Reign On American Chop Suey  – Week 15

Reign On American Chop Suey – Week 15

Everyone has their own comfort foods, I have many but one of my favorites is American Chop Suey. This recipe is what I have come up with that is closest to what my mind remembers as my mother’s plus the red hot pepper flakes. The Pat’s are getting ready to grab the division and top place but they are playing in the nice warm weather, so as we  prepare for 8-12 inches of snow depending where you why not try this nice warm me up game time treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lean Ground beef I MADE FOOD PROCESSOR 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 about 1 tablespoon each
  • Ketchup (optional, not for me)

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How:

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.

Step 1

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.

step 2

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.

step 3

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?

step 4

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Baked Macaroni & Cheese

I loved Mac & Cheese since I was a kid. I can remember in my teens making the Kraft boxed and thinking I was a great chef mixing powered cheese(?) with the freshly boiled tiny little elbow macaroni’s and milk or water. I graduated to the deluxe version that had the cheese(?) as sauce in the can. I was in Mac & Cheese heaven watching Bruin’s hockey a devouring a whole box. It was not until I was transferred to Dallas with 20th Century Fox that I met Paul and Clair who introduced me to Mac & Cheese made from scratch and real chesses. I was sold.

This time I made it with white cheddar and America cheeses, but normally I like a sharp orange cedar cheese. You can use many kinds of cheeses which I have, so experiment. I have found at least to my liking that cheeses that get stringy when melted (i.e. mozzarella) do work but everyone has different taste and who am I to say…..

Mac & Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 pound penne, elbow or cavatappi (corkscrew) macaroni.
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour.
  • 4 cups milk, heated.
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese.
  • 2 cups finely chopped American cheese.
    • Remember you can use more or all cheddar if you want.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Tabasco or hot pepper sauce.
  • ¼ freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

How

In a large pot bring lightly salted water to boil and cook macaroni and cook aldente. Drain well.

Preheat the oven to 350◦ with rack in center. Butter 13”x 9” baking dish, alternatively use a deep 4 quart casserole.

Melt the butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Slowly whisk in the milk. Bring to simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup each of Cheddar and American cheese. Season with salt, pepper and tabasco sauce.

Combine the rest of the Cheddar and American cheese. Spread ½ of the macaroni on the bottom of baking dish. Sprinkle with slight more than half the combined cheeses and then ½ the sauce. Add the remaining of the macaroni top with the cheese and then sauce. Now sprinkle the graded parmesan cheese over the top. If using the 4 quart casserole 1/3 of macaroni, ½ of combined cheeses, 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat with another 1/3 of macaroni and remaining cheese and ½ the sauce.  Finish with the removing macaroni and sauce and then sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese. I prefer the baking dish it is easier to make single servings and you can freeze these for a quick, meal or side. (Add a little water when re-heating in microwave.

Bake until bubbly and golden brown around the edges. About 30 minutes.