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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Goulash (Crockpot)

I wear many hats at Cook Children's within our Behavioral Health department.  Read more about some of my hats, along with my recipe for Chicken Chili Tacos, here.  Perhaps you've read about my first day working as the unit secretary (if not, click here) and my Layered Taco Dip.  So now when people ask me what I do, it isn't such an easy question to answer.

My long answer? "Well, my primary role is a program/behavior specialist on the psychiatry inpatient unit at the hospital.  If you can't find me there, I will either be... working as a family/intake therapist in the Behavioral Health intake department, teaching parent education at either the hospital or our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), filling in as either the AM or PM secretary, teaching parent education at the Union Gospel Mission, attending Patient Education Counsel meetings, assisting with Family Connection meetings, or educating both junior Cook Children's volunteers and the community about resources available through our department."  Phew! That was a mouth full.  (Does this expression continue to work when blogging?  It was more like a finger full, but that doesn't sound quite right.)

I recently started training in the intake department to help as a family/intake therapist because our intake department is very VERY busy.  Every call for a behavioral health appointment or assistance (psychology, psychiatry, neuropsychology, counseling, immediate emergency help, partial hospitalization, hospitalization, etc.) has to be filtered through the intake office.  Intake usually has 50+ phone calls per day to return to families who are looking for help for their kiddos, in addition to verifying insurance, admitting patients to both our hospital and partial hospitalization program, and assessing emergency situations in the emergency room for children who are unable to keep either themselves or others safe.  My role is working in the office to triage the phones, complete assessments with families and provide resources for families.  I was ecstatic to help them out and gain even more well-rounded experience in the psychiatry department!

My hours working in intake are a little bit more normal than when I work as a program specialist (PS).  PS hours start as early as 6:30am and go until as late as 10:00pm, with occasional overnight shifts, as well.  My intake hours for the past few weeks have been 8:30am-4:30/5:00pm, which is much better for this very NON-morning person.  I don't usually use my crockpot when I am working as a PS because my shifts can vary from 8.5-13 hours, and I don't want my meals cooking that long.  However, the other day I was working in intake, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to put together an 8 hour meal.  I found a Goulash (basically beef stew) recipe on Pinterest, and I thought I'd try it out.  I put everything in the crockpot the night before and stuck the ceramic bowl part in the fridge to make it easier on me the next morning.  If you do this, you need to add about an hour to the cook time since the bowl will be very cold from being in the fridge.  The next morning, all I had to do was set the bowl into the electric part of the crockpot and set the crockpot to cook on low for 8 hours.

We have Italian food often, but I had not had egg noodles in a long time, and they turned out great- they're very light and have almost a nutty taste to them, which is a unique but delicious contradiction to the heartiness of the goulash.  You also have the option to put all of the ingredients into two large Ziplock freezer bags to store in your freezer until you are ready to cook it.  If you do this, wait on the noodles, just freeze the meat & veggies.  Cook the noodles on the day of serving and top them with the goulash.

The more I'm thinking about it, the more my positions at Cook Children's are starting to look like a big ol' pot of goulash.  The dozens of ingredients are kind of like my hats- each one very different and interesting on its own, but, when combined together, make an even more delicious medley of flavor and pizzazz.  A well-rounded meal with a flavor all my own.  "A jack of all trades," I've often been called.  Perhaps... but I prefer to think in food metaphors instead.

Goulash (Crockpot)
Pinterest, altered by Kate Strickland
Servings: 8; Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value: 11

Goulash on egg noodles

  • 3 c chopped onions
  • 2.5 c coarsely chopped green sweet peppers
  • 2 c carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 lbs beef stew meat, cut into one inch cubes
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste
  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 10 oz egg noodles, cooked per instructions on package

  1. Put all ingredients EXCEPT NOODLES in a crockpot
  2. Cook on low for 8-10 hours
  3. Prep noodles as indicated on package
  4. Serve goulash atop noodles

Goulash ingredients laid out and ready to go into my Ziplock bags

Keep on cookin'!

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