Thursday, January 21, 2010

American Chop Suey

left-over American Chop in a bun

To inaugurate the New Oil Changes, I decided to do the classic, old-school stand-by meal my mom would feed us once a week, American Chop Suey, or "American Chop" for short. Back then, when I was a tyke, I didn't understand household management and being busy. I only understood feed-me-now. Well, American Chop is one of the best feed-me-now meals because it's super easy. I also recently learned that it's a Yankee classic, that its origins are here in the New England. Basically, it's hamburg, otherwise known as ground beef, elbow macaroni, condensed tomato soup or diced tomatoes, diced onions and green peppers (my mom hates green peppers and thus they never showed up in our American Chop), and some seasonings: dried mustard and oregano. However, for this inaugural post, I decided to crank it up another notch, make it fattier and more delicious. Stay tuned...

American Chop, standard, unbaked version

At this point it is of the utmost importance to mention, just once, the pure comedy value of the name: it is hardly possible (for me) to even say "American Chop" without laughing. It's a completely ridiculous name. Like, just in case you were about to confuse it with Swedish Chop or Armenian Chop, well, it's American Chop and don't you forget that, buster. So the name is ridiculous and, to be honest, the meal is kind of ridiculous, too. Which is why we always had a cheap-o salad to go with it. To make it less ridiculous. Any-hoo, I decided to one-up mom by making Baked American Chop. That means a crusty top made from hot dog bun "croutons," scallions, and, naturally, cheddar cheese.

topped and ready to bake

But the innovation didn't stop there! Oh no, along with the diced green peppers, I decided to add (cover your ears mom) some diced jalapenos! Now, it just occurred to me that I should have told the entire Yankee civilization to cover its ears because, as well all know, everything is spicy to a Yankee, even plain yogurt.

Right. Uh, this meal really is very easy to make. If you're still interested, just follow these simple instructions:


1 lb. ground beef or "hamburg"
1 medium onion, diced, and same quantity of green pepper, diced
1 box elbow macaroni, cooked (you should cook it)
1 can Cambell's condensed tomato soup or one can diced tomatoes
jalapenos (if yer crazy enough to use them)
mustard powder, dried oregano, salt and pepper


Cook your hamburg with your onions and other vegetables. Bang some dried oregano into the mixture. When the hamburg is browned, sprinkle in some dried mustard. How much? I don't know. Use your head.

Meanwhile, you should have cooked your box of elbow macaroni (and here, you could be a dare devil and use some other pasta shape; I've even heard tell of people using wagon wheels--or even those novelty shaped pastas available at sex shops!). In any case, add your pasta and condensed soup to the meat. Then, Einstein, you stir it all together and season it with salt and pepper to taste.

You have now created the base for your Baked American Chop. If you are satisfied with un-baked American Chop, DO NOT CONTINUE READING!!!

The topping:

Cut up some hot dog buns or other unhealthy, cheap white bread and drizzle melted butter over the pieces, tossing until each piece has some butter on it. Then pop the pieces into a low oven--200 degrees or lower--and cook the hot dog bun pieces until they are dried out but now browned. To these you will add some green onions, sliced, and the cheese. Here, if you want to substitute straight-up American cheese for the the cheddar to be more patriotic, do so. That'll work just fine. Finally, put your American Chop into a casserole dish and top it with the hot dog bun croutons, green onions, and cheese. Then bake it until the topping is all melty and delicious. Serve with a salad, preferably iceberg.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My mom used to make something for us kids called, "hamburger chinese style." it was like some beef and there was little bits of celery and shit. My mom lost all her skills post divorcing my Dad and now her cooking alongside my stepdad doesn't compare. strange.