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How to Make Grandma’s American Goulash (Ground Beef)

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Making Classic Goulash is quite easy since it uses a single pot with ground beef, onions, bell peppers, and elbow macaroni that is beautifully seasoned in delicious tomato sauce. All this can be accomplished in less than 45 minutes!

Making Classic Goulash

Not only is Classic Goulash one of those well-known recipes, but it is one of my personal favorites! It simply consists of ground beef, bell peppers, onions, and elbow macaroni that is tastefully marinated in a seasoned tomato sauce that has diced tomatoes in it. I would dare say it is a great recipe if you are in a pinch, because it only takes up a single pot and can be made in under 45 minutes!

If you want a little extra flavor, add spices such as paprika or even some vegetables, including spinach or mushrooms. If you happen to have some marinara sauce left over, it is great to make this crowd-pleasing Classic Goulash with!

Is This Something I Can Make Up Ahead of Time?

Absolutely. Personally, if I am going to making a batch ahead of time, I choose to cook the pasta according to the directions on the packaging, then set it to the side. Next, I make the ground beef using the recipe instructions, then I store it all in a container that is airtight and moisture-free in the refrigerator. Storing some additional sauce on the side is also an option, so if you need more you can simply reheat it.

When you are prepared, go ahead and sauté the goulash with the pasta using a skillet over a medium-low heat setting, and simply put more sauce in as you need it. As it needs it, stir the dish until it is heated all the way through, then serve it to your guests.

Making American Goulash

Alright, so American Goulash is best described as a rather traditional Midwest dish that some individuals serve at dinner time or at a potluck. It is simple to make and uses commonly found ingredients, including pasta, tomato sauce, ground beef, and onion. If you want, you can even throw in some minced garlic or a dash of paprika (even though paprika is not usually used in American Goulash).

Keep in mind that American Goulash varies from Hungarian Goulash due to the fact that Hungarian Goulash resembles more of a stew that is made using ground meat, paprika, and sometimes contains some vegetables and potatoes. In fact, it is also called Gulyas. Interestingly, Gulyas may be translated to “cowboy” in Hungarian, which is sometimes the stereotypical version of a person that loves to eat goulash soup while on the trail.

Will I be Able to Freeze Classic Goulash for Later?

Yes, you can definitely freeze Classic Goulash for later. However, when you make it ahead and wish to freeze it, my personal suggestion is to slightly undercook the macaroni before instantly removing it from the heat in order to let it cool down. This is beneficial because when you go to reheat it, the pasta will be able to finish cooking versus becoming mushy. Also, do not forget to defrost the Classic Goulash in the refrigerator the night before.

Is There Anything Else I Can Put in My Goulash?

Here are a few other things you may want to consider putting in your goulash:

-Corn
-Beans
-Spinach
-Peas
-Zucchini
-Carrots

Tips and Tricks for Making the Classic Goulash Dish

  • Shredded cheese or topped parsley is a great thing to sprinkle on top of your goulash.
  • While this particular recipe calls for macaroni, you may instead use egg noodles if you prefer.
  • Adding extra flavor to your goulash is simple. All you need to do is use beef broth instead of water. This way, the pasta will absorb it as it cooks.
  • You can certainly add a cup of sour cream so that this goulash will have a nice cream sauce. Alternatively, you may add ½ cup of cheese to the goulash while it is still cooking.
  • Personally, I tend to use a can of diced tomatoes when it comes to this goulash recipe. However, you can chop fresh tomatoes if that is what you prefer.
  • The goulash is already seasoned but adding some garlic or paprika will take its flavor profile to the next level. Alternatively, try deglazing the ground beef using ¼ cup of red wine.
  • If you prefer, you can always use turkey instead of beef or throw in more vegetables instead of as much pasta to make a “light” version of this goulash dish.
  • If you would like to make it low-sodium, leave out the salt and instead use low-sodium canned tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Keep in mind that this recipe does not use all-purpose flour. If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can always whisk 1-2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour with the onions as they cook in order to make a roux. Personally, I certainly would not put more than two tablespoons of all-purpose flour because the sauce may get incredibly thick. If this does happen and you need to thin it, considering adding a small portion of broth to it.
  • If time is of the essence, swap out the seasoning called for with simple Italian seasoning.
  • In the event that your ground beef sticks to the pan while you are trying to brown it, considering adding a small portion of olive oil to the pan itself.

Recipe Ingredients:

You will need to use 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

Go ahead and chop 1 medium onion

You will need 2 cloves garlic, minced 

Make sure to use 1 lb. ground beef or turkey 

Carefully measure out 1 tablespoon tomato paste 

Carefully measure out 1 ½ cup beef broth

You will need to get 1 – 15 oz can tomato sauce 

You will need to get 1 – 15 oz can diced tomatoes 

Carefully measure out 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

Carefully measure out 1 teaspoon paprika 

You need to also go ahead and add salt and pepper to taste 

Go ahead and measure out 1 ½ cup elbow macaroni 

You will need to get 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

You will need parsley, whether dry or fresh, for the garnish

Instructions for Preparation:

FIRST STEP:

Begin by cooking the onion with oil in a large skillet until it is tender

Proceed to add garlic and cook for approximately 1 minute 

SECOND STEP:

Go ahead and add ground beef or turkey and cook it until it is done, drain if necessary, then season with salt and pepper to taste

a)

b)

Proceed to stir in the tomato paste, broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and paprika until everything is well-combined and mixed

a)

b)

THIRD STEP:

Proceed to add in the uncooked macaroni 

Start to bring everything to a simmer and cook it until the pasta is tender

FOURTH STEP:

Finally, proceed to stir in the cheese, garnish with parsley, and serve the dish immediately

Enjoy!

How to Make Grandma’s American Goulash (Ground Beef)

How to Make Grandma’s American Goulash (Ground Beef)

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • You will need to use 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • Go ahead and chop 1 medium onion
  • You will need 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • Make sure to use 1 lb. ground beef or turkey 
  • Carefully measure out 1 tablespoon tomato paste 
  • Carefully measure out 1 ½ cup beef broth
  • You will need to get 1 - 15 oz can tomato sauce 
  • You will need to get 1 - 15 oz can diced tomatoes 
  • Carefully measure out 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
  • Carefully measure out 1 teaspoon paprika 
  • You need to also go ahead and add salt and pepper to taste 
  • Go ahead and measure out 1 ½ cup elbow macaroni 
  • You will need to get 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • You will need parsley, whether dry or fresh, for the garnish

Instructions

FIRST STEP:

Begin by cooking the onion with oil in a large skillet until it is tender

Proceed to add garlic and cook for approximately 1 minute 

SECOND STEP:

Go ahead and add ground beef or turkey and cook it until it is done, drain if necessary, then season with salt and pepper to taste

Proceed to stir in the tomato paste, broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and paprika until everything is well-combined and mixed 

THIRD STEP:

Proceed to add in the uncooked macaroni 

Start to bring everything to a simmer and cook it until the pasta is tender 

FOURTH STEP:

Finally, proceed to stir in the cheese, garnish with parsley, and serve the dish immediately  

Nutrition Information
Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 140Total Fat 24gSaturated Fat 14gTrans Fat 10gSodium 44mgCarbohydrates 380gSugar 20gProtein 10g

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