You have most likely had this one-pot slumgullion before, you just didn’t know it! I’ve heard it called American Goulash, American Chop Suey, Beefaroni and Beefy Mac! I just like saying “Slumgullion!” It doesn’t matter what you call it, this is such a delicious, EASY meal! Meat, tomatoes, macaroni and shredded cheese all come together in one pot for the perfect, family-friendly weeknight meal ready in 30 minutes!
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Who doesn’t love an easy, satisfying meal that comes together in ONE POT (read: LESS PAN WASHING) and is ready in 30 minutes! My current favorite one pot/pan meals all involve pasta (go figure): Chicken Pasta with Chipotle Cream Sauce , Creamy Pesto Gnocchi with Lemon, Creamy Chicken Orzo with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Asparagus and this super easy Chicken and Broccoli Lasagna!
My husband’s family grew up calling this dish “goulash” or “American Goulash.” My mom called it Beefy Mac. People debate about where the term “Slumgullion” came from, but I first heard about it as slang during the California Gold Rush time and meant “stew made from leftovers.”
While I didn’t make this from leftovers, the ingredients are super basic: ground beef, tomatoes, onions, macaroni and a few simple spices. Oh….this might take away from the “slum” part, but I added cheese…just because 🙂
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- It’s comfort food that comes together on one pan.
- Super easy to make!
- It’s kid-friendly!
- Comes together really quickly–perfect weeknight meal!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious One Pot Slumgullion:
Ground Beef: You can absolutely use ground turkey, chicken or ground bison, too!
Crushed Tomatoes: Canned crushed tomatoes work best but you can also put whole canned tomatoes in the food processor if you have time. 28 oz. of tomato sauce can also be used in a pinch, but I don’t like the flavor quite as much.
Macaroni: Regular old elbow macaroni works great and cooks up quickly. Cavatappi is also a great option, but it takes a bit longer to cook.
Cheese: Your favorite cheese works here. I always use sharp cheddar.
Brown Sugar (optional, not shown): This balances out the acidity of the tomatoes, but it’s totally optional and to taste.
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Brown beef with seasonings. Then add onion and bell pepper.
Step 2: Add crushed tomatoes, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and macaroni. Give everything a big stir.
Step 3: Bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat to LOW, cover and cook 15 minutes until macaroni is tender.
Step 4: Top with cheese, cover and allow cheese to melt. Serve immediately!
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- While not always convenient, shredding your own cheddar cheese will give you are most delicious, melty cheese vs. shredded cheese from the bag.
- While the pasta is cooking, give it a few stirs every so often to ensure even cooking and that nothing is sticking to the pan.
STORAGE & REHEATING
Leftovers: You can store leftovers right in the pan with a tight-fitting lid, in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, just add a splash of beef broth to the pan and heat it over medium heat until warmed through.
You can also store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheat in the microwave on full power for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes (I always like to add extra cheese to the top!)
Freezing: You can freeze leftovers in a freezer bag or freezer safe, air tight container. Just thaw, then reheat in the microwave. For make-ahead freezing, cook 1-2 minutes less than instructions. Let the dish cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer safe container or two large freezer bags. Thaw and reheat in the microwave, topped with cheese.
ADDITIONS & SUBSTITUTIONS
Here are some of my favorite swaps for this dish:
Chili Mac: Swap out the Italian seasoning and garlic powder for 1-2 tablespoons of chili powder. Then stir in a can of black beans (drained and rinsed) at the end for a southwestern twist! Top with sour cream!
Swap up Ground Meat: Ground turkey, chicken or bison work really well in this dish, too!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term Slumgullion is simply “a meat stew.” However, it’s also noted that the term is most likely an invented word that came about during the California Gold Rush days to mean a stew that was “cheap and insubstantial.”
In the present day, the word has become synonymous with the dish “American Goulash” which is a tomato-based combination of meat, a few veggies and macaroni cooked in one pot. Other synonyms for this dish also include: American Chop Suey, Beefy Mac and Beef a Roni.
The origin is really debatable. The Merriam-Webster dictionary says the earliest know use of the word was in Mark Twain’s Roughing It in 1872. However, in that reference it’s a DRINK and not a stew.
Most say the term came about during the California Gold Rush to mean a “cheap, insubstantial meal” or a meal made of whatever they had on hand.
“True” Goulash is actually a Hungarian stew made with meat, vegetables and lots of paprika. Most people in the United States refer to “Goulash” as tomato-based dish with meat, a few veggies and macaroni cooked in one pot. AKA: “American” Goulash. Other synonyms for this dish also include: American Chop Suey, Beefy Mac and Beef a Roni.
OTHER EASY PASTA RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
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Easy, Cheesy One Pot Slumgullion
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 lb. ground beef 90% lean or more, if possible
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1/4" dice) about one cup
- 1 green bell pepper, diced (about 1/4" dice)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp seasoned salt
- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups elbow macaroni
- 1-2 tsp brown sugar optional, to taste
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- green onions, for serving optional
- crushed red pepper, for serving optional
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tsp olive oil. Add ground beef to pan and brown the meat, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks (2-3 minutes). Season meat with Italian seasoning, seasoning salt and garlic powder. Pro Tip: During the last minute of cooking, use a potato masher to get the meat broken up into super small bits.
- Add onion and green pepper and cook 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
- Add crushed tomatoes, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and macaroni. Give everything a big stir. Bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat to LOW, cover and cook 15 minutes until macaroni is tender.
- Turn off the heat. Stir in brown sugar (if using), then sprinkle cheese over pan. Cover the pan for a minute or so until cheese melts. Top with scallions and crushed red pepper and serve immediately.