Sunday, March 15, 2009

You call it American Chop Suey, I call it homemade Hamburger Helper

I have some bad news. My trusty laptop has stopped recognizing that it's plugged in, and it only has about 20 minutes of juice left. Right now I'm using Alex's Mac, which is fine (I guess), but I don't have the cord to hook my camera up to it. My laptop has this nice little slot where I just stick my memory card and poof, my pictures are uploaded. So this might be my last post for a while, unless I can quick squeeze in another session or figure out some way to get my pictures from my camera onto the computer without the cord (and without buying anything new). I'm taking my computer to the doctor tomorrow (don't worry, it's still under warranty for another few months) so cross yuor fingers they can fix it right then and not have to *sob send it away! Cross your fingers for me guys, I don't want to take a vacation from posting!

The good news is that this is a really good recipe, and takes maybe a half an hour from start to finish, and is delicious and cheap. It's also really flexible, you can switch out the ground beef for pork or chicken or sausage or whatever you want, and switch up the veggies and cheese.
American Chop Suey
This dish has as many names as variations.

1 lb ground meat
1 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
one package of mushrooms, sliced (I used shiitake but feel free to use button or crimini or anything else)
2 t paprika (I used one each of hot and smoked but use whatever you have)
1 t chili powder
1 t thyme
salt and pepper
a handful frozen corn
a can (or jar) of tomato sauce (about two cups)
1 c stock (or milk)
pasta of your choice (I used about 6 oz of Mrs Leepers rice spirals)
1 c shredded cheese (or more, cheddar or mozzarella are good)
Optional: more vegetables, such as diced carrots or peppers, sliced green beans, or any other vegetable you like. You can also splash in a bit of Worcestershire sauce if you'd like.

Heat the oil in a large pan (big enough to hold everything). Add the beef and brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the beef to a bowl, draining off all but about a tablespoon of fat. Return the pan to the heat and cook the onions until softened, then add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are starting to brown, but nothing is burning. Add any other vegetables (except frozen corn or peas) that you're using with the mushrooms. Add the paprika, chili and thyme, some salt and pepper, and stir to coat. Add the meat back in, add the corn, and then dump in the sauce and stock and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta, cover, and cook 8-10 minutes, until the pasta is cooked. Stir in cheese right before serving, and then sprinkle with another bit of cheese when you're plating. This makes enough to serve 4 (recipe can be halved or doubled).


  1. Anonymous11:08 AM

    What kind of laptop do you have? I have an HP, and it was recently doing the same thing, plugged in but not recognising. I took out the battery for an hour or so to let it cool down and when I put it back in, everything was fine!

    So, it may just be that your battery is overheated a little.

  2. It's a Toshiba. The problem I'm having is common I guess, which sucks. It's the hole that the cord plugs into in the computer, it's all loose and wiggley and not connecting anymore. Part of the day yesterday it was seeing the charge sometimes, but now it's just not recognizing that it's plugged in at all so I can't use it. :(

  3. This meal sounds so good I am going to have to try it for myself! :)

  4. Anonymous4:56 PM

    I love the colored pasta! Dish looks so good, my roommate used to be a big fan of hamburger helper, I will have to try this some time.

  5. This sounds very much like the Chop Suey my grandmother used to make allllll the time. It may be time to show it to MY family. :) Thanks!

  6. Anonymous9:46 PM

    Pasta to sauce ratio seems a bit off. Needz more pazta.