Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

BBQ Ribs

This recipe for BBQ Ribs comes from my brother-in-law, and these ribs just happen to be one of my family’s favorite foods. Period. He made these for us once when we were visiting he and my sister and their son out in Virginia, and there’s been no looking back. My son and my husband happen to love these ribs, so I decided I’d share this recipe just in time for Father’s Day. If you want something that will be perfect for dad’s day, this is it! Just make sure you have plenty of ribs (I can get 4-6 racks on my baking sheets and in the oven at one time). These ribs will go fast! It’s supposed to be my “Nothing But Easy Summer”, but these ribs ARE easy to do. There are a few steps, but they’re easy steps, and it’s so worth it.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

BBQ Ribs

Put whatever dry rub you want on your ribs (I used the recipe below), then cook uncovered in the oven for about 3 hours or until meat can be flaked with a fork (I use ribs – I guess they’d be called baby back ribs – from my grocery store, and they’re smaller than the ribs my brother-in-law gets, so I cooked these for only about 2 hours). You want to cook them until almost done, as they will be finished on the grill.

Let ribs cool, then place in zip top bag (I use a clean, unscented garbage bag so it’s big enough for the ribs, and leave the ribs right on the baking sheets I baked them on) with whatever sauce you want – you could buy your favorite BBQ sauce, try my brother-in-law’s sauce (a store-bought hickory brown sugar BBQ sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup hot sauce), or try my recipe for BBQ Sauce. I used my recipe for this batch. Shake the bag so the ribs are covered with sauce (I just brushed the sauce on), then place in refrigerator overnight.

Finish ribs on the grill over low or indirect heat.

Ribs are done when they can be cut easily or broken apart with hands.

Caribbean Jerk Rub

(I think I found this rub recipe online, but I don’t know where – sorry)

2 Tablespoons dried, minced onion

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

4 teaspoons crushed dry thyme leaves

2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

You can use whatever jerk seasoning you want, but I made my own. It’s so easy and tastes so much better.

Before you put on the rub, you should do this one important step first. This is an important step!!! There is a thin “silver” layer or membrane on the back side of the ribs that needs to come off. Take the point of a knife to get it started and then pull it off. Sometimes I use a paper towel to get a better grip on this silver skin. It’s tough, and sometimes takes a bit of work, but it’s worth it. The ribs will be tougher if you don’t get this off, and the flavor of the rub won’t permeate like it should.

Next, on goes the seasoning and then into the oven to bake.

Oh my gosh. Try not to lose your mind while these are baking. Wow.

Let them cool and then brush on the BBQ Sauce, making sure to cover every bit of the ribs.

Once the sauce is on, I put the whole pan, along with the ribs, into a clean unscented garbage bag. My brother-in-law uses the huge size zip-top bags, but I’m too cheap to use those. Put the whole thing into the refrigerator until you’re ready to grill them.

They just need to be warmed through when grilling, since they’ve already been baked.

The grilling makes the sauce caramelize and get sticky and smoky and amazingly delicious! Make sure you make plenty of these ribs, because they’ll go fast! I just throw a roll of paper towels in the middle of the table and let everyone go at it! I serve them with Potato Salad and Calico Beans and you’re in heaven! BBQ Ribs are everyone’s favorite, and you are gonna LOVE them, too!



Leave a comment »

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!



Leave a comment »

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


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!




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


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.


1 pound lean ground beef


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!

Leave a comment »

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I love these Sweet and Sour Meatballs so much! The recipe comes from my big, old, red Betty Crocker Cookbook, and it’s total comfort food for the whole family. We get cravings for these meatballs, because this was another one of those recipes that I made a couple of times a month when our kids were growing up. On one of our recent Sunday family dinners, I asked if anyone had a request and our oldest daughter suggested having these meatballs. Great idea! I haven’t made them for a while – I don’t know why – and we were all glad for that suggestion. These are so tasty and so good!

Lucky you! You get a bonus recipe for Swedish Meatballs (although not MY family’s recipe for Swedish Meatballs ) on this one, too!

Here is the recipe as I made it

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

For the meatballs:

Mix together:

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

1/2 cup milk

2 Tablespoons onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 egg

Shape into 1 1/2-inch balls.

Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until brown, about 20 minutes.

Or cook in ungreased 13″ x 9″pan in 400 degree oven until light brown, 20-25 minutes.

For the sauce:

Cook meatballs in skillet, remove.

Drain fat from skillet.

Mix in the skillet:

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons corn starch

Stir in:

13 3/4 ounce can pineapple chunks, with syrup

1/3 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, reduce heat.

Add meatballs.

Cover, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.

Stir in:

1 green pepper, coarsely chopped.

Cover and simmer until crisp-tender, 5 minutes.

I don’t need to show you how to make meatballs. Just mix them up, roll them, and cook them on all sides as evenly as you can. I’m going to admit right now, I’m sooooooooo bad at making meatballs. I just don’t have the patience to keep turning them to brown on all sides. They usually end up as some kind of pyramid shape.

This is just a shot of the pineapple – ok, ok, I was playing around with the close-up feature on my camera. I just thought it looked cool.

I used my biggest pan and it filled it up pretty well. This is the meatballs with the pineapple added to make the delicious sauce.

Next add the green pepper and let it bubble for about 5 minutes.

I usually serve this dish with rice. To make it easier, I cook rice and put it into the freezer in zip top bags frozen flat to take up less space. Then it’s even easier to get dinner on the table – just warm up the rice and serve. It’s simple. It’s tasty. It’s a family favorite. It makes great leftovers, if there is any left. I think you’re going to want to try this easy and delicious dinner dish – Sweet and Sour Meatballs!



Leave a comment »

Chicken Hotdish

We’re making Chicken Hotdish today. There has just been too much snow (almost 20″ the last week and a half), and it’s been too cold, and we’ve just had too much winter. We need some good old comfort food. I have made several recipes for hotdishes on Plenty Sweet Life, like Baked Chicken Salad Casserole, Turkey Hotdish, Gwen’s Good Hotdish, and Chicken Supreme. They’re all really good and great comfort food, but this one is a great comfort food dish, for me anyway. The smell of this baking in the oven just brought me right back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house when I was a kid. This is totally one of those recipes that Grandma would have loved and would have made a lot. It’s funny now these recipes are so simple, so easy, so good, and so bring those memories right to the forefront of my mind. This recipe came from my mom, and while I don’t know who she got it from, it’s totally a Grandma recipe. Everything about this one brings me right back to those days of winters past and dinner with Grandma and Grandpa and the family – the smell, the taste, the texture of it, the ingredients used in it, the fact that it’s a HOTDISH – ‘nuf said. There’s just nothing better – this recipe is total love in a dish. A hotdish, that is!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chicken Hotdish

Mix together:

1 or 2 cup chicken, cut into 1/2″ pieces (I used more like 3-4 cups since I used the whole can of cream of celery soup)

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 can cream of celery or cream of mushroom soup (I used the whole can – what are we supposed to do with a half can?)

1/2 can milk

1 cup celery, cooked in 1 tablespoon butter until softened

Pour mixture into a casserole dish.

Top with:

2 cups chow mein noodles (I used the whole small bag)

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Such simple ingredients, so simple to do, and so simply good!

This hotdish is such an easy dish to pull together for a quick weeknight dinner, or having company on the weekend. Everyone will love this one!

I don’t think you can ever have too many Chinese noodles, so I just used the whole bag.

The hotdish gets hot and creamy and the soups make it so comforting. I absolutely love the toasty Chinese noodles, too!

All this hotdish needs is a splash of soy sauce, and there you go. Total comfort in a dish. Total love in a dish. You seriously need to make this hotdish THIS WEEKEND! Guess what – we’ve had almost 20″ of snow here near Minneapolis this week – we need comfort food! Go ahead and make this Chicken Hotdish NOW and whip up some comfort and love for your friends and family!



Easy No Crust Quiche

The recipe for today is Easy No Crust Quiche. This one comes from my mom, and as you can see from her note on the card, she thought this one was “Very Good” in 2008. Grandma started writing the dates she made these recipes, and then whether or not she liked them, and then how much she liked the recipe, (occasionally she even wrote little notes on the recipe cards she sent us that told how she might have changed something in the recipe). I love it so much that she did that for us! That makes it so much easier for the family to know which ones are the best ones. Believe it or not, I have seen some recipes in a cookbook where she wrote “terrible” on them! Now the rest of us keep track of recipes in this same way – my mom, me, my sister (I think my sister does it, too), and even my kids now write in their cookbooks the date they first made a particular recipe and how they liked it. It’s fun to look back and be able to see how long ago you first tried something. I’m sure that in this photo of me from when I was a 1-year-old, I was reading in a cookbook and planning what I would make next. I think I’m even drooling!

I was an early and voracious reader, and I’m SURE that I was reading a cookbook here. Anyway, we’ll be looking back at the family cookbooks for years to come and seeing those little notes, knowing that someone cared and loved us enough to make sure we would only take the time and effort to make just the “Very Good” ones – they’re the most delicious ones, too!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Easy No Crust Quiche

In a buttered 9″ pie pan put:

1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cover with:

6 slices of crisp bacon, cut in pieces or about 1 cup diced ham (I used 1 cup of diced, frozen, leftover Christmas ham)


4 eggs


1 1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup flour mixed into 2 Tablespoons softened butter (I melted the butter and mixed them all together – it made the mixture a bit lumpy)

Carefully pour over cheese and meat.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Turn oven down to 250 degrees and bake 20 minutes more (I had to go about 15 minutes more until it stopped jiggling in the middle).

She does have a half recipe written down on the card, but why? Just make the whole one.

I’m so glad I cut some of our leftover Christmas ham into cubes – they’re ready to go at a moments notice – like into this Quiche!

When adding the flour and butter to the mix, I’d try mixing them together next time first. Maybe then there wouldn’t be lumps. It didn’t matter in the end anyway.

I gave this an extra 15 minutes or so because it was jiggly in the middle. Once it cooled a bit, it firmed up pretty well, but it is a bit delicate.

You can see the layers – the cheese makes the “crust”. It totally looks like one of Grandma’s typical Scandinavian-style dishes – very pale. I’d add veggies into this – that’s just me.

My husband has a “thing” for cilantro, so he added some before devouring this Quiche for lunch. I think it not only added to the flavor, but it looks pretty. You could totally service this for breakfast, for brunch, or for lunch or a light dinner. I love a good quiche, and I have made Quiche Lorraine, but this Quiche is ridiculously easy to make and is ridiculously delicious. Your friends and family are gonna LOVE this one! Try this Easy No Crust Quiche now – right now!



Leave a comment »

Baked Chicken #2

Today’s recipe for Baked Chicken #2 comes from the back of one of Grandma’s recipes. Actually, it was on the back of her recipe for Baked Chicken that I made several years ago. I was looking back at some of those past recipes, and realized that I never made the second recipe on the back of that card. I’m putting this one under the hotdish category, because it uses the same principle – meat, rice, and cream of something soup. We’re getting closer to comfort food weather, and these are necessary comfort food recipes: Baked Chicken, Easy Chicken and Rice, and this one. This one would be a perfect Sunday dinner. It’s easy, it’s no-fuss, and it’s delicious!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Baked Chicken #2

Mix in large bowl:

1 cup uncooked rice

1 can cream of Chicken Soup

1 can Cream of Celery Soup

1 Tablespoon parsley leaves (I used dried)

1 soup cans water

Put into greased 9″ x 13″ pan.

Top with:

1 cut-up fryer chicken (or whole cut-up chicken), seasoned with salt and pepper or seasoned salt

Cover with foil.

Bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours (DO NOT PEEK). Next time I’d bake about 1 1/2 hours and then take the foil off and let it go the last half hour to brown the chicken a little bit.

Mix up the rice and soups – and yes, you need to use regular uncooked rice.

The soup/rice mixture goes into the pan, and then on goes the chicken (this chicken had gigantic pieces, so we cut the breasts in two). I also seasoned it with a bit of seasoned salt, because I had a feeling that this would be a little pale after being baked and covered with foil.

After baking, I took off the foil and let it bake another 20 minutes or so, just to brown it up a bit (I was right – it did come out looking a little pale), but that made it somewhat overdone. The chicken was nice and tender, but the rice was overdone and a little mushy. I’d take the foil off earlier next time so the total baking time would stay the same.

Oh yes – total comfort food!

This WAS the perfect Sunday dinner. I just added a bit of green (peas), and it made for an excellent comfort food meal. Incredibly easy and incredibly delicious – this Baked Chicken #2 is incredibly comforting!


Leave a comment »

Shrimp Rolls

I made up this recipe for Shrimp Rolls because my son loves shrimp. Fried shrimp, shrimp cocktail, fresh shrimp, shrimp salad, shrimp dip . . . on and on and on. He is also a HUGE fan of Old Bay Seasoning. We try to use it whenever we can. One hot summer day, I was wishing we lived closer to the ocean so we could enjoy a lobster roll without having to search all over the Twin Cities for lobster. I though about having a delicious lobster roll until it hit me – everyone loves lobster rolls, so why not try to make a shrimp roll? Frozen cooked shrimp are easier to find in these parts than frozen cooked lobster. These have now become a summer staple for our family and I end up making them several times throughout the season. We’ve already had them once this year, and it won’t be the last time.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Shrimp Rolls

Thaw a one pound package of frozen shrimp in the refrigerator overnight. How big the shrimp should be depends on how you want to fix it. I have used bigger shrimp and then cut them into pieces, but for this batch, I used smaller shrimp and there was no need to cut them.

Mix together:

1/2-1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon dill weed

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, or more to taste

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

salt and pepper to taste


1/2 cup celery, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

Toss in:

the thawed shrimp

Serve in hot dog buns on a bed of chopped lettuce.

This is a fast and easy lunch or dinner recipe. It’s great on a hot summer night when you don’t want to heat up your kitchen.

It’s easier to mix the mayonnaise mixture first and then add the vegetables and shrimp.

Oh yes – one more squeeze of lemon and you’re having a delicious dinner on the deck.

Try this light and refreshing summer lunch or dinner. You may need an extra napkin depending on how full you fill the bun. This recipe is quick, easy, and absolutely delicious. It would be good at a picnic or at the beach – hey, it’s good anywhere! You might as well do it – make some of these Shrimp Rolls tonight!


Leave a comment »


I have been making this Chili for as long as we’ve been married. It came from my old red Betty Crocker cookbook, and it was a staple during my kids’ growing up years. I’ve made it hundreds of times. Seriously – HUNDREDS of times. I usually double this recipe because we always want leftovers, and chili is great for lunches the next day. It’s great to have in the slow cooker ready for warming up after any winter outdoor activity: Skiing, sledding, skating, snowman making. It thaws the icicles hanging from noses and mustaches after said outdoor activities. Perfect. The Super Bowl is in Minnesota this year, and it’s going to be cold – single digit cold – so this would be great to serve at your Super Bowl party. Just keep it warm in the slow cooker and line up the fixins. This is another very easy recipe and it’s ridiculously delicious.

This is so good on a cold winter day OR night!

Here is the recipe as I made it:


Cook and stir in 3 quart saucepan until light brown:

1 pound ground beef or turkey

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Drain, if necessary.

Stir in:

1 (16 ounce) can whole tomatoes with liquid

2 medium stalks celery, sliced

2-3 Tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (I used red pepper flakes)

Heat to boiling.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour.

Stir in beans, heat to boiling, simmer 15 minutes until hot.

(I usually do this in a crock pot or slow cooker – I still brown the beef, onion, and garlic but put all ingredients – even the beans – into the slow cooker all day on low until we’re ready for it.)

This batch was done in the crock pot and I just put all the ingredients right in.

Here we are – ready to go. Turn it on low and let it go. If you need it faster, obviously turn it up to high.

We like sour cream, shredded cheddar, and green onions for fixin’s on our chili. The possibilities are endless: crushed tortilla chips, Frito chips, additional hot sauce, pickled jalapeno, etc. On and on.

It’s going to be cold this weekend, people. You need to have a Super Bowl party, invite some friends and family, and let them thaw out with this delicious, warming bowl of comforting goodness. Try this Chili and you’ll see that it’s one of those recipes that’s a “lifer” that you’ll make hundreds of times!





Leave a comment »

The New Vintage Kitchen

A Vermont innkeeper's collection of reimagined vintage recipes, updated for today's cooks.

Bernadine’s Corner

Recipes * Lifestyle

Convivial Supper

Recipes from the Past

Cooking Without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

Mrs. Twinkle

My Wonderful Little World


a collection of recipes