the first cup of cocoa, wearing glasses and flannel, homemade goulash, visiting the brand new dollar store that opened in our teeny tiny town (and leaving with nothing), working on a presentation I'm going to make later this week, renting Mud, talking about baby names, taking baths, snacking on cinnamon toast, cleaning up the laundry piles in the bedroom, going over to Grandma & Grandpa's house for sunday dinner, buying boots, peanut butter banana oatmeal cookies, writing papers (Grant), cleaning up the email inbox (me), seeing the neighborhood leaves scooped up into giant orange jack-o-lantern trash bags, taking a gestational diabetes test, chopping up every veggie in my fridge to make a pot of chicken chili, and sorting 50 Promises on the living room floor while we watched Peyton Manning play the Colts.
I mentioned homemade goulash at the top of this post, and... I don't know how you feel about goulash. Maybe it was a meal that was on your school lunch menu growing up? I've heard some Minnesotans and Iowans say that was their experience, and it wasn't necessarily awesome. And I say, "Really?! Goulash was never a school thing for me." For me, goulash brings back sweet memories. It was a dinner table star. Mom made only once in awhile and I loved it. I can even remember requesting it. Goulash was something to be hugely looked forward to. And really, what's not to love? It's a humble skillet of beef, macaroni, and tomato sauce and it's oh-so-comforting and filling. You can kinda make it whatever you want it to be. And you can top it with monterey jack cheese or a dollop of sour cream. Mmm. Also, it gets better as leftovers. I've even heard some say that true goulash lovers like to make it fresh, cool it down, refrigerate it overnight to let all the flavors mingle, and then reheat and serve the following day.
If goulash was a meal that you were none too excited about, maybe it's time to try it again. (I just learned that it's a Hungarian word. It means herdsman's stew. Fun! But today I'm not making a traditional Hungarian goulash, just good old Americanized goulash.) Here's my easy recipe, made with nourishing grass fed beef, sweet red bell pepper, and brown rice pasta. This way, it's gluten free! But it would be amazing with whole wheat elbow macaroni, too. My mom used to make her goulash with ketchup, but I've revamped her recipe a bit and used tomato paste, some apple cider vinegar, and a little maple syrup. It turned out so yummy. I kind of snacked on it all weekend long. I'm marking this dish as a freezer meal idea to make before the baby comes.
Simple American Goulash
1 lb. elbow macaroni pasta (use brown rice pasta for gluten-free goulash)
1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 can organic tomato sauce
2 T. organic tomato paste
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. maple syrup, raw sugar, or coconut sugar
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions. Preferably cook pasta al dente, this way the noodles won't be overly soft if you decide to re-heat the goulash for leftovers later. In a large cast iron skillet, brown the hamburger with with the onion and pepper, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add remaining ingredients to the skillet and stir until well combined and heated through. Add the cooked macaroni to the meat mixture and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese for topping, or a dollop of sour cream. Makes great leftovers, and it's perfect for packing in school lunches.
What were your dinner requests as a little kid?
(I also used to ask for mini corn dogs, fried egg sandwiches, and pizza.)