Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Goulash, Johnny Marzetti, American Chop Suey

When I was a kid, I loved going to eat at my grandparents' house. While we ate well at my house, my mom and stepdad were vegetarian and the pizzas we ordered came from a little hippie place that offered whole wheat crust and all kinds of vegetables like bamboo shoots on their pizzas. So, dinner at my grandparents' house was a chance for me to eat like mainstream Middle America. One of my grandmom's dishes, called "goulash" in our family and "Johnny Marzetti" in my wife's family, seems to have been popular in most mainstream houses. The noodle and ground beef dish is easy to make and feeds a bunch of people for not much money. What's more, it's terrific comfort food!  As fall arrives in the Northern Hemisphere, it's all about the comfort food. So, I offer you this version of the classic dish. Feel free to post your family's favorite way to eat it in the comments section. I'm always up for trying different versions.

Johnny Marzetti's American Goulash Suey
3 tbsp. butter (or, as I did, sub 1 of olive oil or use cooking spray)
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground beef (I use 94%-96% lean)
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
Salt & pepper
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2-2/3 c. tomato juice or V8
Pinch sugar (this lessens the acidity of the tomato, they say)
1 lb. macaroni (or whatever small pasta shape you have on hand---whole grain is good, too)

Heat butter/oil in large pot. Add onion & pepper and cook until softened, 5-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute. Add ground beef and brown it. Add seasonings, tomatoes, sauce, and sugar. Simmer while you cook the pasta al dente & drain it. Add pasta. If your wife is cheese-addicted, add lots and lots of that. Or serve it at the table so people can add or not add cheese, as their tastebuds and heart condition dictate. Lowfat cheese is good, too, because you're not relying on it to melt. Serves 8 & freezes well. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

lIn our family, we cube leftover meatloaf and use that in place of the ground beef. So good!!!