A perfect summer dinner: Sloppy joes, cole slaw, and corn on the cob

Summer is waning. I will miss the corn on the cob. Sloppy joes and coleslaw, too.

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sloppy joe

Mom’s sloppy joes were ALWAYS Manwich.

sloppy joe

ConAgra didn’t pay me to say that, and that’s a good thing, because seriously, What the hell, ConAgra? Second ingredient: High fructose corn syrup. Fourth ingredient: Regular corn syrup.  Add it up, and you’re getting sickeningly sweet, here. It was not like this in my childhood.

And while we’re at it, ConAgra, what happened to the peppers? There used to be big chunks of the things in there; now, you can barely see them.

In the photo, you can see that there aren’t a lot of green pepper bits in there, but usually when I make them these days, I add extra green pepper to sloppy joes.  I just didn’t remember this time.

sloppy joe 2

For this meal, I went all summer, mainly because, and my mom would totally endorse this plan, corn on the cob was four ears for a dollar, so heck, we’re having corn on the cob.

corn

Add the already planned batch of mom’s cole slaw, and you’ve got summer on a plate.

James was cute, saying that we could, if we wanted, have these on sandwich rolls instead of burger buns. Um, yeah, we could, but then it wouldn’t be Mom Food for me. Mom’s sloppy joes were on plain hamburger buns, and that’s that.  Remember, there are rules.

Below are basic recipes for the sloppy joes and cole slaw. The only real rule for the corn is to put it into boiling (optionally salted) water for just long enough for it to get hot. You don’t want to overcook your corn. In my family, we always ate it with butter and salt. The kid and most of the rest of the family add pepper, as well, but that’s just… well, it’s not exactly wrong. It’s just, you know, rules.

Still, I think we managed to kill ten ears among the four of us:

corn graveyard

Sloppy Joes

1 pound ground beef
1/2 onion, diced, optional
1/2 green bell pepper (capsicum), diced, optional
1 (15.5-ounce) can Manwich original*
4 plain white hamburger buns

In a largeish skillet on medium heat, cook beef (and veggies, if you’re using them), stirring occasionally, until all the meat is cooked. My mom would call this “browning” the meat, but really, with that much meat in a pan, it just gets cooked, not properly browned.

Carefully, without dumping out the meat onto the floor (yes, yes, I know. I’m a klutz.), pour out most of the grease and discard it or feed it to your dog. Add the Manwich sauce, and heat through. Serve on buns. Easy peasy.

Cole Slaw

1 small head cabbage
2 small carrots
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed (optional, but my mom always added it)

Shred cabbage and carrots very finely and place in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and stir until the sugar all dissolves. Toss with salad ingredients until combined. Cover and chill cole slaw for at least 1 hour.

* If you don’t have Manwich, there are a bunch of recipes for making homemade sloppy joes on the web; every one I’ve tried has been just fine. Usually, when I’m doing it myself, I just use ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, onions, peppers, Worcestershire sauce, and a splash of vinegar. Or sometimes, when I’m really lazy, just store-bought barbecue sauce. Quantities? Dunno. Until it tastes right.

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Author: Serene

I run The Mom Food Project, which was born out of love for my mom and a desire to preserve the recipes of my childhood, which didn't actually exist in written form until I quizzed my mom and wrote the recipes down.

3 thoughts on “A perfect summer dinner: Sloppy joes, cole slaw, and corn on the cob”

  1. That looks really tasty. I would only replace that hamburger bum with a wholegrain version so I don’t feel guilty for eating white bread… but that’s just my healthy food obsession :)

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