Mexican Goulash (recipe)

Weeks (and weeks) ago I asked on Twitter for some hamburger ideas. I was…fresh out and I had hamburger that had to be used. Someone suggested Goulash, which I just knew my family wouldn’t eat, but when I went searching for a recipe for it, I found one for Mexican Goulash on allrecipes.com. Right up our alley (with modifications, of course).

Mexican Goulash based on a recipe from allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • 1 can corn (drained)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 package taco seasoning (or a few Tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup uncooked elbow macaroni (or whatever pasta you like)
  • 2/3 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

Directions

1. Brown hamburger in skillet.

2. Add onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes.

3. Add taco seasoning, chili powder, oregano, cumin and mix well

4. Stir in water, tomatoes, green chiles, corn and bring to a boil.

5. Add pasta, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until your pasta is tender.

6. Top with cheese, cover and cook for a few more minutes, only until cheese is melted.

Serve with cornbread!

For variations, you could use ground turkey, or add sausage for additional flavor. I found the original recipe (not posted here) way too bland so I added a lot of spices and seasonings. How you manage those to your family’s taste is the key to this recipe. You can make it spicier or blander by adding/removing spices or using less of them.

BLT Burritos: Dinner Made Easy

This is a recipe I discovered three years ago, when I used to subscribe to the Betty Crocker Dinner Made Easy newsletter, and got dinner ideas delivered to my inbox. Now, my inbox is so overwhelming I don’t get fun stuff like that anymore.

I usually keep tortillas, cheddar cheese and a large bag of real crumbled bacon bits from Sam’s Club on hand. So all I need to pick up when I want to make this is tomato and lettuce. You can have dinner in five minutes.


BLT Burritos – Easy and Delicious!

8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
2 cups bite-size pieces lettuce
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 large tomato, chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing (I used Miracle Whip because Josh hates mayo)
6 flour tortillas

Toss all ingredients except tortillas. Spread one-sixth of bacon mixture on each tortilla. Fold up bottom third of each tortilla; roll up to form cone shape with folded end at bottom.

Other variations include serving this in pita pockets (everything tastes better in pita pockets) or throwing in some leftover diced chicken. My one caution is not to go overboard on the mayo/Miracle Whip because it can quickly overpower the other ingredients. This is also a very simple lunch idea, and something you could take on picnics or to the beach!

Ground Beef Curly Noodles: Kid Friendly

This is one of the first recipes I ever posted on my personal blog four years ago. At the time I posted it, it was one of Brianna’s favorite meals even at only 1 1/2. Four years later? It’s still one of her favorite meals, despite the fact that she won’t eat some of the ingredients when they appear in any other dish. And as an added bonus, it’s super quick (30 minutes tops from start to finish) and easy, so perfect for a weeknight. AND it’s not an expensive meal, and it’s easy to stretch and feed more people, by adding some of the cheaper ingredients (like another pack of ramen. I mean, nothing is cheaper than ramen!) Best of all? It actually tastes good!

As is often the case with me, this recipe first appeared on All Recipes, but I adapted it for my own use. Link is to original recipe.
Ground Beef Curly Noodles

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 30 Minutes
Servings: 6 (this would feed four people)

INGREDIENTS:

* 1 pound ground beef
* 2 (3 ounce) packages Beef flavored ramen noodles
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can Del Monte petite diced tomatoes (Petite diced are much smaller than any other canned tomatoes and easier to get into your kids because of their small size)
* 1 (10 ounce) can whole kernel corn

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble in the ground beef, and cook until no longer pink, stirring frequently. Drain off grease.
2. Stir in the flavor packet from the noodles, tomatoes, and corn (with their juices). Break up the noodles slightly, and add them to the skillet. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Stir occasionally to break up any clumps of noodles.

Notes:
**I specified Del Monte diced tomatoes because they have better flavor than Hunts (no really, they do). You could use any flavor of diced tomatoes but I do rec that you use petite.

**I used 2 packages of Ramen, Beef flavor (instead of one package of Ramen, Oriental). If you’re cooking for less people, just use one package. I liked the Beef flavor quite a bit.

**Josh put salsa on top of his and thought it really kicked up the taste, so you could try this too!

Both Josh and Brianna ate it and liked it. Our test of likeability is if Brianna says “mmmm” and Josh says he’d take it as leftovers for lunch.

This is an easy meal that costs well under $10, depending on how much you buy your beef for. Here’s a breakdown of what it cost me, since I coupon shop:

beef: 1.89/pound
corn: .35 a can (Green Giant corn)
tomatoes: .40 a can (Del Monte Garlic and Onion)
Ramen: .15/package

Total for dinner at my house, with enough leftovers for lunch for all three of us: approximately $2.94

Apricot-glazed Pork Loin

Last week I got a pork loin on sale at the grocery store, but had no idea how I was going to cook it. Since I hadn’t done any pre-planning, I really didn’t have time for marinating so I put out a desperate call to my Twitter followers: Do you have a good recipe for pork loin? I got an amazing number of responses, all of which looked delicious, and I ended up narrowing it down to a couple when one of my male Twitter followers emailed me a recipe for Apricot-glazed Pork Loin. Oddly enough, I had a jar of apricot preserves in my cupboard (I keep them for a ham appetizer I make that’s a big hit at parties) so I decided to go with that because it fit my requirements: it was easy and I had all of the ingredients. People, let me tell you, this pork loin was amazing and delicious and a hit with everyone in my family. Here’s the recipe, I adapted it just slightly by increasing the amount of crushed red pepper and cumin. You may wish to cut the crushed red pepper in half if you don’t want the warmth to have a bit of spice.

Apricot-Glazed Pork Loin

Ingredients

1 pork loin (the size depends on how many people you’re feeding. Mine was a 2 lb loin)

2-3 garlic cloves, sliced into thin pieces (original recipe called for one clove but I used more. I like garlic)

1/2 cup apricot preserves (with whole fruit is good, maybe even preferable)

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (or 1/2 teaspoon curry)

juice of 1/2 medium lemon

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea salt or Kosher salt

Ground pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut 6 (1-inch) slits evenly spaced across the top, insert the garlic pieces. Brush pork loin with EVOO and coat with salt and pepper. Let rest on top of oven for 20 minutes while oven is preheating.

2. In the meantime, in a small bowl combine apricot preserves, lemon juice, crushed red pepper, cumin with salt/pepper to taste. Set aside.

3. Bake pork loin in oven. Baking time depends on the size of your pork loin. Bake for 20 minutes then remove from oven and spread evenly with apricot mixture. Return the pork to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees (with pork, temperature is more important than roasting time).

4. Remove from oven and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Mexican casserole: Dinner

I admit that this is a recipe I made up myself. Years ago, when Josh and I were first dating we used to buy a kit in the refrigerator section that made the best Mexican casserole. Although, since they discontinued making it, perhaps we were the only ones who thought so. But we so often talk about that Mexican casserole, and I’ve never successfully found a recipe that seemed similar enough for me, so I made one up. We like it (though Josh would prefer I leave the Pinto beans out to which I say…oh well. Ha!) Also, this recipe is super easy and can be prepared and on the table in under an hour.

Mexican Casserole:

Ingredients:

2 lbs hamburger/ground beef

Taco seasoning (one or two packages, your choice)

1 can Rotel tomatoes

1 can Pinto beans

1 can chopped/diced green chiles, drained

1 jar queso (or a can of nacho cheese soup)

1 can sliced black olives

1 2-cup bag of mexican cheese or cheddar cheese

4 burrito size tortillas

1. Fry the hamburger thoroughly. While you’re doing that, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Once hamburger is fried, add to it taco seasoning (no need for the water), a can of Rotel tomatoes (or just petite diced tomatoes, if you prefer less spicy…but why would you?), 1 can Pinto beans (again, optional), 1 can chopped green chiles, and the jar of queso or can of nacho cheese soup. Heat through.

3. Spray a casserole dish (I used my enamel cast iron heavy oven instead) with Pam. In the bottom, put 1/2 cup of the mixture. It won’t cover it, just spread it around, it’s to keep the first layer of tortilla from sticking to the bottom. So go ahead and put that tortilla down. Now, dividing the mixture into thirds, put 1/3 of mixture down, sprinkle with olives, put down a tortilla and repeat. End with a tortilla on top and cover with cheese and sprinkle last of black olives on top.

4. Bake the casserole, uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes. Turn it on broil for the last few minutes to get the cheese just right. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice like a pie and serve. The end.

Can be served with corn bread, a salad, Spanish rice or nothing at all if you’re lazy like me.

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