Do you want to sneak more vegetables into your family’s diet without serving yet another salad? Comfort food can actually be good for you, and it doesn’t have to require much time in the kitchen. Loaded with ground beef, garlic, onion, and veggies, this American Chop Suey is a healthy, freezer-friendly, easy dinner that comes together in just one skillet!
I struggled with what to call this dish, because it’s such a beautiful blend of cuisines. Initially I set out to make Chop Suey for dinner, but I realized that my boys are kind of going through a phase where they don’t love Asian food. I considered adding some soy sauce and sesame oil to the recipe anyway, but in the end I wanted my family to actually eat the meal instead of just pushing it around their plates.
The dinner turned into what I have now deemed an American Chop Suey – a cross between an Italian meat sauce (thanks to the ground beef, onion, garlic, and tomatoes); an Asian stir-fry (thanks to the mushrooms, celery, and water chestnuts); and an American chili (see the beans, beef, onion, and tomato). The blend of cultures and cuisines in one skillet is a true reflection of the cultures and cuisines that make up our country. Hence the name… American Chop Suey!
We enjoyed the dish over rice, but it would also work well served over pasta, on top of ravioli, with mashed potatoes, or stuffed in a baked potato. I even ate the leftovers in a bowl (chili style), with some grated Parmesan on top and crusty bread on the side. The options are endless, so do what works best for your family. It’s a healthy, light, and simple dish that will encourage your little ones to eat those veggies – no begging, pleading, or bribing necessary!
Like most chilis and meat sauces, this dinner freezes beautifully. Cook it according to the recipe instructions, allow it to cool to room temperature, and then store in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. It also keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy!
One Skillet American Chop Suey
Yield 8 (1-cup servings)
- 1 lb. extra lean ground beef (I used 96% lean)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 (8 ounce) container fresh sliced mushrooms
- 1 (28 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes (not drained)
- 1 (8 ounce) tomato sauce
- 1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
- 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- For serving: rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, or bread; fresh parsley
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown beef, onion, and garlic in the skillet until beef is no longer pink. Drain any fat from the skillet.
- With the beef mixture still in the skillet, add celery, mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat for about 25 minutes. Stir in the kidney beans and water chestnuts. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
This dish freezes well, so you can prepare the entire recipe and keep it in your freezer to thaw and reheat for a later meal.