Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Spicy Crockpot Goulash

Goulash is something I never grew up with but my husband always enjoyed when his mom made it with cornbread and pinto beans on the side.  Goulash is
historically Hungarian and is actually one of national dishes of Hungary.  I'm fairly certain that my recipe for goulash does not remotely resemble Hungarian goulash so we'll call it American goulash.

Goulash is like a chunky stew.  One of the great things about goulash is that it's one of those dishes that doesn't necessarily need to follow a recipe as long as you have basics of meat, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and pasta.  Once you have those ingredients, you can change and add different spices, throw some different veggies in there, like corn or beans, and change it up the way your family likes.  It can be a pretty cheap way to feed a large group.

I haven't found the recipe my mother-in-law uses so I've adapted my recipe from a recipe titled Bobby's Goulash in Paula Deen's cookbook, Paula Deen Celebrates.  The main changes I made were making this a crockpot recipe and using less meat and ground chicken .

I've also spiced it up by using Ro-Tel, which I use all the time in place of diced tomatoes.  If you don't like it spicy, there is a mild version of Ro-Tel and if that's too much, just use diced tomatoes.  If you are in an area that doesn't stock Ro-Tel you are missing out!  If you're curious, you CAN purchase it online here.

Remember, goulash is a recipe that can be different every time you make it.  If you want to use ground turkey, go for it or add some different seasonings.  Make it the way you want.  Also, onions are never added to my recipes for my husband's sake but you can always saute 2 chopped yellow onions when you brown your meat.

Spicy Crockpot Goulash

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb ground chicken
2 large yellow onions, chopped (optional)
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
2 10-ounce cans Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and green chilies (undrained)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
3 bay leaves
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp seasoned salt
2 cups elbow macaroni (uncooked)

1.  In a large pot, brown ground beef and ground chicken over medium-high heat until cooked through.  Break up the meat while cooking.  Drain off any excess grease.  Add the garlic to the pot and saute for 2 minutes.  If you want to use onions, add the chopped onions here and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Move the meat to the crockpot.  Add 2 cups water, tomato sauce, Ro-Tel, garlic, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, soy sauce, House seasoning, and seasoned salt to the crockpot.  Stir well and add lid to crockpot.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

3.  Add the macaroni to the pot 30 minutes prior to serving and continue to cook on low.  Do not cook it longer than 30 minutes or your pasta will turn to mush.

You can also cook the pasta separately and just add it right before serving.  This will ensure you cooked it well enough and won't get mushy sitting there.  I prefer to cook it in the crockpot to give it the full flavor of the goulash but do what's easiest.

You might notice that my pictures show penne pasta.  I was out of elbow macaroni so I made a substitution.  It worked well. 

4.  Remove the bay leaves before serving.  Dish up and serve with cornbread.

Serves 6.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Paula Deen's House Seasoning

Paula Deen has a seasoning that she uses throughout her recipes in her book Paula Deen Celebrates.  The first time I made it because her recipe for Goulash called for it.  Once I made it, though, I had such a big batch of it, I ended up using it in everything.  Honestly, it made everything better.

The first time I used this in my scrambled eggs instead of just salt, my kids actually ate the eggs and said they liked them.  My kids are the pickiest eaters ever so I consider that a major success.  I use this seasoning whenever a recipe calls for salt and pepper.  It adds a little extra.

This is SO simple you'll wonder why there's a recipe for it but it is nice have on hand to season up everything from meats to soup to vegetables.  These three ingredients are all that's required; salt, pepper, garlic powder.  I use a Good Seasons Salad Dressing cruet that I bought with some Italian dressing seasoning.  You can use an old seasonings shaker, though.  When my black pepper becomes empty, I think I'll switch to that.

My recipe only makes 1/2 of what Paula Deen's recipe calls for.  The first time, I made the whole batch but my cruet doesn't hold it all.

Paula Deen's House Seasoning

1/2 cup table salt
2 Tbsp pepper
2 Tbsp garlic powder

All all ingredients and mix together.  You can mix in a bowl and then add to your container or just add everything to an air-tight container, make sure the lid is on tight, and shake it up.

I use a funnel to make sure I don't make a huge mess when pouring it.

Make sure your lid is on super tight and shake it up.  I doesn't look like it makes much but a little definitely goes a long way.

Now I'm off to post the recipe for Crockpot Goulash that uses this seasoning.  It's delicious!