There’s always that one special food that sticks out from childhood: the dish Mom made — without fail — when you were sick, had a bad day or bombed a big test. This Mother’s Day, you can show Mom how much you care (and that you were actually paying attention) by making one of her favorite go-to recipes as a special treat.
We’ve rounded up the best and the most memorable Mom-made meals from our food writers’ mothers for inspiration.
1. Easy ground beef goulash recipe
When I describe my childhood, the only word I can really think of is lucky. I grew up with one of the most incredible cooks and bakers. Almost every night, my mom would make us a beautiful dinner, and we’d eat together as a family. Even at the age of 8, I devoured everything. I loved the smell of roasted asparagus and the strong, pungent taste of blue cheese. I fell in love with food the way most kids fall in love with Disney World or video games. Watching my mom cook and bake was always romantic and enchanting. Even on her hardest days, when the four of us were terrorizing her and tearing apart the house, she always had a smile on her face when she was in the kitchen. And now, as the cook of my house, I catch myself with that same smile.
Even though she made so many amazing dishes, one of my favorites growing up was goulash. Now, it’s not glamorous or fancy, but it’s delicious. It’s a dish my great-grandmother used to make for her as a kid, and she made it for us, just the way I’ll make it for my kids. It uses everyday, simple ingredients and can be made in less than an hour. It’s comfort food to me, and every bite reminds me of those family dinners I had growing up. In fact, I always volunteered to clean up after so I could sneak a few more forkfuls of goulash while my brothers watched TV. This dish is everything my mom is to me: comforting and absolutely incredible.
- 1 (16-ounce) box elbow macaroni
- 1 (28-ounce) jar stewed tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1 (14.5-ounce) jar diced tomatoes, drained
- 8 ounces marinara sauce
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the pot
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add a dash of salt. Toss in the noodles, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large Dutch oven with olive oil.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the ground beef, and break it apart using your spatula. Cook until the beef is browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the fat from the pan.
- Add the noodles, ground beef mixture and bacon to the Dutch oven. Stir in the stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, marinara sauce and tomato paste. Mix until all of the mixture is fully combined. Stir in some fresh parsley and salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cover the Dutch oven, and bake for about 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the top is just a bit crispy. Serve with more fresh parsley and cracked pepper.