The First Dinner Recipe I Ever Learned to Make: 4-Ingredient Goulash

I’m laughing HARD right now because I have never called this goulash in my life. In fact, it even feels weird to say it aloud and put that word in the title of the post. I’ve been eating it since I was little as it was a family dinnertime staple that my mom made for us ALL the time. And it has always been one of my absolute faves! But, we never really called it anything!!

Randomly, I decided to post that I was making it for dinner on my insta stories and tagged my mom to ask her the name of the dish. While I was waiting for her to answer, a TON of you DMed me saying it’s called goulash! Hmmmm, ok!?! Obviously I googled what that was ASAP and sure enough… you guys, it’s goulash! Hahahahha. But check out the convo with my mom below. I’m still laughing about this.

The moral of the story?! We can call it Ground Beef Noodle Casserole with Tomato Paste OR we can call it Goulash. Ha! Either way, it is DELICIOUS!!!!

Now, what makes this different from most goulash recipes?! {…because I obviously looked them up} There are a million ingredients in most that I found on the web. None have only 4 ingredients, which mine {my moms} does!! And I bet this is just as good – if not better – than those!!!

Ready for the recipe?

It’s soooo easy and sooooo crave-worthy and your kids are sure to love it too! That’s a promise! I guarantee it will be in your weekly dinner rotation. You’re welcome!


Dana Ivy
This goulash is the most delicious, crave-worthy, simple dinner that is sure to be in your weekly meal lineup. The whole family will LOVE it!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people


  • 1 lb ground beef my mom uses ground turkey but I think ground beef is way better!
  • 1 lb elbow noodles I fancy the gluten-free noodles from Ancient Harvest, Barilla, or Ronzoni the most
  • 2 6 oz. cans Contadino tomato paste with Italian Herbs If you can't find this brand, it's okay but it's important that you get tomato paste with Italian herbs! You CAN do it without but the favors won't be as robust.
  • 1 cup fresh grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook noodles according to package directions
  • While noodles are being cooked, start to cook your ground beef in a pot. Once it's cooked through, drain, then add the ground beef back into your pot.
  • Drain your noodles and add to your pot with ground beef. Pot can be on very low heat.
  • Stir in your tomato paste. Some people like it heavy {use all two cans}, while you might not like as much {use maybe 1.5 cans}. There is no right way!
    FYI I personally like A LOT of tomato paste in this but when I went to make this recipe I realized I only had one can in my house! It still totally worked and was still SO good. I just prefer more typically.
  • Add in half cup of the parmesan cheese! Stir!
  • At this point, taste it. Add in your salt and pepper to taste. I usually add 2-3 tsp of salt and a few pinches of pepper.
  • Serve hot!! Add a few pinches of the remaining parmesan cheese to the meal as a topper on all plates being served!


I typically serve this dish with a vegetable. We like serving this with steamed broccoli! Here are some other delicious and easy sides to try: 
Keyword goulash, ground beef, noodles,

The backstory!

This is one of those recipes I will always remember and will NEVER need an actual recipe for. It’s ingrained in my head since my mom taught me to make it when I was a senior in college. I was living with 8 of my good girlfriends in a house off campus {we went to Indiana University!} and I wanted to make them dinner. I called my mom and asked her to tell me how to make this step-by-step, and that she did. She literally taught me how to make the whole thing over the phone and when I took my first bite, it totally tasted like HOME! I remember my friends loving it as much as I did too!!!

It was the first recipe of hers that I learned and that’s because I missed it while I was at college, away from home. It’s one of those meals that you just crave randomly and HAVE to make! The best part is that it’s easy peasy and you can get it on the table in 15 min flat. Can you say UH-mazingggg?!

Uh-mazingggg!! LOL

My stove-top pan is the best thing ever, in case you were wondering! Click here to shop it!! It can be used 9 ways and replaces your fry pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula and spoon rest! Comes in a ton of colors too, but the best part is that it is safe to use everyday!!

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One more thing: will you pleaseeee also PIN this post using the pink buttons below to save for later!!! And, I would also be oh so grateful if you passed it along and shared it with your friends and family members who love making easy meals as much as you {and me} do!! Xox

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