Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Whole Chicken in the Crockpot

This Whole Chicken in the Crockpot has become a family favorite. I have served this for dinner, but I usually make one of these and keep the chicken for using in other dishes. This is perfect for when you’re busy and don’t want to take the time to make anything complicated – which is a lot of the time, for me. Put a chicken in the crockpot with your favorite seasoning, go on with your day, and when you’re ready for dinner, the it’s ready. Serve this with a nice salad and a loaf of take-n-bake bread and you’re good! This is a delicious rub that I use on chicken in the crockpot, but I also use this rub when we make a chicken in the smoker. You can make it as spicy as you like. My family likes it a bit spicy, and that’s saying something for Scandinavians. This is ridiculously easy to do, it’s quick to pull together, and it’s darn good.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Whole Chicken in the Crockpot

1 whole chicken, drained and patted dry

Spice Rub:

1 Tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like it

Rub the chicken, inside and out, with the chicken rub.

Put chicken on top of 4 foil balls (or anything that will keep the chicken up off of the bottom of the crockpot, like onion slices, or lemon halves) in crockpot.

Cook on low for 6-7 hours.

There are such simple ingredients in this rub, but it makes a very flavorful chicken.

You can use an organic chicken, or fresh, but I just keep an eye out for bargains on bagged whole chicken at my store, and sometimes you can find a very good deal. This one was $3.68!!!

I normally wouldn’t use the foil balls, but I was totally out of anything else I could use to keep the chicken up off of the bottom. You don’t have to do this, but it keeps the chicken from stewing in its own juice. There will be a lot of liquid left when the chicken is done cooking – I just put it in a freezer container and put it in the freezer for the next time I want to make soup.

You don’t have to put on a rub – good old salt and pepper is delicious, too. You can try all kinds of different seasonings, but if you ARE going to use a rub, make sure to get the it into all the nooks and crannies!

It fits snuggly in the crockpot. Put on the lid, turn it on low, and go about your business for about 6 hours.

At the end of the cooking, the chicken comes out tender and delicious! It will be falling off the bone, and I can’t believe I got this one out of the crockpot without it falling apart! You can serve it for dinner just as it is, or you can pull off the meat and use it for all of the things you would use a rotisserie chicken for: chicken salad, chicken hotdish, or chicken sandwiches. I used this one for putting in a batch of Chicken Salad. You’re going to love making a Whole Chicken in the Crockpot – it’s perfect for a busy weeknight or weekend.

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Shredded Wheat Bread

Today’s recipe for Shredded Wheat Bread comes from my godmother. She and I were talking about baking bread last summer, and when she talked about this bread, her eyes lit up and she said, “oh, that Shredded Wheat Bread was SO GOOD!” She sent me the recipe and I had to make it! I’m just sorry I took so long to do it! This is a photo of she and my mom when they were 9 and 10 years old. They grew up more like sisters than cousins, and since they were only a year apart in age, their mothers (Grandma and one of her sisters) enjoyed having them dress alike! I think the girls thought it was fun, too!

I love the dresses in this one! They also have matching haircuts!! So cute!

Ok – on to the bread. I’m putting it in the category of Retro Oddities, but this bread is anything but odd. It’s absolutely delicious! It’s a lot like, and just as delicious as, a few other bread recipes I’ve made, like Overnight Rye Bread or Dark Bread.

OMG. This. Bread. Is. So. Good.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Shredded Wheat Bread

Pour over 3 large regular shredded wheats (or 1 paper package of the big biscuits):

2 3/4 cups boiling water

Add:

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons shortening (I used butter)

1/2 cup molasses

Cool to lukewarm.

Dissolve together:

1/4 cup warm water

1 package yeast

Mix in:

8 1/4 cups flour

Knead 5 minutes (I used my big mixer with a dough hook for this).

Let rise in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap, for 1 hour.

Punch down.

Form into loaves and let rise in pans another hour, covered with plastic wrap.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Make sure that the big Shredded Wheat biscuits are what you use for this bread. They come in a paper pouch – don’t use the little ones or the ones that are frosted!

I broke the biscuits up a bit, but the adding the boiling water works like a charm to soften them. I don’t really think you would need to break them up.

You add the boiling water and the Shredded Wheat basically dissolves.

Add the other ingredients and dissolve the yeast in the warm water so it’s ready to add.

I mixed in about half of the flour with a wooden spoon, then I switched to the big mixer.

First I mixed in the rest of the flour, then switched to the dough hook and ran the mixer for about 10 minutes to knead it.

I kneaded it by hand a couple of times to make it into a nice, smooth ball. Then I put the ball of dough into a greased bowl (flipping it over so it’s greased on top), cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for an hour. It should double in size.

Punch it down.

I cut the dough in half, formed it into loaves, put it in the pans and let it rise another hour. I think I could have made it into 3 loaves. The only complaint from the boys was that it wouldn’t fit into the toaster! 3 smaller loaves would make that easier.

Oh so pretty! Here they are, straight out of the oven and brushed with soft butter.

This bread slices so nicely, it would be nice to be able to put this in the toaster.

There’s nothing better than a sandwich on freshly baked bread. Well, the only thing better than that is having a fresh slice, still a little warm, slathered in soft butter. Oh wow. My godmother was right – this Shredded Wheat Bread is SO GOOD!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Lem-O-Nut Bars

Lem-O-Nut Bars is a weird name, I know, and this recipe looks like one of the really old ones as you can see by the fountain pen used to write it out. This one comes from one of Grandma’s sisters, and it’s so delicious, I could hardly believe it. It has all the usual and simple ingredients, but they come out so good and chewy, you can really taste the bit of lemon and lemon rind in them.

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These are so good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lem-O-Nut Bars

Mix:

2 cups flour, sifted

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Press into bottom of a greased 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Mix:

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Stir in:

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Spread over crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Top will be lightly browned.

Cut into bars when cool.

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The bottom crust partially bakes first.

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Then on goes the topping.

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It doesn’t look like much when it’s done, but man are these good!

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These are thin, but packed with flavor.

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Here is another treat just perfect for afternoon coffee or tea. Lem-O-Nut Bars are tasty and very quick and easy to make. Yes. Just perfect.

 

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Churro Cupcakes

I made these Churro Cupcakes for a book club pool party a few weeks ago. Our book club takes a break during the summer, but we’re such good friends that we usually get together at least once during the off season. One of our members offered her beautiful home and pool for the party, and we had an amazingly beautiful day for it.

Another of our members had the brilliant idea that we all bring the ingredients for a taco bar, and I offered to bring dessert. I saw these cupcakes one day while I was perusing Instagram, on a blog called thebrookcook. They looked delicious and sounded perfect for a taco themed party! I love churros – but these cupcakes are better! There are 3 parts to this recipe, so pay attention: the cupcakes, the topping, and the frosting. You’re gonna love these cupcakes!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Churro Cupcakes

The Cupcakes:

Whisk together:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 1/2 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

Cream together:

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups sugar

Add and beat after each addition:

4 eggs, at room temperature

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Turn mixer to low and add, alternating:

dry ingredients

1 1/4 cup milk

Beat just until combined after each addition.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes, or until cupcakes bounce back when touched.

Cool.

For Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:

Mix together:

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Melt:

4 Tablespoons butter

Brush melted butter on top of cooled cupcakes and dip into cinnamon-sugar mixture.

For Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting:

Beat until fluffy:

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

Add:

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

Add:

3 cups confectioner’s sugar, 1 cup at a time

1-2 teaspoons milk, if needed for consistency

Use a piping bag and tip to make swirls of frosting on top, leaving a bit of the edges showing (to show off the fact that there is a delicious cinnamon-sugar layer underneath).

First up – make the cupcakes. The recipe makes exactly 24.

Next up – brush the melted butter onto the tops of the cooled cupcakes and then dip them into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

This cinnamon-sugar mixture would be enough of a topping for these cupcakes, but oh no, there’s more!

Here they are in all their glory! I had just enough frosting to do these 24 cupcakes. Perfect. This was a delicious and well written recipe! Thanks again, to thebrookcook! Soon, very soon, (maybe this weekend?) you should have a taco party and make these cupcakes for dessert. You and your guests will love these cinnamon filled Churro Cupcakes!

 

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3 Ingredient Watermelon Lime Popsicles

I’m so excited – I made up a recipe for 3 Ingredient Watermelon Lime Popsicles! I’m sure you can find recipes somewhere online for this same thing – watermelon and lime are just so delicious together! It’s summer, and being a big popsicle eater as a kid, I wanted to try to make my own. Since I love watermelon and I love lime, why not put the two together and make a batch of popsicles with it? With only 3 ingredients, they’re pretty healthy, too!! I do like squeezing a nice little wedge of lime on top of a nice little slice of watermelon, so why wouldn’t they taste just as delicious when put together in a popsicle? I tried it. I liked it! I like these a lot better than the sugary, syrupy popsicles of my childhood – this recipe uses real fruit juice!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

3 Ingredient Watermelon Lime Popsicles

Fill bowl of a food processor or blender with:

watermelon, cubed (about 3-4 cups)

Add:

juice and zest of 1 lime

1 Tablespoon honey (or more to taste, depending on how sweet the melon is)

Blend.

Pour into popsicle molds or paper cups.

Freeze approximately 1 hour and insert popsicle sticks (otherwise known as craft sticks at your local craft store).

Freeze until firm (I just froze them overnight).

Don’t forget to zest the limes BEFORE you cut them in half. Oops.

I just put everything into my vintage 40-year-old blender.

Blend it up!

Pour the mixture into popsicle molds. I like this one that looks like an actual popsicle, but paper cups work just fine, too.

This batch made an even 10 pops – it filled the whole mold.

This mold has a lid to hold the sticks upright, but there’s a catch. If you don’t get the sticks exactly and evenly straight up and down, it’s very difficult to get the lid off. I’m thinking that it’s easier to leave the lid off and put the sticks in when the popsicles are frozen enough for the sticks to stand upright. Once they’re frozen, run the mold under a little warm water and they pull right out. I pop them into sandwich bags and back into the freezer for storage.

The mixture separated before freezing. I don’t know why it happened, but I’m ok with the two-toned look.

The popsicles are icy cold with the sweet flavor of watermelon and honey, and the tangy taste of the lime. Summer is short, so have some fun – be a kid again and try these healthy 3 Ingredient Watermelon Lime Popsicles!

 

 

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Dressing for Garden Veggies

This recipe for Dressing for Garden Veggies goes back to the 1970’s from a family friend. This friend is the wife of my dad’s best friend. These guys had been friends from the time they were little boys, through high school (oh boy – are there stories about this time in their lives!!), and until we lost my dad at the age of 49. These guys would give each other a hard time about everything, give each other nicknames, and spend as much time together as possible. They hunted, fished, camped, and did anything they could outdoors. I love this photo of their confirmation class. My dad is the one on the left and his best friend is the one in the middle in the front. Don’t they look thrilled to be there? Ha!

The one thing they hated more than having to spend time indoors, was to have to get dressed up in their Sunday best! Except for their wedding photos (or their children’s wedding photos), this was probably one of the most formal photos they ever took. EVER!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Dressing for Garden Veggies

Mix together in a mason jar:

1/2 cup salad oil

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup vinegar (I used cider vinegar)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Pour dressing over cut veggies.

I used:

carrots

celery

peppers

peas

cucumbers

mushrooms

radishes

sliced black olives

Full disclosure – I used olive oil for this. If you think the salad may last more than one meal, use salad oil. Olive oil solidifies in the refrigerator if you need to store it. It doesn’t look so pretty. I would use salad oil next time.

The dressing separates, but a quick shake before pouring it over the veggies and it’s fine. It takes a bit of shaking to get all of the sugar to incorporate.

This is a pretty salad with all of the colorful veggies . . .

. . . and it’s delicious!

You can just keep adding more veggies because the dressing lasts for a week or so. This has such a tasty dressing. Call up all of your best friends and have them over for dinner. You can talk about the good old days and serve them this amazingly delicious salad with Dressing for Garden Veggies.

 

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Chocolate Sauce

Because it’s August, and it’s summer, and it’s hot outside, we need this Chocolate Sauce to use on all of the ice cream and frozen treats we’re going to be making for the rest of this month. My favorite way to use this sauce is to pour it over Homemade Ice Cream, but you could also use it on Angel Food Cake or Clara’s “Goofy” Pound Cake. It’s great on any dessert, and you’re going to want to keep this in your refrigerator for pouring on anything. A helpful hint – do NOT keep spoons anywhere near this sauce. Just a suggestion. Not like I have any real reason to suggest this. Sort of. This recipe came from one of Grandma’s old church cookbooks, and it looks like my mom first made it in August of 1974!

Wow – this is good! Real good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chocolate Sauce

Combine:

1 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

Add:

1 cup water

Boil over low heat until mixture thickens, stirring constantly.

Add:

2 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cool.

The recipe says that more water can be added for a thinner sauce.

Again – the ingredients for this sauce are so simple. Everyone will have these on hand, which makes it very handy and easy to make.

Mix the dry ingredients together first.

Next comes the water and the boiling part. Just add the butter and vanilla and you’re done!

You can let this cool if you want to, but it’s sure delightful to have this when it’s warm.

Warm sauce makes the ice cream all melty and stuff. I think you’re going to want to make this regularly. Maybe even every weekend. Stay cool this August and try it on ice cream, on dessert, or even just on a spoon. This Chocolate Sauce is ridiculously inexpensive, is ridiculously simple to make, and is ridiculously delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bean Salad

Bean Salad is one of those recipes that Grandma neglected to finish. At least I think she did. I’m sure when she jotted this one down, it was just for her – to be able to remember it herself – never thinking that maybe someone else would want to know how to make it someday. The way this one is worded makes me think she knew just what to do with this. She just wrote down the basics and that was it, but I’ll elaborate on that as we go along. This is another one of her weird recipes that seems incomplete, but ends up totally delicious. I haven’t really seen too many recipes for beans used in this way, but I did post a 3 Bean Salad,  in the first year of the blog. This sounds like it would be tasty with either a large Sunday dinner, or the cold meat and cheese dinner she would serve once in a while. Let’s try this Bean Salad and see how it goes.

This really is a tasty salad.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Bean Salad

Boil in 2 bullion cubes (I used chicken bullion since she doesn’t say what kind – also don’t know what she meant by “etc”):

Beans (There is no quantity here – I used about 1 1/2 pounds of frozen beans from our garden.)

It says to add onions, so I added 1 chopped onion to the beans while they were boiling. (I told you this was a bit of a strange one.)

Next it says to use a mayonnaise dressing plus mustard. I used the mayonnaise dressing that I always use on Cabbage Salad, but added a Tablespoon of regular yellow mustard.

That’s it. I know. Weird. But tasty. Seriously.

Boil the beans with 2 bullion cubes – ok . . . ?

Add onions – ok . . .?

Mayonnaise dressing plus mustard – ok . . . ?

That’s it. Funny – it sure is keeping with Grandma’s theme of really easy to make and really good to eat.

I’m not sure if this is what it’s supposed to be or look like, but it’s the best I can do. Sometimes I wish I could just ask – is this right?

I guess the answer is – it’s good! It’s crazy, but right or wrong, this is a delicious and very different way to use green beans. It’s great for any time of year, but especially now that our gardens are plentiful with fresh green beans. This salad is the prefect side dish with pretty much any main dish. So there you go. Bean Salad – I say it’s close enough!

 

 

 

 

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Barbecues or Sloppy Joes

Even though I’m calling these Barbecues or Sloppy Joes, we didn’t ever call them sloppy joes. They were always barbecues to us growing up. I wonder if that’s a regional thing. Hmm. My mom has made these for us for as long as I can remember, and she always made them when she visited my sister and her family because my nephew loves these. When my sister first moved to Virginia, my mom would bring her chicken gumbo soup cans in her carry on because she couldn’t get that soup out there. Once, after 9/11 when we weren’t able to bring liquids on the plane anymore, she forgot she couldn’t bring them on the plane and she was stopped. When she told the security guy what it was, he let her bring the soup cans! I guess she must have told him that her daughter was craving a taste of home and he felt sorry for her and let it go! This is especially tasty with my mom’s homemade Buns. This recipe is a bit unusual with the chicken gumbo soup in it, but it’s really good. I know you’re going to love this one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Barbecues or Sloppy Joes

Brown in a skillet:

3 pounds ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, finely chopped (optional)

Drain, if necessary.

Add:

2 cans Chicken Gumbo Soup

3 cups ketchup

Simmer 20 minutes or put into crock pot on low for 6 hours.

Serve on buns.

You can cut down this recipe if 3 pounds of ground beef is too much, but it also freezes well, so you might as well make the whole recipe and keep some for another time. I usually cook the chopped onion and peppers (if I use it) at the same time as I brown the beef.

Then all you do is add the ketchup and chicken gumbo soup and let it simmer. The reason I put the optional chopped green pepper in the recipe is that sometimes I feel like the chicken gumbo soup doesn’t have the flavor it used to have.

That’s it! It’s really pretty quick and easy. You can use store-bought (gasp – like I did here) buns, but like I said above, these are particularly delicious with buns made from my mom’s recipe for homemade Buns. I put this in the crockpot a lot (after browning the beef), for when we’re busy working on the weekend and want to have dinner ready whenever we are.

This is a bit of an odd recipe with the chicken gumbo soup in it, but it is absolutely delicious. I made this and put it in the crockpot recently, when my oldest daughter moved to her new condo. It’s perfect for that kind of day, and has been a staple at all the moving days in our lives. People can eat when they’re hungry and get on with the moving. Try this delicious recipe for Barbecues or Sloppy Joe’s on your family and it will become a staple for you, too!

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Pineapple Bars

Yesterday would have been Grandma’s 104th birthday, and today’s recipe for Pineapple Bars is totally something she would have liked – it’s one of the easiest recipes yet. Because it was her birthday, I’m sharing this photo of her. I love this one so much – I love her haircut, I love her shift dress, and I love her shoes! This must have been taken sometime during the 1920’s, and it looks like a lovely spring or summer day.

Maybe this was a special occasion, I don’t know, but this is just such a sweet picture of her.

Today’s recipe comes from one of Grandma’s sisters, and I think this was mis-labeled because there is no lemon in this recipe. Therefore, I’m renamed this one Pineapple Bars.

These bars are ridiculously easy and ridiculously good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pineapple Bars

Beat slightly:

2 eggs

Add:

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, with juice

Mix until combined.

Put into a 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Cool.

Frosting:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Frost.

Before and after baking, you can see the pineapple in there – these bars are loaded!

It doesn’t seem to be enough frosting, but it’s a nice thin layer – just right.

You can still see the pieces of pineapple in the bars – it keeps them very moist and delicious.

This may be one of the easiest recipes I’ve made on this blog. All you do is mix all the ingredients, bake, and enjoy these tasty little treats loaded full of pineapple nuggets. They do get thick, and seemed more like a cake than bars, but how bad can that be? Try these Pineapple Bars – I know Grandma would have loved them, and I know your friends and family will love them, too!

 

 

 

 

 

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