Recipe for Mock Chow Mein

A family favorite growing up was mock chow mein casserole. Even back then I wondered at the name. Besides the obvious chow mein noodles, it was nothing like the chow mein we had out of cans. I’m not sure where it got the name but eventually I adapted it to include a few Chinese type vegetables.  You can use your own favorites in this recipe.

Mock Chow Mein
Mock Chow Mein

The flavors remained the same in the dish with added vegetables. The Chinese noodles and water chestnuts don’t add as much flavor as they add texture. Topped with the traditional crunchy noodles, this dish satisfies on many levels. I have no idea why we don’t eat it more often!

I begin by making rice. I start with 1 1/2 cups long grain rice and end up with about 3 cups or so of cooked rice. We always use the long cooking white rice, you can make whichever kind you like.  I think my Mom always used Minute Rice.  We like the flavor of regular rice.

Brown ground beef in skillet seasoned with salt and pepper.

While the rice cooks I brown the ground beef. I use 2 lbs, I think the original recipe called for 1 lb. That wasn’t enough flavor after I added the veggies, so I added more meat. I have also made this with ground turkey and ground chicken, with good results.  I salt and pepper the meat liberally while cooking.

Fry onion and celery in a drizzle of oil until onions are translucent.

I set the browned beef aside in a 9×13-in pan and add the onion and celery to the skillet in any drippings that remain. You may need to add a glug of oil if there are no drippings.  Salt the vegetables.  Cook the onion and celery several minutes, until the onion is turning translucent.  It can brown around the edges a little, it adds a touch of sweetness to the onion.

The onion and celery is the next layer added to the pan, on top of the ground beef.

Add a drizzle of oil and fry mushrooms in same skillet for several minutes.

The next step is to add the 8 ounces of roughly chopped mushrooms to the skillet.  I leave the mushrooms fairly large.  They will be pureed later so don’t sweat it at this point!

Add water, Worcestershire, soy sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Simmer until heated through.

I brown the mushrooms for several minutes then add 2 cups of water to the skillet along with the Worcestershire, garlic powder, soy sauce,  salt and pepper. I let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes.

In pan layer ground beef, celery and onion, drained cans of vegetables and rice.

While our mushroom soup simmers I open and drain a can of bean sprouts and a can of water chestnuts. Sometimes I add a can of bamboo shoots but I didn’t have any on hand this time. Spread the vegetables in layers in the pan. The rice is done at this point and I also spread that in the pan.

Stir milk into mushroom mixture and puree with immersion blender.

Next I add 2 cups of milk and the mushroom mixture to a deep bowl and use my immersion blender to puree the soup.  You could use 2 cans of mushroom soup and 2 cups of milk if you don’t mind the msg in most of the canned soups.  I prefer to make my own.  I also substitute unflavored, unsweetened almond milk for the milk due to a milk sensitivity.
Spread mushroom soup mixture over rice and cover pan with foil. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°

Pour the soup over the casserole.  If you’re using canned, you’ll want to mix the milk in with the soups before pouring over the casserole.

Remove foil and spread chow mein noodles in pan. Bake 15 minutes more, uncovered.

Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil, spread the chow mein noodles over the top and bake for 15 more minutes, uncovered.

Serve with soy sauce and chopped green onion.

We eat the casserole garnished with soy sauce and chopped green onions.  The chow mein noodles get limp when eating the leftovers but that’s my favorite part.  I like those limp noodles that have soaked up the juices!  The alternative would be to add the noodles after baking, to each plate.  No soggy noodles in the leftovers!

Recipe for Mock Chow Mein Hotdish

  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A family favorite you can easily modify to suit your own family’s tastes!.

  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice; cooked according to package directions
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 medium onion; diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups celery; chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz mushrooms; chopped
  • Drizzle of oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can bean sprouts; drained
  • 1 can water chestnuts; chopped (optional)
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 bag chow mein noodles (about 12 ounces)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Cook rice according to directions.
  3. Fry ground beef in a large skillet, adding salt and pepper. Layer in ungreased 9×13-in pan and set aside.
  4. Add celery and onion to skillet with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion is translucent. Spread in pan over ground beef.
  5. Add drizzle of oil to skillet if necessary and add mushrooms. Cook for several minutes until softened, 4-5 minutes.
  6. While the mushrooms simmer, open cans of vegetables, drain and layer in pan. Spread cooked rice over the vegetables.
  7. Pour 2 cups of water into the skillet along with the Worcestershire, garlic powder, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for several minutes, until heated through.
  8. Place 2 cups milk in a deep bowl and pour in mushroom mixture. Use an immersion blender until smooth.
  9. If you’re using canned soup, omit steps 7 & 8 and those ingredients, and spread soups over rice.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, covered with foil. Uncover and spread chow mein noodles over the top and bake for 15 more minutes, uncovered.
  11. Serve with soy sauce and chopped green onions..