1 pound lean ground beef (93%)
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can petite-diced tomato (14.5-ounce)
2 cans hot water (14.5-ounce)
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
8 ounces cooked elbow macaroni or small shells
1 can of peas (14.5 ounce), lightly drained


1. Heat a heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
2. Add the ground meat, onions and garlic and sauté until cooked through. Drain the grease if desired. (For an easy way to drain the grease, scrunch up some paper towels and place them in the pan with the meat. Using tongs, soak up the grease by moving the paper towels around the bottom of the pan. Remove the paper towels from the pot with the tongs and discard them. 
3. Turn up the heat to medium-high. Stir in the tomatoes, water, salt, pepper and parsley to the pot and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Add cooked pasta and stir.
6. Add canned peas. Stir again.
7. Cover and simmer for 2-3 more minutes.
8. Ladle into warm bowls and serve.

Enjoy! Recipe coutesy of Helene Spoto, Helene's Custom Cuisine, 2011.

What comes to mind when you hear, "Let's have American Chop Suey for dinner tonight?" Well, for someone like me who was born and raised near Philadelphia, I start thinking about Chinese food. Maybe it's an Americanized version of chop suey that may not be as spicy with less ginger, garlic and chili paste, like Tex-Mex or Italian-American cuisine. That would make sense, right? Wrong. Any self-respecting New Englander knows that American Chop Suey has absolutely nothing to do with Chinese food. It's ground beef ("hamburg"), macaroni, tomato sauce and peas. Did I miss something? As it turns out, I was missing something delicious.

Known in other parts of the country as beef and macaroni or even beef goulash, this recipe is an old family favorite and a five star comfort food. My mother-in-law, Irene's version uses peas while others use green beans or bell peppers. Some recipes use rice in place of macaroni while still others insist that cheese be added. This New England classic has endless variations and is only limited by a cook’s imagination. As I was preparing for the how-to cooking video for this recipe, I asked friends to share their stories and memories about it. Although they loved reminiscing about eating it as a child and are now serving it to their own kids, asking them for specifics about ingredients was met with some resistance. Apparently, some family recipes are closely guarded secrets and not shared casually in open conversation. I was more likely to be pulled aside (if we were good enough friends) and told in a whisper while a hand was cupped around my ear.

American Chop Suey has been a staple in my home for many years. As with all of my recipes, this one has evolved over time to fit my busy and healthier lifestyle. It's quick and easy to prepare, however, even though it's lighter in fat and calories, it's loaded with flavor. The best part is I'm willing to share my recipe with you and no one has to get hurt.

Okay, I'll admit it. I will never understand why this wonderful dish is called American Chop Suey. However, a quote from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet seems fitting. "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

This video was filmed in the Kitchen Showroom at Baron's Major Brands Appliances, Salem, NH.

American chop suey. When you're looking for comfort food, it's one of those one pan meal. That's kind of perfect for me. Not sure how it got its name but it's a very New England thing.

We have chopped onion and garlic. You'll notice that I'm not crying after cutting the onion. One of the secrets to not crying when you're cutting an onion is about 15 minutes before you're going to chop it, put it in the freezer. When you're cutting it, it's still cold enough that all the liquids don't start dispersing and you will not cry.

The onions and garlic are at the bottom of the pan. And I'm going to put my meat right in with the onion and garlic. I'm using 93% ground beef. It's very lean.

And you'll also notice something else. I'm not using any oil. There is enough oil in this ground beef just to keep things soft and sizzling. But you still won't have as much fat. This has been sauteing and the onions are turning clear as well as the garlic.

We have canned petite diced tomato. And you stir that in. Then I'm going to turn heat up and add some water. We need some salt for flavor, freshly ground pepper, and dried oregano.

Love dried oregano but don't use too much. I prefer the dry. The fresh is very, very strong.

Once you stir that together, you can cover it and let it cook for about five minutes. I've allowed this to simmer for about five minutes. It's still bubbling.

The meat is cooked. It has a very nice smell. You can tell it's done.

Parsley is the next ingredient, just a quick chop running your knife through. But be really careful so you don't cut your fingers. That's nice and fine. In the pot. Another stir.

The multi-grain pastas taste delicious nowadays. So don't be afraid to give it a try. This is multi-grain elbow macaroni. Give that a stir.

Canned peas. You can use frozen peas but we happen to like canned peas better. Add the can. Just lightly drain them. You want a little bit of that moisture.

Give this a quick stir again. The macaroni and the peas have been added along with the parsley. I'll give that a little stir.

And all you want to do is cover and let it simmer for five minutes. A few minutes has passed. It's time to serve. Just give it one last stir.

It is a lovely color. One pan meal, very easy to make, delicious, healthy for you. American chop suey, has nothing to do with Chinese food. But I'll tell you, it's one of the great comfort foods. And you'll really enjoy making this.

American Chop Suey
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