Hungarian Goulash and Dumplings

Something a bit different for Christmas?

So usually at this time of year many are gearing up for preparing big meals… Turkey, stuffing, maybe a ham, big platters of fish for Christmas Eve…  I have heard from many people that they may be a bit tired of it.  If you want to try something a bit different check out this recipe for Hungarian Goulash and Dumplings.  *note – above picture is one from the internet not mine but does look similar to what I make – typing this before I actually make this on Christmas Eve…

So, I am usually the one in our family making a big Christmas dinner either on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day.  This year, my cousin is doing Christmas Day and our Christmas Eve will be a bit smaller and quieter with just a few family members and maybe some friends…  My husband is kinda excited because we have decided to do a smaller dinner on Christmas Eve that we haven’t had for a few years – one of his very favourites:  Hungarian Goulash, Dumplings and spaetzle (prounounced Sh-pet-slae) which are basically German noodles.

Truth be told, I am getting excited too.

The Beauty of this recipe

The beauty of this recipe (or more correctly I guess these recipes) for Hungarian Goulash and dumpling is that the dumplings can be prepared ahead of time and frozen, the noodles can be store bought and made just before (I will do them fresh but lets not go there) and the goulash can be done in the slow cooker.  Leaving you free for a relaxing Christmas Eve with little prep to be done!

Here is how:

Here is the recipe for the Hungarian Goulash and Dumplings:

For the goulash – Ingredients:

4 lbs beef (I use stewing beef but you can use chuck or another roast) cut into 1-2 inch cubes

2 strips of bacon or just bacon fat

6 onions (I use 4-5 yellow and 3 shallots)

4 tablespoons of paprika

1.5 teaspoons of salt

2 green peppers cut up coarsely

Instructions for Goulash

Flash fry the beef cubes very quickly and remove from skillet.  Do this in portions so you don’t overcook the meat.  Transfer to a thick pot (I use slow cooker).  Rinse the skillet with a cup of water and add to the pot.  Then chop the bacon and fry it in the skillet. Add the onion and brown lightly.  Stir in paprika and salt and combine with the meat.  Add the uncooked green peppers and then cook slowly for about two hours on lowest heat possible.  Or on low in slow cooker for 4 hours.   This can also be made the day before and reheated!  Serve with Noodles that can be purchased in most international food sections (Spatzele)  and boiled just before serving.   Also can be served with Dumpling recipe below!

Bread Dumpling recipe 

(Zemmel Knodel)  or Bread Dumpling are awesome with Hungarian Goulash 

6 stale kaiser buns or 300 grams french stick or white bread cut in cubes

30 grams lard/crisco

1 Tablespoon chopped onion

parsley and salt

60 g flour

2 eggs

1 cup milk

Cut bread into small cubes and in a separate bowl mix lard, onions and salt.  Mix all with bread curbs and add flour and mix.  In a separate bowl mix eggs and mil and then pour over bread mix and work with hands into dough.  With wet hands form balls (tennis ball size or a bit smaller) and cook in salted boiling water 12 min.

I make these ahead and wrap each individually in saran and freeze.  Remove from freezer and boil when needed.

Winter blues, Seasonal affective disorder and happy lights

I had a hard time picking a title for this blog post

Lots of people have the winter blues and/or actual diagnosed Seasonal affective disorder that starts around this time of year…  some postulate that decreased amounts of sunlight exposure per day is the culprit.

Symptoms can include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

If this sound familiar please talk to your doctor.  Once you have done that and gotten some help and if you are still looking for more help please read on!

One thing that may help is using a very bright light that simulates daylight coming at you indirectly for 30-60 minutes per day while you are doing something else. You know, like typing a blog article.

I blogged a bit about this last year and recommended a light that some of my patients have gotten from a company called Northern Lights.

Here is the link to my previous article for fun:

The patients that have gotten this one, and my awesome friend and chiropractor extraordinaire Emily who also uses it ,  love this brand. (Yes, I guess lots of my friends are chiropractors… school and life and stuff is where I met them).

One draw back – the price tag…  the desk version cost around $200

Good news!

So fall year I was at Costco and what do I see?  I giant pile of a product called “Happy Light” retailing for about $60.00

Cool, I thought and then walked by.

About a week later I felt kinda blah and down.  It had been really grey outside and I thought to myself (for about the 250th time) that I should buy a light for my desk for the winter blues… maybe it would help.

Off to Costco I went.   I couldn’t find the stupid happy light anywhere.  You know how Costco is,  if you don’t buy it when you see it you may never get it again.  Luckily after much searching,  I did find several in the pharmacy.

Consumer report of one

I decided to buy it to test it on me and do a consumer report of one so that I could advise patients (and all of you) to buy it if it works.   If we can help the winter blues for $60 why not?

One of the reasons I sent people to the Northern Lights site was because a family doctor that Emily knows referred her to it originally having said that the wavelengths used in those lights are the ones that help the most.

I did some research.  Apparently it is not agreed upon in the scientific community which light wavelengths are the most helpful.  It should just be a strong white light. Preferably with no harmful UV.

The Happy Light checks both boxes.

How I did with it

I got it back to my clinic and set it up immediately.

Put it around 18 inches away and turned it on to the strong setting.

Had a headache in 3 minutes.

Turned it off.

Headache gone shortly after.

Turned it on to low setting (for afternoon use apparently).

Headache in 5 minutes.


Hmmmm maybe the other light would be better?


Put it farther away from me on the desk – about 2 feet and angled it more away from my eyes.

Turned it on.

ok after 5 mintues but decided to build on it…


I am happy to report that with it about 2 feet away and angled on low I can have it on with no irritation or bother for 30 minutes.  AND I think my mood is better in general.

So I think this one has Costco for the win.  I do recommend it.

I also recommend reading the instructions in the box (which I did not do) and doing the test on yourself for light sensitivity (which apparently I may be so the reading of the instructions would probably have been helpful).

Hope this is helpful!

Potato Latkes

This one isn’t at all healthy but…

Who doesn’t like a fried potato once in a while?  Potato Latkes are traditionally part of Hanukkah Celebrations. They are a great treat – basically they are grated and fried potatoes served with either Sour Cream or Apple Sauce – the great battle over which is best splits families and has raged on probably for over 5000 years.

I’m a rebel, this year I made Potato Latkes for the first time for my family and some friends and I served it with Sour Cream and Apple Butter – I make apple butter every year and was going to post the link to the recipe here but alas I haven’t done a post about that! Crazy.  Will add next week…

Fried potatoes, sour cream, apple butter… It was amazing.

How did this whole thing come about you ask?

It’s actually kinda cute and funny.  I invited a friend and her family over last Sunday.  My plan was to decorate the house for Christmas and make latkes as it was the first night of Hanukkah – Technically we are Christian but my Dad is Jewish and I love the traditions and fun of all cultures really so more to celebrate and experience for me is always a blast.

The friends I invited over are Jewish and at first the mom (one of my closest friends) said they were really too busy – you know how it gets: homework, swimming, birthday party – it was one of those kinds of days. But her 13 year old daughter thought it would be fun so our Christmukkah party tradition was born!

None of them had ever decorated a tree before so all four of them gleefully decorated the tree and put out my Christmas Village while I attempted to make latkes for the very first time (I am GREAT at eating latkes but had never ever attempted to make them before).

  Didn’t they do an awesome job?


Ok, Ok already here is the recipe

This recipe for potato latkes  came from a patient of mine who got it from the Hadasah Wizo cookbook The Kineret Cookbook (hope I am spelling all of that right) – I modified it just a bit because that’s what I do


Feeds 7 people… (it makes a whole mess of latkes!)

5 lb bag of white potatoes peeled

6 eggs

1 onion finely chopped

a bit of salt to taste

3 teaspoons baking powder

6 tablespoons matzah meal (or flour or breadcrumbs I think would work)

lots and lots of vegetable oil.



Grate potatoes on large grating section (I used a food processor which made this super easy) and squeeze out as much water as you can – I lay all the potatoes on paper towel to absorb as much as possible.  In a separate bowl beat eggs well and mix in all other ingredients then mix with the potatoes and mix well with your hands.  Cover the mixture well with saran wrap and put in fridge until you are ready to use.  Please use it on the same day.  The benefit of this is that more water comes out of the potatoes.

When ready make small pancake sized handfuls of potato and put 4-8 at a time on a plate (squeeze out extra water when you are doing this).  Drop these into very hot oil and fry on each side until golden brown – about 5 minutes.

Place on cookie sheets in oven to keep warm and then just before serving blot off extra oil. Serve with Sour Cream and Apple Sauce or Apple Butter.


I hope you try this one – it was great and we made such a lovely new tradition with it this weekend!

Now, someone tell me how I can get my friends back over to put away all the Christmas Decorations in January…