How to eat like a Midwesterner: Goulash

Pronounced: goo·losh

Also known as: Funeral Hotdish (or in my case: Grandma hotdish)

The truth is, I hesitate to call this meal goulash. My aunts and uncles refer to it as hamburger hotdish which was later termed grandma hotdish by my cousins. Whatever you want to call it, this pot of amazingness is a staple at family gatherings.

Goulash is a Midwestern comfort food. Apparently, it originated from the medieval Kingdom of Hungary. I’ve had this hotdish my whole life but I honestly couldn’t tell you how exactly my grandma makes it. She never followed a recipe. Like most good grandmas, she always tossed in little bit that this, a handful of that, and a heaping amount of something (most likely butter). But after doing some research, one thing remains consistent in most recipes: hamburger, noodles, and tomato sauce.

Although I’ve had this meal hundreds of time, I’ve never actually made it (gasp!). The recipe we picked for this lesson is very simple and fool proof. There are many variations of this recipe however. Some people add corn. Some have corn on the side to add at your own discretion. Some add a little mustard, worcestershire or soy sauce. Feel free to doctor up the recipe however you see fit. What I do recommend trying with goulash, is some good old-fashioned buttered bread (or a grandma bun).

Here’s how to make goulash…

What you will need:

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Frying pan
  • Pot


  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 lb of ground hamburger
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (10.75oz) can tomato soup
  • 1¼ cup milk


Chop 1 cup of onion

Start boiling noodles. Cook noodles as directed on the box.

While noodles are boiling, start browning 1lb of hamburger. Season hamburger with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cup of onion to browning hamburger. Cook until onion is tender and hamburger is cooked through. Drain hamburger and onion mixture and return to pan.

Once the noodles are done boiling, drain and add to onion and hamburger mixture. Add 1 can of tomato soup and 1¼ cup milk. Stir ingredients together. After everything is combined, transfer hotdish to glass baking dish. Make sure to spray baking dish with nonstick spray first. Bake for 1 hour or until noodles have reached desired crunchiness.

Boom, there you have it! Amazing heartwarming Goulash. If you’re from the Midwest and need more detailed instructions, ask your grandma.