Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Marinated Chicken Wings

The recipe for today is unusual for one of Grandma’s recipes.

Grandma and Grandpa were not really snack type people.

They were Scandinavian farmers so they had a standard 3:00 pm coffee every afternoon, but this was usually coffee with a sweet – not savory snack – unless there was the occasional cracker.

There weren’t many snack/appetizer/party type recipes in the bunch.

Marinated Chicken Wings would be a good one for a New Year’s party.

Marinated Chicken Wings

These aren’t spicy wings – more of a teriyaki type wing.

And soooo good – as you can see by the “good” connotation!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Marinated Chicken Wings

Mix in a zipper type bag:

1/2 cup soy sauce

3 Tablespoons white sugar

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

3 Tablespoons vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 clove minced garlic

Add 1 package of chicken wings and marinate overnight.

Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.


I put the bag into a bowl in the refrigerator just in case of a leak.


The marinade isn’t thick – maybe it wont do much?


Wrong! The wings get sticky and sweet . . .


and perfect and delicious.


Try this one for your next party – New Year’s or otherwise.

You won’t be sorry.

So good.


Cheese Ball

Today’s recipe is one that can be used for your New Year’s celebration or any celebration.

This one comes from my grandma’s sister, who got it from her daughter, who just happens to be my godmother.

Cheese Ball recipes seem to have been a big hit in the 70’s as we had several that we used over the years.

Cheese Ball

This is a tasty one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cheese Ball

2 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese

1 – 8 1/2 ounce can of crushed pineapple, drained (I couldn’t find this size can so I used about 1 cup)

1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper

2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion

1 Tablespoon seasoning salt

1 small package of chopped nuts (I used pecans and toasted them a bit)

Add seasoning salt to cheese and cream thoroughly.

Add other ingredients and mix well.

Shape into ball (I made it into two balls instead of one large one).

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Roll in nuts before serving.


I just put everything into the bowl and mixed it all together.


This always seems like a lot for just one big cheese ball, so I made it into two, wrapped them in plastic wrap, and set them in these rounded little bowls so they held their shape while in the refrigerator.


The flavors meld together a bit while it’s chilling overnight.


This Cheese Ball is good on any kind of cracker.


What a great way to ring in the New Year!


Merry Christmas and Last Minute Easy Egg Nog Ice Cream

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Today’s recipe is an easy last minute Egg Nog Ice Cream.

One of my daughter’s heard about this idea and we thought we’d try it.

It could NOT be easier.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Egg Nog Ice Cream

1 quart of egg nog

Put the egg nog in the frozen container of your ice cream maker and freeze as you would any other kind of ice cream.

I have a Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt/Sorbet/Ice Cream maker similar to the one you can find here.

Freeze for a couple of hours after initial freezing in the machine.

This was so easy that we tried it even though we were going through the preparations for our Christmas Eve dinner.


My aunt and uncle brought me this three tiered tray to display cookies on.

It was Grandma’s and it was always in use at family functions and holidays.

You can see some of the cookies I’ve made on the blog displayed on it: Spritz Cookies, Christmas Wreath Cookies and Peanut Brittle.


I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to make this ice cream.


My husband said, “why have we been drinking egg nog when this is so good?”


Give it a try – you’ll love it!

Thanks so much for checking in and reading “Plenty Sweet Life”.

These first 5 months have been a lot of fun and quite the learning experience.

My family and I wish you the happiest of holidays and a healthy and happy New Year!


Party Mix

Family get-togethers always felt like a party when Grandma was hosting, whether it was a holiday or not.

There was great food (as you can tell by the wonderful recipes we’ve been learning about here), there were always candles (I was the official candle lighter), and lots of warmth and love (I know that because of the wonderful memories I have of those get-togethers).

There are certain smells that bring back those great memories and the smell of this recipe is one of them.

Grandma had this recipe for Party Mix that’s a bit different than the regular Chex Party Mix recipe that’s on the box of Chex Cereal.

I love that it has a bit of sweet in it – that sweet/salty combo is so “in” right now.

Party Mix

I made 8 batches of this last year when I was bringing it to my son and his friends at college.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Party Mix

1 box of Rice Chex

1 box of Wheat Chex

1 cup stick pretzels

1 cup Cheerios cereal

3 cups Honey Nut Chex

1 pound mixed nuts and peanuts (it says 2 pounds of mixed nuts, but that seemed like a LOT of nuts, so I cut the amount in half)

3 teaspoons garlic salt

2 sticks butter (it says 1 pound of butter or 3 cups of oil on the card, but that seemed like a LOT of butter or oil, so I cut that in half, too)

3 Tablespoons Worchester sauce

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

1 teaspoon celery salt

1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter, mix with Worchester sauce and other seasonings.

Mix all ingredients together.

Bake at 225 degrees for 2 hours.

Cool and store in airtight container.


We go through a lot of this stuff every holiday season.


The mix fit in two cake pans for baking.

I did stir them every 30 minutes just to make sure it was well mixed and that there was no sticking.


This is the classic snack mix we all grew up with.


Another great one for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years – or anytime.

I love that when you need a bit of salty with all of your holiday sweets, this mix is there for you.

It just wouldn’t be the holidays without this snack.



There’s something about this time of year that makes me want “comfort food”.

Maybe it’s the cold and snow or maybe it’s the family get-togethers.

in the snow

We all know Minnesota is famous for “hotdish” – the ultimate “comfort food”.

The definition of “hotdish” is a starch, a protein, canned vegetables and canned soup.

Grandma had a lot of “hotdish” recipes.

There’s just something about coming into the house after . . .

playing in the snow,



getting your Christmas tree,

a “hotdish” in the oven, it’s cream of (something) soup bubbling away in the casserole dish.

It’s comfort food.

Pure and simple.

I should rename this recipe “Hotdish No. 1” since I’m sure we’ll have many more recipes just named “Hotdish“.


Note the “V Good” tag.

Here is the recipe as I made it:


Mix together:

2 cups celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 1/2 pound ground beef, browned

4 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 cup uncooked Minute Rice

1 can cream of mushroom soup

3 1/2 cup boiling water

Bake covered at 400 degrees for 1 hour, then uncover and bake at 350 degrees for another 1/2 hour.


This is the mixture before adding the boiling water.


All mixed up and ready for the oven.


It comes out all crusty on top and the soup/sauce is bubbling away.


Again – total comfort food.

So comforting.


Spritz Cookies

These cookies are a family Christmas staple.

Grandma and Grandpa were the ones who always made these Spritz Cookies.

g & g

They had a cookie press that you had to crank on the end to get the cookies to come out and it was always a challenge to get the dough to come out of the press the right way.

We just let them handle it. Actually, Grandpa usually handled it. Grandma manned the knife and cut the flat cookies apart.

At some point I received a cookie press as a gift and I was able to make Spritz Cookies myself.

I didn’t know there were so many shapes you could make – they always made the flat plank type cookie shape.

I read conflicting reports about the origin of these cookies – some say they’re German and some say they’re Scandinavian.

They sure seem Scandinavian to me – they use the same 4 ingredients that make most recipes made by the farmers that came to this area from Scandinavia: sugar, flour, butter, and eggs.

In either case – they’re delicious!


Spritz 2

This recipe has the “V Good” connotation AND the note that this is the recipe Grandma always used AND where she got the recipe.

That means this is a good one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Spritz Cookies

1 cup butter

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Cream butter and cream cheese – gradually add sugar, beat until light fluffy.

Beat in egg yolk and vanilla.

Sift dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture.

Use cookie press to form cookies on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Grandma didn’t think they should get brown at all but I don’t mind them a bit brown around the edges.


It doesn’t look like a lot of dough but the card says it makes 8 dozen cookies.


This shape is not my favorite to make – it’s a bit labor intensive.


I’m not sure why, but this is the shape Grandma and Grandpa always made.


There are 20 discs that come with the cookie press so you can experiment with lots of different shapes.


These cookies are another great memory of Christmas growing up.


Microwave Peanut Brittle

My grandpa was a farmer and when he came in for lunch, he would take a nap on a rug on the floor between the kitchen and the dining room.

When I was little, I wouldn’t let him nap much.

He was too fun to climb on!

I am 1 year old in this picture and it doesn’t look like he minds me climbing on him too much!

me and grandpa on rug

He was famous for making two things: waffles (which we’ll explore at a later date) and his Christmas Microwave Peanut Brittle.

We both used basically the same recipe from a microwave cookbook but his usually turned out better.

We’ve changed microwaves a couple of times and I have had to alter the recipe for the power of the new one each time.

I don’t have a card for this so I’ll just type out the recipe.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Microwave Peanut Brittle

Mix together in a 1 1/2 quart microwave safe casserole:

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

Microwave on high 3 minutes.

Stir in:

1 cup roasted, salted peanuts

Microwave on high 3 1/2 minutes until light brown.


1 teaspoon butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend well.

Microwave on high 1 1/2 minutes more.

Peanuts will be lightly browned and syrup very hot.

Add 1 teaspoon baking soda and gently stir until light and foamy.

Pour mixture onto lightly greased cookie sheet.

Let cool 1/2 to 1 hour.

When cool, break into small pieces and store in air-tight container.

Makes about 1 pound.

These are the times that work for my microwave – you may have to adjust the cooking times for your own microwave.


The syrup gets very hot and bubbly.


It’s molten lava on the cookie sheet until it’s cool.


This was my grandpa’s favorite and it’s one of my sons favorites, too.

Another family holiday classic – delicious.


Christmas Wreath Cookies

This recipe was a challenge.

My mom stayed at our house before heading out east for Christmas.

When I told her I was doing this recipe of Grandma’s for the blog she said, “oh, I remember those!”

She told me she had made them years ago and since I’ve never have made them, I enlisted her help.

Christmas Wreath Cookies are a tasty and pretty holiday cookie.

Grandma got this recipe from her sister who always made these.

Christmas Wreaths

Christmas Wreaths 2

The confusing part of making these cookies is how to get them small enough and into the wreath shape.

We struggled a bit with this.

We just couldn’t get them very small.

My mom had a good point, maybe we just remember them being small and perfect but maybe they looked just like these.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Christmas Wreath Cookies

1/2 cup butter

30 big marshmallows

1/4 teaspoon green food coloring

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups corn flakes cereal

red cinnamon candies

silver ball decorations (optional)

Melt butter and marshmallows in large bowl in microwave about 1 1/2 minutes – stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.

Add green food coloring, vanilla, and corn flakes (break up any really large corn flakes – I think corn flakes have changed and gotten bigger over the years since this was first written).

While warm, drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet into a wreath shape (this was the challenging part since I couldn’t figure out how to do this – I used small bits to drop into the wreath shape instead of forming it with my hands).

I did use wax paper on the cookie sheets but I wouldn’t do that next time.

Trim with red cinnamon candies and silver balls (I didn’t use many of the silver balls – I think they’re hard on your teeth) if desired.

Let cool and harden.

I used a metal spatula to get them off of the waxed paper and that worked fine.


It starts out just like Rice Krispie bars.


The batter ends up very sticky.

It worked well to use two spoons to get the batter onto the pan.

Warm up the batter if it gets too sticky – put in the microwave another 20 seconds.


We tried making mounds and using a knife to move the batter around, but I ended up dropping small bits into a circle shape instead.

One of my daughters said she made these with a friend and they used buttered hands to form the wreaths.


They’re pretty.

They’re tasty.

They’re a challenge.

But they’re worth it!


Peanut Blossoms

Christmas 63 stocking

Christmas is the time of year when tradition is at its best in our family.

This picture was the Christmas I had just turned 2.

I still have that little stocking hanging from the knob on the stereo.

That must have been about the time that tradition started to be such a big thing with me.

To this day I still feel that the year our tv went out is one of the best Christmas memories I have.

My mom and dad and me sat in the living room singing Christmas songs along with our Christmas albums and the only lights on being the warm glow from the Christmas tree.

I’ll never forget that and how special it was to me and I couldn’t have been much older than in this picture.

That’s why I still make the same cookies and baked goods year after year – they bring back all those good feelings of love and warmth.

I kind of think of these cookies as a bit old fashioned since they use the chocolate stars.

These are one of my sons favorites and my mom makes them for him every year.

Today’s recipe says Peanut Clusters but it originally came from my mom and she calls them Peanut Blossoms so that’s what I’m going to rename this recipe.

Peanut Clusters

You’ll notice the “V Good” connotation again here!

There are a couple of things written differently here than on my mom’s original card, but we’ll go over those as we move along.

Here is the recipe as I made them:

Peanut Blossoms

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream butters and sugars.

Mix dry ingredients all together and add to the creamed mixture.

Roll dough in balls and roll in white sugar.

Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes (it was 13 m inutes for my oven).

Remove from oven and add chocolate stars (or I have used chocolate kisses, too).

Put back into oven for 1 minute (Grandma’s recipe didn’t say this but my mom’s original recipe card does).


My mom’s card said to chill the dough in the refrigerator before baking.

I didn’t do that and the dough was a bit soft, but turned out fine.


Putting the cookies back into the oven after the stars go on top makes the stars nice and glossy.


Time for a Christmas tea.


Enjoy this cookie – one of our family traditions.

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Almond Bark Bars

Here is a holiday recipe that I haven’t seen before.

The Almond Bark Bars recipe uses a product called “Clackers” and I had to look it up online to find out what it was.

Turns out it’s a type of graham cereal from the 70’s and it’s not made anymore.

I had to find a suitable substitution.

Almond Bark Bars'

Also note that sometimes Grandma wrote the quantity in terms of how much the package she used costs.

A 39 cent sized bag of peanuts? When did she get this recipe  – where you could get a package of peanuts for 39 cents???

It is a quick and easy recipe that you can whip up in no time if you have the ingredients on hand.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Almond Bark Bars

Melt 1/2 of a large 2 pound package of almond bark.

Add 2 cups of Rice Krispies and 2 cups of Honey Nut Chex (this was my Clackers substitution – I had it on hand so I tried this but I would use Golden Grahams or use 4 cups of Rice Krispies next time), 1 cup of peanuts and 1 cup of miniature marshmallows.

Mix well.

I put this in a 7 x 11″ pan sprayed with non-stick spray.

Sprinkle with festive holiday décor.

Let cool and harden.


Next time I would use Golden Grahams.

The Honey Nut Chex was too fragile and made these a bit crumbly when I cut them into bars.


Christmas-y jimmies were my décor of choice on top.


Quick and easy for the holidays!


A great start to my holiday cookie making!

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