The Life of Jennifer Dawn: Homestyle Goulash

Monday, June 13, 2016

Homestyle Goulash

"Jennifer's favorite!" That is what's written next to the recipe for goulash in our family recipe book. The story goes that momma and daddy didn't know what to fix for dinner one night, and they were due for a grocery run. I was less than two years old at the time. They started rummaging through the pantry and came up with a recipe for their own version of goulash. I LOVED IT! My mom knew it was a "keeper" as soon as I took that first bite. So they wrote that it was a favorite and kept it in our family's collection of recipes.

The recipe sits there among our traditional holiday recipes and recipes that have been passed down through multiple generations. My momma has always had a reputation for being a wonderful cook, so anything that has made it into the book has been tried, tested, and perfected. Each recipe has that homestyle taste that evokes those comforting memories of home and Southern hospitality.
There are often unwritten additions and tips that my mom does when preparing a dish. Does anyone else's mom fail to write those things down? If you ever run into a problem with a recipe from the family collection, it's probably because you didn't complete an unwritten step that my mother just naturally knows to do. For this reason, I always consult her before trying one of the family recipes. "Do you have any tips to offer?" "What if I make this substitution?" Trying to make her goulash was no exception. I altered the recipe to make it my own but consulted her on those changes first.

The recipe I'm going to share with you today is a reflection of the original my parents made over 30 years ago, but it contains a few changes to suit my preferences. There are three main things that I did differently:

1. I used vegetarian beef crumbles instead of real ground beef. I stopped eating meat when I went off to college and mostly make vegetarian recipes for my family. I know! Shocking. A Southern vegetarian! You are welcome to put in the real deal though.
2. Since I have a garden filled with vegetables and herbs, I used fresh herbs instead of dried flakes. I even pulled some onions fresh from the garden to use for this recipe.
3. My parents used a can of tomato paste and water to create their own tomato sauce. I simplified the recipe by using a jar of the NEW! RAGU Homestyle Sauce. It was a delicious substitution that stayed true to the homestyle taste of the dish. I used the Homestyle Thick and Hearty Traditional Sauce, but all of the new Homestyle sauces have been simmered to perfection and have a bold, flavorful taste! Hey, there's nothing wrong with taking a few shortcuts! Right?
Ready to try this delicious recipe for yourself? From prep to plate, it will be ready in less than 20 minutes! How's that for quick and simple? I hope your kids enjoy this healthy, hearty meal as much as I did so many years ago and as much as my own kids do now.

Homestyle Goulash

  • 1 lb. ground beef (We used vegetarian beef crumbles to make this a vegetarian dish.)
  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 3-4 large stems of both fresh oregano and parsley (dried flakes can be substituted)
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • dash of garlic powder
  • 1 jar of RAGU Homestyle Sauce
  1. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil into the bottom of a large pan. Place your ground beef or soy-based crumbles into the bottom of the pan. Cook on medium heat.
  2. Fill a large pot with water and add a drizzle of olive oil. Cook the elbow macaroni in this pot according to the instructions on the package.
  3. Go back to the meat. Once it is cooked, stir in the onions and saute' them for a few minutes with the meat.
  4. Stir in the fresh herbs, pepper, salt, and garlic powder.
  5. Pour the jar of sauce into the pan. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer together.
  6. Drain the macaroni noodles and pour them into the pan with the sauce and meat. Mix until the sauce has completely coated the noodles.
  7. Serve with grated cheese or even an additional sprinkling of fresh herbs.
For more delicious recipes using the NEW! RAGU Homestyle Sauce, be sure to visit their site here.
Happy cooking!
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