These Words Do Not Come Lightly

Last week, I took on a homemade signature from my childhood, right after enjoying it, I wrote out a post to feature on my blog. Here is the first of many posts that will share a bit about my love of food even as a kid:

Whenever I even think of the meals my family would cook, nothing but joyous memories come to mind. My love for food evolved in my kitchen back home, and the meals that I grew up on will always hold a place in my heart. I was not raised on gourmet cuisine, but I watched my parents come up with all sorts of creations. Some meals would start from an aged, tattered recipe card my great grandmother passed down to my mother. Other meals were often thrown together with whatever odd combinations of ingredients my mom found in the fridge. Either way, I had my favorites: baked beans, autumn stew, grandma’s sausage snacks. One meal that I will always attribute to my father’s culinary expertise is what we have always called goulash. Goulash can translate to a different meal in every different kitchen but the American version I was raised on was just the right mixture of pasta, tomato sauce, ground beef, and red kidney beans all together in one large pot, seasoned with classic Italian seasonings and Parmesan cheese. Once my dad made a batch, I would eat goulash for every meal, each bowl getting better as the flavors had time to meld. Seriously, I could keep going….

Now, two hours from home and only just learning how to work this whole concept of a kitchen by myself, I was faced with a personal mission. I wanted to recreate my dad’s goulash because it seemed one of the simplest out of the collection of recipes I hope to try cooking in the future. At the grocery store I made some educated guesses on which ingredients to use,

“Which tomatoes do I choose? Crushed, diced, stewed, paste…who knew there were so many options?!”

My first batch I made was decent, an accomplishment I was proud of but it was nowhere close to how I remembered it.

Tonight, after reworking my plan and tweaking a few things to fit my liking, it happened.

Dad, if you are reading this, these words do not come lightly, but I think I may have outdone you on your own signature dish. When I tried my goulash, I was in awe that I had made such a delicious dinner in only half an hour. The flavors were all there, the Italian seasoning and the cheese adding just the right amount of flavor but still letting the tomato sauce come to life! I used 2 variations of noodles (simply for the fact that I did not have an entire lb. of shells) and added extra kidney beans because I never won that fight when I was home. Best of all, I made enough to feed a small army, so my freezer is now stocked for the winter.

I am nowhere near the home cook I strive to become, but my dinner was a pretty good place to start.