Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Comfort Foods -- American Chop Suey

After diligently spending two evenings working my butt off at the gym (ow, my legs...), I came home today to devour two sloppy joes in utter ecstasy.

Sloppy joes, via Manwich with toasted, buttery rolls = in my top 5.

  1. Home-made mashed potatoes with beefy gravy
  2. Sloppy joes
  3. Baked Macaroni and Cheese
  4. Ham and spinach Quiche
  5. American Chop Suey

Honorable mentions:

  • Tacos
  • Baked potatoes with chili
  • Salmon with garlic cream sauce (Dad was the only one who ever made this, and it was one of the few things he really cooked well... "I Miss My Father's Terrible Cooking" post coming soon)

All insanely easy to prepare, but one bite just takes me back home, to my happiest, most blissful childhood times. Back when life was easy, (or if it was hard, which in retrospect it probably was, I was ignorant of it in my carefreeness) and I had nothing to worry about. Ages 7 through 10 are what I'm taken back to, when we lived in the big house on the main road in town, before my dad passed away, before my parents even split up, before we learned about my brother's difficulties... When I wore dresses but caught frogs and rocked out to the Spice Girls on cassette with my very best friend.

Not that life now isn't good, it is. Life is great. I have a great family, a wonderful boyfriend, a college education and a job that I just love. A few tweaks here and there (get me back to the city please?) and life would be perfect. But there's something so innocent and pristine about being little... I'm an adult now. And it's fun to revisit the little girl I used to be, when I take a huge bite of that sloppy joe.

Here's one of my comfort foods for you to enjoy, not sloppy joes, but close, and so amazingly easy to prepare and delicious. College-Student friendly!--very easy to prepare in your dorm's common room stovetop.

American Chop Suey

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup (sometimes a can and a half, just to be safe)
  • 1 small can mushrooms (or one cup fresh)
  • 1 small pepper (red is my color of choice)
  • 1 package spaghetti

-Prepare spaghetti according to package. Don't forget to salt and oil the water so that they don't stick together!

-Cook peppers and mushrooms until they begin soften: if using fresh mushrooms, cook with the peppers, as they cook at roughly the same time. If using canned mushrooms, add after the peppers have already finished.

-Add beef and cook until browned. Drain as much fat as you can (my usual mistake is to drop it all over the sink, whoops!), then add the soup. Stir until warm and combined. Toss with spaghetti and serve.


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