Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Quiche Lorraine

I made this Quiche Lorraine one night for a dinner with girlfriends, and let me just say – it went over real well. This is another throw-back to the 1970’s, when we used to make Quiche all the time. Why did that go out of style? I’m not sure why or when, but that was dumb. Really dumb. The recipe comes from my old standby Betty Crocker Cookbook, copyright 1982. This Quiche is absolutely delicious and so easy to do. This one can even be in the “Make Ahead” category. I love that!

This recipe gives you a few bonus ideas to try!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Quiche Lorraine

Sprinkle into a pastry-lined pie plate:

12 slices bacon, crisply fried and crumbled

1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded (about 4 ounces)

1/3 cup finely chopped onion


4 eggs, slightly beaten

2 cups half-n-half

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne red pepper

Pour egg mixture into pie plate.

Bake uncovered at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Cook uncovered until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean, about 30 minutes longer.

Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

The ingredients are so simple, but so very delicious. For the pie crust, I used Grandma’s recipe for Never Fail Pie Crust.

Once you put the egg/half-n-half mixture in, it’s ready for the oven!

Oh wow – it comes out so beautiful and ready to eat – and I topped it with some chopped chives from my garden. I love the tip on the recipe for doing this ahead of time – you can have this ready the night before and bake it when you’re ready for it the next day – just bake it a bit longer. It’s also very easy to transport if you need to take this on the road.

Bacon, cheese, and eggs. It has all the yummiest things!!! Keep a pie crust in your freezer or use a (gasp!) store-bought one, ready to go, and this can be on the table in no time. Add a green salad and it’s dinner! As you can see by the additional ideas on the recipe, you can use whatever you have to make a Quiche – chicken, ham, or even crab. Maybe call some girlfriends and try a Quiche Lorraine this weekend – I highly recommend it!



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Ham Balls

This recipe for Ham Balls comes from one of my mom’s cousins and is similar to Grandma’s recipe for Iowa Ham Balls that I posted a couple of years ago. The name implies, and rightfully so, that they’re Ham Balls instead of meatballs. That’s exactly what they are, even though there is both ham and beef in these. My mom prefers this recipe to the other one, so I made these for her birthday dinner this year. I think this would be perfect for using up leftover ham from your Easter or springtime dinner (as long as you have enough ham leftover). This recipe uses 5 pounds of meat, but I did get two pans out of it and put one in the freezer for another time.

This is a really good recipe.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Ham Balls

Mix together:

2 cups milk

4 eggs

Soak in this mixture:

4 cups bread crumbs (It says Pepperidge Farm, but I couldn’t tell if that meant a loaf of bread or premade bread crumbs. A loaf of crumbs seemed like they’d be too soft so I used premade bread crumbs, but never found that brand.)

Mix into this:

3 pounds ground ham (I don’t have anything to grind it, so I used a food processor)

2 pounds lean ground beef

Roll into balls.

Put into a roaster (I used a cake pan).


1 cup water

1 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

2 cups brown sugar

2 teaspoons dry mustard

Pour over balls in roaster or pan.

Cover with foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes, or do not cover and baste every time balls are turned.

First mix the eggs and milk, then add the breadcrumbs.

It looks weird, but I just let the breadcrumb/milk/egg mixture sit while I got the beef and ham ready.

The food processor made quick work of the chunks of ham. My biggest glass bowl would barely hold all the ingredients so I had to move it all to the biggest container I had.

You want to leave yourself plenty of space to mix all the ingredients, and make sure they’re all mixed very well. It does take a lot of mixing! It’s a good arm workout!

I got 20 balls in this pan and another 8 in the pan that went in the freezer. It seems like a lot of work to turn the balls every 15 minutes, but you want that delicious sauce to totally cover and coat them.

You can see how the delicious sauce makes the balls incredibly tasty.

My mom likes these Ham Balls better, but family likes the Iowa Ham Balls better. Why not make both recipes and see which you prefer? Next year you could use these for your Easter dinner instead of a ham because these are absolutely delicious. If you did make a ham for your Easter dinner this year, I hope you have enough leftover to make these. You don’t really have to wait for Easter or use leftovers, just make these Ham Balls. Any way you can.


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Easter Ham

Oh, how we love a good Easter Ham in our family. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that we’re big on traditions in our family. Maybe my kids get it from me, because I think I’ve always been that way. They’re the worst when it comes to tradition – we have to do the same things EVERY year for holidays. They’ve always been that way, too. One tradition that stays the same is the movies we watch for each holiday, and the other main traditional thing that stays the same is food. Each holiday has its own decorations, movies, and food and there is no exception. Additions are rare, and deletions are even more rare, and Easter is no exception. This photo show just where the tradition thing originally comes from. This is Grandma, me (at about 6 years old), my mom, and Grandma’s oldest sister at Easter.

These women were heavy into tradition, and frankly, I’m very grateful for that. We all need traditions – that’s what makes a holiday, a holiday.

My family demands the same food – every year – for every holiday and occasion. I make this Easter Ham every year for our Easter dinner, but the exact recipe for the glaze does change from time to time. Sometimes I use honey or orange marmalade or crushed pineapple. Sometimes I use regular yellow mustard, but this is the basic glaze recipe that I use almost every year. This is also a money-saving meal because you can save the ham bone to make Split Pea Soup later.

Here is the recipe as I made it (this time):

Easter Ham


1 cup real maple syrup

1 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons grainy mustard

4 ounces pineapple juice (1 of the small individual cans you can buy in a 6-pack)


Pre-cooked, smoked 16.5 pound ham. (We get ours double-smoked from a local store that does their own meats and smoking.)

Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes per pound.

I put the ham in a 9″ x 13″ pan, added 2 cups water, and covered with foil for first hour.

Then it’s time to uncover, baste with glaze and bake another hour. Baste with the glaze again until done. Let  it sit for 10 minutes or so before carving.


I put the pineapple juice in mixing up the ingredients and I knew that I would need a bit more glaze. Double it or make another half batch if you need more for the basting.


This is the ham after the first hour – and after the basting and second hour of baking.


When cutting this ham, try to get a little of the deliciously basted outside crust on every piece.


This has a nice caramelized crust and it’s moist and tender on the inside. Tender isn’t quite the word for it – I think I’d say it melts in your mouth.


Easter Ham is one of those “must have” and traditional food items at Easter dinner. Don’t forget to save the ham bone for a batch of Split Pea Soup! Try this glaze and ham it up! Ha! Ok, ok. I know – that’s enough. What are some of your Easter food traditions? I’d love to hear about them!




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Lemon Pasta with Shrimp

The recipe for today is one continuing our sun-shiny lemon recipes, but today we’re not making dessert – we’re making a pasta dish.


Lemon Pasta with Shrimp is a main dish that’s also going under the heading of Money-Saving Meals. If you find a good deal on shrimp (frozen in this case), this is a very economical meal. This one is loosely based on Ina Garten’s recipe for Lemon Pasta with Roasted Shrimp, but as usual, I had to put my own spin on it. It’s easy, it’s lemony, and it’s delicious – sounds like it fits all the criteria for letting the sun shine in.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Pasta with Shrimp


2 pounds frozen cooked shrimp (you can roast raw shrimp, like Ina does, but this was what I had on hand)

If using cooked shrimp, remove tails once the shrimp is thawed.

Meanwhile, cook according to package instructions:

1 pound thin spaghetti, angel hair pasta, or other pasta – whatever you like

Drain pasta and reserve a cup or so of the pasta water to add to the sauce, if needed.

Melt in a large skillet:

4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

zest and juice of 2 lemons

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 green onions, greens only, thinly sliced

Add the shrimp just long enough to warm through.

Add cooked pasta to the sauce in the skillet.


Add some reserved pasta water, if needed.


It helps to zest your lemon rind and juice the lemon before starting.


I had cooked frozen shrimp on hand, so that’s what I used.


My skillet isn’t big enough to put the pasta into, so I combined the pasta and the sauce right in the bowl.


I made a mistake and didn’t notice before starting, that the recipe calls for 2 pounds of shrimp and 1 pound of pasta. I only had 1 pound of shrimp and should have used only 1/2 pound of pasta. I used the whole pound, but because of the amount of juice in the lemons from California (they were incredibly juicy), the amount of sauce was just fine.


This is a delicious and lemony pasta dish, and you’re going to love it! Make this one tonight! It’s faster to make than fast food!






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Tostada Grande

I think this recipe for Tostada Grande originally came from a magazine Grandma used to get called “Farm Wife News”. It had articles, crafts, and recipes in it, and Grandma would always pass it along to me and my mom to read when she was done with it. Once in a while I would copy down a recipe, and this is one that I’m so glad I copied. It’s quick and easy to make and it’s so good! This has become another one of my family’s favorites, and it’s requested A LOT! I just make two pans of this now whenever I make it. If we’re lucky, there will be leftovers, but that hardly ever happens. Well, it never happens. Ever. No doubt about it, this is real comfort food.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Tostada Grande

In a large skillet, brown:

1 pound ground beef, drained

Stir in:

2 Tablespoons taco seasoning mix (1/2 of a package)

8 ounce can tomato sauce

4 ounce can diced green chilis, drained

3-4 drops Tabasco Sauce

Heat until hot and bubbly.

Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes or until mixture thickens.

Lightly grease 9″ or 10″ pie pan.

Separate and arrange in pan:

8 ounce can Crescent Dinner rolls or biscuits

Press rolls over bottom and up sides of pan to form crust.

Spread over crust:

1 can refried beans

Top with meat mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until crust is golden.

Sprinkle immediately with:

4 ounces grated cheddar cheese

It can go back into the oven for a minute or two if the cheese doesn’t melt.

Garnish with:

1/2  head lettuce, shredded

1 large tomato, chopped

1 small onion, chopped


Sour cream


Sometimes you have to really work the crescent rolls like puzzle pieces and just fit them in there to cover the bottom of the pie pan.


Then smear on the refried beans.


Next – on goes the ground beef and then into the oven with it.


Once it’s done baking, don’t forget to sprinkle on the shredded cheddar cheese. It comes out of the oven golden brown and ready for the garnishes.


I used green onions on top here with the salsa and sour cream, and I did manage to get a quick photo before this piece disappeared before my eyes.


It’s so pretty and so quick and easy to make and so delicious! Try this comfort food and your family will thank you! Trust me, you’ll be making a double batch in no time – and I bet there won’t be any leftovers.





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Pork Chops with Rice

The recipe for today is another one that I’ve been making since I was in junior high school. My mom made this years ago and it wasn’t long before I was making it for the family for dinner. Pork Chops with Rice is one of my family’s favorite meals. In fact, my oldest daughter requests this most years for her birthday dinner. It’s total comfort food for us!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pork Chops with Rice

Mix together:

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup (I have also used Golden Mushroom Soup)

1 can (1 cup) milk

2 (3/4 cup) servings instant rice (I used instant brown rice here)

Put in 9″ x 13″ baking pan.


1 package pork chops (I used boneless pork chops here)

Lay pork chops on top of rice mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.


I used boneless pork chops for this dish, but you can use regular bone-in chops, too.


It doesn’t look like much, but it is so good!


Just lay in the chops and into the oven.


Once it’s baked, the rice is saucy and the chops are tender – oh my!


All you need is the obligatory green vegetable and you’re all set. You can also make this the night before, so you’re all ready for dinner the next night. Give this one a try – it’s easy, it’s quick, and it’s absolutely delicious!





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Individual Pizzas

The recipe for today goes back to junior high school. This card came from my sister, but I remember making these in Home Economics class, too. These Individual Pizzas are so easy and so good and are perfect for anything from an after school snack to serving at a New Year’s party. You can keep the ingredients on hand and be ready, at any time, for a tasty snack. These are really fun to do. On the day I made these, I was wishing I had more than one can of refrigerator biscuits so I could just keep on making them. But that would be bad. Someone has to then eat all of them, right?


I got so many great recipes from my junior high school Home Ec classes that I still use today, and I’ve now handed them down to my kids and now they’re making them!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Individual Pizza

Pop open:

1 tube of Country Style or Buttermilk refrigerator biscuits

Flatten until thin or about 5 inch in diameter.

Top with:

Pizza sauce

Italian seasoning

Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Your favorite pizza toppings – sliced olives, mushrooms, onions, peppers, pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, ground beef, etc.

Bake at 500 degrees for 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted.


You can flatten the biscuits as thin as you want.


Go ahead and top the biscuits with your favorite ingredients.


Before and after baking, you can see how delicious these are!


I cut up a leftover grilled turkey dog to put on one of mine.


Pepperoni is always good!


This one is topped with sliced green olives. Delicious. Make up a can or two of these fun little pizzas and get the party started! Let everyone make their own and put their own favorite toppings on. Everybody’s gonna have a great time. Don’t forget to keep some for yourself!

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Beef Stew

Are you tired of eating leftover turkey? I have a great recipe for you today that is NOT turkey and that is perfect for the upcoming holiday season when time is of the essence and you don’t have a lot of time to make a great meal. This recipe for Old-Time Beef Stew is from an old cookbook series that my mom had years ago (and I now have in my possession) from Better Homes and Gardens, called the Creative Cooking Library. The book that this one came out of is called So-Good Meals, and believe it or not, the section it’s under is called “Meals Men Like”. Seriously? Um – women like them, too. I know it was a different time, but wow. Anyway, there are some great recipes in these books, and this is one that I’ve been making since I could write like I did on this one to use “no thickening”. The recipe is for making this in a Dutch oven, but I use my crock pot and just throw it all in.


This is one of my all-time favorites!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Old-Time Beef Stew

If making this in a Dutch oven, brown the meat:

2 Tablespoons fat (I use olive oil)

2 pounds beef chuck, cut in 1 1/2″ cubes (I will sometimes use a more economical round steak for this)

Heat the fat and brown the meat on all sides.


1 medium onion, sliced

1 clove garlic (they say to take it out, but I mince it and leave it in)

2 cups boiling water

1 Tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 or 2 bay leaves

Dash allspice or cloves

Cover and simmer (not boil) for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove bay leaf and garlic.


6 carrots, cut in chunks

1 pound small white onions (or whole onions cut in chunks)

6 medium potatoes, cubed (optional)

Cover and simmer 30-45 minutes longer or until everything in the pot is tender.

If desired, thicken the gravy (I clearly thought when I first made this in about 4th grade, that this step wasn’t necessary).

Combine in a jar:

1/4 cup cold water

2 Tablespoons flour

Shake to blend.

Stir into mixture.

Cook, stirring constantly, until gravy thickens and boils.

Gently cook 5 minutes more.

To cook in crock pot:

You can brown the meat for more flavor, but I don’t. I’m all about quick and easy. I just put everything into the crock pot in the morning, turn it on low and let it go until dinner time. I never thicken it.


Please excuse my very well used crock pot – it IS clean. I promise. I just put in the cubes of meat – no browning.


Next in go the veggies and spices. Put on the cover and turn it on! Dinner is done!


This is really more like a soup when you make it in the crock pot. The Dutch oven method makes more of a stew. You could serve this with a green salad, some crusty bread or crackers, and some fruit.


There’s nothing better on a cold winter’s day when you’ve been running around shopping, or baking, or wrapping. Throw this all into the crock pot, run your errands or do your chores, and dinner is ready when you are!! This stew is delicious and I know it will become one of your favorites, too! Well, your man will like it. Oh come on, everyone will like this stew!!!





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Lemon Chicken with Croutons

We’re talking about Sunday dinners today. Grandma came from a large family and I can imagine the Sunday dinners that they had, all seated around the round dining room table that I still have in my kitchen today. I love these photos – one of all the girls, including their mother, and one of all the boys, including their father. I think these were taken sometime around the late 1920s or early 1930s. I absolutely love the haircuts on the girls, and the boys all have on a shirt and tie (their mother sewed ALL their clothes back then).



I’d like to think that this was a Sunday afternoon, after they had their dinner all together. It may have not been as raucous around the table as my family is today, since Grandma once told my middle child (who really never stopped talking when she was little) that sitting around the table was for eating, not for talking. I’m sure she told her that because she wanted her to just stop talking, not that it was really important to be silent at the table. Maybe, with all of those people around the table in Grandma’s family, they needed to keep everybody calm and told them that they couldn’t talk at the table, who knows? My family tries to have Sunday dinner together every week, and it can get loud when we all get together. We know we’re lucky to be able to do it, and we’re going to enjoy it as long as we can.

Today’s recipe for Lemon Chicken with Croutons comes from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook. This has become one of my family’s favorite and most requested dishes, and we have it often for Sunday dinner. Because it comes from Ina, it’s so easy and SO GOOD!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Chicken with Croutons

1 (4-5 pound) roasting chicken

1 large yellow onion, sliced

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 lemons, quartered

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

6 cups (3/4 inch) bread cubes (she says to use 1 baguette or round boule – I used a multigrain loaf)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Take giblets out of chicken and wash it inside and out.

Remove any excess fat and pin feathers.

Toss the onion with a little olive oil in a small roasting pan (I use a cake pan).

Place the chicken on top and sprinkle the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper.

Place the lemons inside the chicken.

Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels, brush it with the melted butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Tie the legs together with kitchen string (I didn’t do this as I made two chickens at the same time) and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Roast for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh.

Cover with foil and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes (the onions may burn, but the flavor is good).

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil until very hot.

Lower heat to medium-low and saute the bread cubes, tossing frequently, until nicely browned, 8-10 minutes.

Add more olive oil, as needed, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the croutons on a serving platter.

Slice the chicken and place it, plus all the pan juices, over the croutons (I just put the whole chicken on the croutons and sliced it at the table).

Sprinkle with salt and serve warm.


Here they are, all stuffed with lemon and ready for the oven.


It’s important to make sure the croutons are good and crispy so they will readily soak up all of the delicious juice.


Out of the oven and these little beauties just need to rest a bit before we dig in.


This little chicken is resting on top of the crispy croutons. There was A LOT of pan juices from these 2 chickens. I also squeeze the juice from the lemons before removing the chickens from the pan. It makes a lot more tasty juice that way. The onions didn’t burn in the pan this time, but if they do, it’s just tastier!


All we needed to add for dinner were some green beans from our garden.


This is the most delicious and moist chicken. The lemon just makes that pan juice so amazing. Try this dish and your family will be requesting this as much as my family does. Maybe at your next Sunday dinner?!



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Cheese Board

Grandma liked to make a Sunday night supper of cold meat and cheese. I never understood it until having a family of my own and then I got it – by Sunday night supper you need a break from cooking big dinners for the family. You just want to have something easy to throw together. She would have big plates of different kinds of sliced cheese with several kinds of (lunch) meat, ready to make into sandwiches or have on crackers. When the garden was available, there would be big slices of ripe tomato and cucumber ready for a deluge of salt and pepper or topped with poppy-seed dressing. Dessert was some kind of frozen treat like Eskimo Pies, Ice Cream Sandwiches, or Drumsticks. I want to carry on this tradition by keeping Sunday night supper easy but tasty. This is perfect for a Sunday night supper, for snacking during the football game, or for any kind of entertaining. There really isn’t a recipe for this, it’s just putting together different things that go well together. I love a good Cheese Board. I just love cheese. There are people who are particular about what cheese goes with what fruit or cracker. When putting this board together, I kind of used what I had on hand, and the family absolutely loved it.


We had several cheeses after a weekend trip to Wisconsin with a stop at a little local cheese shop. There should also be crackers and a sliced baguette to put the cheese on. After setting up the board, I realized that slicing the cheese BEFORE putting it on the board would have been beneficial. It’s not so easy to slice once it’s nestled in there amongst the other goodies.


I made some Rosemary Pecans for an extra little nibble. Just saute until roasted, pecans, almonds, cashews, or walnuts (or a combination of all of them) in a tablespoon of butter, add salt and pepper and a couple of tablespoons of fresh rosemary (from my herb pot on the deck) at the end. Delicious!


You’ll want some fruit on the board. I used red grapes, strawberries, and slices of apple. In addition, I also added a bowl of green olives and a bowl of yellow pear tomatoes from our garden (cherry tomato size). Incidentally, the tally for those garden yellow pear tomatoes – 415 (yes – we keep a tally of how many we pick)!!!


Add your favorite wine or have a wine tasting with several kinds. Can you ever really have too many kinds of wine? I think not. This is my own added touch – Grandma would not have added wine.


This really is one of my favorite meals. It’s a nice way to not have to work too hard, yet it’s still pretty impressive whether it’s Sunday night supper or entertaining. I intend to do this a LOT from now on – especially since you can get such a nice selection of cheeses at your local grocery store now days. A lot of this you can have in your pantry and just pull it out at the last-minute. Perfect.


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