Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Dorcas Annette Walker

Yesterday I was sitting out on my front porch in the late afternoon jest a’rockin a spell watching the sunlight filter through the canopy of autumn leaves all around me sparkling like multi-colored gems letting it all soak in. I feel sorry for folks, who don’t have a front or back porch where they can sit every so often and let their spirit catch up with their bodies. Life too often turns into a frantic race with the clock. Earlier that day I had been in town making several stops and needed a chance to sit and catch my breath. All was quiet except for a chirping of the birds now and then in the treetops broken by a few loud crows echoing through the woods by Red Pepper- my large white rooster with his fiery red comb. Rocking and sipping a mug of warm tea I felt my body relax and wouldn’t have traded places with the richest person on earth.

Today it is raining outside with the temperature dropping for another cold spell. As soon as I got up I started a fire in both of my stoves and decided to make an old dish- what I call comfort food on a dreary day- that I can’t even remember where I first tasted it what my family calls Goulash. To my surprise I discovered when doing some research that what I call Goulash is a far cry from the original recipe. My Goulash is made up of macaroni cooked in a tomato sauce with ground beef that makes a hearty satisfying meal. Often I use leftover cheese and macaroni when preparing Goulash.

Goulash originated in Hungary and is a national dish of thick stew consisting of meat and vegetables seasoned with paprika made by cattle herders and stockmen that initially used three kinds of meat. Today only beef, veal, pork, or lamb is used. Some cookbooks suggest using flour to thicken the stew while others use tomatoes cooked down into a paste. Many Hungarian chefs forbid the use of tomatoes instead employing chopped potatoes to cook down as a thickener. The Slavic’s use deer, boar meat, or bacon and mushrooms in their goulash while the Czech Republic’s goulash is served with dumplings. Some mix match carrots, parsnips, green peppers, celery, hot chili peppers, bay leaf, thyme, caraway seeds, red wine, sauerkraut, sour cream, and substitute kidney beans in place of potatoes. Others spoon the soup or stew over noodles or potatoes.

In Canada and the United States we use hamburger instead of beef and macaroni in place of potatoes, which cuts the preparation time down drastically. In the mid twentieth century the Betty Crocker and Margaret Fulton cookbooks made Goulash here in America a popular dish. In parts of New England and the Midwest, Goulash is known as American Chop Suey. Goulash is also a slang term for a dish made with miscellaneous leftovers. Some replace the beef with chicken or use taco seasoning for a Mexican flare. No matter how you like your food seasoned or what kinds of vegetables you prefer, you can experiment and make a Goulash recipe to suit your taste buds.


1 (7.25 oz) box of Mac & Cheese dinner
1½ lb hamburger
1 tb dried minced onion
garlic, regular salt & pepper
1 qt canned tomatoes
1 pt mild salsa

Prepare the Mac & Cheese dinner as directed. Brown hamburger adding onion, salts and pepper to taste in a large pan. Pour in the tomatoes and salsa and bring to a boil cooking for fifteen minutes. Stir in the macaroni and cheese and simmer for five more minutes. Preparation time is thirty-five minutes and this recipe serves seven!

Weekly tip: Another way to jazz up leftover cheese and macaroni is by pouring homemade chili over the top before serving!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

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