Hungarian Goulash: The Ultimate Budget Eat!

Hungarian Goulash: The Ultimate Budget Eat!

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Years and years ago, my dad got my mom a microwave for their Anniversary. I know what you’re thinking, “I know better than that! You NEVER get household appliances for your wife for your anniversary!” But my mom really, really wanted that microwave! She was thrilled with it! And they lugged it all over the country for about 12 years until it died. The microwave came with a microwave cookbook with a single gem of a recipe that we’ve made countless times over the years. It’s called Hungarian Goulash. It’s all of 8 ingredients. Ingredients that I’m sure are commonplace in your kitchen. If not, they’re easily attainable at any grocery store. We don’t make this in the microwave like the original recipe calls for. It’s a stove-top recipe for us. It’s also a one-pot meal and easily made in under 30 minutes (can you tell I’m all about the 30 minute meals lately?!). 

I’ve got about 20 pounds of ground beef in my freezer right now. Grass-fed beef was on sale for $3.77/lb at Sprouts a couple of weeks ago and I just couldn’t pass up such an amazing deal! Under $4? For grass-fed? That was cheaper than the 85% non-grass-fed ground beef at Walmart! Score! So now I’m looking for all the recipes I can find that use ground beef, LOL. As much as I love tacos (and I do. I REALLY do!), there is more to the world than Mexican food. I’ve made Russian beef stroganoff (find that recipe HERE), Swedish meatballs, meatloaf, and now this Hungarian goulash. I’m traveling the world with ground beef! Does anyone know of a good Asian dish that uses ground beef? I get the feeling they don’t eat a lot of ground beef for some reason. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dish that uses it at a Chinese or Indian restaurant, have you? 

We usually serve Goulash over noodles, such as small shells or ditalini sized pasta. You could absolutely serve it over rice (I’ve done that before) or mashed potatoes if you would like. This time, I served it over Eat Banza’s shells (which are awesome by the way!) to keep this dish grain-free. I hope you give it a try. It’s definitely comfort food and was perfect on cold, dreary night! I top mine was Parmesan cheese but if you’re trying to stay strictly dairy-free or Paleo, just don’t add it. It wasn’t a part of the original recipe and the rest of my family thinks I’m weird anyway when I add it. Totally optional, you can decide if you’d like to try that or not! One note I do have for you, make sure you’re using a sweet or Hungarian paprika and not a Spanish paprika. Spanish is much spicier and this recipe calls for 2 whole teaspoons of sweet paprika! I learned the hard way, not knowing there was a difference. My dish was inedible the first time I made it, it was that spicy! Both Sprouts and Whole Foods carry Hungarian paprika in their bulk spices section. If you haven’t gotten spices there, I highly recommend it! It’s so much cheaper! And you can get as little or as much as you want. If you’re not sure about a spice, just get a teaspoon or two to try it out! You’ll only spend like $.25 and you won’t waste a whole bottle if you don’t like it! So there’s my budget tip of the day. 🙂 

Hungarian Goulash
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  1. 1 lb. ground beef
  2. 1/2 cup chopped onion
  3. 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  4. 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1 can (16 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  6. 2 tsp. paprika
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 tsp oregano leaves
  9. Dash of cayenne, optional
  10. 1/2 lb macaroni, small sized like shells or ditalini
  1. In a large saucepan, saute onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil until tender.
  2. Add ground beef to onion mixture and brown until no longer pink. Drain if desired
  3. Add all remaining ingredients (except pasta) into pan and stir to combine. Simmer for 15-20 minutes to cook tomatoes and blend flavors.
  4. In a separate saucepan, cook pasta according to directions on box. Drain and mix into goulash mixture. Serve immediately.
  1. P.S. I top mine with Parmesan or Romano cheese. The rest of my family thinks I'm weird. Try it if you'd like!
Adapted from The Complete Microwave Cookbook
Adapted from The Complete Microwave Cookbook
Frugal n Fit
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