Kid-friendly Mischievous Red Pepper Goulash + Wild Rumpus Buttered Noodles + Green Monster Milkshakes Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Mischievous Red Pepper Goulash + Wild Rumpus Buttered Noodles + Green Monster Milkshakes

Family Meal Plan: Mischievous Red Pepper Goulash + Wild Rumpus Buttered Noodles + Green Monster Milkshakes

Mischievous Red Pepper Goulash + Wild Rumpus Buttered Noodles + Green Monster Milkshakes

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Alexander Prokopenko/
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
15 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Mischievous Red Pepper Goulash + Wild Rumpus Buttered Noodles

This one-skillet goulash is probably in my family's top ten favorite fall dinners. It's simple, healthy, and makes plenty to feed a small army. Goulash is such a flexible recipe, and our Sticky Fingers Cooking version is chock-full of vegetables. This is a go-to recipe that is pretty much impossible to screw up, fun for the whole family to prepare together, and you can modify it to fit whatever you happen to have on hand. If you prefer a meaty version, you can add one pound of your favorite protein to this recipe.What makes goulash different from other stews is paprika, and loads of it. Paprika is a spice made from ground, dried red pepper varieties. The type of red pepper determines how sweet or spicy the paprika will be. My kids love to eat this goulash with buttered egg noodles and a big dollop of sour cream!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Shopping List

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 C frozen spinach
  • 1 T butter, to butter noodles **(see allergy subs below)**
  • sour cream and/or cheese to top goulash **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 C milk **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 C vanilla ice cream **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil or butter
  • 1 tsp all-purpose flour **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 2 T Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper + more to taste
  • 2 tsp salt + more to taste
  • 2 tsp sugar/honey
  • 1 tsp vinegar (any kind will work!)
  • 1/2 lb macaroni or egg noodles **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/4 C chocolate chips **(see allergy subs below)**
  • gummy worms (to top milkshakes)
  • honey
  • 1 C water to thin sauce as needed + more to boil pasta

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • combine :

    to merge two or more ingredients into one mixture, like a batter of flour, eggs, and milk.

  • dice :

    to cut foods into small pieces of equal size so that the food is cooked evenly or looks uniform and pleasant when used in the recipe.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • mince :

    to chop into teeny tiny pieces.

  • sauté :

    to cook or brown food in a pan containing a small quantity of butter, oil, or other fat.

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

Equipment Checklist

  • Blender
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Large skillet + matching lid
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Can opener
  • Large pot


Mischievous Red Pepper Goulash + Wild Rumpus Buttered Noodles

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil (or butter)
  • 1 tsp all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour)**
  • 2 T Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste **(for TOMATO ALLERGY sub puréed roasted red peppers—more info below)**
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper + more to taste
  • 2 tsp salt + more to taste
  • 1 C water, as needed for sauce + more to boil pasta
  • 2 tsp sugar/honey
  • 1 tsp vinegar (any kind will work!)
  • sour cream and/or cheese to top goulash **(Omit for DAIRY ALLERGY or sub dairy-free/nut-free sour cream and cheese)**
  • 2 C macaroni, egg noodles, or rice **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free pasta)**
  • 1 T butter, to butter noodles **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance brand)**

Green Monster Milkshakes

  • 1 C frozen spinach
  • 2 C milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 2 C vanilla ice cream **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free vanilla ice cream)**
  • 1/4 C chocolate chips **(Omit for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY or sub carob chips; for DAIRY/NUT/SOY ALLERGY use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips)**
  • 2 bananas
  • honey to taste
  • gummy worms

Food Allergen Substitutions

Mischievous Red Pepper Goulash + Wild Rumpus Buttered Noodles

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour and gluten-free/nut-free pasta. 
  • Tomato: For 1 6-oz can tomato paste, substitute 1 6-oz jar of roasted red peppers—purée if desired.
  • Dairy: Omit or substitute dairy-free/nut-free sour cream and cheese.

Green Monster Milkshakes

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk and vanilla ice cream. Omit chocolate chips or use Enjoy Life brand.
  • Nut: Omit chocolate chips or use Enjoy Life brand.
  • Soy: Omit chocolate chips or use Enjoy Life brand.


Mischievous Red Pepper Goulash + Wild Rumpus Buttered Noodles


Say "Hello" in Hungarian: "Helló" or "Szia" (See-a)! Goulash is the national dish of Hungary. It's a stew that is delicious served over buttered noodles.

dice + mince + saute

Have kids dice 1 red bell pepper, 1 small zucchini, and 1/2 of a small onion, and mince 1 garlic clove. Heat 1/3 cup of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the veggies together for 5 minutes and sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of flour and 2 tablespoons of paprika until the veggies are tender.

measure + mix

Have kids measure and mix in a 1 can of tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 2 teaspoons salt into the skillet. Next, add up to 1 cup water, a little at a time, if it gets too thick. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid, and simmer for 10 minutes until a thick and rich sauce develops.

boil + toss

While the sauce is simmering, boil a large pot of salted water and cook 2 cups noodles until they're al dente. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon butter and set to the side. You can also serve with rice, potatoes, or any other type of pasta.

stir + simmer

Just before serving the goulash, have kids stir in 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and extra salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for a few more minutes.

dollop + eat!

Serve the goulash warm on top of the buttered noodles or rice and top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese. Enjoy! Shout out "Ez finom!" or "This is tasty!" in Hungarian!

Green Monster Milkshakes

combine + blend + top

Have your kids combine 1 cup frozen spinach, 2 cups milk, 2 cups vanilla ice cream, 2 bananas, and 1/4 cup chocolate chips in a blender and blend until smooth and totally combined. Add honey to taste. Top with gummy worms! Enjoy with your little monsters!

Surprise Ingredient: Bell Peppers!

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Photo by Kritsada Namborisut/

Hi! I’m Bell Pepper!

"Do you like your pizza with green pepper on top? If you do, then you'll like me! I'm a bell pepper, and we come in different colors, like green, yellow, orange, and red. Plus, some of us are a bit sweeter than others. We bell peppers have colorful, glossy skin, and when you bite into one, it will taste fresh and crunchy. We're also very versatile and add distinctive flavor and texture to many dishes!"


  • Bell peppers may be called sweet peppers or capsicum in other countries. They are members of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants.
  • Peppers are native to the Americas. Spain imported their seeds in the late 1400s, and then they spread to the rest of Europe and Asia. Today, China is the largest producer of bell peppers and chili peppers, followed by Mexico, Indonesia, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.
  • The most popular bell pepper in the United States is the green bell pepper. Other peppers sold in the United States are hot peppers (also called chili peppers).
  • November is National Pepper Month!

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Bell peppers are actually fruits, not vegetables! They are technically berries but are most often used as a vegetable. 
  • The bell pepper is a tropical plant, preferring warm, moist soil to grow in.
  • Green and red bell peppers grow on the same plant. However, as the bell peppers mature and ripen, they change from green to red and become sweeter.  
  • Bell peppers are large and bell-shaped. Depending on the variety, they can be brown, white, lavender, or dark purple, but the most common colors for bell peppers are green, yellow, orange, and red. 
  • Bell peppers have crisp, thick flesh and smooth, waxy skin.
  • The scientific name for bell peppers is "Capsicum annuum." The scientific name for hot or chili peppers is "Capsicum frutescens."
  • The "pepper" name came when explorers introduced the plants in Europe. Europeans named them after the peppercorn or black pepper, which is unrelated. 
  • The word "pepper" comes from the Old English "piper," from the West Germanic "pipor," related to the Dutch "peper," from the Greek "peperi," and from Sanskrit "pippalī," meaning "berry," "peppercorn."

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • You want to harvest bell peppers with the right color and sweetness when they're full size. You may want to use all green ones, and so you would pick them at their first stage of ripeness. Many recipes use green bell peppers. Next would be yellow, orange, and then red, the sweetest. You could pick them at each stage if you want multiple colors in your salad, for instance.
  • Bell peppers can be stored in your refrigerator's crisper drawer for one to two weeks. Then, refrigerate cut bell peppers for two to three days and cooked bell peppers for three to five days.
  • Bell peppers are a good choice for dishes where you don't want spicy pepper flavor because they don't produce capsaicin like other peppers. Bell peppers have a mild, sweet taste, but the flavors of other peppers can range from mild heat to extremely hot. A hybrid variety of bell pepper, the Mexibelle, is mildly spicy due to a small amount of capsaicin.
  • Paprika is a powdered red spice made from dried red bell peppers. People often associate paprika with Hungarian cuisine, especially since the name comes from the Hungarian language. However, cooks in many European and other countries use it regularly to color and flavor foods. For example, they add it to soups and stews, sprinkle it over the tops of meats, or add it to other seasonings to make rubs for grilling. Paprika is also often found in sausages. Because red bell peppers are mild and sweet, paprika is usually not as spicy as ground chili pepper. However, paprika can add a little heat to a dish, especially when using certain varieties.  
  • One-half of a medium bell pepper counts as one serving.
  • Bell peppers are good to eat raw or cooked. They are often chopped and added to dishes such as salads, soups, omelets, stir-fries, fajitas, and pizza, but they can also be hollowed out, stuffed with a meat, veggie, and rice filling, and baked. 


  • Bell peppers are a low-calorie food and are 94 percent water. They are also nutritious, with 97 percent of the daily value of vitamin C. Bell peppers of all colors have a high amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene, but the red bell pepper contains 1.5 times the amount of vitamin C and eleven times the beta-carotene as green bell peppers.
  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that improves your immune system to prevent heart disease and cancer. It also helps your body to absorb and store iron. It helps remove excess fluid from your body, reducing pressure in blood vessels. In addition, vitamin C may help reduce elevated blood sugar levels, and it aids in creating collagen, which is needed for wounds to heal. 
  • Beta-carotene gives yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables their color. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant, and it converts to vitamin A in the body, which can help prevent age-related macular degeneration. 
  • Fiber improves your digestive health and, by slowing down the speed of sugar absorption by the body, helps reduce the risk of diabetes. 


History of Goulash!

Photo by Anna Vaczi/
  • Goulash is a soup or stew made with meat and vegetables. It is the national dish of Hungary. The word comes from the Hungarian word "gulyás" (pronounced about the same), which means either "goulash" or "herdsman."
  • When the herdsmen were driving their cattle over the Great Hungarian Plain to market, they would cook a simple soup or stew over an open fire in a cauldron. The ingredients were whatever they brought with them or could find on the Plain, including cattle they may have needed to slaughter on the way. This basic version of goulash may have been prepared as early as the 9th century and would not yet have included paprika. 
  • Paprika was not available in Europe until the 16th century, after Spanish explorers introduced peppers to the region. "Paprika" is the Hungarian word for "peppers." However, this spice, made from mild or hot peppers, did not become popular in Hungary or in goulash until the 19th century, as goulash remained a peasant food for a long time.
  • Tomatoes were not part of early recipes and did not come into use until the first half of the 20th century.
  • There are several variations of Hungarian goulash, even in Hungary! They use different meats, vegetables, and seasonings.

Let's Learn About Hungary!

Photo by Yasonya/ (Budapest and Danube River)
  • Hungary is a Central European country with many bordering neighbors: Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria. It is landlocked and relatively flat, with low mountains in the north. 
  • Hungary's total area is 35,920 square miles, and it has a population of about 9,730,000. The official language is Hungarian. English and German are also widely spoken, and some university courses are taught in those languages.
  • The government is a unitary parliamentary republic with a president, prime minister, and a legislature called the National Assembly.
  • Hungary's capital and largest city is Budapest. The Danube River flows through Budapest. 
  • Lake Balaton, a popular resort area for tourists, is the largest lake in central Europe at 48 miles long and 8.7 miles wide. Hungarians refer to it as the "Hungarian Sea." 
  • Franz Liszt was a famous Hungarian composer and pianist in the early 19th century. 
  • Hungarian athletes, especially in water polo, swimming, and football (soccer), have had much success at the Olympic games. Soccer is the country's most popular sport.
  • Hungary has made significant advances in science and technology. Eleven Hungarian scientists have been recipients of a Nobel Prize (two more Hungarians won in other fields). Albert Szent-Györgyi won in 1937 for his work in discovering vitamin C.
  • Popular Hungarian dishes besides goulash include chicken paprikash (chicken stew with lots of paprika), "halászlé" (fisherman's stew), and Dobos torte (six thin layers of sponge and chocolate buttercream, topped with caramel).

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Hungary?

  • Children 3 to 16 years are required to go to preschool, primary, and secondary school. Most schools are public and are free for Hungarian kids to attend, including university. 
  • The sports kids participate in include soccer, handball, water polo, swimming, and ice hockey. 
  • There are several zoos, wildlife parks, and national parks to visit in Hungary. In addition, the "Halászbástya" or Fisherman's Bastion is one of the country's best-known places for families to tour. It is in Budapest along the Danube River and near the Buda Castle. 
  • For breakfast, kids may eat "tejberizs" (rice pudding) or "tejbegríz" (semolina pudding) with milk, cocoa powder, and sugar on top. Before lunch, they may have a light snack called "tizórai" or "second breakfast." Lunch is a stew or pasta with soup first. A light meal or snack between lunch and dinner is called "uzsonna," consisting of cake, fruit, pastry, or a sandwich. 
  • Popular sweet snacks include Túró Rudi (a chocolate-covered bar of cheese curd) and "palacsinta" (Hungarian sweet pancakes or crepes).

Lettuce Joke Around

What did mama cow say to baby calf?

It’s pasture bedtime.

THYME for a Laugh

Why are spinach leaves never lonely? 

Because they come in bunches!

Lettuce Joke Around

How do you make a milkshake?

Give a cow a pogo stick!

Lettuce Joke Around

What do ghosts eat?


Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call a cow that doesn’t give milk?

A milk dud!

THYME for a Laugh

What does an invisible man drink?

Evaporated milk!

THYME for a Laugh

What’s a dancer’s favorite kind of vegetable?


Lettuce Joke Around

What kind of vegetable likes to look at animals? 

A zoo-chini!

That's Berry Funny

Why didn't the bell peppers do archery?

Because they didn't habanero.

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