American Chop Suey (Secret Recipe Club)

by Dorothy Reinhold on January 25, 2015

Print This Post Print This Post American Chop Suey | Goulash, Johnny Marzetti, Macaroni and Beef Recipe |

What’s your comfort food? I’m always willing to try someone else’s comfort food. Who knows…perhaps it will supplant my own need for eggplant Parmigiana!

Oh, who am I kidding. A big, honkin’ salad is my comfort food. As is a bowl of mashed potatoes. As is pasta with pesto. As is steaming bread fresh from the oven. As is tortilla soup. I could go on.

But there’s a new comfort food luring me, and it belongs to Amy over at the blog Fearless Homemaker.

She made American Chopped Suey, and I did a double take. What’s so chop suey about ground beef, onions and peppers simmered in stewed tomatoes and spices, over pasta? Just about EVERYTHING, it turns out. There are no bean sprouts, water chestnuts and crunchy noodles to be found; instead, this dish is more about the American Melting Pot.

Ingredients for American Chop Suey on ShockinglyDelicious.comCooking American Chop Suey on ShockinglyDelicious.comThis dish, as she explains, was Massachusetts/New Hampshire/Maine/Rhode Island/Connecticut/New Jersey comfort food. But it also goes by so many other names in the rest of the country, as I discovered when searching around online. Clearly, everyone wants a piece of it.

  • American Goulash (upstate New York, Pennsylvania)
  • Goulash (Oklahoma, Iowa, Midwest)
  • Slumgullion (Pennsylvania Dutch)
  • Cinnamon Chili Mac (Kansas)
  • Macaroni Red (Kansas)
  • Johnny Marzetti (Ohio)
  • Hamburger Casserole
  • Macaroni and Beef

American Chop Suey comfort food | Goulash, Johnny Marzetti, Macaroni and Beef Recipe | ShockinglyDelicious.comWherever you’re from and whatever you call it, be sure to set me a place at the table!

American Chop Suey (Secret Recipe Club)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 6-8.

This dish goes by many names -- American Chop Suey, Goulash, Johnny Marzetti, Slumgullion, Hamburger's comfort food whatever you call it.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (14-ounce) package fajita mix vegetables (red onion, colored bell peppers) {see NOTE below}
  • 1 pound 85/15 ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (I used Gourmet Garden Organic Garlic Paste)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Chili Pepper Paste (or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: Grated Parmesan cheese and freshly-chopped parsley or basil (optional)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Add fajita vegetables and sauté until softened, about 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add ground beef and sauté another 5 or so minutes, until beef is cooked. Add garlic, paprika, chili paste, sugar and cinnamon and stir.
  2. Add in whole tomatoes (and juice), crushing the tomatoes with your hand as you add them (wear an apron because they squirt!). Add tomato sauce, tomato paste and 1 paste-can of water. Stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 45-60 minutes.
  3. When sauce is nearly done, cook pasta according to package directions, reducing the cooking time by 1-2 minutes. Drain pasta well and transfer pasta to pot of sauce, stirring gently to combine well. Taste and add more salt and pepper to your liking (if needed). If you used salted tomato products, you might not need much additional salt. Cook about 10 more minutes, until everything is bubby and combined.
  4. Serve hot with grated Parmesan cheese and a garnish of parsley or fresh basil.
  5. Serves 6-8


Recipe source: Adapted from American Chop Suey at Fearless Homemaker. She gives credit to

Note: If you don't want to use pre-cut fajita vegetables, substitute an onion and a bell pepper (any color), chopped.

American Chop Suey | aka Goulash, Johnny Marzetti, Macaroni and Beef Recipe | Shockingly DeliciousSecret Recipe Club button on Shockingly DeliciousAs I mentioned, this idea came from Nashville-based Amy over at Fearless Homemaker. I was assigned her blog as part of Secret Recipe Club, a sort of secret-Santa project for food bloggers. We are to quietly explore and cook for a month from this secret blog, and today is our reveal day of the recipe we have chosen to present.

Amy is culinarily creative and so many of her recipes struck a chord with me. I found lots of inspiration, and I have my eye on her…

Can you tell I was in a comfort food mood while looking at her lovely blog? Thanks, Amy, for lots of inspiration this month, and for the delicious ideas.

Meanwhile, browse the photo array below to see what else the Secret Recipe Club cooked up this month.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: