Sort of Goulash, but not Really…

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Do you need a dish that you can put together in almost no time with zero advanced preparation? Here is a dish meets that criteria.  This is definitely one to add to your ’emergency meals’ list.

Goulash With a Sour Cream Topper

At my house, we call this Goulash.  We call it Goulash because that is what my mama called it. 🙂 Is it and authentic Hungarian Goulash, not hardly. But it is super yummy, comfort good that fill hungry tummies and makes my husband say “whatever this is, it’s good.” Seriously, he says that every time I make it.

On those days when my menu plan falls apart and I’m not coming up with anything that actually sounds good (and easy) to make, I pull out my list of emergency meals and this one wins almost every time.  The only thing close to prep needed for this recipe is thawed ground beef (or game) and that isn’t even really required since it is possible to brown ground meat from the frozen state.  Often I end up thawing the meat in cold water for 30 minutes or so and then finishing the thawing while browning. I hate to admit it, but this is one of those recipes that I just make, I tried very hard last time I made it to keep track of quantities so I could share with you. Plan on adjusting seasonings slightly to meet your preferences.




Emergency Goulash

Goulash: Mixed but not Cooked

1/2 to 1 pound ground beef (or other ground meat)
1/2 onion, small dice
2 1/2 cups broth (or water or combination)
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups elbow pasta (brown rice or type of your choice)
1 cans diced tomatoes or 1/2 jar home canned (diced) or 4 fresh tomatoes, diced
1 Tablespoon dried parsley or 3 Tablespoons fresh
1 Tablespoon dried basil or 3 Tablespoons fresh
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef along with diced onion. When done, add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until pasta is done and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Depending on choice of pasta, you may have to add a little extra broth to finish cooking the pasta. If you use brown rice pasta, it will be ready in 10-15 minutes.  Be sure to start checking it at the 10 minute time so you don’t end up with soggy pasta.  If you use wheat pasta it will take a little longer.



Simple, quick and delicious!




What is your favorite emergency meal? Share in the comments.


Millie Copper
Millie Copper is a Wyoming wife and mama. After reading Nourishing Traditions in early 2009, her family began transforming their diet to whole, unprocessed, nutrient dense foods—a little at a time while stretching their food dollars. Millie is passionate to share how, with a little creativity, anyone can transition to a real foods diet without overwhelming their food budget. Millie began blogging in late 2009 and has amassed a collection of frugal recipes and methods. Her specialties include cooking with wild game and creating “Stretchy Beans”. Discovering a love of writing, she has penned four books focusing on healthy eating on a budget and is trying her hand at fiction writing. Learn more at


  1. Erin Darling

    I hate to admit it, but one of our favorite go-to emergency meals is homemade mac and cheese. Gluten-free pasta boiled in broth, then mixed with milk, butter, real cheddar (and other cheeses if we’re feeling fancy,) plus herbs de provence and black pepper. Toss into large casserole dish (spread thin so more gets crispy, yum!) and top with cornbread crumbs, baked until bubbly and browned.

    Other times, I’ll top with tomato sauce before baking, which is also tasty.

    Other times, yet, I’ll throw in shredded chicken and a lot of paprika, sometimes some frozen pea or broccoli.

    Definitely tummy-filling, tasty, and very low-effort. I hadn’t thought of a goulash variety, but that’s a darned good idea!

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