Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

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

Add:

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!

 

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Chili

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:

Chili

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!

 

 

 

 

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Pork Tenderlon Sheet Pan Dinner

This recipe for Pork Tenderloin Sheet Pan Dinner originally came from a recipe in an old Weight Watchers cookbook, and it used spring vegetables. I’ve been making it for years, but with a few of my own changes, like using any kind of vegetables I happen to have on hand. It doesn’t have to be a spring time dish –  it’s great any time of year. Since my surgery to remove my gall bladder in September, I’ve been dealing with pancreatitis (which has NOT been fun), and I’ve gone from having a food tube over Thanksgiving to trying to eat non-fat foods or at least as low-fat as I could get, to now starting to ramp up the fat in the food choices I make – just a bit. Pork tenderloin is a somewhat low-fat cut of meat, and the vegetables only have a drizzle of olive oil over them, so I thought this was perfect for both my needs AND Sunday dinner with the family. Plus, sheet pan dinners are all over the internet right now, and rightly so – I LOVE anything that is fast to make and is also absolutely delicious. I’m not back to my normal strength or stamina yet, and I think my husband is getting a bit tired of having to help with EVERYTHING related to the house and cooking (this whole pancreatitis thing is getting old, but he’s done a great job of giving me the BEST nursing care!), so this was exactly what I needed to be able to make dinner with only a little help. This one is SO GOOD and so easy to do. Perfect!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pork Tenderloin Sheet Pan Dinner

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Spray a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Put on sheet pan:

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed (you can brown it in a skillet on all sides first, if desired, but I don’t ever do this)

Salt and pepper the pork.

In a large bowl, combine:

1 pound potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces

1 cup baby carrots or 2-3 large carrots but into 1″ pieces

2 cups fresh Brussel sprouts, but in half

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

Arrange vegetables around pork on sheet pan.

Roast, stirring once (I never seem to get this done, either), until vegetables are tender and pork registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 25 minutes. Let pork stand 5 minutes before slicing.

It’s so pretty and colorful! After baking, both the pork and the vegetables are browned, tender and delicious!

Pork is one of my favorites.

There is nothing like roasted vegetables.

Yum. Just yum.

This meal is ridiculously simple to do and let’s face it – it’s fast food. I mean, buy everything already cut up and start to finish, you’re eating in less than 45 minutes. You can’t even drive to a fast-food place and back that fast! It was easy for me to help make (I think my husband could actually do this himself!) and tasted so good to me after months of cottage cheese and toast. Try different meats and vegetables on a sheet pan and see how easy it is to have a great, nutritious, and delicious meal on the table in no time. You’re going to love this simple to make Pork Tenderloin Sheet Pan Dinner!

 

 

 

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Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe for Chicken Pot Pie comes from friends who stayed with us years ago, and it’s become one of my family’s favorites. As a hostess gift, they brought us a cookbook to write your own recipes in, and this one was already in there. I’m so glad it was! Refrigerated pie crust (gasp) makes this fast and easy to make for a “really quick” dinner, as it says on the recipe. I know, I know –  the recipe doesn’t say refrigerated pie crust, but if we’re really trying to make this a quick one, that’s the way to go. You can certainly make your own pie crust, or even make it ahead of time and keep it ready to go in the freezer, but refrigerated crust has come a long way, and I’m ok with it – in this case.

This recipe is so fast and so good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chicken Pot Pie

Put a refrigerated crust into a pie plate (you can also make your own crust).

Mix for filling:

2 cans Cream of Potato Soup

1 can VegAll (or frozen mixed vegetables – I used fresh vegetables and some vegetables from my garden)

2 cups diced chicken or turkey (I used chicken leftover from one we made in the smoker – rotisserie chicken works great, too)

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup milk

Put a refrigerated pie crust into pie pan (or make your own).

Put filling in and put on top crust.

Brush top crust with beaten egg.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

I used some fresh vegetables and some vegetables from my garden for this pie, but canned works just fine, too.

The filling is absolutely delicious.

Before baking it looks ok, but after baking you can see how pretty it is when you brush on the egg. I also made a few vent holes with a knife and added a sprinkling of course salt and freshly ground pepper on top of that.

This is another great recipe where you can basically have the ingredients on hand to make this whenever you have leftover chicken or turkey.

I’m so glad I have this recipe and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s easy to pull together, it’s easy to do, and it is sooooo good! My family absolutely loves this pot pie – it’s total comfort food. Really. I’m not even kidding – I KNOW you’re family is going to LOVE this Chicken Pot Pie.

 

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Whole Chicken in the Crockpot

This Whole Chicken in the Crockpot has become a family favorite. I have served this for dinner, but I usually make one of these and keep the chicken for using in other dishes. This is perfect for when you’re busy and don’t want to take the time to make anything complicated – which is a lot of the time, for me. Put a chicken in the crockpot with your favorite seasoning, go on with your day, and when you’re ready for dinner, the it’s ready. Serve this with a nice salad and a loaf of take-n-bake bread and you’re good! This is a delicious rub that I use on chicken in the crockpot, but I also use this rub when we make a chicken in the smoker. You can make it as spicy as you like. My family likes it a bit spicy, and that’s saying something for Scandinavians. This is ridiculously easy to do, it’s quick to pull together, and it’s darn good.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Whole Chicken in the Crockpot

1 whole chicken, drained and patted dry

Spice Rub:

1 Tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like it

Rub the chicken, inside and out, with the chicken rub.

Put chicken on top of 4 foil balls (or anything that will keep the chicken up off of the bottom of the crockpot, like onion slices, or lemon halves) in crockpot.

Cook on low for 6-7 hours.

There are such simple ingredients in this rub, but it makes a very flavorful chicken.

You can use an organic chicken, or fresh, but I just keep an eye out for bargains on bagged whole chicken at my store, and sometimes you can find a very good deal. This one was $3.68!!!

I normally wouldn’t use the foil balls, but I was totally out of anything else I could use to keep the chicken up off of the bottom. You don’t have to do this, but it keeps the chicken from stewing in its own juice. There will be a lot of liquid left when the chicken is done cooking – I just put it in a freezer container and put it in the freezer for the next time I want to make soup.

You don’t have to put on a rub – good old salt and pepper is delicious, too. You can try all kinds of different seasonings, but if you ARE going to use a rub, make sure to get the it into all the nooks and crannies!

It fits snuggly in the crockpot. Put on the lid, turn it on low, and go about your business for about 6 hours.

At the end of the cooking, the chicken comes out tender and delicious! It will be falling off the bone, and I can’t believe I got this one out of the crockpot without it falling apart! You can serve it for dinner just as it is, or you can pull off the meat and use it for all of the things you would use a rotisserie chicken for: chicken salad, chicken hotdish, or chicken sandwiches. I used this one for putting in a batch of Chicken Salad. You’re going to love making a Whole Chicken in the Crockpot – it’s perfect for a busy weeknight or weekend.

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Barbecues or Sloppy Joes

Even though I’m calling these Barbecues or Sloppy Joes, we didn’t ever call them sloppy joes. They were always barbecues to us growing up. I wonder if that’s a regional thing. Hmm. My mom has made these for us for as long as I can remember, and she always made them when she visited my sister and her family because my nephew loves these. When my sister first moved to Virginia, my mom would bring her chicken gumbo soup cans in her carry on because she couldn’t get that soup out there. Once, after 9/11 when we weren’t able to bring liquids on the plane anymore, she forgot she couldn’t bring them on the plane and she was stopped. When she told the security guy what it was, he let her bring the soup cans! I guess she must have told him that her daughter was craving a taste of home and he felt sorry for her and let it go! This is especially tasty with my mom’s homemade Buns. This recipe is a bit unusual with the chicken gumbo soup in it, but it’s really good. I know you’re going to love this one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Barbecues or Sloppy Joes

Brown in a skillet:

3 pounds ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, finely chopped (optional)

Drain, if necessary.

Add:

2 cans Chicken Gumbo Soup

3 cups ketchup

Simmer 20 minutes or put into crock pot on low for 6 hours.

Serve on buns.

You can cut down this recipe if 3 pounds of ground beef is too much, but it also freezes well, so you might as well make the whole recipe and keep some for another time. I usually cook the chopped onion and peppers (if I use it) at the same time as I brown the beef.

Then all you do is add the ketchup and chicken gumbo soup and let it simmer. The reason I put the optional chopped green pepper in the recipe is that sometimes I feel like the chicken gumbo soup doesn’t have the flavor it used to have.

That’s it! It’s really pretty quick and easy. You can use store-bought (gasp – like I did here) buns, but like I said above, these are particularly delicious with buns made from my mom’s recipe for homemade Buns. I put this in the crockpot a lot (after browning the beef), for when we’re busy working on the weekend and want to have dinner ready whenever we are.

This is a bit of an odd recipe with the chicken gumbo soup in it, but it is absolutely delicious. I made this and put it in the crockpot recently, when my oldest daughter moved to her new condo. It’s perfect for that kind of day, and has been a staple at all the moving days in our lives. People can eat when they’re hungry and get on with the moving. Try this delicious recipe for Barbecues or Sloppy Joe’s on your family and it will become a staple for you, too!

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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

Beat:

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).

Sauce:

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

Glaze:

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)

Ham:

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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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

Thaw:

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.

Combine.

Add some reserved pasta water, if needed.

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

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

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

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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.

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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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