Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Easy Unbaked Bars

Today’s recipe for Easy Unbaked Bars came from one of my sisters-in-law. She brought these to her mother’s 94th birthday celebration last spring, and I had to have the recipe. The name says it all – easy – unbaked – bars. Check, check, and check. That’s the way we like ’em! They’re perfect for this “Nothing But Easy Summer”! I’m not doing anything this summer that isn’t easy. That leaves all possible time during the day to enjoy the summer while it lasts. We’ve had a very cool spring here in Minnesota, and once summer hits – we’ll outside, enjoying every minute before the flakes fly again next fall. Have I mentioned that I’m not doing anything this summer that’s not easy. Right – I’m keeping is easy – nothing but easy.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Easy Unbaked Bars

Melt in microwave 1 1/2 minutes:

1 10 oz. package of peanut butter chips

1 stick butter

Add:

1/2 to 3/4 bag of miniature marshmallows

In 9″ x 13″ greased pan, put half of a jar of roasted peanuts.

Spread first mixture on top of peanuts.

Top with other half of jar of peanuts.

That’s it – easy!

Go ahead and get the first layer of peanuts ready before starting on the middle layer.

There really aren’t a lot of ingredients for these. It’s amazing how that makes for such an addictive treat.

Melt the chips and butter and stir until smooth.

Stir in the mini marshmallows – they’ll get a bit melty, yet still hold their shape.

You might want to spoon on the middle layer so you can cover the bottom layer of peanuts while keeping the peanuts in place.

Once the top layer of peanuts is on, I recommend you put the whole pan into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Did I mention that these are addictive? Oh my.

It’s a good thing that these bars are easy to make, cuz I think we’re all going to be making a lot or pans of these over the course of the summer. Yep – nothing but easy – and ridiculously, deliciously addictive, I might add. Watch out for these! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! You and everyone you know will get hooked on these Easy Unbaked Bars!

 

 

 

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Rhubarb Jam with Apricot

This recipe for Rhubarb Jam with Apricot is one of the additional recipes on Grandma’s card for Rhubarb Jam. She wrote on her card about 3 other kinds of pie filling that would be good in her recipe for Rhubarb Jam, so I decided to try them all. I’ve already tried Rhubarb Jam with Blueberry, and next up is the Rhubarb Jam with Apricot, which would also be good. I’m sure this is a bit confusing but my original recipe for Rhubarb Jam on Plenty Sweet Life was from one of Grandma’s old church cookbooks. Then I found Grandma’s recipe card with her recipe written on it, along with the 3 different flavors she also thought would be good. That’s where the confusion is – the recipe for Rhubarb Jam from the church cookbook and Grandma’s original Rhubarb Jam (from my post for Rhubarb Jam with Blueberry) recipe on her card are basically the same, so I didn’t make that recipe again. Ok. I’m glad we have that straightened out! Whew!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Jam with Apricot

Mix together and let stand overnight:

5 cups rhubarb, chopped

3 cups sugar

Cook 20 minutes.

Stir in:

1 small package strawberry jello

1 can apricot pie filling

Pour into jars.

Store in refrigerator.

I let the rhubarb and sugar sit in the refrigerator overnight, covered with plastic wrap. This makes a nice amount of juice with which to make the jam.

After cooking the rhubarb and sugar mixture for 20 minutes, all you do is stir in the Strawberry Jello and apricot pie filling.

I use a wide mouth funnel to get the jam into the jars without spilling TOO much. There was enough jam for 2 pint sized jars and 3 smaller containers (a taste that went home with my kids).

You can see the chunks of delicious rhubarb in the jam. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness.

I like to use the jam for a topping on yogurt. Don’t forget a little sprinkling of Granola on top, too.

Like most, if not all, of Grandma’s recipes, this jam is absolutely delicious with an apricot flavor that mellowed a bit the next day. It’s so easy to make, and great for a hostess gift if you’re spending a weekend at a cabin, heading to a barbeque, or just want to make someone’s day. We’re keeping it a “Nothing But Easy Summer” by making this easy to make, delicious Rhubarb Jam with Apricot!

 

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Spaghetti in the Crock Pot

Today’s recipe for Spaghetti in the Crock Pot is exactly what we need for our “Nothing But Easy Summer”! The weather’s been pretty cool so far this spring, and we’re just not that into the grilling thing yet. I am still wanting things to be easy, so one weekend when we had a lot of yardwork to do, I decided to give this a try. It was worth a shot, why not? I think it turned out pretty well, and it’s great when you don’t want to think about dinner later in the day. This is another recipe that’s really not a recipe, unless you want to make everything from scratch. You can sure go ahead and do that, but that defeats the purpose. This is supposed to be easy. I’d rather be outside reading a book on the deck, or out on the lake in the boat, or using an entire day to clean out the garage, or swimming at the beach all afternoon. See where we’re going here? Ok – let’s give this a try.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Spaghetti in the Crock Pot

Put into crock pot:

2 jars of your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce (I used two bags of frozen Marinara Sauce that was still in my freezer)

1  pound of lean ground beef, browned (or maybe just put it in without browning it – we want this to be easy!), or some frozen meatballs – even easier!

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can water (using the can from the tomatoes – this helps the pasta cook)

Heat until an hour before you’re ready to serve.

An hour before serving put in:

1 pound of spaghetti, broking into thirds (for ease of serving)

Serve hot with parmesan cheese, a green salad, and a nice loaf of bread.

I’m so glad I had Marinara Sauce in the freezer – how easy is that?

An hour before serving add the pasta. This is where I added an extra can of diced tomatoes and water to make sure the pasta would cook ok. I stirred it about every 10 minutes so I could keep an eye on the pasta. An hour is about right.

I have to admit that the pasta texture wasn’t the same as when you cook it in a pot of boiling water, but in a pinch and if you’re in a hurry, this is a great way to have dinner ready without too much trouble. My crock pot is kind of hot, so I could even turn it on at noon and it would be ready by dinner. I’m glad I now I have this Spaghetti in the Crock Pot to add to the “Nothing But Easy Summer” arsenal!

 

 

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Rhubarb Cake

Today’s recipe for Rhubarb Cake comes from a family friend, and my mom’s had this recipe for many years. I’m calling this one Rhubarb Cake, but I have also made Rhubarb Cake with Orange Sauce. I hope that won’t be confusing. I really don’t know if you can ever have TOO MANY rhubarb recipes. Every one is different, everyone is good, every one is a MUST DO. Rhubarb is only here for a such a short time, and unless you freeze some for using next spring, like I did with the rhubarb for this recipe, you have to be quick and make as many recipes as you can. I usually don’t have enough rhubarb to freeze, but I did last year, as you can see in my post for Freezing Rhubarb. That’s how I was able to make this recipe before my rhubarb was quite ready to pick. I get anxious to make rhubarb recipes BEFORE the rhubarb is ready – every spring! It’s good to know that the frozen rhubarb works in this one – and I didn’t even thaw it. Seriously, I just put it in frozen when I stirred it in. “Nothing But Easy Summer”, baby!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Cake

For topping:

Mix together and set aside:

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup nuts, chopped

1 teaspoon cinnamon

For cake:

Cream:

1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)

Add:

1 1/2 cup white sugar

Mix well.

Add:

1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat in:

1 egg

Add alternately to first mixture, beginning and ending with flour:

1 teaspoon baking soda in 1 cup sour milk (1 cup milk plus 1 Tablespoon vinegar)

2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon flour

Stir in:

3 cups rhubarb, finely cut up

Pour batter into 9″ x 13″ metal pan.

Sprinkle topping over cake batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (because I used the frozen rhubarb, it took about an extra 10 minutes to bake).

I like to mix up the topping before starting so I’m ready for it in the end.

I used some frozen rhubarb for this, so I didn’t have this finely cut up – it was just the way I cut it up when I froze it.

Sprinkle on the ginormous amount of topping – yes, it all goes on there!

This cake smells so good when it’s baking! It took a little longer to bake since I used the frozen rhubarb, but other than that – no difference.

You must have the obligatory ice cream or whipped cream with a rhubarb dessert. You just have to.

This one totally fits into the “Nothing But Easy Summer” theme. I love cake that’s very easy to make and very easy to eat – this IS that cake. The topping makes frosting unnecessary, too – more easiness. It’s so delicious, you’re going to want to run right out, pick a bunch of that rhubarb, and make this Rhubarb Cake!

 

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Fruit Fries

We’re sticking with my theme of “Nothing But Easy Summer” today, and making a health, tasty treat of Fruit Fries. I saw these on Instagram a few months ago, and I’m very sorry, but I don’t remember WHERE I saw it. This is so easy to do, and so delicious, that I know I’m going to be making these all summer long. Heck, I’ll make them all year long! The only thing this snack has to do with French fries, is the shape of them. They’re shaped like French fries – that’s the only similarity. Well, that and that they’re delicious, just in a different way. Since I was sick last year with pancreatitis, I’m always on the look-out for low-fat, healthy, and delicious snacks. This snack fits all 3 categories. There really isn’t a recipe for these, just a how-to, so here goes . . .

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Fruit Fries

Cut into French fry shape of approximately the same size:

watermelon, or any type of melon

mango

jicama

Sprinkle on, to taste:

chili powder (I used chipotle chili powder and that was amazingly delicious)

flaky sea salt

lime zest

lime juice

That’s it! Done!

Cut the rind off of the watermelon and cut it into sticks. Any kind of melon would be delicious.

Cut the mango and then instead of cutting it into chunks, which I usually do. I found that it was easier to cut them into strips and then take off the skin.

Jicama is that ugly, potato-looking thing you always see in the produce section and wonder what the heck THAT is. I sliced it into 1/4″ slices and then took off the skin. They’re putting a waxy coating on them now (I assume to preserve them better), and I wondered if that would make a difference in cutting it, but the skin came off just fine. Jicama actually is crunchy like fries – so good.

Arrange the lovely fries on a platter – now the fun begins.

I first sprinkled on the chili powder, and since I used chipotle chili powder, I used it sparingly. We don’t need it so hot that you blow your head off. Remember – you can always put more on, but you can’t take it off. Next I sprinkled on the lime zest and lime juice. Last came the flaky sea salt – I like big flakes so you get a bit of a crunch.

This is seriously the most refreshing and delicious snack I’ve had in a long time! I love these things. In fact, I have a bit of a problem with these. They’re just so good! You’ll wonder, as I did, why you didn’t think of making something like this YEARS ago! Bring on summer! That means melons are plentiful and I’m going to be making a million different variations of these delicious, nothing but easy, Fruit Fries!

 

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Rhubarb Crisp

I’m not sure where this recipe for Rhubarb Crisp came from, but I found it in my mom’s recipe box. It looks old, so I’d guess it came from Grandma originally, but it’s possible mom got it from someone she worked with years ago. I had to share this photo of my grandma and grandpa with my mom and my uncle because I think there might be some rhubarb growing right behind them. Actually, I’m not too sure that this photo was taken on the farm, but even if it wasn’t, there was probably some rhubarb growing there no matter who’s house it was. Grandma and family were not too into taking family photos that weren’t formal. That’s why this photo is so awesome! It’s just a nice casual photo of a beautiful summer day.

I just love this one!

Grandma grew (and used) as much rhubarb as possible. She had a LOT of rhubarb recipes. Rhubarb was one thing that was ALWAYS in everyone’s garden back in the day. It grows almost like a weed, keeps coming back every year, and it’s absolutely delicious in everything you could possibly bake with it: cakes, pies, desserts, jam, bread or muffins. You could grow it beside your garage, in your garden, or right in the middle of your backyard. The season is short (my mom always says you should only use it until it starts to get “woody”, which is through the end of June, at most) so you have to make the most of it and bake all of your favorite rhubarb recipes while you can.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Crisp

Cut up and put into a 9″ x 13″ pan:

3 cups rhubarb (I used 4 cups)

Beat and pour over to top of the rhubarb:

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

3 Tablespoons quick tapioca

Crumbs for topping – mix together and sprinkle on top of all:

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup butter, slightly softened

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

I mixed up the crumb topping first so it was ready to go. You could use a fork, two knives, or a pastry blender, but I just used my fingertips to make it crumbly.

The eggs don’t really need to be beaten before mixing the batter together.

It all mixes up pretty well.

I used 4 cups of rhubarb instead of 3 cups, just because that’s how much I got when I cut up all the stalks that I had picked. I think it could have used even more rhubarb. The batter looks like it will hardly cover all the rhubarb. I used a small spoon and tried to spread it on as evenly as possible.

Over the top of everything goes the crumb topping. Sprinkle it ALL on there!

After baking it really doesn’t look like much.

Oh boy – this is good!

My family decided that this is a keeper. It’s one of the most delicious rhubarb recipes I have ever tried. It really is that good. It got a bit flat, and like I said above, it doesn’t look like much, but boy oh boy, is it good. Seriously, it was almost like candy. Sweet yet tart, crunchy on top yet almost creamy underneath. Mmmmm. You could serve this with whipped cream, but I happened to have some vanilla ice cream – and if you’re going to serve it with ice cream, I highly recommend you serve it warm. Not hot – just warm – and let the ice cream melt and immerse the crisp in all that vanilla, creamy goodness. I know you can find some rhubarb growing somewhere. If you don’t have your own rhubarb plants, get to know your neighbors and see if you could pick just enough from their rhubarb plants to make this delicious Rhubarb Crisp!

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers and grandmothers out there!

Today is dedicated to all the mothers and grandmothers who came before us. Oh how we miss them and love them! There are so many questions we wished we’d asked, so many things we wish we could share, so many times we remember their sweet smiles and hugs and love. They are not forgotten – they helped make us who we are today, and for that gift, we are so very grateful.

Enjoy the day and enjoy your mothers and grandmothers while you can. Show them the gratitude they deserve and shower them with love. They’d do the same for you!

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

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10 Delicious Treats to Make for Mom!

Today I’m sharing 10 Delicious Treats to Make for Mom – just in time for Mother’s Day. You know that above all, what mom wants most on her special day are these 3 things: time alone, someone to clean the house, and someone to make her treats to enjoy. She’s always the one having to do those things for everyone in the family, and of course, she never has enough time alone to reboot and re-energize. Here are some easy and delicious ideas to make mom’s day!

Pineapple Lemonade

 

Rhubarb Crumble

 

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

 

Curried Fruit Compote

 

Strawberry Pie #3

 

Chocolate Pudding

 

Raspberry Whipped Cream Cake

 

Spiced Tea

 

Lemon Dessert #2

 

Food for the Angels

 

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Chicken Sandwich Hawaiian

Today’s recipe for Chicken Sandwich Hawaiian comes from one of grandma’s old church cookbooks. When I read this recipe, I immediately thought of using it for nice little tea sandwiches that would be perfect for a nice afternoon tea on Mother’s Day. You all know how I feel about these old church cookbooks – they’re the best! Everyone puts in their favorite and/or best recipe from their years of making delicious food for their friends and family, and we all get to benefit from it! I could totally see the person who submitted this recipe had used it for just this purpose – afternoon tea. Not that you couldn’t also use a nice croissant and a bit of crunchy green lettuce to also use this as a nice lunch or for a picnic – that fits right in with my “Nothing But Easy Summer” because this recipe is absolutely nothing  but easy. A bigger sandwich and a picnic would also be nice for Mother’s Day, but I think mom would appreciate your brewing up a nice pot of her favorite tea, bringing out a tray of beautiful little tea treats (like Orange Sugar Cookies or Lemon Love Notes), and a nice plate of these delicious tea sandwiches.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chicken Sandwich Hawaiian

Combine:

1 12-ounce can boned chicken (I used the biggest can of chicken, which was a 10-ounce can of white meat chicken)

1 cup celery, sliced

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1 9-ounce (or about 1 cup) crushed pineapple, well drained

1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

1/2 teaspoon salt

Chill thoroughly.

This recipe uses simple ingredients that you probably have in your cupboard and frig.

Easy to do – easy to mix up – easy to eat!

For tea sandwiches, spread the mixture between two slices of bread, cut off the crusts, and cut diagonally in half or quarters.

This recipe would also be great in a regular sandwich for lunch or a picnic – perfect!

Afternoon tea is such a special way to treat mom on her special day. You know she’ll love this. It’s not that hard to pull together and she’ll appreciate that you took the time to make is special for her. This sandwich spread is so delicious and is nothing but easy to do. Go ahead. Do it. Make the mom in your life some of this Chicken Sandwich Hawaiian!

 

 

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Farmhouse BBQ Muffins

This recipe for Farmhouse BBQ Muffins came from my mom. I don’t know where she got it, and I don’t think she ever made them for us, but I’m glad I found the recipe. These muffins are totally something I would have made for my kids, if I had the recipe when they were little. My kids would have (and probably still will) eat these up! I know that the kids in this photo would also have eaten these up, and I know that their mothers (Grandma and one of her sisters) would also have eaten them up – for how easy they are to make. This is one of Grandma’s sisters with her daughter (my godmother) and my mom (in the middle) and her brother (my godfather). You can see a picnic table in the background, and while they look like the photographer took them a bit by surprise here, by the size of the fish they’re holding, I think they were having a great time!

They must have been enjoying a lovely day at a park. I just love this pic – it looks like a typical summer day. So cute.

Ok – back to today’s recipe. Your kids and grandkids will eat these up. I promise. They’re great for a quick weeknight dinner, to put into your husband’s work lunch, or for a beautiful summer day when you’re in a hurry to get back outside and catch more fish. The added bonus is – they’re absolutely delicious.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Farmhouse BBQ Muffins

Separate:

1 tube (10 ounce) refrigerator buttermilk biscuits

Flatten into 5 inch circles.

Press each biscuit into bottom and up sides of greased muffin cups (I got 12 muffins from one tube of Grands biscuits); set aside.

Brown:

1 pound lean ground beef

Drain.

Mix together:

1/2 cup ketchup

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 Tablespoon vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

1/2 teaspoon chili powder (my family likes things a bit spicier, so I added 1 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes)

Add to meat and mix well.

Divide the meat mixture among the biscuit lined muffin cups, using about 1/4 cup for each.

Sprinkle with:

1 cup (4 ounce) shredded cheddar cheese

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Cool 5 minutes before removing from muffin cups and serving.

You can make the sauce the way the recipe says, or you can spice it up a bit like I did – whatever you like.

I just used my rolling-pin to roll the circles out to 5 inches wide. Spray the muffin tin well before tucking in the biscuits.

I just used all 12 of the biscuits in the tube and then filled them all using up all the meat mixture.

Top them with the shredded cheddar and into the oven!

They’re so cute! They’re puffed and golden and smell delicious!

These are really good. Really good. I know I put a fork in the photo here – just for effect. They seem like you’re meant to pick them up with your hand and eat them like a muffin. My original intention was to make these to put in the freezer for my husband to take to work for lunch, but I may have tried to taste a couple for lunch. I mean as long as they were sitting right there. Most of them did get put into freezer zip-top bags. Most of them. But seriously, folks, these Farmhouse BB Muffins are delicious and your kids and grandkids (and husbands) are gonna love them!

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