Thursday, June 29, 2017

Oriental Beef Casserole


As stunned as I am to say this, it was over a year ago that I first mentioned Oriental Beef Casserole. It was during the last days of my husband's life, and boy were those tough times. It's hard for me to believe that, as of Sunday the 25th, he’s been gone a year. That's scary on a number of levels, one of which is that time seems to go by faster and faster every year. Sometimes I feel as if I am hurtling toward my date of expiration.

But I'm wandering from my point, namely my mention of Oriental Beef Casserole, and one of you lovely commenters asking if I was going to post it, and I never did. Well, here it is. I decided to take dinner to my dad for Father's Day, naturally, and thought this would be something that he would enjoy. My mother used to make it a lot, it's fairly easy to put together, freezes beautifully, and it's a real crowd pleaser; I don't know anybody who doesn't like it.

The original recipe comes from the Make Ahead Cookbook from Better Homes & Gardens. I got my copy back in the 70s when I was still in high school. As I often do, I change things up a bit. Essentially, this is the same recipe as appears in the book, I just did a couple things differently this time. First of all, I added half a cup of chopped
Melissa's Fire Roasted Sweet Red Bell Peppers. I like the added color, and I like the taste. Second, I didn't have peas on hand, so I decided to use fresh spinach. In the past, I have used the called for peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas, broccoli, bok choy, kale, and this time spinach. Any green vegetable will work. I haven't tried it with asparagus because asparagus seems to have a stronger taste that I didn't think would work well with this casserole. Don't feel hemmed in by a recipe if you don't have all of the ingredients. Experiment, substitute, you might be surprised what works.

When I serve this I like to serve it in individual casseroles with a little side dish of the oriental noodles. That allows people to add as many or as few as they like. I like to add a lot because I like the extra crunch, which reminds me, I've added a can of sliced water chestnuts is this casserole in the past as well.

Here's the recipe as it appears in the book. Give it a try, and let me know what you think.
Oriental Beef Casserole

1 pound ground chuck
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cups soy sauce
1 16-ounce can chop suey vegetables, drained
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
1 3-ounce can chow mein noodles

In a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat, cook the beef together with the celery, onion, and green pepper. Stir and cook until all of the meat is browned. Drain and discard the liquid from the mixture and return to pan. Add the water and bring to a boil.


In a small bowl combine the cornstarch, sugar, and ground ginger. Blend in water and the soy sauce. Add this mixture to the beef mixture, cook and stir until thick and bubbly.

Stir chop suey vegetables into the meat mixture. Break up frozen peas and add to the meat mixture, stir thoroughly, continuing to cook until heated through.

Spoon mixture into a 1-1/2 quart casserole, or individual serving bowls, topping each with a portion of the chow mein noodles. Serves four.


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5 comments:

Judee Algazi said...

You are an interesting writer and I enjoy your thoughts about your life as much as your recipes.
Interesting how we find a recipe that we bike and make different variations of it of the years. Sounds like this is one of your family favorites.

Linda said...

Your husband's passing does not seem that long ago to me either! I'm glad someone noticed you hadn't posted the recipe - this looks great. I was surprised to see ground meat instead of strips. We tend to only make vegetable fried rice as our "token" oriental meal, so I am adding this to the "to try" list.
When I was growing up my Mom made something my friends called "Chinese goodles". It was basically a ground beef stroganoff but she served it over chow mein noodles. What an exotic dish for small town northeastern Oklahoma! But it was delicious, and I'd love to have some again. :)

Rustown Mom said...

I remember my mother making a very similar dish - it was mostly with canned oriental veggies and extra bean sprouts, so your version already looks tastier!

Marigene said...

Oh my gosh, my mother used to make this, too. We called it Chinese chopped suey...I had completely forgotten about it. I am going to put this on the menu for next week. Your photos could make an old shoe look delicious!

Julie's Creative Lifestyle said...

I am so sorry about the passing of your husband.
This dish looks so good and I'd love to make it sometime. Thank you for the recipe.
Julie