I’m so lucky that my dad is a great cook. He is similar to Nana in that he stores most of his recipes in his head. So as time goes by, I continually try to pick his brain for his recipes. Many times he has a hard time remembering what he did, so if it’s a good meal (which it always is), I try to figure out what he did as soon as possible.
When I was a teenager, my dad made this dish for the first time. I loved it immediately, so I regularly bugged him to make it for me. I would also ask him what it was called, and he would say, “goulash.” When he said that, I thought that goulash was always made this way. Come to find out, this was just his spin on goulash using the ingredients we had on hand that day. He later told me that Nana regularly made goulash when he was growing up, too, but hers was much different.
In researching goulash, I learned that it was originally a Hungarian dish, but there is also an American version that normally contains ground beef, onion, macaroni, and tomatoes. Dad’s version is a little different in that it uses chicken as the protein instead of beef. When I was in college, this was one of my go-to meals. In addition to it being a delicious comfort food, I could make it, and it would last me for almost a week. By the end of the week, I’d be sick of it, but it was worth it!
What was your ultimate comfort food during the college years? Comment below!
1 lb dry pasta, such as rigatoni or bowties, cooked
1 jar of pasta sauce, such as Prego or Barilla
2 chicken breast halves, cut into cubes
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper
Dried basil, oregano, and parsley (or just Italian seasoning)
1 TBSP Olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a deep-sided frying pan. Carefully place the chicken in the pan, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Sauté the cubed chicken until it is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle. Once the chicken is cooked, combine the chicken, the cooked pasta, the jar of sauce, and the mozzarella cheese in a large pan (reuse the one used to cook the pasta, if necessary). Heat on low heat until everything is hot and the cheese is melted. Serve with a salad and some fresh French bread. Enjoy!