Ground beef goulash with macaroni noodles, kidney beans, and pantry seasonings. Everything a goulash should be. And the ingredients are already in your pantry!
What is goulash anyways? Goulash originally hails from Hungary, but there are many different variations all over the world. Traditionally, it's a stew like dish with tons of paprika, diced meat, and tomatoes. Every cook makes it differently. In America, and many other countries, we typically see it made with ground beef and the addition of macaroni noodles.
My favorite way to make goulash, is with a tomato paste and broth-y beef base, dark red kidney beans, macaroni, ground beef, and spices.
If I'm being honest, I don't have goulash in mind when I do my grocery shopping. Goulash is one of those things that I make on nights where we are, well, broke. Maybe we aren't supposed to talk about that, but in all honesty, I think we all have those dinner times. When we are living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to stretch it, and I don't have a crisp bill to go drop at the local grocery store, I reach waaay back in my pantry and I'm always able to find my goulash ingredients. It's one of the reasons I love goulash.
It's the Easiest, Cheapest Dinner
Goulash is also super convenient, because it can be made in one pot. Everything from the meat, to the simmering, to the cooking of the noodles gets made right there. From start to finish, you're looking at an under 30 minute dinner in one pot on the stove. Talk about a dish that saves the day! Goulash is a super-hero dinner.
Choose a stock or a deep skillet of some kind when making this dish, because it's going to grow as you move through the recipe. Begin by browning the ground beef. Once that is done, add in the tomato paste and seasonings, and saute them. This might seem like an odd thing to do, but sauteing the spices with the tomato paste toasts them and develops their flavors instantly. And since there is not a long cooking time to this dish, it's a way to get those flavors developed quickly.
Use Up Some Leftover Vegetable Ends as a Bonus
This is also a time to get rid of some odds and ends from the fridge. If I have a half of an onion, or odd tomato slices that I don't have use for, I throw them in here. It's not written into the recipe as a must-have ingredient because I like to think of goulash as a dish that uses what you have on hand. If you don't have the tomato or onion, it's completely fine. But if you're like me, and get a real thrill out of finding ways to not throw anything away, then this is a good time. Dice them up and toss them in with the tomato paste and seasonings. (Another great way to use vegetable ends, stems and peels is when making your own homemade broth or stock.)
After toasting the seasonings and tomato paste for a few minutes, add the stock. Scrape up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan, and then add all of the remaining ingredients. This includes the uncooked macaroni pasta. Bring it back up to a simmer and continue to simmer on medium heat, until the pasta is cooked, and the liquid is absorbed. Dinner, done. Could that be an easier? Remove the bay leaves before serving by fishing them out with a spoon.
For more cheap and easy pantry dinners using ground beef, try:
- Homemade Hamburger Helper Lasagna
- Homemade Sloppy Joes
- Cheesy Ground Beef Casserole
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes with Ground Beef
- Quick and Easy Stove Top Chili
- Spaghetti Meat Sauce
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 ½ cups uncooked elbow noodles
- 32 oz beef stock
- 15 oz can kidney beans drained, rinsed
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp sweet paprika do not use smoked paprika
- 1 ½ tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp dried or fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large, deep skillet, brown beef.
- Add tomato paste, paprika, onion and garlic powders and saute for 2 to 3 minutes to toast spices.
- Add stock, stir to combine tomato paste and scrape up bits on the bottom of pan.
- Stir in sugar, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper, kidney beans, and uncooked macaroni.
- Simmer on medium high heat, until pasta is cooked, and liquid is absorbed, around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Check salt and pepper and adjust to taste.
- Remove bay leaves to serve.
- Do not use smoked paprika
- Don't overcook the pasta while simmering