I have to imagine that most of us have a few dishes in our culinary memories that we ate (at least seemingly) over and over again when we were kids. Perhaps even to the point where we got sick of them and couldn’t imagine eating them again… until you find yourself in your late 30s, with three kids of your own, and are craving comfort food.
Enter: Chop Suey. Now, if you grew up outside of New England you might know it as goulash or beefaroni. But I’ve always known it as chop suey. We ate this all the time in the 80s, and I can certainly understand why: it’s relatively frugal, it makes a ton, and it’s easy to like. It certainly passed the test in my house when, after two helpings, my oldest requested to take it to school for lunch the next day. Chop suey is also a great make-ahead meal. It reheats extremely well!
Mom’s American Chop Suey
olive oil or butter
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 lb. ground beef
salt & pepper
3 c. (give or take) of spaghetti sauce (for my mom’s authentic recipe, feel free to use Ragu – it’s the only sauce my brother and I would eat as kids)
1 box of elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat, but it’s your choice)
In a deep skillet, heat olive oil or butter, add onions and peppers, season, and saute for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, start a pot of water boiling and cook the macaroni to the package directions. Drain. Add ground beef to the onions and peppers and cook through. Add spaghetti sauce to the beef mixture and mix well. Add the macaroni and stir everything up until evenly coated.
At this point, you can either serve it or place into a casserole dish and let cool and refrigerate for later.
When I was little I would painstakingly pick out every onion and pepper piece and then I’d pile on shredded cheddar cheese. These days I happily eat the onions and peppers, but I find that the cheddar is still a great addition.