December 20, 2012

Beating the Holiday Hustle

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Margaret's Morsels | Goulash

Life gets busier in December.  In addition to everyday activities -- working, taking care of families, driving carpools, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, paying bills, attending sporting events, meetings, school functions and church activities -- tis also the season for cookie swaps,

Margaret's Morsels | Goulash


sending Christmas cards,

Margaret's Morsels | Goulash

wrapping packages, 

Margaret's Morsels | Goulash

Margaret's Morsels | Ritz Cracker Cookies

When busy days get even busier, you don't have to eat out or rely on frozen food or take out for a fast meal.  The recipe I'm sharing today is ready in less than an hour.

A few years ago, a friend gave me a recipe for goulash.  When I heard the name, I immediately thought of the traditional Hungarian dish which is a kind of soup or stew.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this goulash, unlike its namesake, is actually a casserole.  Although the preparation is different, both recipes share some similarities.
  • Meat:  Both versions use beef, but the casserole uses ground beef instead of stew meat. 

Margaret's Morsels | Goulash

  • Vegetables:  The soup or stew usually has potatoes, onions and tomatoes, although some versions use a larger variety of vegetables.  The casserole uses onion, canned pork and beans and, in place of tomatoes, a can of tomato soup.  Make sure you use pork and beans and not baked beans which are flavored with additional spices.

Margaret's Morsels | Goulash

  • Pasta:  Some versions call for traditional goulash to be cooked with pasta while other versions serve the dish over cooked pasta.  The casserole uses macaroni which is combined with the other ingredients before baking.

Margaret's Morsels | Goulash

  • Spices:  The soup or stew is seasoned with paprika -- a bright orange-red spice made from ground up sweet peppers -- which can range from mild to hot.  The casserole gets some heat from a couple of tablespoons of chili powder.

Margaret's Morsels | Goulash

Although there are similarities between the dishes, there's also one noticeable difference:  cheese.  The top of the casserole is covered with shredded Cheddar cheese before it's baked.

Margaret's Morsels | Goulash

The casserole is baked in the oven for 30 minutes.  I add a salad and garlic bread for an easy meal on a busy day.  Not only is this quick to prepare during the holiday hustle, it's also a warming meal on a cold winter night.

Margaret's Morsels | Goulash

6 to 8 Servings

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. chili powder, divided
1 cup elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1 (15.75 oz.) can pork and beans
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can tomato soup (undiluted)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Brown the ground beef, onion and 1 tablespoon chili powder; drain. Combine the ground beef mixture with the macaroni, pork and beans, soup and remaining 1 tablespoon chili powder.  Put in a lightly greased 13 x 9-inch pan.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

© Margaret's Morsels

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