Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

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!

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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

Combine:

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.

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

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It’s a beautiful salad.

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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.

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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.

Sauce:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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These four little loaves look absolutely beautiful!

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

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

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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!

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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.

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

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

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

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It comes out hot and delicious and crusty.

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

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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

Cool.

Add:

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

2 cups Rice Krispies

Form into balls.

Roll in coconut.

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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.

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All mixed up and ready to roll!

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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.

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

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

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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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