Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Almond Bark Cookies

Today’s recipe comes from one of Grandma’s sisters, but it has Grandma’s name on it. The possibilities are endless for these Almond Bark Cookies. You could add any kind of cereal you want, and I think the idea of adding bright and cheery colored Fruit Loops cereal would be so great for kids. I used Cheerios with this batch, just because that’s all I had on hand. I do seem to remember Grandma making these when I was growing up, and I think she used Rice Krispies. I also seem to remember that she made these around Christmas time because they are kind of a candy, too, not just a cookie. Cereal always reminds me of staying weekends at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. I don’t know why, but it was so exciting to go there and have cereal for breakfast. She would have several kinds of cereal to choose from, and that was so much fun! We didn’t have that selection at our house, because I don’t think some of us ate breakfast every day (Mom! Ha! She still doesn’t!). Grandma had a lot of cereal because they ate breakfast every day after the initial morning chores. I would assume that when you’re up at sunrise getting the livestock fed and other farm things ready to go for the day, you have a cup of coffee (or Postum) and/or maybe cereal before you head out, and when it’s everybody else’s normal time to get up in the morning, you’d be just coming in for a more/bigger breakfast. So she probably had plenty of cereal on hand to make this recipe. This is a great recipe any time of year. We’re heading towards summer and not wanting to heat up our kitchens, so now is a good time to share this recipe.

Almond Bark Cookies

This one is no-bake goodness!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Almond Bark Cookies

(This is a half recipe – the whole batch makes a lot of these cookies.)

Melt in double boiler (I used the microwave):

1 pound white almond bark

Stir in:

2 cups crisp cereal (you can use a combination of more than 1 if desired) of your choice: Rice Krispies, Cheerios, Fruit Loops, etc.

3/4 cup miniature marshmallows

3/4 cup cocktail peanuts

Drop by teaspoon on waxed paper.

Cool until firm.

I got about 3 dozen cookies from this half batch, but as usual, I probably made them bigger than Grandma would.

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I might have to try some other kinds of cereal for these bars. The summer stretches out ahead of me, just waiting for treats!

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I added an extra 1/2 cup of Cheerios because there seemed to be a lot of melted almond bark.

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I tried to make these small, I really did. I didn’t make them TOO big. I wanted to. They seem a bit addictive to me. But that might just be me.

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This is a great, easy recipe. You could top them with sprinkles, too, if you want to make them more fancy. These treats will be good for summer gatherings, camping trips, or weekends!

 

 

 

 

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Killer Turkey Burgers

I’m sharing such a cute photo today. This is my mom and her little brother, and it was taken indoors. Most of the photos were taken outdoors back then – maybe they didn’t have flash on the cameras yet! Whoever took this one was taking a chance on it not turning out because it looks like they were made to sit by a sunny window in hopes that there would be enough light. It could have just as easily been totally black. I’m so glad it turned out ok!

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Oh my gosh – it’s just so cute!

The recipe for today is one that I originally saw on the Food Network show, The Kitchen. Anne Burrell was a guest and she made these burgers. They sounded so good, I immediately looked up the recipe and printed it off. You can find the original recipe here. These burgers are incredibly tasty and good. They’re one of our new favorites.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Killer Turkey Burgers

Burgers:

1 onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice

2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped

(The original recipe says to cook the onion and garlic until soft, but in a hurry recently, I put them in uncooked and it was just fine.)

2 pounds ground turkey (original recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds, but I have found 2 pounds works for me)

1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, coarsely chopped (I didn’t use them in this batch)

1/4 cup soy sauce, plus more if needed

1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, leaves finely chopped

1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated

2 Tablespoons Sriracha or Asian chili sauce, optional but recommended

Toppings:

1/2 cup mayonnaise mixed with 2 teaspoons Sriracha

Burger Buns

America cheese slices

Tomato slices

Red onion slices

Lettuce leaves

Mix in a large bowl, ground turkey, water chestnuts, soy sauce, cilantro, ginger, Sriracha, and the onions and garlic (whether you’re cooking them or using them raw).

(The original recipe calls for some water to keep the turkey moist, but I have found that the burgers tend to fall apart if you use too much, so I don’t use any water in these. Ground turkey can be too moist, especially if you use it after freezing it, so if your burgers are too wet, add some dry bread crumbs and let it sit a couple of minutes to help the burgers hold together. I never use frozen ground turkey for this particular recipe.)

Use your hands and mix well until blended.

Make patties.

Coat your pan with a bit of olive oil and heat pan to medium-high heat.

Add the burgers – don’t crowd the pan – and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through.

Serve with toppings.

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The burgers are pretty moist, as you can see by the juicy-ness here. I’ve never really had these be too dry. In fact, they’re so moist that I wouldn’t even try to do them on the grill. I just don’t think they’d hold together. It seems to work well in the fry pan.

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This burger doesn’t have cheese on it, but you can see how important all of the beautiful toppings are. They all help to make the burgers so fresh tasting and delicious.

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These are so good and so good for you. You HAVE to try this recipe. You’ll love these killer burgers!! Maybe make them for your little brother (if you have one), cuz he’s just so darn cute!!

 

 

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Friendship Muffins

This recipe for Friendship Muffins comes from one of Grandma’s sisters. I love the name, and it seems so appropriate for Grandma and her sisters (and sisters-in-law) who always seemed to be surrounded by friends. They were all friends with each other, too! This recipe makes a bit of a different kind of muffin, one that’s more firm and doesn’t have as much of a tender crumb as regular muffins. The recipe does say that you can make it into a cake instead of muffins, but in a 9″ x 13″ pan, which seems a bit big for this amount of batter, but maybe not. I may have to try that sometime. Once again, this is a very easy, very good recipe.

Friendship Muffins

I love recipes that let you be versatile, like this one. It gives you lots of options.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Friendship Muffins

Mix dry ingredients together:

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Then add:

3/4 cup oil (I used canola)

3 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla

Stir well.

Add:

1 cup of: chopped apples, dates, raisins, or other dried fruit

1/2 cup nuts, chopped (if desired)

(I used raisins and no nuts in these.)

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes for muffins or 40 minutes for 9″ x 13″ pan.

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It has a different order of ingredients on the recipe, but I mixed all the dry ingredients together first, then added the wet ingredients and fruit.

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It makes a very thick batter.

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I added some sanding sugar to the tops, just to add a bit of sparkle.

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These are quick to make, and easy to snack on.

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Muffins are always great to have on hand and these are no exception. Make a batch of these today – and make a batch for your friends!

 

 

 

 

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Sour Cream Coffee Bread

This recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Bread is one of Grandma’s that I’ve had for, oh, I don’t know how many years. A lot. It’s so old, I don’t even have the original card anymore. This isn’t really a bread, I’d say it’s more like a coffee cake. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this. I’ve taken it to weekends at our mothers’ houses, I’ve taken it to friends, and I’ve used it as a gift. It works great to bake it, wrap it in plastic wrap and foil, and pop it in the freezer so you can just grab it and go when you need it. I’ll just type the recipe out for you here.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sour Cream Coffee Bread

Pecan Mixture:

Combine and mix well:

4 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup pecans, chopped

Set aside.

For Cake:

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar.

Beat in eggs one at a time.

Beat in sour cream and vanilla.

Fold in flour with baking powder and salt.

Spoon about 1/3 of the batter into a well-greased 9″ tube pan or angel food cake pan (I used a bundt pan).

Sprinkle about 3/4 of the pecan mixture.

Spoon in remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining pecan mixture.

When using a bundt pan, I sprinkle and spoon the opposite, staring with the pecan mixture in the bottom of the pan since it will be upside down. A tube pan comes out right side up, but it’s tricky to get the cake out of it as you have to get the cake off of the “tube” part without breaking it.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Remove from pan and cool on rack.

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When using a bundt pan for this, I do put a little of the topping mixture in the bottom of the pan. When using a tube pan, save it for the top.

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Make sure to butter the bundt pan really well, put in 1/4 of the topping mixture, and 1/3 of the batter.

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Next add the last 3/4 of the pecan or topping mixture and the rest of the batter. I spoon it in and then smooth it out a bit with the spatula.

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This was the first time I’ve made this coffee cake with my new bundt pan, and I think it got a bit darker than usual, yet at the same time it make a sort of caramel-y crust on the outside of the cake.

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You could serve this coffee cake with butter or jam, but it really doesn’t need it. It’s not too sweet, and it’s surprisingly tasty.

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You can see the ribbon of pecans and cinnamon running through the middle of the cake. This is another easy recipe that’s so good. Everyone will love it!

 

 

 

 

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Banana Nut Cake with Vanilla Butter Frosting

It’s spring, and when I found this photo, I knew this would be the perfect time to share this one. Everything about this photo cracks me up. Just look at it! Ha! It’s springtime, obviously, because I have on my little spring coat, my white boots, and there’s a scarf on my head. And I’m wearing sunglasses – the red is so chic! This was taken at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. I must have been lucky enough to catch one of the barn cats (or someone caught it for me). I’m thinking that because I’m holding the cat, it must have been my dad or my grandpa who took the photo, because my mom has a cat phobia. (She may not even comment on this post, that’s how bad it is! She won’t want to look at it.) I must be about 3 or 4 years old here, and I just love the corn crib and Grandpa’s old green truck in the background. That truck was so great – I loved riding with him in that truck. We would drive into the small town near their farm, pick up things at the store that Grandma needed, and get me a treat, too. If you hit bumps hard enough in that truck, you’d hit your head on the ceiling! It was so fun!

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Today’s recipe for Banana Nut Cake with Vanilla Butter Frosting is another one that Grandma kept that has my name on it. I have to honestly say, I don’t know when or where I got this recipe. I don’t remember ever making a banana cake, but I know why she kept this one. It’s so good!

Banana Nut Cake

Banana Nut Cake 2

This cake has such a great banana flavor!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Banana Nut Cake

Mix together:

2 cups flour

1 2/3 cup sugar

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

2/3 cup shortening (I used butter)

2/3 cup buttermilk

3 eggs

3 ripe mashed bananas

2/3 cup walnuts, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend 30 seconds on low speed, then 3 minutes on high speed.

Grease and flour cake pans: 9″ x 13″, 3-8″ pans, or 2-9″ pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

Vanilla Butter Frosting

1/3 cup butter, at room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 Tablespoons milk

Mix all together and spread on cake.

(If making a layer cake, I would make a double batch of the frosting. This barely covered the 9″ x 13″ cake.)

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Bananas and walnuts – so good together!

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Before and after baking – it turns a nice, golden brown.

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Full disclosure – I was 1 cup short on powdered sugar and under a time crunch, so instead of taking the time to run to the store for more, I tried making my own at home. Did you know you could do that? I “Googled” it and found out how to do it here. I knew my blender wouldn’t be powerful enough, so I tried it in my food processor. Not so great (I don’t think that was powerful enough, either), but I used it anyway, and it just got to be a bit grainy (more than real powdered sugar would be).

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It may have made a bit more frosting if I had the extra cup of powdered sugar, but there was enough to cover the whole 9″ x 13″ cake.

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This is a very tasty, very banana-y cake. It’s easy to make and delicious, and I don’t know where I ever got it from, but I’m glad I found it again, here in Grandma’s recipes!

 

 

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Power Balls

I’ve been looking for a snack that my husband can take to work. He’s on the run all day and needs to practically set an alarm to remind himself to eat something. I got online, started searching, and found this recipe for Power Balls by Trisha Yearwood. You can find her original recipe here. These are really tasty, and even though you only need one or two of these, they’re so good that you may need to do what we do, and store them in the freezer so you (I mean, I) will leave them alone. I also love that you make these yourself at home, they’re made with all natural ingredients, and you can pronounce the names of all of the ingredients. They’re made with minimal extra chemicals (as far as I can tell).

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Power Balls

Mix all together (by hand or with a food processor):

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup extra-crunchy peanut butter (I used a regular natural peanut butter, not extra-crunchy)

1/2 cup honey (the original recipe suggests raw honey)

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used raisins for this batch)

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

2 Tablespoons flax seed (I used ground flax seed)

The original recipe says to pulse the ingredients together in a food processor, but I just mixed them in a bowl.

Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.

Roll into balls (about 1 1/2 Tablespoons – I used my trusty small ice cream scoop) and place on the baking sheet.

Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.

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The recipe says to put all of this in the food processor, but I like them chunky and I just used a spoon to mix the ingredients. Wait – these aren’t for me. Oh well.

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They mix up easily and are ready to be rolled and put on the baking sheet.

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The recipe says you should get 30 balls from this recipe, and I got 28. (No – I did NOT eat 2 while rolling.)

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They’re great with a glass of milk, too, but I don’t know if they’ll even last long enough to drink the milk with them! These are so good!

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Here they are, all packed up and ready to go to work. Good thing my husband has his own little refrigerator to store them in. I hope no one sees him put them in there. They may disappear!

 

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Broccoli Casserole

I found this photo when looking through my big box of pictures, and I just had to share it now because it’s so appropriate for today’s obsession with facial hair. This is my great-grandfather, my grandpa’s father, who was Danish, and died of consumption when Grandpa was 2 years old. What a magnificent mustache! No wonder young men these days are trying to emulate this look. My son loves this mustache, has recently shaved off his beard, and is now sporting quite the mustache himself.

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The recipe for today is another traditional dish for our family. We had Broccoli Casserole at a lot of Sunday dinners at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm in the big dining room. It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it serves a large group.

Broccoli Casserole

This is a great side dish to use with any meat.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Broccoli Casserole

Cook as directed:

2 boxes frozen broccoli

1 box frozen cauliflower

Add until melted:

1 8 ounce jar Cheez Whiz

Combine with:

1 can cream of celery soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Can top with French fried onion rings.

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I couldn’t find actual boxes of frozen vegetables at my store, so I used small bags of vegetables.

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This isn’t the healthiest of dishes, with the use of 2 cans of cream soup and the Cheez Whiz, so I’d save this for a special occasion.

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The soup and Cheez Whiz make a lot of sauce, so don’t worry about using bags of vegetables instead of boxes. There’s plenty to cover a lot of vegetables.

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I had the vegetables in the oven with some other things, so I had it in there a little longer than 30 minutes, but still put the French fried onion rings on during the last 30 minutes.

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This vegetable dish is delicious and the aroma is amazing. Give this one a try. It’s so good. Just try to keep it out of your mustache.

 

 

 

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

We have a daughter with a birthday in April. When I asked her what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday this year, she said carrot cake. This Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing comes from the church cookbook that Grandma contributed to. This isn’t her recipe, but it’s a good one. It’s another one that’s so good and so easy. Those old church cookbooks are such a go-to for me. If I need a recipe for anything, I can usually find one in one of those. If you can find an old church cookbook, hang on to it. They really are the best: the best recipes, the best cooks, the best memories.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe for carrot cake is the best I’ve ever had.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Carrot Cake

Sift together:

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

Add:

1 cup oil (I used canola)

3 cups finely grated carrots

4 eggs

1 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts)

1 cup crushed pineapple

Mix well.

Add (optional):

1 cup coconut

1/2 cup raisins (I used raisins, but not coconut)

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes in a 9″ x 13″ pan.

Can be baked in two 8″ round pans (it says that it will bake better in the middle with two smaller pans).

This is a very heavy and moist cake.

Icing

Mix together:

1 8 ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (or 1 pound)

Spread on the cooled cake (can put 3/4 cup chopped nuts on top).

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Since this was a birthday cake, I made it in 8″ round pans to make it a layer cake.

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It just wouldn’t be carrot cake without cream cheese icing.

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This truly is a very heavy and moist cake.

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You can see that this cake is chock full of carrot, pineapple, and walnuts. It’s so pretty and so good! Try this traditional springtime cake. It’s the best!

 

 

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Punch

There aren’t many times that you get a chance to make Punch these days. It seems like kind of an old-fashioned thing. I remember that I had a delicious pink champagne punch for my high school graduation. Both of my daughters have found pretty punch bowls of their own because they say punch is coming back. It used to be a big thing back in the day, so my mom’s birthday party was a good excuse to try one of these old Punch recipes. This recipe makes a HUGE batch, and even when I halved the recipe, a lot of the ladies at the party were coffee drinkers so we had a lot left over.

Punch

This is a tasty punch.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Punch

(Half Batch)

Make a batch of lemonade from the lemonade mix (I used Country Time) and freeze it in a ring mold to make an ice ring that wont dilute the punch.

Mix together:

2 12 ounce cans frozen lemonade

1 12 ounce can frozen orange juice

1/2 can (46 ounce) unsweetened pineapple juice

2 scoops lemonade mix

Add:

Water as the juice cans indicate (maybe some less).

1/2 of a 2 liter bottle 7Up

Mix well and add lemonade ice ring.

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Even though I only made a half batch, the punch bowl was full, and there was still some extra left in the refrigerator to chill.

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This punch is a bright and cheery addition to the cake table.

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My daughter had the idea to use lemonade ice cubes next time instead of an ice ring. There’s barely room to get the ladle through the middle of the ring. The ring is pretty, though.

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Lemonade is a great base to the punch. It goes with everything. This is a great recipe for all of those graduations, bridal showers, and gatherings you have coming this spring and summer. Mix up a batch and let everyone help themselves. Just don’t let anyone spike it – unless you want to.

 

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Ham Loaf with Mustard Glaze

Today’s recipe for Ham Loaf  is a good one for using your leftover Easter ham. I can’t even explain the aroma of this dish baking in the oven. My son came home from work while this was baking and he said, “wow – this really smells like Svea!” Grandma made dinner for us so often and, I can’t explain it, but there is a certain aroma to her cooking and recipes that is unmistakable. Sometimes it really makes me – and all other family members – homesick. I can’t say that I really miss her, because when I’m making her recipes, I feel like she’s still here and has never left us. This is definitely one of those recipes. It’s a great one!

Ham Loaf

Note, again, the “V. Good” connotation on this one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Ham Loaf

Mix together:

1 pound lean ground beef

4 pounds lean ground ham (I used a boneless ham and used my food processor to “grind” it)

1 1/2 cup saltine cracker crumbs, crushed

3/4 cup onion, chopped

3/4 cup milk

2 eggs, slightly beaten

Makes 2 loaves.

Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours.

Baste last 1/2 hour with Mustard Glaze.

Mustard Glaze

1 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons prepared mustard

2 Tablespoons vinegar (I used cider vinegar)

3 Tablespoons water

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There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe and I tried to use my biggest bowl, but I had to use my big Tupperware container to be able to really get in there and mix it all with my hands without it coming out all over.

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I made one loaf in a bread pan and 5 small foil pans to put into the freezer.

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The mustard glaze gives it almost a caramel look.

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Even though it seems like a lot to handle, this is really an easy recipe, and it’s so worth it!

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This is a great recipe. Make a batch and start a tradition of sharing memories with your family.

 

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