Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Tiny Meatballs

This recipe for Tiny Meatballs comes from the early 1980’s. I got this from one of my sisters-in-law when I first started dating my now husband. It uses the funny “classic ingredients” of grape jelly and chili sauce. This was another recipe that I had lost, but when looking through my mom’s recipes, she still had it. This is an oldie but a goodie (totally going under the “Retro Oddities” category), and is perfect for your New Year’s Eve party. How much easier can we make it? You just put the meatballs into the sauce in a slow cooker! Yes! At this time of year, we’re tired of making holiday treats and just want something EASY to do. It can’t hurt if it’s ridiculously delicious at the same time!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Tiny Meatballs


2 pounds extra lean ground beef

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

1 teaspoon salt

Shape in tiny balls, about the size of a walnut (or even smaller).

Combine in a skillet:

1-18 ounce jar grape jelly

1-12 ounce jar chili sauce

2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice

Heat until smooth.

Add meatballs and simmer 1 hour.

The sauce is just 3 simple ingredients: grape jelly, chili sauce, and lemon juice. I put the ingredients right into my cast iron pan. I didn’t try these in the slow cooker, but if you’re going to do that, maybe do it in the morning for an evening party. It’s so easy to do, it might be just as easy to make them in a skillet and then just keep them warm in a slow cooker.

Meatballs are simple, too, just beef, egg, salt, and onion.

When making small meatballs, you need the onion to be chopped small. I could have chopped the onion smaller. Of course, as usual, I also made the balls bigger than they should have been. I got 34 balls and the card says that it makes between 50-60. I guess make them half this size?

The smell of these meatballs cooking? Oh. Em. Gee. Whoa. Amazing.

Delish. These meatballs are a great addition to your hors d’oeuvre or appetizer repertoire. See how I used the fancy pants French words there? I had to ask my daughter (who has some high school French) how to spell those. These were made ahead of time and then I put them into the freezer to have later – that’s when I put them in a slow-cooker to warm up. It worked perfectly. This recipe is so retro and so easy and so good. You really should try a batch of these Tiny Meatballs for your New Year’s Party or maybe even your Super Bowl party – and don’t forget the toothpicks!



Cheese Muffins

Today’s recipe for Cheese Muffins comes from my mother-in-law. I’m not sure where she got the recipe – maybe from one of HER old church cookbooks, but she raised a family of 6 kids, had a career as a nurse, and is now 93 years old and still making these. She made these muffins for us once when we visited her years ago, and we’ve been having them ever since. They’re good for this time of year when we’re all eating a lot of soups and chilis. They’d go perfectly with Chicken-Noodle Soup with Vegetables, Potato Soup, Cream of Broccoli Soup, 10 Minute Tomato Soup, or Creamy Vegetable Soup. The weather has been beautiful, but it’s getting cold here in Minnesota, and soup is perfect for coming into the warm house after you’ve been outdoors raking leaves, or stacking firewood, or even just going for a walk on a cool afternoon. We have to get outside while we can – winter IS coming, whether we like it or not. Soup is “good for ails ya”, as the old timers say, and what goes great with soup? Muffins. Cheese Muffins, to be exact. Better yet, make up a batch and get them into the freezer for use later on when you just want to make up some soup and the muffins with it all ready to go without a lot of fuss. Perfect.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cheese Muffins


2 cups flour

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon garlic salt

a dash of cayenne pepper

Measure out:

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, reserve 2 Tablespoons for topping

Combine rest of cheese with 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel and flour mixture.


1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

1/2 cup melted butter

Pour all at once into dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

Divide equally into 9 greased 3″ muffin tins (I got 10 muffins).

Sprinkle tops with reserved cheese.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

Here are the dry ingredients, all ready to go.

Next are the wet ingredients, all ready to go.

The ingredients are mixed up and ready to combine.

It makes a stiff batter.

Into the muffin tins goes the batter and the reserved shredded cheddar is sprinkled on top.

Out of the oven the muffins are fragrant with the cayenne and lemon, and the cheese is melted and sooooo good!

Yes. I’d say these muffins are practically mandatory with a nice bowl of soup, like this Sweet Potato Corn Chowder. Just add some fruit or a nice green salad, and you’ve got a wonderful, tasty, comforting weekend lunch or light dinner. Get a batch of these Cheese Muffins into your freezer and you’re good to go for all the cold weather to come!


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Rhubarb Dessert

Today’s recipe for Rhubarb Dessert came from my mother-in-law. She got it out of one of HER old church cookbooks, and by the date on the recipe, she just tried this one a couple of years ago. That would just make her 91 years old and still trying new recipes (she’s 93 now)!

This photo is of my in-laws with the wonderful baby who would grow up to marry me!

My mother-in-law sure looks great so soon after having a baby – they were still in the hospital here.

She made a copy of the rhubarb recipe, gave it to my husband when he was down there visiting her one weekend, and told him to give it to me because it was so good! She had made this dessert and then brought some to a neighbor. Well, this is another one that I HAVE to try! Those little ladies who make the church cookbooks really know what they’re doing. It’s amazing how they keep on finding these recipes with a few simple ingredients that are absolutely delicious!

I have to say it – here’s another one of my new favorites!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Dessert

Spread in an 8″ x 12″ pan:

2 cup rhubarb, chopped (I would use 3-4 cups)

Mix together and spread over rhubarb:

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 heaping Tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon vanilla


6 Tablespoons shortening or butter (I used butter)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

Sprinkle mixture over rhubarb.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

I added an extra cup or so of rhubarb and I would put even more in next time. But then, I love rhubarb, and I don’t think you can ever have enough.

Use a gentle hand when spreading the second layer and it will cover it all.

I used my hands to bring the third layer together and then sprinkled it on top of everything.

This smells so amazing while baking – enjoy that.

This is another easy, simple to make, and ridiculously delicious recipe. Take advantage of the rhubarb (if you still have some) and make this tasty dessert that’s even more delicious with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. You and your family are going to love this Rhubarb Dessert.


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Ramen Coleslaw Salad

This recipe for Ramen Coleslaw Salad comes from my sister-in-law, and it is so amazingly delicious. Everyone loves this salad, and I have made it many, many times over the years since she first shared this recipe with me. I can remember one time in particular that I served this at dinner when my mom and Grandma and Grandpa came for a visit. We had eaten dinner and the table was being cleared. My husband went into the kitchen to get something and was confronted with the sight of Grandma, standing by the sink, the salad bowl in hand, slurping the last of the dressing from this salad with the serving spoon. She grew up in the Great Depression – she was NOT going to waste one drop of that delicious dressing!!! Haha! I think he just let it go and didn’t give her a hard time about it. She sure gave him a hard time enough about his eating handfuls of home-baked cookies  – when you have to bake for a large family of siblings like she had done in her youth, you don’t eat more than your fair share! She sure liked to tease him about that, but he didn’t want to make her feel bad for not wasting that dressing! He just let her enjoy it. That is a GREAT memory.

This salad is positively addicting!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Ramen Coleslaw Salad

Mix together for the salad:

1 – 1 pound package of coleslaw mix

1/2 of a red pepper

1/2 of a green pepper

4-5 green onions, diced

2 packages of Ramen Noodles, broken up (I used chicken) – save the flavor packets for the dressing

1/2 cup toasted almonds (I used slice almonds)

For dressing mix together:

1/4 cup sesame oil

3/4 cup oil (I used canola)

1/3 cup vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

2 flavor packets from the Ramen Noodles

Dash of soy sauce

Store in refrigerator if you want.

Pour over salad 10 minutes before serving.

I mixed up the dressing first. Put all the ingredients into a jar, put on the lid, and shake it up. If it sits for any length of time (maybe overnight) it takes a bit of shaking to mix it all up and get the sugar off of the bottom of the jar. It can be done. It’s worth the effort.

The salad is pretty and colorful, with pretty simple ingredients.

I brought this to my mom’s house a few weekends ago, so I packaged everything “to go”. First – mix the vegetables together for the salad.

Next I put the almonds into a separate zip top bag, put the broken up ramen noodles into a bag, and then the veggies go into their own bag. The dressing is in the jar and it’s all ready to go and pack up.

When you’re ready to eat the salad, mix it all together and pour over the dressing. It’s an easy salad to take along or to share.

This is seriously one of my favorites.

I love a salad that’s this easy to make and this tasty. Everyone you know will LOVE this salad. They may even love it enough to drink the dressing when dinner is over. Who knows?! You’re going to want to try this Ramen Coleslaw Salad – soon!!



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Best Ever Chicken Salad

Ah, summer. There is only one thing that means summer to me. Swimming. We moved to our house on the lake the summer I was 8 and it was the weekend of the moon landing. Grandma and Grandpa had come to help us move and get settled in, and we took a break to watch it on our scratchy black and white TV. I know that both sets of grandparents were worried about us and the water, but little did they know, my sister and I were water babies and we would never come OUT of the water in the summer. This photo of me was taken before we moved to the lake (before my sister was born, even) and you can see that I was already a water baby!


Yep – never out of the water. I still have problems with my ears in cold weather from the constant swimmers ear I had from those days. I’m totally not kidding – we were NEVER out of the water in the summer! We’d only come out of the water to run up the 78 iron steps to the house for the bathroom or to eat, eating fast so we could get back down to the lake and swim until dark. If ever there was proof that you don’t have to wait an hour after eating to swim – we were it! We swam on sunny days, we swam on cloudy and cool days, we swam in the rain, we swam in the dark. My sister and I just loved the water so much!

Summer is also the perfect time for salads, and by salads I don’t always necessarily mean salads that have veggies or Jello or even pasta. This Best Ever Chicken Salad is a bit different. It has chicken and fruit and Rice-O-Roni. It comes from one of my sisters-in-law who made it for us years ago and it’s become one of our family’s summertime favorites. We make it several times each summer and it’s really good. Really, really good. Addictively good. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Best Ever Chicken Salad


5 cups cubed, cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken for this batch)

3 Tablespoons salad oil (I used canola)

3 Tablespoons orange juice (I used the juice of 1 orange)

3 Tablespoons vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

1 teaspoon salt

Let stand while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Combine in a large bowl:

3 cups Chicken Rice-O-Roni (1 box cooked)

1 1/2 cups small green grapes, halved

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1 1/3 cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise

1 1/2 cups sliced celery

1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, drained

1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained

Add chicken mixture and gently toss.


This recipe has quite a few ingredients and does take a little time, but it’s so worth it – trust me!


It’s a beautiful salad.


My oldest daughter has become quite famous among her friends with this recipe. She has requests to make it for every big event: birthdays, wedding showers, baby showers, Saturdays.


You’re going to want this recipe in your summer salad rotation. It’s so unusual and so amazingly delicious. This salad is just the best – the best ever!





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Pork Roast

The recipe for today comes from my sister-in-law. She’s a great cook and served this Pork Roast for dinner when we were at their house years ago, and we all loved it. I coerced the recipe from her and boy, am I glad I did! This is such a tasty way to make pork roast, which can sometimes be just a bit bland. I love that you can get this ready the night before and the next day all you have to do is put it into the oven. You know how I love those things you can make ahead of time. You’re going to want to try this one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pork Roast

Mix together:

1 Tablespoons flour

1 Tablespoons dry mustard

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup orange juice

Put all in baking bag (I use a zip top bag) with 2-3 pound pork roast (I used a 2 1/2 lb. pork loin roast) overnight in refrigerator, turning now and then.

Bake at 325 degrees for 2-2 1/2 hours (2 1/2 hours was just right for this size roast).

You can also do this in the crockpot.


1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

1 Tablespoon orange juice

5 ounces red currant jelly

Warm until jelly is melted.

Serve over or on the side of the pork roast.


I put all of the marinade ingredients into a zip top bag, close the top, and knead the outside of the bag to mix it all together.


Put the roast into the bag, zip it shut, and put it into the refrigerator overnight. I also put it into a bowl or container in case of leaks – not that I have any experience with that happening or anything.


The next day, it’s time to roast the pork. I put the marinade into the pan, too, but you don’t need to. The marinade dries up (don’t be shocked – it turns black but smells so good roasting), but I think it does keep the pork moist.


The pork does come out moist and perfect, and the time given for roasting is right on.


What a special meal – a baked potato, some frozen corn on the cob (still left from last summer), and the amazingly delicious sauce with the pork.


You really should try this recipe. It’s melt in your mouth delicious, and special enough for a special occasion, but it’s so incredibly easy to do! I highly recommend it. You guests will love it, and rave about it, and take pictures of it. My family sure loves it!




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Grandma Scully’s Banana Bread

This recipe comes from my mother-in-law, who got it originally from HER mother! It’s written in her old church cookbook that she allowed me to borrow. She was showing me and my husband some of the recipes in it and she happened to casually mention, “oh, this is my mother’s Banana Bread recipe”. WHAT?!!! I love that! You know how I feel about old family recipes!!! Well – I HAD to try this one! I also had to rename it, Grandma Scully’s Banana Bread. Banana Bread just didn’t seem enough in this situation. Again – how awesome is this very old and well used recipe?!!

Banana Bread (Alice's Mother)

It’s so great to have this one.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Grandma Scully’s Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened (I used butter)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup mashed bananas (about 3-4)

1/2 cup nuts (I used walnuts)

Cream butter, sugar, and eggs.

Add flour, baking soda, and salt alternating with bananas.

Add nuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.


I used my bread pan that makes 4 small loaves so I could give some to my daughters. How fun to have their great grandmother’s banana bread and recipe!!


These four little loaves look absolutely beautiful!


A little loaf is just right to have with your afternoon coffee or tea.


This is how you eat banana bread, right? Slathered with butter? Yes – I’m pretty sure that’s the right way to do it.


It’s so much fun to have this recipe. I’m glad my mother-in-law happened to mention where this particular recipe came from. Family recipes are so special. They just keep that thread of love going on through the generations. I just love it.



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Chicken Casserole

The recipe for today comes from my 90-year-old mother-in-law. We went to visit her recently, and she allowed me to take her old church cookbook home to copy down her recipe for Christmas Date Balls. Fortunately for me, it also had this recipe for Chicken Casserole. You know how I feel about church cookbooks – they’re just the BEST. She has made this recipe for many years, and it’s actually taped in the cookbook. This casserole is something that she makes every time the family comes for a visit. It’s delicious and everyone loves it – especially our kids. Apparently (she told me), her daughters and other daughter-in-law have tried to make it themselves but alas, “it doesn’t taste the same as when you make it”. Isn’t that the way it always goes? It’s just never the same as when mom makes it – she just has her own special touch! It must be the added love that goes into it!

93 Alice's Cookbook

This is a very old and very well used cookbook!!! There are pages where her kids (and maybe grandkids and great-grandkids) have used it as a coloring book, written their names in it, and drawn pictures in it. Priceless!!!

Alice's Chicken Casserole

It’s a very simple recipe!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chicken Casserole

(I used a 9″ x 13″ pan for this.)

1 – Layer of boned cup-up chicken (I used about 2-3 cups of cut-up cooked chicken).

2 – Pour a can of cream of mushroom soup over this.

3 – Layer of grated cheese (I used 8 ounces of sharp cheddar).

4 – Layer of Pepperidge Farm dressing (I used a 14 ounce bag of Classic Stuffing), which has been mixed with 2 sticks melted margarine (I used butter).

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


Here are the first two layers, chicken and cream of mushroom soup. I think I could have used a bit more chicken.


Next up, the cheese layer. Then mix the dressing with melted butter and put that on for the last layer.


A subtle difference, but here it is before and after baking.


It comes out hot and delicious and crusty.


I think I used too large of a bag of dressing. Maybe the package size has changed since she started making this casserole.


This a great casserole for busy families. It’s fast and easy and wow – OMG – this is delicious. Period. But the girls are right. It didn’t taste as good as when she makes it!




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Date Balls

The recipe for today comes from my 90-year-old mother-in-law, and I just had to share this photo of her with one of her brothers. She’s 5 years old in this photo and it is just the cutest thing!

Date Balls

I love her little coat and hat, her sagging stockings, and her little Mary Jane shoes! She grew up on a farm and hey – how did the dog manage to get in the photo? And did you notice the chickens in the background?!! I can’t stand it!!

She gave me this recipe years ago when we were first married (this was one of my husband’s favorite Christmas cookies when he was growing up), but at a certain point I received a cookbook with pages in it where you could write in recipes. I wrote this one down in the book and threw away the card with her handwritten recipe on it. We were at her house recently for a visit (yes – she’s doing great and still lives in her own house) and when I asked her if she still had a handwritten recipe for Date Balls I could photo copy, she gave me the book it was taped in to use. It’s a newspaper clipping taped in her old church cookbook. This particular book is over 50  years old, and is very well used, as all old church cookbooks are. I still maintain that those old books are always well used and have the BEST recipes because the women of the church always submitted their VERY BEST ones! I love this recipe –  so good and just a bit old-fashioned.

Date Balls

See what I mean – very well used!!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Date Balls

Mix together and boil for 2 minutes:

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 pound dates, chopped

1 Tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt



1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts)

2 cups Rice Krispies

Form into balls.

Roll in coconut.


Once the date mixture is boiled, it cools down pretty quickly. If you’re in a hurry, you can put it into the refrigerator for a few minutes.


All mixed up and ready to roll!


It goes pretty quickly once you get rolling –  I found it works well to put the ball into the coconut and then press the coconut into the ball.


They are so pretty with their coating of white. It kind of reminds me of snow.


This is how my husband likes them – with a glass of milk!


They’re pretty and old-fashioned and delicious! Everyone will be glad that you made a batch of these date delights. You’ll see why my mother-in-law has been making them for so long!





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