Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Ham-Chicken Casserole

The recipe for today is a great one to use up those Easter leftovers – ham, chicken, and asparagus!

This is another one from one of Grandma’s sisters.

Actually, it’s the sister standing next to her in this picture.

Mom, Lila, Grace Sigfred Swenson

Grandma is the little one standing next to the man.

We don’t know who this man is or why he’s brandishing the hammer.

Photographs were so formal back then, it’s fun to have this picture where it looks like they’re goofing around.

Although Grandma looks a bit scared – she’s holding on to her sister pretty tight!

It must have been spring time or at least a warm winter day because they don’t have coats.

I just love their little button up shoes and their hair bows.

So cute!

Ham-Chicken Casserole

Ham-Chicken Casserole 2

This is a very good recipe.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Ham-Chicken Casserole

1. Brown 1/4 cup chopped onion in 1/4 cup butter.

2. Add 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon thyme, and 1/8 teaspoon marjoram.

3. Gradually add 1 1/2 cup milk, stirring until thickened.

4. Slightly beat 2 egg yolks and add to mixture being careful to blend a little of the hot mixture into the egg yolks first, then add to mixture and cook for 3 minutes.

5. Add 2 cups combined ham and chicken (I added 1 cup of each) and about 1 cup cut cooked asparagus.

6. Pour into greased casserole and top with bread crumbs and parmesan (I used about 1 cup of each).

7. Bake at 350-375 degrees (I baked it at 375) for about 45 minutes.


This is the sauce before adding the eggs – it’s bubbly and thick.


It seems like a lot of topping before baking.


After baking it comes out crispy topped and bubbly.


Try this one and use up those Easter leftovers.

It’s so good and warm and comforting for this time of year.







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Lemon Cheese Bars

And now for something entirely different . . .

The recipe for today is different in that it’s made with lemon and cream cheese.

It seems like an unusual combination, but they turned out great.

This recipe is a lot like the Chocolate Revel Bars I made in an earlier post here, only instead of fudge in the middle, it’s a lemon cream cheese mixture.

All of the lemon lovers in your life will enjoy these Lemon Cheese Bars.

You really should give these a try.

Lemon Cheese Bars

This is another very easy recipe.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Cheese Bars

1 lemon cake mix (Grandma says to try a lemon cake mix and that’s what I did)

2 eggs

1/3 cup oil (I used canola)

1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Mix dry cake mix, 1 egg, and oil until crumbly, reserving 1 cup.

Pat lightly in pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and other egg until light and smooth.

Spread on top of baked layer, put on reserved mixture, and bake another 15 minutes longer.


You can see that the crust really is very crumbly.


Before and after baking – the filling puffs up a bit but stays so luscious.


These bars come out of the pan easily and will be a great addition to your easy treats file.


Yes – the lemon lovers in your life will really love these.

These are so good.

And just a little bit different.






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Oatmeal Cookies

I’m sure there are a million different recipes for oatmeal cookies, but this recipe is really good!

This recipe looks like it originally came from the newspaper, and you know it had to be good if Grandma kept a recipe from the newspaper and made a note on it.

Note the “Very Good” connotation again here.

Oatmeal Cookies

You could make a lot of different combinations using the suggested additions.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter

2 eggs

Pinch of salt

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

2 1/4 cup oatmeal

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

Combine sugars, butter, and eggs.

Blend well.

Add vanilla.

Sift dry ingredients together and add to sugar mixture.

Add oatmeal and ONE of the following:

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup coconut

1 cup raisins

1 cup salted peanuts

(I added white chocolate chips.)

Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown (about 14 minutes in my oven).


I have retired my old red ice cream scoop in favor of a brand new shiny one!


The recipe says only ONE addition, but I think you could add a couple of things at a time if you wanted to.


This was the perfect snack for the rainy spring afternoon when I made them.


Warm and chewy at first out of the oven.

Crispy and delicious later when cooled.

These are REALLY good!




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Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Bars

Here is a lovely picture of me and my mom from when I was 18 months old.

I look like I might be full of the dickins in this picture.

Again – what’s with that haircut?

Who cut the bangs???


Chocolate Chip Graham Crax Bars

Love the jewelry, Mom!!!

I know my mom copied down this recipe originally because I don’t know anyone else spells graham crackers – graham crax!

These Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Bars are another VERY quick and easy recipe.

You can do this.


Chocolate Chip Graham Crax Bars

So easy.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Bars

Melt 2/3 of a stick of butter in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

Add the following in layers:

1 cup of graham cracker crumbs

1 cup of chocolate chips

1 cup of coconut

1 cup of sweetened condensed milk (basically a whole can)

1 cup of nuts (I used pecans)

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

That’s it.



You just layer it all in and that’s it!


Before it’s baked, it doesn’t look like much.


After it’s baked, you can see the sticky, gooey goodness around the edge.


Another VERY fast and VERY easy recipe for when you need something sweet – FAST!!!!

So fast.

Try it out!





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5 Can Hotdish

As you can tell by my handwriting on this card, I was pretty young when I got this recipe.

This is another one that, I think, came from my 7th grade Home Ec class.

I’m sure it’s so easy because we beginning cooks had to be able to do it ourselves.

There really were a LOT of recipes that I got in that class I still use today.

This sounds so funny, but it really works!

5 can hotdish

It couldn’t possible be any faster or any easier!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

5 Can Hotdish

1 can tuna (or chicken – I used chicken since 2/3 of  our household aren’t big tuna fans)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can chow mein noodles

1 can milk

1 can chicken noodle soup

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


These are the 5 cans (4 plus the can of milk) I used for this Hot Dish.


It looks pretty soupy – I’d try a whole bag of chow mein noodles next time, but the ones in the can did seem thicker for some reason.


Before and after baking.


It seems a bit beige.

Next time I’d make it 6 can Hotdish and add a can of veggies.


This would be great to have in the cupboard for those nights when you need dinner good and fast.

Couldn’t be easier.

It was delicious!





Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone!


Thanks for reading!

I really do appreciate each and every one of you!!


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Orange Cake

Today’s recipe is one that feels like springtime and sunshine.

We need a little springtime after getting MORE snow yesterday.

One of our neighbors has been good enough to use his snowblower on our driveway a few times this winter.

We REALLY appreciate him doing that!!!

To thank he and his wife, I made this Orange Cake in a bundt pan, didn’t add raisins, and then in addition to the orange/sugar glaze, I put on some powdered sugar frosting made with orange juice.

When making the recipe for this post, I made it following the recipe card.

I don’t remember Grandma making this one, but it seems like a good springtime recipe.

Orange Cake

Orange Cake 2

It’s a taste of sunshine in your mouth!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Orange Cake

Remove rind from 1 orange and set aside.

Mix juice of orange and 1/2 cup white sugar together and let stand while cake is baked.

1 cup white sugar

1 cup butter

2 eggs, separated

3/4 cup sour milk (I add about a teaspoon of vinegar to the milk to sour it)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup raisins or dates

1 teaspoon lemon extract

Cream sugar and butter, add egg yolks, sour milk, baking soda, baking powder, and flour.

Mix in raisins or dates, chopped and mixed with rind from the orange.

Add lemon extract.

Fold in beaten egg whites.

Spread batter in 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees 40 to 50 minutes.

While cake is still hot, pour the orange juice/sugar syrup over it.

Serve with whipped cream.


Before baking, you can see the raisins and flecks of orange rind in the batter.


It comes our golden brown.

I used a toothpick to poke holes into the cake before pouring the orange juice/sugar syrup on top.


Winter will be over soon and there will be warm and sunny days ahead, I just know it!


Until then, you can make do with this – sunshine in your mouth!







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Hopping Bunny Rolls

Today’s recipe is my family’s favorite and #1 Easter tradition.

It just wouldn’t be Easter without these Hopping Bunny Rolls.

I have to make them every year.

HAVE to.

It’s DEMANDED of me!


There would be mutiny in my family if I even suggested not making these rolls.

I started making them as soon as I got this cookbook from our neighbors for my 12th birthday.

See, everybody knew early on that I loved to cook!!

This is the Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cook Book, copyright 1959 but the tenth printing in 1970.

I’ve had this cookbook for so long – there are a LOT of recipes in here that have become family traditions.


Bunny Rolls

Here is the recipe as I made them:

Hopping Bunny Rolls

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup water

1 cup milk, scalded (heated to just before the boiling point)

1/3 cup white sugar

1/2 cup shortening (this is one of the few times I do use vegetable shortening)

1 teaspoon salt

5 to 5 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup orange juice

2 Tablespoons grated orange peel

Soften yeast in warm water.

Blend milk, sugar, shortening, and salt.

Cool until lukewarm; stir in about 2 cups flour; beat well.

Add eggs; mix well.

Stir in softened yeast.

Add orange juice, peel, and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Let rest 10 minutes.

Knead dough 5 to 10 minutes on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.

Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface.

Cover; let rise in warm place until double (about 2 hours).

Punch down; cover and let rest 10 minutes.


I don’t make the one that’s a view from the back, only the side view.

The recipe page says to roll out dough and cut strips to roll and make the bunny shapes.

I just cut off a piece, pretend it’s clay, and make snakes to roll into the body and head shapes.

One is a bit shorter than the other – that’s the head.

A smaller piece, pointed on each end and folded in half placed under the head and there you have the ears.

A small piece rolled into a ball and tucked under the back end and there’s the tail.

Put the bunny shapes on a cookie sheet.

Cover and let rise again in a warm place until light and nearly double (45 to 60 minutes).

Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Frost while warm with Sugar Glaze.

It says it makes 2 1/2 dozen but I got 18 out of the recipe this time.

I probably don’t make them as small as I should.

Hmm – wonder why?

Sugar Glaze:

To 2 cups powdered sugar, add 1/4 cup hot water and 1 teaspoon softened butter; mix until well blended.

Brush or drizzle over warm bunny rolls.

I have also used warm orange juice and a bit of grated orange peel instead of water in this.

It makes them taste a bit more “orange-y”.


Making these rolls has gotten a lot easier since making them with the big mixer and a dough hook.

I let it run with the dough hook on for about 5-10 minutes at medium speed.

This is how much dough you’ll have before rising.


This is after rising (even though I started another project and let it go a bit longer than usual here).


When you punch down the dough before forming the bunnies, seriously punch it!


These are the bunnies before and after the second rising.


They all have their own personalities!


This glaze is made with orange juice and orange peel instead of water with the powdered sugar.


It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t that bad – you can do this!


They’re so worth it in the end.

Not only are they cute as heck, they’re SO GOOD!!!

Enjoy our #1 tradition!

Hoppy Easter!




Baked Custard

Today’s recipe is total comfort food!!

Baked Custard is one of those old fashioned desserts that is so warm and sweet and, well, comforting.

It reminds me of Sunday afternoons at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

We’d play games like Rook, Rack-O, Hand and Foot, Chinese Checkers, or Rummikub.

There was no letting the grandchildren (or great-grandchildren) win.

We had to win outright.

Grandma, especially, was very competitive.

She played Old Maid with my daughter when she was about 5 years old and thought she was going to outsmart her with the final card being the old maid but my daughter outsmarted her first, played a switch, and won the game (little did she know that my daughter would also be VERY competitive)!!!

She and all of us just ROARED!

So funny!

Both of my Grandma’s used to make this dish.

We’ll make my other Grandma’s recipe at another time.

Baked Custard

I just love this one.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Baked Custard

Blend together:

2 or 3 eggs or just 2 yolks and 1 whole egg

pinch of salt

1/3 cup sugar

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Bake in a pan of hot water at 300 degrees for 2 hours (this time is for if you put the whole recipe into one bowl).

I used 4 small ramekins and baked them for about 1 1/2 hours.


I mixed all the ingredients in a big measuring cup with a lip so it would be easier to pour.


You can see the nutmeg in the batter before baking.


It comes out of the oven with a bit of a crust on top.

Some people say to chill it or eat it at room temperature but I really think it’s best warm.


So warm.

So sweet.

So comforting!



Iowa Ham Balls

This is one of those recipes that no matter how many times I make it, it still doesn’t taste as good as Grandma’s.

There is just something about these Iowa Ham Balls . . .

They have that sticky, sweet, and salty thing going on, all at the same time.

She was a subscriber to the Farm Wife News magazine and I think that’s where she got the original recipe.

I’m just glad my daughter asked for these for her birthday dinner so I could make them again!

I don’t have the original card from Grandma, but I do have it written in my book.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Iowa Ham Balls

2 pounds ground ham (I used my food processor and it works great)

2 pounds ground lean ground beef

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk


1 can tomato soup

3/4 cup white vinegar

2 1/4 cups brown sugar

2 teaspoons dry mustard

(The original recipe has double this, but that makes a LOT of sauce, so I now only make half of the original sauce recipe.)

Combine ground ham, ground beef, crumbs, eggs, and milk.

Shape, 1/2 cup at a time, into individual balls and place in 9″ x 13″ pan.

Combine sauce ingredients and pour over balls.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour.


Using the food processor to grind the ham works great – I just cut the boneless ham into chunks and then process.


Before and after baking.

I spoon the sauce over top before baking – you could do it once or twice during the baking time, also, if you want, but I don’t think it’s necessary.


This would be a good way to use any leftover Easter ham.


Or it would be a great dish to serve for Easter dinner.

Sticky, sweet, salty, delicious!!

Just like Grandma used to make.





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