Let's have a kids' Halloween party and choose a kid pleaser: American Chop Suey or Chili Mac. Top off the meal with homemade candy; how good can it get?
Years ago, my mom tried a casserole in a restaurant in Westchester County, New York that she enjoyed so much she duplicated it at home and it became another family favorite. Years later when we lived in Connecticut, my daughter Kim's girl scout troop had a pot luck supper. What better dish to bring than chopped meat and elbows? Well, you guessed it. There were eight similar casseroles. Apparently the dish originated in New England and was called American Chop Suey. Shortly after that I invited a new friend who had just moved from New Jersey over for dinner, and served the same thing. "Oh, you made goulash!" There the only difference is the addition of cheese. Seems like this dish is a national favorite. I will give you the recipe with and without the cheese. Remember, by using fresh ground low-fat meat you will have a "good for you" meal.
Have a great Halloween.
AMERICAN CHOP SUEY
serves 4 to 6
1 pound very lean ground beef
1 medium onion and 1/2 small green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
8-ounce can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
A little less than 1/2-pound elbow macaroni plus 1/2-cup grated cheddar cheese, OR one 7-ounce package macaroni and cheese
Brown meat in a large non-stick skillet treated with cooking spray. Pour off any fat. Add onions and green pepper and continue browning. Add tomato sauce, one can of water, salt, pepper and parsley. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile cook the macaroni in boiling water only until firm. Drain and add to cooked meat mixture. Cover and cook over low heat until macaroni is tender. It's like Hamburger Helper without all the additives.
Add more water if necessary. If you're making goulash, add the cheese, mix thoroughly and serve.
NOTE: Be sure to check all brands of packaged macaroni and cheese, especially store brands. Check the fat and cholesterol content, you will be very surprised at the differences.
serves 4 to 6
Chili powder and cayenne are hot so a very little goes a long way. I will give you the minimal amount. Add more, to taste, as you wish.
1 pound ground beef
1/2-cup chopped onion
1 large clove garlic and 1/2 small green pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4-teaspoon chili powder
Dash of ground cayenne (optional)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 can water or beef broth
One 14-1/2 ounce can pinto beans with liquid (optional)
Salt to taste
A little less than 1/2-pound elbow macaroni
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Brown meat in a large non-stick skillet or pot. If you use virtually fat-free, fresh ground beef, add 2 tablespoons canola oil. If you used any other ground beef, drain the fat from the pan. Add vegetables and continue browning. Add remaining ingredients except macaroni and cheese. Cover and cook over low heat for about 1 hour. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in boiling water only until firm. Drain and add to cooked meat mixture. Cover and cook over low heat until macaroni is tender. Add more water if necessary. Stir in cheese.
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER SQUARES
Imagine having a whole pan of peanut butter cups to feast on? This recipe cannot be made low-fat.
1 stick butter (1/2-cup)
1/2-cup packed brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky
2-1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate bits
1/4-cup butter (half a stick)
Margarine cannot be substituted in this recipe - it doesn't get hard enough.
For the filling, place butter and brown sugar in a microwave-safe container and microwave until butter is melted. Stir to completely dissolve sugar. Mix well with remaining ingredients. Press into a 9-by-12 pan.
Place the chocolate bits and the 1/4-cup butter in a microwave container and microwave until melted. Watch carefully; do not overcook. Mix well and spread on top of peanut butter mixture. Chill. Set out for 20 minutes before cutting into squares.
For a cookbook visit www.romancingthestove.net.