American Chop Suey and a bonus Mom’s receipe

Everyone has their own comfort foods, I have many but one of my favorites is American Chop Suey. Last summer when out to lunch with my Brother and Nancy the special of the day was American Chop Suey both my brother and I let out a gasp and our minds were made up. It was a disappointment not what Mom used to make, the taste in my mind was not met. I believe Mike felt the same way. For years I have tried this combination and that never matching my mom who swore she did not remember it had been years since she had made it for us. Then one day I came real close and have stuck to it since changing it ever so slightly every time I make it since I cook from the gut. My wife is not a fan of American Chop Suey so it is not made that often but it was today. Oh ya read below this recipe see what I found.


  • 1 lb. lean Ground beef
  • 1 onion chopped roughly
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper cored, seeded and chopped
  • 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 lb. box Elbow macaroni
  • Salt, pepper, oregano, basil, red-hot pepper flakes to taste
  • Ketchup (optional, not for me)


In a fry pan cook hamburger, onion, and celery until meat is browned and the veggies are limp but still have some crunch left. While browning chop up the beef into small chunks. Drain off the grease.

Crush tomatoes by hand over the pan, pour in the juice from the can and the tomato sauce.

Add whatever spices you are comfortable with. I use salt, pepper, oregano, basil, (I suppose a short cut could be Italian seasoning mix) a good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes depends on your hotness taste. Add the chopped green pepper at this point I feel it kept them a little crunchier but I suppose you could add in the first step.

Bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes.

Meanwhile, bring five quarts of water to a boil, add the macaroni, and cook for about five minutes. The pasta should be aldente, not thoroughly cooked. Drain, return to pot and add the contents of the other pan. Gently simmer for five minutes to finish cooking the macaroni and to let it absorb the liquid.

Remove from heat, and put it to the side. I find that letting it sit for at least a half hour lets the flavors really come together I also stir occasionally to help cool and not over cook the pasta.

Ok now I was raised to top with ketchup when served but this is strictly optional, it just does not taste right to me without, what can I say?

Mom’s American Chop Suey (The card was numbered 87)

Mom passed in February and while cleaning out her condo my wife came across a little tin that had Mom’s recipes and there it was American Chop Suey. Now there is no way to know if this was what I had grown up with and how she may have morphed it but here is her recipe.

Maybe someday I will try this but for now I really like mine.

The index card had this information.

2 cups of elbow macaroni cooked 9 min and drained.


  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tbsp. salad oil
  • 1 lbs. chopped beef
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. Accent, salt, pepper

Drain fat and add:

  • 1 can tomato sauce (Hunt’s)
  • 3 cups tomato puree #2 ½ can (does this mean 2 and ½ cans)
  • ¼ tsp. instant bouillon
  • ½ oregano
  • Sprinkle with salt

Cook 10 minutes

Add cooked macaroni; simmer covered 1 hour

Mrs. Lawrence (Harriette) Pearlman – anyone remember her?


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