Shipwreck Casserole a.k.a. Lynn’s Goulash

Shipwreck Casserole a.k.a. Lynn’s Goulash is really a “Blast from the Past” Sometimes it’s the change of seasons or  sometimes it’s a certain recipe that can bring back fond memories for me. Seasons and Recipes have a way of doing that. Making you remember and take a step back in time.

In the Spring

Spring always brings back memories for me. Memories of my days as a young mom,  Girl Scout Cookies, Dairy Queen re-opening after a long winter off, Little League, Talent Shows and Jefferson School Spring Fling. Bowling Banquets, Kids Spring Recitals.


Shipwreck Casserole

Shipwreck Casserole has been around since the 1940’s. There are several versions of this recipe and
many families seem to have their own version. I don’t remember my mom ever making this casserole. She made many casseroles but never shipwreck casserole.Variations of this recipe are endless. Shipwreck Casserole also goes by: 7-layer Casserole, Cowboy Casserole, Hobo Casserole,  Dinner in a Dish,  7-in-1 Casserole,  Shipwreck Casserole and Goulash.

shipwreck casserole

In Laws

When I was married to my first husband, my sister-in-law Lynn, (her name is also Lynn, we both had the same first, middle and last name at that time), made her version of shipwreck casserole. It was one of two things that Lynn made that I liked, Pistachio Pudding Dessert was the other. We both loved the same “potluck” or “picnic favorite” Special K Bars and we could easily eat a pan of Special K bars, between the two of us.

Healthy Cooking

Lynn wasn’t known for her culinary skills, a fact she won’t deny. In many ways though, Lynn was way ahead of the culinary times of the early ’80’s. She cooked “healthier” way before it was considered “cool” and Lynn was the only person I knew who used ground turkey and/or turkey bacon in the ’80’s. She was also the first person I knew who had a “Science Oven” a.k.a “Microwave Oven.” One of those Huge things that you needed a stand for. I remember being amazed at the fact that you could heat up a baby’s bottle in the microwave oven, instead of in a pan of hot water! Times have changed.

shipwreck casserole

Come for Dinner

I didn’t make this casserole very often when my kids were young, simply because my kids never liked goulash and neither did my first husband.
Whenever Lynn would make “goulash” she’d call me up and invite me to dinner. I’d gladly go over to her house for a bowl of goulash and an ice cold bottle of beer. The two go great together.

Family Favorite

Like all families, Lynn’s family had their own version of goulash. She made goulash in her crock-pot, didn’t brown the ground beef before layering the ingredients in the crock pot, she never used celery and she used uncooked minute rice instead of cooked rice Lynn peeled the potatoes and carrots and cut them into large chunks.

I don’t remember if she topped her “goulash” with cheese but most certainly, she topped her bowl of goulash with ketchup, lots of ketchup! I have never know anyone who loves ketchup as much as she does. I can tell you for certain that Lynn has had a huge part in keeping the Heinz Ketchup Company in business:)

Back in Time

My first husband and I were married for 15 years. During those years, Lynn and I were not only sister-in-laws, we were very close good friends. At that time in our lives, we were both very young, married to brothers and we both had small children the same age. We needed each others friendship and became partners in crime:)

When my marriage came to an end and I married my present husband a couple of years later, our friendship sadly came to an end. That was almost 20 years ago. I miss those early days, days that I thought I would never miss, are now the days that I miss the most. We had some fun times together her and I. I don’t regret any of it. Not one minute! If I could go back in time and spend just one more day, I would. This recipe is for you Lynn….my dear “old” friend:) Thanks for the memories, Love You Lynn.

Below I have included two recipes. One for Lynn’s Crock-pot Goulash recipe and the other is for Traditional Shipwreck recipe. Both ways are delicious.

Shipwreck Casserole

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  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 large baking potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice, wild rice melody, or white rice
  • 2 11.5 oz cans tomato juice
  • 1 15.5 oz can white or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350° Lightly oil a 13 x 9 inch baking dish; set aside.
  • Brown ground beef and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Drain; set aside.
  • Layer casserole dish with onions on the bottom, then potatoes, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, top with carrots and celery, sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper, top with cooked wild rice melody, then top with ground beef. Pour tomato juice evenly over the top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Remove cover, sprinkle cheese on top. Return to oven.
  • Bake until cheese is melted, 5 to 10 minutes.
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