Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Apple Chips

I’m sharing another healthy and very easy to make snack today. We’re trying to be more natural and chemical free in our family – even more than usual! I love to make these Apple Chips when I know I’m going to be home for an entire morning or afternoon. They take some time, but are so worth it in the end. When you go to buy dried fruit or chips in the store, they’re always made with sugar and other chemicals you can hardly pronounce. These are all natural, made with only fruit and cinnamon.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Apple Chips

3-4 apples, or enough to fill two baking sheets

cinnamon

Slice the apples very thin – preferably on a mandolin.

Lay the slices out on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle with cinnamon (you can also sprinkle with a bit of sugar or sugar-free sweetener, but I never do – I don’t think they need it).

Turn over and sprinkle the other side, if desired.

Bake at 200 degrees for 2 1/2 hours, turning over after one hour.

Turn off oven and let them sit in oven for 1/2 hour – this last half hour makes them even more crispy like chips.

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I use a mandolin, because I could NEVER get the slices thin enough with a knife.

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Parchment helps the slices not stick to the baking sheet. Experiment with different fruit like pears, and different spices like nutmeg or ginger. I try to fill two baking sheets with apple slices so I can do as many at a time as I can fit in the oven.

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This is what the apple slices look like after the first hour.

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After they finish baking, they really do look like chips!

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These are delicious, and so good for you! It takes 3 hours of your time, but they’re so worth it. They’re crispy and a lot of fun. This would be great to do with kids – they get to make their own chips and then have the fun of eating them!

 

 

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Chocolate Drop Cookies

The recipe for today is another one that was in the tiny little cookbook I found in my sisters recipe collection. I sure wish there was a date somewhere in this book, so we could tell how old the book is. There are a lot of comments in there that make me think it’s pretty old. The directions for this recipe says to let it stand “in a cool place” before baking. I suppose once there was such a thing as an ice box, they weren’t very big, and if you could find a cool place to put the dough for a while, you’d save space in the ice box. I’m wondering this book is old enough to have been made when these ladies had just stopped baking in wood stoves, and that’s why there is sometimes not a baking temperature given or how long to bake things. We’re trying a recipe for Chocolate Drop Cookies today. They’re chocolatey, they’re soft, and they have a great texture.

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These cookies will satisfy your chocolate craving.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chocolate Drop Cookies

Melt together:

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)

2 squares baking chocolate

Mix chocolate mixture all together with:

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup walnuts (I used pecans)

1 3/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

Let stand in a cool place before baking (I put the dough in the refrigerator for about 1 1/2 hours).

Drop by spoonfuls.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.

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The dough is soft and really does need to be “in a cool place” for a bit before baking.

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I used two spoons to drop the cookies onto the baking sheet.

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These cookies would make a nice whoopee pie if sandwiched with frosting in the middle.

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The texture of these cookies is so nice, so soft and cakey, you’re going to love these. Mix up a batch, fire up the wood stove, and give these a try! Well, if you have to use an oven, then go ahead.

 

 

 

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Chicken (or Ham) Supreme

This recipe can be made two ways – with chicken or with ham. I’m making Chicken Supreme today, but I’m making it with ham. This is a recipe I found at my sister’s house. She had a cookbook in which both of our grandmas, our mom, and myself had handwritten out family favorite recipes. It was another great book to find – handwritten by the grandmas and mom – so awesome to have. I immediately scanned them and emailed them to myself at home for future use (this was during the January 30 inch snowfall/blizzard we had while I was visiting my sister at her house in January). You know that in this kind of cookbook, they’re only writing out the best ones.

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This is another one that is very typically a “grandma recipe”.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chicken (or Ham) Supreme

Mix all together:

2 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken or ham

2 cups cream of mushroom soup (I just used one can – I didn’t measure it out)

1 cup milk

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 pound Velveeta, grated or cubed

4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1 (8 oz.) can mushrooms and stems (it doesn’t say to drain the mushrooms, so put the whole thing in)

1 small onion, chopped

1 (1 lb.) package of macaroni, uncooked

1/2 stick butter (I don’t know if this was supposed to be on the buttered breadcrumbs to put on top or just added into the hotdish, so I added it to the hotdish)

Refrigerate overnight.

Cover with buttered breadcrumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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You know how I love a dish that can be made ahead. I love that this is another one that you can make the night before and have all ready to go the next night for dinner. This was made on a Wednesday, and due to circumstances beyond my control, it didn’t get baked until Saturday. It was just fine. Good to know that it can be made even a couple of days ahead of time.

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I made this in individual baking dishes – better for lunches or single servings.

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Because these didn’t get baked right away, I totally forgot to put on the buttered breadcrumbs. It was delicious without it, but I’m sure it’s good with them on, also. I might have to make this again – and this time use chicken and breadcrumbs. It might be a whole different thing!

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This is so good, hot and bubbly, right out of the oven!

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Hotdish is always good, but one that uses up already cooked chicken or ham – really good. One that can be made ahead of time – really, really good. This particular one – really, really, really good!

 

 

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Raisin Cream Pie

The recipe for today comes from Grandma’s oldest sister. This sister was unmarried and never had children of her own, but loved her nieces and nephews as if they were her own children. She was a teacher in her early days, had a house of her own, and took in girls who were students at the local community college as renters. This is a photo of her with my mom and my godmother.

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She looks pretty proud of them!

This recipe is hers, and it’s a good one. A pie that is no bake and uses an already made pie crust is always a time saver. This is another easy one, and you’re going to want to try this Raisin Cream Pie.

Raisin Cream Pie

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Have a pie crust made up and ready to go for this one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Raisin Cream Pie

Beat together:

1 pint half n half (reserve 1/2 cup for later)

3 egg yolks (save whites for meringue)

Add:

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup raisins

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Mix reserved 1/2 cup half n half into:

1 small package vanilla pudding (not instant)

Stir into boiling cream mixture.

Stir until thick (this thickens quickly).

Pour into pre-baked pie crust.

For meringue:

Beat 3 egg whites to stiff peaks.

Add:

6 Tablespoons sugar (I used 4 Tablespoons)

Spread meringue over top of hot raisin mixture, taking it right to the edge of the crust.

Bake in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes (she said to try 325 degrees for 25 minutes, so that’s what I did).

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You can find a recipe for crust here. To have it ready to go, I either make the dough and freeze it raw to bake later, or bake it with pie weights or beans and then freeze it already baked. I have a jar full of beans that I have been using for 30 years just for this purpose.

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It does make a nice, thick filling, but don’t be expecting a vanilla flavor. This turns out more of a butterscotch-like flavor.

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I used my spatula to make “peaks” on the top of the meringue. After baking, it’s beautiful and golden brown.

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Did you know that if you cut two pieces of pie, it’s easier to get the first piece out? It works!

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You can see that it’s full of raisins.

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The boys in my family really like pie, and they really liked this one. It’s easy and tasty and beautiful. Try this one next time you need a pie, and you need it fast. It’s delicious!

 

 

 

 

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Coconut and Date Oatmeal Cookies

I was visiting my sister in Virginia in January, when the blizzard hit that gave us 30 inches of snow. What to do when battling a bout of “cabin fever”? Pull out all of your sisters cookbooks to read! That’s what I did and we found a tiny little cookbook that was made by some women who were originally from grandma’s church, but they had moved to town and joined churches in town. From what we gathered by reading the book, they would still get together once in a while and decided to put out this tiny little cookbook packed with great recipes! It’s still a kind of a church cookbook and this one delivers. It only has sweets in it – 37 of them! There were recipes in there from two of Grandma’s sisters. It was so much fun to find it!!

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It’s the cutest little cookbook – 4 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches – with a wallpaper cover!

inside cover

This is the first page inside the front cover. The recipe I’m sharing from it today is from another of Grandma’s sisters, and it’s in this cute little cookbook. Coconut and Date Oatmeal Cookies is a delicious cookie recipe that you’re going to want to have in your file.

Coco ut and Date Oatmeal Cookies

This one is so good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Coconut and Date Oatmeal Cookies

Cream together:

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup shortening (I used butter)

Add:

2 eggs

Mix in:

1 cup dates, finely chopped

1/2 cup coconut

Combine and add to first mixture:

2 cups quick oatmeal

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Roll in balls and roll in sugar.

Press down with a fork.

Bake in moderate hot oven (I baked mine at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes).

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As usual, I used my trusty scoop to make the balls for the cookies. It says “large recipe” on the recipe, but I got 4 dozen. I probably made them much bigger than they should have been.

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Wow – the smell of these baking is unbelievable.

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These cookies have coconut and dates and they’re rolled in sugar – they’re “plenty sweet”- perfect with your afternoon coffee or tea.

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These cookies are delicious, and like my daughter said, “tastes like Svea – and there are only a handful of people who know what that means”! That means they taste like Grandma, and that means they taste really good, and that means they taste like love!

 

 

 

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Baked Chicken Salad Casserole

Today’s recipe is a delicious way to use leftover chicken. This is a classic grandma and her sisters recipe. It was obviously a newspaper clipping, and because those weren’t kept very often, so you know it has to be good. I have to say, this Baked Chicken Salad Casserole is one of the easiest, fastest dinners ever. It’s ridiculous! Like fast food – only even faster than that. There’s just not much to say about it.

Baked Chicken Salad Casserole

So easy.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Baked Chicken Salad Casserole

Mix together and put in casserole dish:

2 cups cooked chicken, diced

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup celery, finely diced

1/2 cup walnuts or almonds (I used almonds)

3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup mayonnaise

Cover with:

2 cups coarsely crushed potato chips

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

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I love any dish that can be mixed all together in one bowl.

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Put it into a casserole dish and top with the potato chips, and you know that anything topped with potato chips has to be good!

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It’s so fast – 15 minutes later – dinner!

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This is such a classic hotdish (casserole) that so reminds me of grandma and her sisters and their Sunday evening family gatherings, that I’m not surprised the newspaper clipping was kept.

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It comes out of the oven hot and bubbly and ready to go.

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I love this one – fast and easy and delicious. It’s faster than fast food! Gather up your family and give this one a try! It’s GOOD!

 

 

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Healthy Homemade Potato Chips

You know how sometimes you just want a little snack, but there’s nothing in the house, and you don’t want to head out into the 0 degree windchill to get anything? Well, today I’m sharing a salty snack that you can make in a few minutes, that’s actually healthy and good for you, and you can do it in the comfort of your own home! Did you know that you can make potato chips at home in your microwave? You can! And it’s easy!! You’ll want to try these Healthy Homemade Potato Chips today!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Healthy Homemade Potato Chips

1 potato, scrubbed ( you can also use sweet potatoes, beets, or carrots – I leave the peel on but you could take it off)

olive oil mister

salt or seasonings

Put 2 or 3 layers of paper towel onto a microwave safe plate (I used a dinner plate size) and set aside.

Cut  potato or other vegetable about 1/16″ thick.

Lay slices on paper towels on plate in a single layer.

Mist with olive oil.

Sprinkle with salt and/or seasonings.

Microwave 2-3 minutes, turn slices over (I used a tongs for this) and microwave another 2-3 minutes, mist again with olive oil and season again if desired, keep cooking in microwave a minute at a time until crisp and dry. My microwave took one 3 minutes cycle, I turned them and cooked another 3 minutes, and then an additional 2 minutes to get them brown and dry.

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This mandolin doesn’t make the slices incredibly thin, but thin enough to make these chips just right. You could just use a knife and try to get the slices thin enough, but my knife skills aren’t that good, and you can find mandolins that are pretty inexpensive.

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Just spread the slices out on the paper towels and top with the seasonings.

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I used a little seasoning salt on these, but you can find recipes for different kinds of seasonings online: sour cream and onion, barbecue, and you can even make them hot and spicy. Just a little salt with herbs and/or spices is nice, too.

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Nothing but potatoes, olive oil, and seasoning. No preservatives or chemicals in sight. Perfect.

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You can make these to custom fit your taste. It depends on how thick you like them, how crisp you like them, and how you like the seasoning. Make them however YOU like them. Try different things!

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These chips are the perfect snack. They’re healthy because they’re not fried, they’re good for you (if you can eat potatoes), and they’re just right when you want just a little something, not a whole bag of chips! Try these is all the different flavors mentioned above. They are so tasty – you’ll love ’em!

 

 

 

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers!

Thanks for stopping in!

cupid postcard

 

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Chocolate Truffles

I’m sharing a photo of me with two of my favorite valentines today. This is from February 1961, so I’m about 2 months old here with Grandma and Grandpa. I love this photo – me with my hair in a point at the top of my head, their funky glasses, the wallpaper. It could just be me, but they look awfully proud! I’m pretty tiny, being born a month early and weighing in at just over 5 pounds. My mom says that my grandmas wouldn’t hold me right away because I was so tiny. My sister still likes to point out that I’m a shorty. This is partly why my children now call me “lil peanut”, because I’m still the shortest one in the family!

Chocolate Truffles

Well, Valentine’s Day is upon us, and I thought that today I’d like to try a new recipe that would be a good one to make for your valentine. I decided on a Chocolate Truffle that is Ina Garten’s recipe. This recipe is so easy and so versatile, that I know you’re going to want to make these, too!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chocolate Truffles

(This makes a lot – I made half of this recipe.)

Finely chop and put into a heatproof bowl:

1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate (Ina recommends Lindt)

1/2 pound semisweet chocolate (Ina recommends Ghirardelli)

Bring to a boil:

1 cup heavy cream

Turn off heat and let sit 20 seconds.

Pour cream through a fine sieve into the bowl with the chocolate.

With a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolate together until chocolate is completely melted.

Whisk in:

2 Tablespoons orange liqueur (Ina recommends Grand Marnier – I had Cointreau so I used that) or other flavored liqueur

1 Tablespoon prepared coffee

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.

With 2 teaspoons, make round balls of chocolate mixture and put onto a baking sheet covered with parchment or waxed paper.

Roll each ball in hands to roughly make it round.

Roll balls in powdered sugar or cocoa powder.

You can also roll them in colored sprinkles, coconut, chopped nuts or anything that sounds tasty to you.

Ina says these will keep in the refrigerator for weeks, but they’re best served at room temperature.

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It does take a while to chop the chocolate. Into the bowl it goes.

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Pour the boiling cream in and whisk until it’s glossy and melted.

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Once the flavorings are in, it’s a beautiful, glossy bowl of goodness. Once the chocolate is set, it turns more of a matte consistency.

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I tried to roll the chocolate too soon and it just coated my hands instead of rolling into a ball. Then I let it sit a bit too long and it was pretty firm, the chocolate mixture didn’t really scoop into round balls. I think it’s best to keep an eye on it to see exactly when to start rolling the balls. It was harder to roll the balls to go into the powdered sugar and powdered cocoa when I left it a bit too long.

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I remember hearing once that truffles are supposed to look like the truffles that are dug up from underground (the fungus), so it’s ok if they aren’t exactly round. They’re supposed to look earthy.

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For gift giving you can pop the truffles into some pretty paper cups. These make a nice valentine gift, birthday gift, Christmas gift, hostess gift , anytime gift.

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Your valentine will be very grateful for these amazingly delicious chocolate treats. They are smooth and creamy and just melt in your mouth. Make them now and they’ll be in your refrigerator, ready to go, by Valentine’s Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rice Krispies – Frosted

This recipe comes from one of Grandma’s sisters and (even though the name is a little different) it’s very similar to a Special K Bar recipe, but instead, it uses Rice Krispies. I don’t make Special K Bars very often because I have a little problem with them – I would (if left to my own devices) eat the whole pan of bars myself. I’m not even kidding. I just can’t stop. I’m not sure exactly why, except that there’s the combination of the chewy and the gooey and the peanut butter. So the best thing to do – just don’t make them. My kids were deprived of those delicious bars as small children, but it’s just one of those things. I just couldn’t do it more than once every several years. These Rice Krispies – Frosted are much more like a candy than a bar, and because they’re so rich, you really only need a small piece. Right. Only a small one. Just one. Ha.

Rice Krispies Frosted

Rice Krispies Frosted 2

These are amazingly delicious!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rice Krispies – Frosted

Bring to a boil:

1 cup sugar

1 cup white corn syrup

Remove from heat and add:

1 cup peanut butter

6 cups Rice Krispies

Mix quickly and press down into 9″ x 13″ pan (I used a large metal spoon with butter on the back side to get the bars pressed into the pan well).

Frosting:

Melt together:

1 package semi sweet chocolate chips

1 package butterscotch chips

Spread on bars.

Let sit until frosting sets.

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These bars really couldn’t be easier. The hardest part is getting all of the peanut butter mixture out of the bowl and into the pan – it does get a bit sticky.

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There is a lot of the luscious frosting, too. I put the pan into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to set the frosting.

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I tried to make these bars into Valentine’s Day bars by cutting them out with a cookie cutter. Not happening. The bars were too thick and too set already, so on to Plan B – to cut them into bars – small bars.

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If you keep the bars small, they MIGHT last longer. But then again, maybe not.

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This is a great classic recipe to have in your arsenal for any occasion – Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, 4th of July, and on and on. They’re so good and so easy to make, you’ll want to make these over and over. This recipe is my valentine to you – enjoy!

 

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