Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

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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Salad #6

I love these family photos from years ago, and this one is of Grandma and Grandpa (on the right) and one of Grandma’s sisters with her husband, and maybe a cousin of theirs. Family was very important to Grandma and her brothers and sisters. They would get together a lot on Sundays, and I can imagine the chatting, the teasing, and the eating that went on at those get-togethers. I don’t have to imagine too hard – I was there at some of them when I was growing up!

Here is another in a long line of salads just called “Salad”. This one is Salad #6. There is a ridiculous number of salads in Grandma’s recipe file, and I’m sure that’s because of all of the family dinners and gatherings she was a part of over the years. She needed to have a huge arsenal of  recipes that she could mix and match depending on what and who the gathering was for. This one is especially easy to do and is especially good. It will be great on your springtime table.

This salad is really good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Salad #6

Boil:

2 1/2 cups water

Add:

1 (3 oz.) package of Strawberry Jello

2 boxes Tapioca Pudding

Cool.

Fold in:

1 (12 oz.) Cool Whip

1 package frozen strawberries (partially thawed)

Let the first mixture cool completely so it doesn’t melt the Cool Whip.

It takes awhile to fold in all of the Cool Whip, but you’ll get there eventually.

I used the frozen strawberries that I had in the freezer from a local farm.

This recipe makes a nice big salad – it more than filled this bowl.

There was enough extra salad left (that didn’t fit in the bowl) for dessert that night after dinner, and the main salad was taken to my mom’s for her birthday dinner. This was one of those family dinners, just like Grandma and her family used to have. The consensus from the family on this salad – 6 thumbs up.  It’s so delicious, and really convenient. You can have all of the ingredients in your cupboard and freezer ready for anytime. I hope you’ll try this really quick, really easy, and really delicious Salad #6.

 

 

 

 

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Poppy Seed Buns

One thing I don’t have photos of, from the days of staying at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm, is the game playing. I really regret that because my sister and I played a LOT of games with them: Rook, Rack-O, Chinese Checkers, Old Maid, Rummikub, Checkers, Sorry, and card games. Sometimes we would play all night. Of course, we never wanted to stop when it was time for bed. It was a lot of fun, and Grandma especially, was very competitive. They never let us win – we had to win fair and square. There was none of this “everybody wins” type of Candyland. They also loved to play games with their great-grandchildren – board games and card games. One card game they always played with our kids when they were little, was Old Maid. We still have the cards, and they’re very well used, as you can see!

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There was one particular game of Old Maid that was played with my oldest daughter when she was about 4 years old. She and Grandma were the only two left holding cards. It was the end of the game and it was my daughter’s turn to draw a card from Grandma. She had only one card in her hand, and Grandma had two cards left in her hand: one was the Old Maid and one was the card to match my daughter’s card. Grandma put the Old Maid card up higher in her hand than the other card, thinking my daughter would pick that one and get the Old Maid. Well, my equally (and probably even more so) competitive daughter picked the lower card, got a pair because of it and won the game, leaving Grandma holding the Old Maid!!! Oh my gosh – first there was the look on Grandma’s face, then there was the screeching and howling of laughter from everyone when we realized what had happened, then there was the immense pride from Grandma about what her 4-year-old great-granddaughter had just pulled off. She told everyone she knew about that game for years. What a great memory – we’ll never forget it!!!

While we did have snacks when playing games, and the recipe for today would be a good snack for game night, I think it will also be a good addition to your Super Bowl party. You see different versions of this recipe all over the internet these days, and who am I to let a trend go untried? This recipe for Poppy Seed Buns comes from my mom, and I think she got it from someone she worked with, so they were ahead of the trend because she retired almost 25 years ago! I have never had these before, and I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were. You’ll want to try these!

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These buns are incredibly tasty and very easy to make.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Poppy Seed Buns

Slice and put in bottom of a cake pan:

24 dinner roll bottoms (I used King’s Hawaiian rolls, but they seemed a little softer than regular dinner rolls would be – I’d stick with regular dinner rolls next time – or maybe try a batch of Buns or 6 Hour Buns and just make the buns smaller)

Add:

thinly sliced ham

slices of Swiss cheese

Put tops of dinner rolls on.

Microwave until melted:

1 cup butter

4 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 Tablespoons yellow mustard

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 Tablespoons poppy seeds (I only used 1 Tablespoon for this batch and that seemed like enough)

Stir sauce and drizzle over rolls.

Put into refrigerator until time to serve.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

There is a note on the card that says these can be made the night before – love that!

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Slice the rolls, put the bottoms in the bottom of the pan, and put on the ham and Swiss.

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I used deli ham and cut each piece in half.

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On go the tops and on to the sauce . . .

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. . . which is so darn tasty!

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Drizzle on the sauce and into the frig.

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I love it – another make ahead beauty!

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Get trendy with me – these will be great at your next game night or Super Bowl gathering!

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I used a sweet dinner roll for these and I think a regular dinner roll would have worked better, although both my husband and my son thought I was crazy. They liked the sweet rolls and told me to just leave it at that. I just want everyone to know – there ARE options. That being said, these are ridiculously delicious. That sweet and tangy sauce on top of a ham and cheese sandwich – so good! You can eat them with a fork, but your fingers work just as well. BTW – you WILL be licking every bit of that sauce off of your fingers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spam Cracker Spread

I said we’d do ALL the recipes in Grandma’s file, and so we shall – today I present – Spam Cracker Spread! This one comes from one of Grandma’s sisters, and this definitely goes under the category of Retro Oddities. This one is really going “old-school”! I haven’t had Spam in over 35 years – it was never my favorite, but one way that I did like it was fried. It’s made of pork and ham, and when it’s fried, it tastes like fried ham. Yum. My husband said, “I don’t mind Spam.” Because the Spam is NOT fried in this recipe, I made this specifically for him to try. This might be something for you to serve at your Super Bowl party this weekend! We’ll give it a whirl. Here goes nothing . . .

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This turned out to be really tasty and really rich!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Spam Cracker Spread

Mix together and chill for 1 hour:

1 can Spam, ground (I used a food processor for this)

1 Tablespoon sour cream

2 Tablespoons onion, chopped

1 Tablespoon salad dressing

Topping:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon horseradish (optional)

2-3 Tablespoons sour cream

1-2 Tablespoons salad dressing

Spread over Spam mixture.

Garnish with sliced green olives.

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Here it is – in all its glory!

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Because I don’t have a grinder or anything that seemed like it would grind the Spam, I used my food processor. I cut it into chunks so it would break up easier. It did make it a bit smoother than grinding would – what you use depends on what  your texture preference is.

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Once you mix the first ingredients, you’re halfway there!

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Put that first mixture into whatever you’d like to serve the spread in, and into the refrigerator for an hour.

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Mix the second half of the ingredients and get the olives sliced.

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Put on the second layer and sprinkle on the olives. Done.

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This recipe was really quick and easy.

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I have to say – this spread is really tasty. It’s also really rich – I don’t think you’d like to eat a LOT of it. That’s why it’s great for a party. It’s another quick and easy one that can be made with ingredients that you probably have (or could have) in your frig and cupboard. I’d say this is an unusual and tasty snack, from back in the day, to serve at your next party – Super Bowl party, cocktail party, birthday party.

 

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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.

Brown:

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.

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

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

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Just lay in the chops and into the oven.

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

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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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Christmas Cookies

Christmas can be traumatic for kids, as you can see by the photo I’m sharing today. This is when I was 3 years old, and Santa made an appearance at the house. I always felt that way about Santa – scared to death!

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I’m not sure why, but that’s just how I always felt. That is sheer terror on my face! My mom doesn’t seem to be terrified. In fact, she seems to be enjoying MY terror! Ha! The really funny this was that Santa was actually my Grandpa in a Santa costume. If I had only known!

I found this recipe in Grandma’s file – it’s another clipping, maybe not from a newspaper, but from some publication. She’s written some notes on it, so I thought we’d give it a try. The actual name of these cookies is cut off, but she gives instructions for what she did to make them Christmas cookies, so that’s what we’re going to call them – Christmas Cookies. This recipe is another one that can be made a couple of months ahead and kept in the freezer for whenever you need them. I could see making a batch of these in about October and having them all ready in the freezer. As long as you’re mixing up cookie dough, you might as well mix up a batch of these for next month. They aren’t just for Christmastime, but for anytime you need a quick treat. Note the “Real Good” connotation on this one!

christmas-cookies

From the phrase at the top of the recipe, it sounds like these maybe delicious!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Christmas Cookies

Cream together:

1 cup shortening (I used butter)

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir in:

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Add:

2 cups oatmeal

With your hands, mix in:

1 cup coconut

1 cup walnuts, chopped

(For Christmas cookies add – 1 cup red and/or green maraschino cherries, chopped)

Chill slightly (I chilled the dough about 10 minutes) and roll into 2 logs about 2 inches in diameter.

Wrap tightly and freeze.

To bake:

Slice in 1/4 inch slices and bake on ungreased baking sheets at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

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I split the dough in half to make the two logs.

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I used parchment to wrap the logs, labeled them, and into the freezer they go! I love these recipes that you can make ahead and have ready whenever you need them.

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The recipe suggests using an electric knife to slice the frozen dough, but I used my serrated bread knife and it worked just fine.

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The logs sliced right through, even though they were frozen solid.

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Put the frozen slices right onto a baking sheet and bake. Easy peasy.

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The cookies come out crispy and delicious.

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There’s nothing better than cookies and milk. Nothing.

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Grandma’s note says that these cookies are “Real Good” – she was right! The cookies are delicious and festive – just what you need in a Christmas cookie. I’m keeping one of the logs for sometime in January when we’re ready for sweets again. Make a batch to use when last-minute guests come, or just in case you run out of cookies over the holidays. We can’t have that. 10-12 minutes and you’re golden – and the cookies will be, too!

 

 

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Egg Casserole

Christmastime is the time for family get-togethers. My mom tells about all her cousins and aunts and uncles staying overnight at her grandparents farm at Christmastime, and that was a LOT of people – there were 8 siblings in Grandma’s family and then there would have been spouses and kids. This photo was of 3 generations (an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, Grandma and Grandpa, and my mom and her brother) in front of the Christmas tree in 1950, when my mom was 10 years old – she’s the one in the checked dress.

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They look like they’re all ready for church. I love their hats!

A breakfast dish like the one I’m sharing today would have been great for them with a lot of people staying overnight for the holiday. Because this is the time of year for family, family, family, and sometimes family stays overnight, that means you need a very quick and very easy dish for breakfast or brunch in the morning. A delicious Egg Casserole is the perfect dish for your overnight company. This is so easy and so good, and that’s what you want when there’s so much to do! How many times have I said that when making these recipes? Grandma sure knew what she was doing – make it easy and make it good!

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This is another great recipe that you can make the night before!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Egg Casserole

Butter a 9″ x 13″ pan.

Put in bottom of pan:

3 cups seasoned bread croutons

2 cups cheese, shredded (I used cheddar)

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 cup onion, diced

Beat together:

10 eggs

1 can cream of mushroom soup

2 cups milk

1 stick margarine (I used butter), melted

salt and pepper

Pour over bread and cheese.

Refrigerate overnight.

Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour (I forgot to make this the night before I needed it, so I made it 3 hours before baking it was great).

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This has all the ingredients that make an egg bake so darn good.

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Bread, cheese, bacon, eggs – how bad can that be?

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The melted butter does solidify once you put it into the eggs, so it looks a little weird before it goes into the oven.

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Add a piece of fruit and you have the perfect breakfast/brunch dish.

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Oh man, this is so good! This egg dish is just what you need for the hoards of overnight holiday company that inevitably show up this time of year. It’s so easy,  you could even make more than one! It’s so delicious – your guests may never leave!

 

 

 

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Cranberry Salad #2

Today I’m sharing another one of those strange salads made with Jello and cottage cheese. I have to say, this one is not one of my favorites. Naturally it goes under the “retro oddity” heading, because I’m sure it’s from the 60s or 70s. I really don’t know what the deal was with the cottage cheese and jello. I had some issues with this recipe, and I’ll discuss them as we go along. This Cranberry Salad #2 is a recipe that could be either a Thanksgiving salad or a Christmas salad. When I had all of the ingredients out and was getting ready to make the salad, it smelled so much like the holidays with the raspberry, cranberry, and orange – it got me in the holiday spirit. But just for a minute – we’ve had temperatures up to 20 degrees above normal here in Minnesota this month, and it’s been hard to get in the mood for Thanksgiving when it’s warm enough to sit outside on the deck. 2 years ago we had snow and sun dogs showing up by this time in the month. Oh well, we’ll take the warm weather as long as we can get it!

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This is a very pretty salad!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cranberry Salad #2

Dissolve according to package instructions:

1 package of raspberry jello

1 1/2 cups boiling water (Here’s where I think there is a problem. I did use 1 1/2 cups of boiling water for this, but finishing it according to the package takes another 1 cup of cold water. The salad ended up a bit soft and I think I’d cut back to 1 cup boiling water and 1 cup of cold water – the usual way – to make the jello.)

Chill until mixture begins to gel (this took about 45 minutes for me).

Fold into jello:

1 lb can of jellied cranberry sauce (crushed) or whole cranberry sauce (drained) (I used the whole cranberry sauce which now comes in a 14 oz can – I did drain  it a bit, but there wasn’t a lot of juice from it.)

1 orange, quartered and put through a food chopper – rind and pulp (I don’t have a food chopper so I used the food processor, which seemed to add even more liquid from the juice)

Pour into square or oblong pan (I used a 9″ x 13″ pan)

Chill until firm.

Cut salad into 3″ squares.

Place squares into lettuce cups.

Spread with:

1/2 pint cottage cheese

Top with another layer of salad to make a “salad sandwich”.

Serve with desired dressing (I didn’t add this).

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This salad really doesn’t have many ingredients, and overall it’s really a very quick and easy recipe.

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While the jello was setting, I broke up the whole cranberry sauce and put the orange into the food processor.

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It is colorful once the lettuce cups are added.

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I made the executive decision to just top the salad with a spoonful of cottage cheese instead of topping with another square of salad. Especially after what happened next.

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This is what happened when adding the second layer of salad. The salad was so soft, it sort of fell apart. I think that’s why I would just make the jello the regular way instead of adding an extra cup of boiling water. Maybe using a food chopper for doing the orange would have also made the orange less juicy than using the food processor. The salad was delicious and very pretty with the red salad and the green lettuce, but my family decided that it would have been better without the cottage cheese. I think it would have been just as good to make the salad in a pretty bowl and serve it with a spoon. The salad was good, we just didn’t appreciate the “retro oddity” component of adding the cottage cheese. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

 

 

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Vegetable Salad #2

The recipe for today comes from a family friend and I’ve been making it since the 1970’s. This friend’s husband was my dad’s best friend, and we were together with them quite often. Here is my dad’s graduation photo.  I know those boys were best friends since this time, or even earlier than this. I know they were in the same confirmation class at their church, so they may have been best friends since they were 8th grade or so. There are stories galore about how much trouble these guys were. I’m not allowed to elaborate on that, but trust me – there are stories. So many stories.

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How handsome is this guy? I’ll refrain from any comments about how much he looks like James Dean.

We would go to these friends’ house for dinner on weekends or they would come to our house. The “girls” (they were girls at that time – probably in their 20’s, even though they were moms) would sit at the kitchen table and talk and the “boys” would be down in the basement or in the garage talking and preparing for the next hunting season. In the early years, I was the only kid around and I would bring books or coloring books to work on while we were at their house, or I’d hang around and listen to the ladies talk or hang around the men and help refill shotgun shells or something. Eventually my little sister came along, these friends became her godparents, and then they had 4 kids of their own. The first time I remember having this Vegetable Salad #2 was at one of our famous 4th of July celebrations (when you live on a lake, your house is where everyone goes for the 4th of July), but we had this salad quite often over the years. I love this salad so much. It’s tasty and can be conveniently done ahead of time.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Vegetable Salad #2

Mix together in a large bowl:

1 head of cauliflower, broken up into florets

1/2 of a small head of red cabbage, shredded or chopped

1/2 of a red onion, chopped

1/2 pound bacon, fried and crumbled

Dressing:

2 cups salad dressing (I used mayonnaise)

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix dressing into vegetables.

Let stand 4 hours or overnight.

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It’s time to sharpen those shredding and knife skills. I shredded the cabbage for this salad, but I do remember having it with chopped cabbage.

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There is a lot of chopping, shredding, and floret separating to do, but it really does go fast.

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Mix up the vegetables and mix up the dressing.

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Put it all together and that’s it!

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This is one of my all time favorite salads. I just love the flavors in this one – onion and bacon – how can you go wrong with that? Delish.

 

 

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