When I was growing up, one of my mom’s go-to weekday meals was American Chop Suey.
Basically, it was ground beef, macaroni, and spaghetti sauce, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. And we loved it, especially when it was served with crusty bread from the Shop ‘n Save bakery and a lettuce salad doused in her homemade oil-and-vinegar dressing (vegetable oil, of course!).
But the truth is, that recipe doesn’t love me so much these days. I mean, I love pasta, but whenever I eat it I end up ready to fall asleep a half-hour after my meal. And, TMI, it also makes my stomach feel not-so-awesome. And I haven’t got the patience for that!
So as a result, I had forgotten how much I loved my mom’s recipe … and also how no-brainer it was to cook.
Cut forward to last week, when I was looking around for new recipe ideas and I found a pretty awesome one on CleanFoodCrush. Not only did it look easy and delicious, it was cheap! (BONUS!)
I looked at the recipe and prep list and tweaked it to suit my own tastes and what I had on-hand.
Here’s the thing though: even though I changed it up, I didn’t realize this recipe was basically a cleaned-up, gluten-free, fiber-filled, Mexican version of American Chop Suey.
But when I was cooking, I was like: “Doh!” That’s EXACTLY what it is.
Mexican-American Chop Suey
Why? The format is exactly the same, using different-but-similar ingredients, with spices to flavor it up.
The starchy-carb pasta is replaced with fiber- and protein-rich beans. (Seriously: a single serving of this includes 9 grams of fiber!).
Sodium-laden spaghetti sauce is replaced with a homemade fresh-tomato-based mixture, with spices and salt to season. And the veggie component is boosted with the kale/spinach (greens haters: you won’t even taste it, I promise) and peppers.
For the meat, the “hamburg” we used back in the day is replaced with ground turkey (although I have made this with grass-fed ground beef and it’s super delish).
And instead of using Parmesan, I went with shredded cheese, which added a creaminess to the recipe. But you can skip the cheese if you don’t love dairy and add avocado for richness.
Give this one a try and let me know what you think! It’s even better the next day.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 1 lb. 94% ground turkey
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- salt, to taste
- 3 cups chopped Roma tomatoes
- 3 1/2 cups canned black beans, rinsed
- 2 to 3 cups fresh spinach or kale (chopped)
- 3/4 cup shredded colby cheese
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil, and then add onion and garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until translucent, and then add bell peppers. Saute until they start to soften.
- Add ground turkey and seasonings, mixing until everything is incorporated, and then add tomatoes and beans.
- Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, and then stir in the greens, heating until they wilt.
- Sprinkle the cheese on top, and cover, cooking for another 5 or so minutes until it's melted.
- The grated cheese is optional. If you are avoiding dairy, you can easily skip and add sliced avocado instead.
- This easy dish makes amazing leftovers and tastes even better the next day.
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