Mother's Goulash

Dutch oven cooking at its very best. The recipe is one that my Mother always made for Tuesday evening supper when I was a child. Tuesdays were also Ironing Days, following Wash Days on Mondays. Our ironing board was set up in the kitchen so that Mother could watch her food as it cooked while she ironed. My sister and I sat at the kitchen table and cut out paper dolls. So many memories to savor.



  • 3 lb. ground beef (chuck has the most flavor)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • 2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1or 2 tsp. paprika (Hungarian if you have it)
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked (or small shells or twists)
  • 1 cup frozen corn (corn is optional, but we like it)


In a Dutch oven or large pot, saute the ground beef over medium-high heat until no pink remains. Break up the meat as you stir. Drain to remove all grease and return to pot.

Continue cooking for 5 more minutes to brown meat slightly as it gives it so much great flavor if the meat caramelizes a little.

Add the onions and garlic and saute until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Add water, along with the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy and Worcestershire sauces. Stir well.


Add paprika, bay leaves, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and stir, then taste to correct seasonings. If adding corn, do so now. Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook over low heat for about 30 minutes so that flavors "marry".

Add the elbow macaroni, stir well, return the lid to the pot, and simmer for about 15 - 20 minutes until pasta is done. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves, and allow the mixture to sit about 15 minutes more before serving.

Serve with hot Italian bread and a green salad.

Servings: 8-10
Time:20 Minutes Preparation Time
60 Minutes Cooking Time

Source: My Mother's recipe with a few "tweaks" of my own which suited my family's tastebuds. My Mother cooked to please my Father, and we kids either ate it or did without. Today, mothers are a bit more lenient, and do their best to please everyone. The recipe makes enough for a large, healthy family with growing children.


By Julia from Boca Raton, FL

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May 28, 20100 found this helpful

Our grandchildren will like this. Almost anything made with pasta is a hit with them.
Thumbs Up.


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May 28, 20100 found this helpful

Mmmm-reminds me of my mom's goulash, which was similar, but without the corn & she always had to add "a couple of squeezes of catsup" to it. I'll have to dig out her recipe & make it for my kids & grandkids. Thanks for the memories!

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May 29, 20100 found this helpful

I enjoyed your bit of personal history along with the great recipe. Cutting out paper dolls is something of a lost art now, I think. Haven't even heard it mentioned in so long. Goulash was always a weekly Thursday night special when I was a kid. We had the beef dish on Thursday getting ready for the Friday's fish the next night. I couldn't wait for Saturday to get there so I could have leftover Goulash for lunch.


My memory station had a nice jolt. Thank you.

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May 29, 20100 found this helpful

Sounds really hearty and easy.
I will try this.

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May 29, 20100 found this helpful

Great memory. It's been a long time since I cut out any paper dolls, and I have to wonder if my girls ever think about those good old days. We kept ours in a shoe box.

The recipe is also familiar since it's the kind of food we grew up with. Hearty, hot and delicious, and we always had corn in ours too although I know people who never heard of adding corn. They don't know what they're missing. It just goes with everything else so well.

I am always amazed and amused with what I find on ThriftyFun. It's my favorite newsletter now.


Thanks Pookarina


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May 30, 20100 found this helpful

My kind of meal if I wasn't always on a diet. Sounds so good. The kids, grandkids and my husband will gobble it all up though, that's for sure.

Leave out the corn, and add some canned dark red kidney beans, and you wouldn't even need the meat. Beans would give you enough protein, and it'd'be cheaper as well.Might be worse on the carbohydrate counting though. I'm always searching for a balance.

I'm trying to find ways to get the protein into my family without so much red meat.

Thanks Pookarina.

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May 30, 20100 found this helpful

If this is anything like the Hungarian Goulash that we had in New York we'll like it. I've not eaten any in a long time, but I think it was served OVER pasta.


I'm not much of a cook, but I'm trying now. I've learned a few things already on this list and your Mom's recipe sounds easy and straight-forward. It's definitely something I'm willing to try. :-)


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June 1, 20100 found this helpful

For ww...I think the original recipe for Hungarian Goulash called for buttered noodles and the beef stew meat was cooked separate in a spicy rich and thick brown gravy then served over the buttered noodles. The Hungarian paprika is the same for sure (sweet rather than hot). I'm sure I'd like the original almost as much as I like my Mother's version. :)

For Shadow...I'm going to try your kidney beans one day. I think it'll turn out very similar to my own "Chili Mac" recipe which was "invented" by my 3 daughters when they were learning to cook so many years ago now. My husband and I often have that, and I'll agree totally with your information on beans being such a healthy source of good protein. They most definitely are heart healthy.

Has anyone ever tried making goulash using white or yellow "Hominy" ? Someone asked me about it, and I said I would find out. If corn works so well, I don't know why hominy wouldn't be good too. It's corn, just processed differently. I may have to experiment again. :)

Thank you to everyone for interesting feedback.

Pookarina / Julia in Boca Raton, FL

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June 5, 20100 found this helpful

OK Pookarina, we made this, leaving out the corn. Next time, I will be adding the corn as I think it's going to become a weekly special at our house judging by the hearty reviews of grandkids and husband. Very easy to make too.

I just want to thank you again and let you know.

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