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Here's an easy budget friendly weeknight meal

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    KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Cole Slaw with Caraway and Whimpies combine for an easy and budget-friendly weeknight dinner.
Published February 27. 2013 05:04PM

We grew up eating Whimpies on a regular basis, and until recently, I thought the name and the dish were my mother's creation.

I assumed, because it contains hamburger meat, she named them after, Whimpy, the character from the old Popeye cartoons.


"I'll gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today."

After an online search, I found there are quite a few recipes for Whimpies out there. I still don't know if they have anything to do with Popeye (they do not contain spinach!), but I found that most of the recipes I came across were more like a beef barbecue, featuring a sweet, ketchup-based sauce, and a lot more ingredients.

This recipe has just a few ingredients, is savory, not sweet, and can be on the table in a half-hour or less, depending on how quickly you can chop veggies.

The cole slaw recipe here brings back great memories for me as well. The dressing features a mayonnaise and sour cream base, with a hint of sweetness, and the surprise of caraway.

It was a favorite of mine, made by the mother of one of my closest friends growing up.

In high school, I spent so much time at my friend Ione's house, I'm surprised her mother didn't include me as a tax deduction. I don't really remember that she did a lot of cooking, but whatever she made, I loved even the Hormel chili served atop Frito corn chips.

Descended from Native American Indian royalty, Auntie Iney, as I called her, was not only a career woman when most of our mothers didn't work, she was a single mom and a parole officer. She was years ahead of her time.

She's been gone for awhile now and it had been a long time before that since I last saw her, but I will always have fond memories of being welcome in her home and at her table.


Serves six

2 pounds ground beef (I prefer 85 percent lean)

1 cup celery, chopped fine

1 cup onion, chopped fine

1 cup diced green and red peppers

2 cans tomato soup

1 tablespoon canola oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Hamburger rolls

In a large skillet or deep frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Brown ground beef. When cooked through, add celery, onion and peppers. Cook until onions are transparent, about five-10 minutes. Add tomato soup and season to taste.

Serve open-face style on hamburger rolls.

Cole Slaw

Serves six

Small head of cabbage, or one-half larger head, shredded

1 large carrot, shredded

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon caraway seeds, plus more for garnish

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine carrot and cabbage (you can add red cabbage as well, if desired). Whisk together remaining ingredients and taste, and adjust to your preference.

Stir dressing into cabbage and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Sprinkle lightly with additional caraway seeds before serving, if desired.

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