American chop suey

Has nothing to do with Chinese food (then again, only in Boston do Chinese restaurants serve French rolls): Macaroni with hamburg, a little tomato sauce and a bit of onion and green pepper.

Take-out American chop suey at Roche Bros:

Chop suey!

Glossary: 

Comments

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I grew up eating American Chop Suey. It was nice to read of not only this Bostonian classic dish, but all of the other many things that make Boston, and New England, so unique.

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My grandparents moved to Florida back in the 60's from Boston and my grammy gave my mom the recipe for American chop suey. I love it!!! For some reason it tastes better the day after you cook it. Don't forget the salt!

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I grew up in Boston, but moved Upstate NY in college. Out there they kept trying to feed me "Goolash"... which I ran about 10 miles from until a fellow Bostonian explained to me that it was just American Chop Suey. My NY friends still don't let me live it down.

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I had american Cop Suey as a kid growing up in Maine. It was always my favorite dish.At work I mentioned it to my co-workers who thought I was crazy when I told them about it. Today Sept 14 in the tower of Usairwaysmy co-worker Gail made the dish and brought it to work and everyone is raving how good it is. Try putting in peas and carrots as she did.

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I remember my mother-in-law was out of tomato sauce one Sunday (stores were closed in Mass. way back then) so she used some Heinz ketchup along with the beef, onions, peppers & elbow macaroni. That was the start of a new low cost budget stretcher. And it was better than some of the stuff at the cafeteria at work too. After about a 15 year gap I found myself making it to stretch my food money and it really brought me back. She's gone now but this will always remind me of her Yankee ingenuity.

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american chop suey kid....i luv it, my motha makes it once a month and we neva eat it on the first day, you gotta eat it afta its been refrija-ated.....then throw it in the frying pan with some butta, add salt and ya good ta go.....high pahk style baby

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The first time I was making it for my husband (native Floridian), he just looked at me funny. He ate it, and he's definitely a fan now, but I think the concept baffles people who haven't grown up with it.

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I grew up with American Chop Suey and never realised the rest of the country didn't eat this until I moved out of the Boston area. It's one of my fav's and my kids too!! I use tomato soup and stewed toms w/peppers and onions..it's a little sweeter than the tom sauce...but definately do not forget salt and pepper!!! It's also good with ground turkey and whole wheat pasta for those being healthier!!! I use the whole wheat w/ground beef, but it always HAS to be elbow mac.

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Please Please Please!!!! I had the recipe for american chop suey and lost it. I know its not that hard to make but... everytime I make it, I cant get that american chop suey taste. Please does anyone have the recipe? I am from MA and could really use it...

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We have American Chop Suey every once and awhile, and can rarely make enough to satisfy everybody (My mom got this hugeass frying pan just for this). What I know it as is a little different, though...we use Franco-American spaghetti (the canned stuff) and of course ground hamburger. "Wicked good" stuff either way.

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I called my mom today because I was pondering the name "American Chop Suey". Why is it called that, I asked. She had no idea, but thought it was a New England thing. We moved away when I was a kid, and I never noticed that nobody knew what I was talking about. I guess I haven't made it in a long time. Well, I did make it tonight, and we did eat it tonight (leftovers are for Mommy, add a little more salt please!) As a transplanted Yankee in Texas, I'm proud to call this comfort food by it's proper name and my Texan children will grow up on it too.

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I called my mom today because I was pondering the name "American Chop Suey". Why is it called that, I asked. She had no idea, but thought it was a New England thing. We moved away when I was a kid, and I never noticed that nobody knew what I was talking about. I guess I haven't made it in a long time. Well, I did make it tonight, and we did eat it tonight (leftovers are for Mommy, add a little more salt please!) As a transplanted Yankee in Texas, I'm proud to call this comfort food by it's proper name and my Texan children will grow up on it too.

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As simple as ACS is, it's downright fancy compared to its possible ancestor, Elbows n Tomatoes, a dish favored by some Italian families I know. It would be interesting to list all the dishes like E-n-T that date to pre-Vatican II Fridays (or to when people couldn't afford meat all the time).

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I love American chop suey....grew up in maine and mom use to make it quite often.Moved to Arizona and told a few people and they thought i was nuts....didnt know what it was they say goolash but to me its american chop suey.Going to make it tonight.but it is better the next day.Yummy!!!!!

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I remember reading this book when I was little... Confused the hell out of me, because they kept talking about chop suey, but by what they were saying it was definitely not good old American Chop Suey (one of my favorites). Never figured out exactly what they were talking about, but I think regular chop suey is Chinese food.

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Im still looking for the recipe for american chop suey. I dont really think the original chop suey had garlic in it. I do know it had onions and celery. I would love to make it for my husband, where he isnt from new england and has never had it. Can anyone help? Thanks

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re: American chop suey

ok..here it is. depending on how close to payday you are either 1/2lb or 1lb of hamburgh. Break up hamburgh as you fry in very large pan. add to hamburgh as frying 1/2 onion chopped plus about a cup of chopped celery. Keep cooking till all red has gone from meat and celery and onion are cooked. Add 1lb can of either tomatoes or stewed tomatoes some ground pepper and salt. You can also add about a quarter cup of ketsup if you like that taste. Let all this simmer uncovered while you cook your macaroni. When macaroni is done, drain and add to meat mixture, turn off stove and let sit allow flavors to mix. Always better the second day and delicious served with texas toast or garlic bread.

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My God don't you people know what good is ? And try the following American Chop Suey recipie. Kick ass to die for!Growing up in the hill towns of MA. Grandmothers and moms cooked and cooked gooood as Andy Taylor use to say.I cook all the time, everything from soup to stuffed shrimp however I don't measure many ingredients, but judge you're needs.Start out browning some 93% ground beef,and don't drain that little bit of fat and juice from the meat.You're using 93% beef,that's quality and it will ad such flavor! After beef is cooked ad small diced onion,green pepper,can diced or sliced stewed tomatoes with juice,salt, fresh ground pepper ad other spices if you wish. cover and simmer until veggies are the consistency you like.Meantime cook elbow mac.drain,rinse back in the pot ad beef mixture stir and serve.Don't want mixture soupy just nicely mixed maybe a salad or crusty bread but you will want seconds!For 2 people 1lb.93% ground beef,1 med onion+green pepper med. dice ea.1 14 oz.can stewed tomatoes w/juice spices to taste salt,ground pepper,crushed red pepper,parsley.1 cup uncooked elbows, after cooking will be double in size.

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I call it goulash and i always use garlic try it with some crumbled up fried bacon its not original chop suey but it gives it that salt taste that American chop suey needs. mix the bacon in once its all done put in refigerator until the next day rewarm and it um um good! I have also made the meat mixture (without the macaroni) and frozen it for later use quick easy and delicious.

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This was always a staple in my house growing up in Mansfield, and when I moved away from Mass., my friends were baffled by the idea. For them, "chop suey" meant something you'd find in a Chinese restaurant! ACS is definitely a New England tradition, always bettah the day aftah! A friend of mine from Texas found this site and has been reading it faithfully to figure out just what the heck I'm talking about. Thanks so much for the entire site - it's a wicked pissa, boy gawd! Go Pats!

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for those of you who call it "american chop suey" don't forget that chop suey was invented in america, just like most of the food you find in a chinese restaurant. and you certainly won't find these things in china!

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hi i grew up in maine and mom cooked american chop suey she used green peppers onions and 2 cans campbells tomato soup and a can of tomatoes she fried the hamb in butter and drained it i use now a little tobasco to spice it up. jsut dont add the can of tomatoes till last so it will not be dry. its funny im here cause im cooking it for my handicapped son tonight lol

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Supposedly, Johnny Marzetti is a casserole created in the 1920s by the owner of the Marzetti Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. It's made from meat, pasta and either tomato sauce, soup or juice.So, yes Greg, basically the same thing as American Chop Suey.I just made it tonight, although I call it 'baked spaghetti' and my husband calls it 'Johnny Marzetti.' Someone asked me what the heck it was so I did a little googling and found this conversation.

re: American chop suey

French rolls - a possible explaination is that the Chinese serving French rolls in Chinatown were from Southeast Asia, either from Vietnam or heavily influenced by it. French rolls (with curry, with pho, as part of a quick lunch) are remnants of French colonization of Indochina, modern day Vietnam. There are also other mixes such as Japanese curry, Hong Kong style English breakfast, Chinese bakeries serving Western-style cakes, Asian influenced ice cream (green tea, ginger, red bean), etc.

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Yeah, we too used to eat the stuff...but in our family we called it "slungonian"...don't know where that name came from, but me & my sisters always know, to this day, if one of us is having "slungonian" we know exactly what that means.Ginny

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Jeezum Crow, I can't tell you how thrilled I am by this website. I'm from New Hampshire, where I grew up eating American Chop Suey at least three times a week all through elementary and middle school. When you eat it that often, it kind of loses the romance, if you know what I'm talking about. When I was a tike I thought it was something that everyone ate, the whole world around. Later, after reading some book or other on New England, I learned that it was a dish local to NH and Maine. Apparently Boston, too, I now discover. I'm in Italy right now, and I'm dying for a dish of that stuff (I have visions of the little bowl floating atop a leaf of iceberg lettuce at Timonleon's Restaurant up to Keene), but oddly enough (given the ingredients), you can't find anything to touch it here. The place is full of hotshot chefs, but they can't satisfy the simple tastes of a New Hampshireman.

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I grew up in the worcester area and had this for school lunch I loved it my Mother couldn't understand how I liked this since we were Italian! This wasn't a real sauce! We live in Florida now and I have tried to make it according to memory it hasn't worked. I will try a couple of these recipes to see if it comes close to my Shrewsbury Lunch Menu.Thanks for the memories and a fun site

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My grandmother used to make what she called Chop Suey and it went like this.one package of ground beef (you can never have too much)three cans of tomato soup (must be campbells)one onion and salt and peppercook your ground beef with onion and boil spaegetti noodlesnow take a casserole dish and layer your spaegetti meat and soup alternativley until you fill your dish and bake at 300 c for a half an hour uncovered and 15 covered.This is delicious and also tastes the best the next day even cold

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Thanks to all the good recipes I finally got it right, I used "Just Mike's" recipe, left out the green pepper browned the meat in butter and enjoyed!My daughter and son stopped over while we were eating and tasted it--- just as they remembered it. I am sure I will be making it again and again. Thanks for bringing back the memories.

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American Chop Suey! a Mainers staple for sure. I don't remember if we had it as a child at home with 13 kids but we did have it in school. The recipe (I just finished eating two bowls of) went like this, brown 1 lb. ground beef/hamburg w/ 1 chopped onion, add a can of tomato paste a can of campbells tomato soup and a can of stewed tomatoes, let simmer while elbow macaroni is cooking, drain macaroni and return to pot, add hamburg tomato mix and stir, (I always leave out the salt because we add it to our own taste and I also add butter to my bowl)I never used stewed tomatoes until my mother-in-law made her's but she left out the soup so to appease my husband I added the tomatoes and still add the soup) My youngest son moved to AZ and his gf never heard of it so I had to go there and make it for him and give her the recipe. ENJOY

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I just made this for a neighbor's family and while they thought it was delicious, they were confused with the name! I grew in MA but live in PA now. He said they call it goulash here. I use homemade sauce and hamburger. I recently switched to whole wheat elbows. It is better the next day!!!

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I attnended Sacred Heart school in Milford MA. during the early 70's and we used to have ACS and I miss it so much...bless the ladies in our cafateria that made it for us...it was the best...I live In palm springs CA. and these ding bats have never heard of it.

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OK, so I am born and raised Arizona girl and my boyfriend is from MA, when we first started dating about seven years ago he asked if I would make him some ACS. I had no idea what he was talking about! We have nothing like this in AZ, we actually had to call his mom in Maine to get a reciepe for me! We eat it all the time now and it brings back great memories for my boyfriend of his New England childhood. Great Site!!!! ;-)

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Growing up in the 60's/70's my family often ate elbow macaroni with meat sauce...didn't realize it was ACS until adulthood...The stuff they served at school lunch as ACS had cubed green peppers (yuck!) in it, so I thought it was a different thing all together.

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I can testify that it's made in Minn. and So. Dak. as well, likely throughout the Upper Midwest. The receipe is the same here, although it normally goes by the unappealing name of goolosh or just casserole. Also, the specific ingredients aren't always the same. Whatever is available finds its way into the dish. I supsect that's the same in Boston.

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I love American Chop suey - I am about to make it tonight... Have you ever tried adding cheese to the mixture? To me, it just wouldn't be the same without it... my mother typically uses american cheese, but I can't get that here - so it will have to be cheddar - give it a try! Just throw a few slices over the finished product - pop it in the oven for an extra minute or two and then stir it in!

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To Ginny who responded on 1/10/06: Your name, "slungonian", is the closest to what my mom called the dish (we called it slumgullion). She grew up in depression-era New Jersey, so I always thought it came from there. Ours was made with ground beef, chopped onions, and either Franco-American spaghetti or SpaghettiO?s!

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In my house, we called it "Goulash" and was made with tomato soup!! Yum, I still love it. I think that was only in my house though, because my friends thought I was crazy, until they tried some. lol

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This is too funny! A friend of mine came over last night and gave me her goulash (We now live in AZ and are from Mass.) I saw it and thought of the days of American Chop Suey for school lunch!! The girl that made it is from PA. I used to love it and now I will be making it for dinner tonight! My husband is thrilled!!

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I grew up in Maine and ACS was on the menu at least once a week for suppa. I really did not like it as a kid. But the funny thing is, after living for 15 years in South East Asia (Bali) When I am home sick, this is the one comfort food I crave most! And when I return to the States, it is the first thing I will cook too! I like it best with Pine Cone brand canned tomatoes, lots of onion, garlic and "hamburg". YUMMY!My husband who is from Bali likes it too! It is his favorite American food!

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American Chop Suey was as much a part of my up-bringing, in the Boston suberbs, as Saturday night hot dogs and baked beans.I married New Jersey, but ACS came with me and when my kids were due home from college, there was always a pot of it on the stove.A recipe? I never followed one --- I just did it! And green peppers? Huh?I always thought it was just a dish my Mother threw together and called it ACS, until I was at an old time diner in NH and it was on their menu. My respect for this noble dish was sparked and has only grown over the years.

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I saw it on a cooking show last night and was immediately transferred back to elementary school. I don't know when I had it last, but now I want some. Growing up in the Boston suburbs, I had no idea it wasn't universally known. I figured everyone ate it for hot lunch at school and knew it as ACS, but the cooking show guy was baffled. Funny stuff. Now if I could only find the Fall River Portuguese lemon rolls, I'd be set.

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Heh! I always thought it was a family recipe...never knew it was a regional thing! My Mom was born and raised in Boston, my Dad was from Worcester, but although I was born in Boston, we moved when I was 3 and I've never been back. We make it starting with frying bacon - 4 slices, and then removing the bacon, draining it and later crumbling it into the mix. Add the onion(1 med, chopped) and green peppers(about 1/4 cut small) to the bacon grease left in the pan, and when the onion is transparent, add the hamburg and cook till the red is gone. Add a 1 lb can of diced tomatoes, and mix it all up, including the crumbled bacon. When you start frying the bacon, start the water for the macaroni, and when the macaroni is done, mix it into the hamburg mix. Put it into a baking pan, and top it with american cheese or cheddar if you prefer. Big shallow pans give more surface for cheese! but smaller deep ones work as well. I use 1 pound of hamburg and 2 cups of uncooked macaroni for 4-6 people, but as someone said, if you end up with more people or if it's a stretch till pay day, it's adjustable.Saw this (ACS) mentioned on the Food Channel the other day as a NH regional dish...I had no idea! Theirs was more tomato saucy then mine...

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I caught the tale end of a Food Network show (Diners, etc.) that featured a segment on American Chop Suey. I missed the ingredients to check and see if they were similar to my own. My Mom made it regularly back in Mansfield, MA and that was MANY years ago. The whole family loved it. I made it for my family and after they were grown and gone, just never made it much after. I will go home tonight and make a pot. The ingredients are always in the pantry or freezer. It was fun reading the comments and recipes. I am a green pepper afficionado when it comes to ACS and tomato paste rather than soup. I am SO hungry for that taste right now!!!

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Well I"ll be darn. I cannot believe that this recipe actually exsists. My mom has been making this dish since I was a wee one and we always called it Hamburger Noodle Casserole (although we didn't bake it so it is actually not a casserole. I am from the midwest and she got it from a friend of her who was from a family of 9 kids.My family now loves this dish and I just can't believe that this simple little dish draws so much attention. We always made it with Campbells Tomato Soup but as I see it is actually make with tomato sauce so I will have to try it that way.The things you find on Food Tv and the internet.

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1 medium Onion1 package celery2lbs hamburgerParmasen cheese2 large cans tomato soup1 lb of elbow mac noodles.salt and pepper with just a bit of season salt. (dried hot pepper flakes optional)Brown hamgurger and drain, saute onion and celery in a seperate pan with just a bit of butter and salt, drain extra liquid. Combine in large pot add one of the large cans of tomato soup mix with some grated parmsean cheese, salt, pepper. let sit while boiling noodles stir frequently add cooked noodles and half of the 2nd can of tomato soup. mix and stir. add more parm, salt and pepper to taste. stir and let warm up for atleast one hour. Serve with French bread. Before putting away in the fridge add the second half of the tomato soup to the american chop suey so the noodles don't take in all the sauce. Enjoy

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I grew up in an Irish/Italian household in the Boston suburbs and almost every Sunday my dad would "make a sauce"- meaning he would simmer marinara sauce all day long, stirring every ten minutes or so while watching "the game". He would make a huge pot, but the left overs were even better, so by Monday or Tuesday if there was any left at all, it wasn't much. So my mom would make "scalloped hamburg" with it using peppers, ground beef, and a minimal amount of sauce. All my friends called it American chop suey though. LOL, it was god awful, and yeah they served it at school all the time too. I now make my own homemade sauce almost every sunday and I just add diced peppers and a little bit of hamburg in the beginning with garlic and onion. Saute that up then add tomatoes & italian seasonings and simmer for at least four hours. So much better!! The long cooking time makes the meat melt in your mouth yummy, plus theres plenty of sauce this way. Did anyone else call it scalloped hamburg? Lol, just thinking about it makes me laugh.

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growing up in rhode island, i remember fondly my mother's american chop suey. when i have used the term outside of new england, people have looked at me strangely. however, unless one is truly a food snob, american chop suey is tasty, easy and fun.being vegetarian now, soyrizo happily substitutes for the "hamburg" and adds a little tex-mex tang.

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Just got finished reading these comments and had to add mine. I grew up in PA and had this all the time as a kid, but we called it Macaroni and Hamburg in our area of eastern PA. I live in Maine and I am glad to know that the same comfort food has roots in this area to even if it does go by a different name. By coincidence I had this for supper today and that was before I read all the comments.

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I also grew up just outside Boston with American Chop Suey as a common feature on our family's menu. I remember it as a great comfort supper on crisp fall days after football. I also recall eating it out of a thermos in ski lodges after long days on the slopes. It seemed to be more of a cold-weather item with our family. One fun thing about American Chop Suey was that we never knew what Mom was going to throw in. One week a few peas might have shown up, another week, the same few lonely bits of corn. With an eye to making ends meet, I guess she never wanted to let things spoil in the fridge. In our vegetarian household today, we substitute Boca Hamburg Crumbles (better than Morningstar Farms crumbles in this application) for the hamburg or chopped sirloin. One other thing. From my perspective, real American Chop Suey should be runny from lots of natural tomato juice, so it needs to be eaten with a tablespoon out of bowl.

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It was always called goulash at my house. I always wondered about this term "American Chop Suey" and knew something was off about it.Marinara, elbow noodles, peppers, hamburg, maybe some cabbage or something weird you've got laying around that might work.

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My mom is from PA and moved to Oklahoma when she was a kid. She must have learned how to make goulash from her mom and brought it with her. I like to add a little homemade salsa to it. Thinking of moving to Boston in the near future.

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American chop suey- when I was a child my father frequently made this for us kids, When he told us it was for dinner tonight I was so excited, otherwise pizza it was my favorite meal,I remember having this for dinner while we all gather around the t.v. to watch a once year show the wizard of oz and american chop suey, the way my dad made it was mmmmmmmm good because he made it from scratch the ingrediants was not from a bottle or can but right from our garden which made it better, I remember it took an hour or so just to cook the sauce he made up.... and the funny thing we always had left overs the next day and truthfully I was a fan for it cold as well it was sweet.. but sadly the last time I had american chop suey was 30 years ago but I will try to make it myself and show my asian in-laws what it is, thanks for the memories. :)

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Learned of ACS,in the Navy.I knew I'd tasted it before.I'm from NYC.Knowing the name is BS.The flavor just gets you.Saw it made on the show dumps and dives.Plan on making it Tom.Won't have til Mon,Tues you know!!!! :)

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I grew up in Chicago. My Grandma did not make the chop suey with hamburger, It was another meat she purchased in small pieces. Some type of beef.Has anyone heard of this receipe ? Unfortunately, she is no loner around for me to get this receipe. I remember onions, celery .Thanks,

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MY MADE THIS WITH 1 POUND MAC MULLERS IS THE BEST JUST DONT OVERCOOK UNLESS YOU HAVE NO TEETH LOL. AND TWO CANS TOMATO SOUP CAMPBELLS IS THE BEST ONE THE OTHERS NOT THE SAME. AND FRY ONIONS AND GREEN PEPPERS IF YOU LIKE THEM AND ONE CAN OF TOMATOES. I LIKE THE DICED ONES AND IF YOU WANT I LOVE TO USE A LITTLE TOBASCO TO GIVE IT FLAVOR. FRY THE MEAT IN A LITTLE BUTTER OR MARG DRAIN OFF AND WAIT TIL LAST TO PUT THE CANNED TOMATOES IN WILL NOT BE SO DRY

American Chop Suey

Im from Maine, here is the info you need.

American Chop Suey is made with ground beef, elbow macaroni, celery, onions, tomatoes, and occasionally green peppers.
American Chop Suey is a combination of (over)cooked elbow macaroni, ground beef, and tomatoes. (The haute-cuisine) versions include any of the following: onions, celery, green pepper, garlic, garlic salt, paprika, and shredded cheese.

use a medium onion, a pound of ground beef and a pound of elbow macaroni. The amount of tomato sauce varies greatly; we’d suggest no more than 2 cups for that quantity of meat and macaroni. too much is not a good thing. We would stay away from the tomato soup. do not use whole tomatoes, it is not the same.

GEEZ...NOT ONLY in Boston is

GEEZ...NOT ONLY in Boston is ground beef called hamburg. People live outside the Boston area you know, and we call it hamburg too. Not everything is only from Boston. Also, the American Chop Suey recipe came from the box of Prince elbow macaroni. That is were it originated and Prince named it that, way back in the 60s or even earlier.

American Chop Suey

Cut up an onion and green pepper. Boil in water until soft or in fry butter until soft.
Cook any kin of pasta-1 lb. Brown 1 lb ground beef in pan. Combine all ingredients. Add a jar of spaghetti sauce. Heat until sauce is hot. I like to add Worcestershire sauce. You can also add Parmesan cheese.

AKA: Goulash

My Bostonian dad was in the military so I was born in Indiana. Out there (my mom and her family) call it GOULASH. When we moved back to the East and it was called American Chop Suey I was so confused! One taste though and I knew what it was!
So it's not just an East Coast thing...just the name :)
ps.
The East Coast natives seem to make it better though !

American Chop Suey----ahhhhhhh...yes!

Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, where I was in high school, had American Chop Suey as a regular menu feature; They served it in our cafeteria once a week It was yummy! Loved it, especially because they'd serve up generous portions of it in our high school cafeteria.

I still remember our Girl Scout troop making American Chop Suey. Yum yum yum!

I'd love to make my own American Chop Suey one day. Maybe, hopefully, someday I will.

American chop suey/goulash

I grew up in Boston, but it was one of my grandmother's specialties and she grew up in Buffalo and I suspect that's why it was goulash in our house. I had heard of American chop suey, but didn't know it was the same thing till I started junior high and it turned up in regular rotation in the cafeteria there. I still make it for dinner from time to time.

My husband is from Texas/Colorado, and he knew it as goulash when he was growing up as well.

Goulash

True enough - real goulash is a Hungarian soup or stew. I make a really good German goulash of pork, potatoes, and sauerkraut. But the macaroni-and-ground-beef-and-tomato- and-onion-and-celery-and-bell-pepper dish that New Englanders know as American chop suey is called goulash in a lot of places outside of New England, such as upstate New York and Pennsylvania. That fact is reported several times in the course of this very, very long thread, and I was corroborating it.

Goulash name

To say that Goulash is NOT anything like American Chop Suey is a little naive since half the country refers to it as Goulash.
There are more than 4 variations of Goulash. American Goulash is one of them (American Chop Suey).
Hungarian Goulash is off the charts different in flavor and ingredients.
Goulash Soup from German is outstanding and has nothing in common with Hungarian Goulash except for the meat.

So it's all in where you were raised and the cultures combining. What you say is NOT POSSIBLE is not correct, as we have SEEN IT AND LIVED IT.

I am from a family of Germans and also Italians. I've seen both sides of the coin.

american chop suey

grew up in dorchester and dedham. american chop suey was always in the background. it was at least a biweekly lunch item at dedham high. what i find amusing is that here in oklahoma it is called goulash, however, my(boston) version is more welcome than the goulash version. my daughter recently married and her first meal to cook for her new husband(from georgia)a.c.s., go figyah!!!

American Chop Suey--an update:

I finally did get around to making my own American Chop Suey, after doing a google search and finding a simple ACS recipe that sounded good. The first time, I used some green peppers in the ACS and it gave it a little bit of a sweetish tastte. The second time I made it, I didn't have any peppers around the house, so I omitted them, but added plenty of onions, in addition to the macaroni, tomatoe sauce and hamburger. It worked---both times.

Maine recipes

My dad was from Maine and he liked to make a dish called "The Mess". It was a layer of browned ground beef with onion, then a layer of canned English peas, then a layer of canned corn and then a layer of mashed potatoes spread to cover and baked in the oven til hot. It was simple, it was filling and it tasted great to the six of us kids and my mom who's from the South.

Sounds kinda like shepherd's pie

Except all the shepherd's pie recipes I just looked at have everything but the mashed potatoes mixed together, not in multiple layers beneath the potatoes.

I will have to consider marrying the first woman who invents a shepherd's pie that is vegetarian-safe but convincing.

For everyone saying this

For everyone saying this exists in other places, just under different names: No.

"Goulash" refers to Hungarian goulash and usually has a ton of paprika added, whereas we load it up with onion powder or other onion-y mixes. "Beef-a-roni" and other types, like in the Midwest, don't use the same amount of spices at all. It's very bland. Also, most other people use Ragu-type stuff, where we always went with paste or really thin sauce. The staple we all remember from childhood, and the one that defined Wednesday school lunch for me in northeastern Connecticut, is the only one you can consider to be true American chop suey.

Basically, the major ingredients - elbows, hamburg, tomato paste, peppers, onions - are the same most places, but the *taste* never is. The spicing is key. That's why people struggle to find the right recipe if they never helped Ma make it.

American Chopsuey

Wow! 46 yrs old with a memory of a fav dish... American Chopsuey... looked it up and freaked out!! I was born in Boston and raised in chicago... none of my friends ever heard of it there. BUT they loved it when mom made it. I had called Mom for the recipe (Shes in Houston now, and I am a 28 yr vested Army Wife) and its basically what everyone says, suited to taste. But I was amazed that it was an East Coast recipe specific to Bostonian memories! Mom confirmed it came from the "Prince" Macaroni box, and does not know if "they" invented it or if it predated that brand of macaroni. All I know is as a kid I loved American Chopsuey night! and anyone on a budget these days can really appreciate how far the buck goes on this one for a family! Everyone try it!! (still amazed it seems to have originated from my birth city!) Try it !!!

American Chop Suey

My late wife was from Japan. The first time I made ACS, she looked at me as if I had lost my mind. I lived in her hometown (Sapporo) for 13 years. Serious withdrawls, people. When I finally came home, the first thing I asked for was, you guessed it, ACS. Comfort food from my childhood in New Hampshire. Did I hear someone say "Dinner's on!"?