Classic American Chop Suey

American Chop Suey is a dish that is perfect for the cold winter months. The ultimate comfort food: it’s so easy to make and doesn’t dirty many dishes! This dish reminds me of home as my mom used to make it often. The thing that I love most about this dish is it makes SO much it’ll feed you for several meals.

Serves: 8 – Cooktime: 45 minutes – 1 hour


  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium-large white onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/4 finely chopped fresh parsley
  • About 10 basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced or pureed tomatoes
  • 1, 1-lb jar of traditional pasta sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • Shake of hot red pepper flakes & parsley flakes – OPTIONAL
  • Salt & Pepper to season


1.) Prep: Mince garlic and fresh parsley. Finely chop onion and bell pepper. Chiffonade basil leaves.

2.) Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a medium saucepan on medium heat. Brown ground hamburger, this should take about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain meat. (To do this I place paper towels on a plate and scoop meat out of pan to place on the towels. Any excess fat will be soaked up!)

3.) In a large pot or stovetop-safe ceramic dish, add rest of olive oil and garlic. Cook till fragrant, about 30 seconds. Constantly stir garlic around pan to avoid sticking. Add onions & peppers and stir to completely cover with oil. Add S&P to season. Cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes.

4.) To ensure that your pasta is done as your sauce is ready, fill a pot with hot, salted water. Put burner on high and place covered pot on top. Once water is boiling, add elbow macaroni and cook for allotted time (8-10 min). Stir frequently to avoid pasta from sticking.

5.) Add meat in with the sautéed peppers and onions and add either tomato puree or diced tomatoes (these come in cans from the grocery store). Add 1 jar of any tomato sauce you like (I had a few open in my fridge so I used a combo of several different sauces). When I finish a jar of pasta sauce, I will always rinse the jar out with a little water and add this to the sauce. This prevents the sauce from getting too thick. Don’t add too much water! Just enough to clean out the inside of the jar. Add tomato paste (to help thicken), and sugar.

6.) To season: add oregano, italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Add 1 shake of hot pepper flakes (optional), and S&P. I also added in a couple shakes of parsley flakes in addition to the fresh parsley. Stir seasoning into sauce. Turn down heat to medium low and cover. Let cook for 10 or so minutes, occasionally stirring to avoid sauce from sticking to bottom of pan. Add in parsley and basil with about 2 minutes left. Stir in well.

7.) Drain pasta and add to sauce. Turn off heat and stir pasta into sauce. Cover for 2 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil, parsley, parmesan, or all three!

8.) Enjoy!!

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