasta dish with elbow macaroni, ground beef and spaghetti sauce. Some people also refer to this as American Chop Suey!

What Kind Of Meat Goes In Goulash?

As stated above, ground beef is the #1 choice for many goulash recipes, but it is also a great one to swap for ground turkey or chicken to save a few calories! Pork sausage would be delicious in this recipe too! You could do plain, Italian or even hot for an extra kick.

What Kind Of Mushrooms?

I used sliced white button mushrooms because I had them on hand. Baby portobellos would also be very nice in this and hold up to baking very well. You can also substitute the mushrooms for other veggies if you wish.

What Kind Of Cheese?

Shredded mozzarella is perfect for this. Fresh or pre-shredded work fine. You could also use a shredded Italian cheese blend, pizza blend or even provolone.  

What Kind Of Pasta For Goulash?

Traditionally most of us make goulash with elbow macaroni, so I used that here too. Any short cut pasta would work though- small shells, rotini or even mini penne.

Baked Goulash

Baked Goulash

1 lb. elbow macaroni

1 lb. ground beef

8 oz. sliced white button mushrooms

1 (24 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce with meat

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

2 TBS grated Parmesan/Romano cheese 

1 TBS Italian seasoning

2 TBS olive oil

2 tsp. dried parsley

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Cook macaroni until al dente. In a large skillet sauté mushrooms in olive oil over medium high heat until browned. Remove to plate. In same skillet brown beef with onion and garlic until no longer pink. Drain if necessary. Return mushrooms to skillet. Add spaghetti sauce and stir well. Season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. When pasta is cooked, drain well. Add to meat mixture. Grease 9x13 baking dish. In the bottom, add half of the pasta mixture. Top with 1 cup mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Layer in other half pasta mixture. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Baked Goulash

 Best Tips

When sautéing mushrooms, don't add salt until they are very brown. Salt pulls moisture out of them and they will stem instead of getting brown with a rich flavor. 

Ground turkey or chicken could be used instead of ground beef. 

Use your favorite spaghetti sauce brand and flavor. 

We like a Parmesan and Romano blend, but plain Parm will work too. 

Serve with garlic bread, tossed salad, fresh fruit or a nice crusty baguette.

More Pasta Bake Recipes



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