Why the confusion about what this meal is called? I might ask my mom the same thing but for whatever reason, I’ve yet to ask.

My mom wrote this recipe out years ago and chicken chow mein/chop suey and made it to our dinner table on a number of occasions. I have no idea why the title has two names and I really can’t tell you which it is.

I don’t think I’ve ever ordered either from a Chinese restaurant so I just don’t know which the meal more closely resembles. Or if it resembles either at all!

To be honest, I had completely forgotten that my mom used to make this until Kyle asked me to make “American Chop Suey,” a dish his mom used to serve that involved elbow macaroni, ground beef, onions, and canned tomato sauce…and that’s it. GAG.
It’s like a homemade version of Hamburger Helper and while I did try it once because I couldn’t say I didn’t like it without trying it, I vowed to never make it again.







OK, so I got a little off topic there. Kyle’s request for his mom’s meal jogged my memory and I had my mom make a copy of her recipe for me. This meal is a great way to use up leftover chicken or pork and gravy and I often make it with leftovers from a Sunday roast chicken.

It’s so easy to make and usually fulfills my craving for Chinese food but is so much healthier. I serve it over rice or spaghetti (this time I used penne because I was out of spaghetti) and top it with a few crunchy noodles.

Chicken Chow Mein

Chicken Chow Mein

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This chicken chow mein is an old family recipe that my mom and grandmother made for many many years. It's a quick weeknight meal and is an excellent way to use up leftover chicken, pork, and gravy from a holiday or weekend family meal.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped small
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 ½ medium onions, chopped
  • ½ plus ¼cup bean sprouts, washed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups chicken gravy (either homemade, jarred, or a combo of both)
  • ½ plus ¼ cup chicken stock
  • Good pinch of salt, freshly ground pepper, and garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 - 2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce (I used more like 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp sugar or molasses
  • 1 tsp gravy master if you don't use molasses
  • 1 ½ cups diced or nearly shredded cooked chicken or pork
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water (if needed to thicken the sauce at the end)


  1. In a large non-stick frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat, then add celery and carrot and cook for 5 minutes. Add onions and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until everything starts to soften.
  2. Add bean sprouts and stir to combine. Turn heat to medium-low. Add gravy and chicken stock. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, ginger, and soy sauce. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in sugar or molasses and gravy master (if not using molasses). Cook for 3 minutes or until sauce is bubbly.
  4. Add in chicken (or pork) and cook until chicken is heated through and sauce is thick. If sauce doesn't thicken, add the cornstarch/water slurry.
  5. Serve over rice or pasta. Freezes well (without pasta).

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Leave a Comment

  • Tuesday Girl
    January 1, 2008 at 8:19 PM

    My husband’s family makes American chop suey too! I have never heard of it before and I hate it. They are from NH so I wonder if it regional??

  • Anonymous
    February 22, 2008 at 7:43 AM

    I lived in the Philippines for 2 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer and it’s called Chop Suey there…