Also known as American Chop Suey, chili mac, or just goulash, this is classic American ground beef goulash casserole with a cheesy kick. Just follow these easy step by step photo instructions — great comfort food.
Editor’s Note: Originally published November 16, 2013. Updated with expanded discussion and options along with updated photos.
Most of my generation will remember the old school lunch goulash. It was one of the things they could do right. Add a lot of cheesy topping; I’m in lunchroom heaven.
While I’m told this is more of a Midwest thing, I suspect other regions (I’m looking south) have similar dishes. Other names such as American Chop Suey, chili mac, beef and macaroni, or just goulash. I was searching for chili mac when it dawned on me it was goulash.
Give it a try today, and you’ll have an easy, tasty everyday dish that will be a favorite of kids and the whole family.
A nice solid 4 for this everyday type recipe.
Recipe Notes for Cheesy American Goulash
If you think of this as a cheesy tomato hamburger casserole, you will be about right. And it is great comfort food, especially with the added cheese.
Some feel with the term goulash, you need some heavy paprika. There is some in the seasoning salt and feel free to add a teaspoon or two of paprika if you wish, but to me, the taste is just right, lunchroom goulash with lots of cheese.
American goulash is more “freestyle” while Hungarian goulash has multiple specific variations and lots of opinion of what is right or wrong. I’m more of a freestyle guy.
This is just a casserole, add what you want or have hanging around. Some will add green pepper, corn or other things.
You can skip the whole cheese thing and make it a stovetop dish. Cook the macaroni a little longer and just mix it all in one pot. I prefer the cheese and oven baked.
Many think it is much better warmed up the next day, and I think that may be true if served straight up without the baking.
This is good refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for 4-6 months.
Other Comfort Foods
Preheat oven to 350 convection. And start heating water for cooking pasta.
Start brown 1 pound of ground beef over medium-high heat.
Start cooking 1 cup of pasta and chop one small or 1/2 medium onion. Add the onion to the ground beef about 5 minutes into cooking and cook the pasta to al dente which should be about 2 minutes short of done. Add two cloves of minced or crushed garlic to the burger the last few minutes of cooking the ground beef.
Prep a large baking dish with PAM.
To the baking dish add one 15oz can tomato sauce, 14 1/2 oz diced tomatoes, one tsp basil, two tsp seasoning salt (I used Lowery’s), 1/2 tsp pepper. Mix well.
Drain the ground beef and add that along with the pasta and mix well.
Stir in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
Top with 1/2 cup mozzarella.
Bake until golden brown. About 30 minutes.
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Cheesy American Goulash
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup dry pasta
- 1 onion - small or 1/2 medium
- 2 cloves garlic
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 14 1/2 oz diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 2 teaspoon seasoning salt - I used Lowery’s
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 convection. And start heating water for cooking pasta.
- Start brown 1 pound of ground beef over medium high heat.
- Start cooking 1 cup of pasta and chop one small or 1/2 medium onion.
- Add the onion to the ground beef about 5 minutes into cooking and cook the pasta to al dente which should be about 2 minutes short of done.
- Add two cloves of minced or crushed garlic to the burger the last few minutes of cooking the ground beef.
- Prep a large baking dish with PAM.
- To the baking dish add 1 15oz can tomato sauce, 1 14 1/2 oz diced tomatoes, 1 tsp basil, 2 tsp seasoning salt (I used Lowery’s), 1/2 tsp pepper. Mix well.
- Drain the ground beef and add that along with the pasta and mix well.
- Stir in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
- Top with 1/2 cup mozzarella.
- Bake until golden brown. About 30 minutes.
- This is not an easy recipe to cut down due to full cans of things. It is good refrigerated for 3-4 days and will freeze well.
- You can skip all the cheese, cook the pasta a bit more and make this a stovetop recipe. But the cooking in the oven helps tastes to blend.
- If you feel "goulash" must have more paprika than what is in the seasoning salt, add 1 teaspoon of paprika.
- Vary the cheeses to what you like.
- Like many casseroles, I feel it is better the second day.
Nutrition is generally for one serving. Number of servings is stated above and is my estimate of normal serving size for this recipe.
All nutritional information are estimates and may vary from your actual results. This is home cooking, and there are many variables. To taste ingredients such as salt will be my estimate of the average used.
Originally Published November 16, 2013