Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Salad #10

You all know how this goes – Grandma had so many “salad” recipes (recipes just named “Salad”) that we are now up to Salad #10. Remember that these “salads” don’t always contain vegetables. In fact, most of them are made with some kind of jello, fruit, whipped cream combination. There was that one Vegetable Salad that contained jello along with some vegetables and other weird things, but we don’t talk about that one. I did say I’d make ALL the recipes – but that one was waaayyy out there. Grandma just had so many family gatherings, potluck dinners, and church gatherings, that it seems that she kept a file of a LOT of different “salads” to pull out on a moments notice. She made this particular “salad” a lot, and I know why – it’s the most ridiculously easy salad EVER – AND it’s delicious. By the way – all of Grandma’s “salad” recipes are absolutely delicious. Except for that Vegetable Salad.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Salad #10

The recipe says to make a package of lemon pie filling or pudding mix as directed except use whole eggs and add 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and then cool.

I wanted to make this salad even easier, so I used a can of lemon pie filling instead – no mixing the pudding or pie filling ahead of time.


1 cup of whipping cream (there’s no need to add any sugar to the cream – when you add the fruit, that makes it “plenty sweet”)

Mix in:

1 can lemon pie filling (I used this instead of the package of lemon pudding and pie filling mix – Grandma says on the card that you can also use apricot or peach pie filling)

Add drained fruit:

I added: fruit cocktail, pineapple, mandarin oranges

If necessary you can add some mini marshmallows – I used about a half of a bag just for demonstration purposes – the salad didn’t really need them (Grandma always did this when she felt the “salad” was too soft or runny from the fruit juice).

This recipe is seriously one of the EASIEST “salads” you could possibly make. You could even have the ingredients in your pantry, ready to go – especially if you wanted to use something like a frozen non-dairy whipped topping instead of whipping cream – just keep that in your freezer.

I mixed the lemon pie filling and the whipped cream together first.

Next, in went the drained fruit. After the fruit is mixed in, this is where you can then decide if you need some miniature marshmallows to make the salad less “soft” or “wet”.

I did add about a half of the bag of marshmallows, just for demonstration purposes. Plus they’re delicious – that is the goal here, after all.

This “salad” can be served straight from the big bowl, if you’re at a larger gathering, but it’s also pretty in individual dishes if you’re serving it for a smaller gathering.

Whether you need a “dish to pass” for a potluck dinner, or it’s just you and your special someone for a more intimate dinner, this “salad” is quick and easy to make, and it’s absolutely delicious. Add this Salad #10 to your recipe arsenal for all of your “salad” needs, and you’ll be able to whip this one up at a moment’s notice.


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Garden Salad

My mom had this Garden Salad recipe, and it’s perfect for this time of the summer – August and September – here in Minnesota because it includes all the vegetables that are ready to pick right now in our gardens. I mean, who doesn’t like a good garden salad this time of the summer? Both of my sets of grandparents had gardens, and we had one, too. I loved this time of year when things were ripe and ready to pick (that’s why I love Farmer’s Markets so much – that works, too). We’d all go out and pick boxes full of tomatoes, onions, green peppers, zucchini, carrots, green beans, and pumpkins. One year my mom decided to grow cabbage, and after a bout with some big green caterpillars found in them after they were picked, we never grew those again. When you grow a garden, you end up with a lot of vegetables ready to pick all at the same time, and in addition to freezing or canning the vegetables (and back when we were kids, we canned and froze A LOT), we look for salads and dishes that use those vegetables RIGHT NOW, when they’re fresh and sweet and juicy and ripe and . . . ok, ok. Whew. Guess I get carried away with the garden vegetable thing. This is one of those recipes – one of those salads.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Garden Salad

Cook according to package instrucitons:

1-7 ounce package of ring pasta (I used a half of a 1 pound box of the large rings)

Drain and cool.


1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

Combine in a large bowl:

1 small head of cabbage, finely chopped (I shredded the cabbage)

1/2 green pepper, finely chopped

1 large cucumber, finely chopped

1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped

Fold together dressing, pasta, and vegetables.

Refrigerate, covered, several hours or overnight.

I shredded the cabbage (out of habit, I think) instead of chop it, but next time I’d just chop it so all the vegetables are the same shape.

When chopping the cucumber, I left the seeds in the first half until I remembered to use a small spoon and run it down the middle of the cucumber to take out the seeds. Nobody wants a runny salad.

Here we are, all ready to fold it all together.

I’m pretty sure someone decided to stretch this salad, at some point, by adding the pasta. Good idea!

Oh yum.

What a great side dish. You get to use some of your garden vegetable abundance, while enjoying a delicious, creamy, sweet and sour kind of salad. This salad would go perfectly with any main from sandwiches to pork chops to steak or burgers. If you have an over abundant garden right now, you’re going to want to make up a big batch of this Garden Salad – enjoy!





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Salad #9

Today’s recipe is another “salad” in the long line of salads in Grandma’s recipe file, so it’s now labeled Salad #9. There were so many gatherings and events that Grandma used these “salads” for, it’s no wonder there were so many different recipes. Grandma had 7 siblings and Grandpa had 5 siblings, and that makes for a lot of get-togethers, birthdays, baptisms, wedding, graduations, on and on and on! Then they got married and had 2 children of their own, plus all of their siblings got married and had more children – the family grew and there were a lot of nieces and nephews, and even MORE gatherings. That doesn’t even include the church and local events and activities that Grandma and Grandpa were involved in. On top of that, they LOVED to entertain, and had friends over quite often on the weekends. Then when their own 3 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren became involved in school, music, drama, and sports, they had even MORE events to attend. They loved their family, they loved their friends and community, and they loved to go to all the activities they could – and they went to a LOT. That’s why there are so many recipes used for these gatherings – you had to  bring food when you went to all of this! We’re the lucky recipients of these recipes now, and we’re going to try them all! This “salad” is, let’s face it, not what we think of as “salad”. It’s more like dessert – a dessert that would be perfect for a nice Valentine’s Day dinner!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Salad #9

Thaw and drain:

1 pint frozen raspberries (I had frozen whole berries in my freezer, so that’s what I used)

Stir together until dissolved:

2 cups boiling water

2 small packages of raspberry JELLO

Stir in:

1 pint raspberry sherbet


the drained raspberries


I know that Grandma would have used berries that came frozen in a brick and you had to thaw and drain them before using. You certainly can buy frozen berries in a brick or bag if you want to, I just had some frozen raspberries in my freezer from last summer. I mean to drain them as they thawed, but there wasn’t really any moisture that came out of them.

I put the boiling water into my big 4 cup measure, and it was big enough to mix all of the salad ingredients in.

I estimated (I know, I know, you’re surprised that I’d do that, aren’t you?) the pint (or 2 cups) of raspberry sherbet and scooped it right into the JELLO mixture in the 4 cup measure.

Once the sherbet is all in there, it starts to melt immediately. It WILL all melt – just keep stirring until it does.

Instead of making one big salad in a pretty bowl, I made individual salads in stemless wine glasses. I put the raspberries right in the bottom of the glasses first, and then poured the JELLO/sherbet mixture right over top. So pretty!

Yes – I think this would make a lovely Valentine’s Day dinner dessert.

This pretty dessert is just so ridiculously easy to pull together, and when you’re trying to make all the other dishes for a gathering or dinner, why not make the dessert easy, am I right? Right! Easy is where it’s at! While you’re at it, why not make something that’s ridiculously easy AND ridiculously delicious? This is it. Make this Salad #9 for your next gathering, party, or Valentine’s Day dinner and you’ll make quite the impression.


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Celery Seed Dressing

The recipe for today is for Celery Seed Dressing. I got this one years ago from my aunt, who brought it to a family gathering. It was so delicious, I emailed her to get the recipe. She emailed it back to me, but there isn’t a name on it, so I’m calling it Celery Seed Dressing. Summer is short here in Minnesota, and we want our recipes to be fast, easy to pull together, and amazingly delicious. Well, I’m telling ya, this one fits the bill. It makes a simple summer salad (maybe made with your fresh garden harvest) incredibly delicious with the addition of this amazing dressing.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Celery Seed Dressing

In a microwave safe bowl, combine:

1/3 cup sugar (I cut back on this a bit – it was plenty sweet!)

3 Tablespoons cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon dried, minced onion

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Microwave on high for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Whisk in:

1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

I let it cool down a bit at this point.

Drizzle on salad and toss.

Here are the salad ingredients my aunt used that day:

Spinach (I can’t remember if there was lettuce, but I used romaine this time)

Cherry tomatoes

Mushrooms, sliced

Mandarin oranges

Sliced almonds, toasted

Green onions, sliced

You can really add anything you want to this delicious dressing, but these particular ingredients are really good!

I just use a small whisk to whisk the oil into the seasonings.

This is a beautiful salad.

Drizzle the dressing onto the salad goodies and give it a toss.

This salad and dressing would go with any main dish, but I served it with grilled chicken with BBQ Sauce. It’s a delicious salad dressing and makes a great, fast summer meal very special. Try this Celery Seed Dressing and grill up something amazing tonight!


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6 Salads to Kick Off the Summer Right!

Here are 6 Salads to Kick Off the Summer Right! It’s going to be in the 90’s for Memorial weekend here in Minnesota. I’m pretty sure that means that summer is officially here, and I’m pretty sure that means that I don’t want to turn on my oven to make anything. The only thing you have to do that will heat up your kitchen when making these salads is to either cook pasta or rice. These 6 salads are easy to do, fast to make, and are all incredibly delicious. I would never kid around about that kind of thing. Really. I wouldn’t. Try one of these – they’re all good! Enjoy!

Chicken Salad

Frozen Cole Slaw

Glorified Rice Jello

Pepperoni Pasta Salad

Seven Layer Salad

Acini de Pepe Salad

Crunchy Vegetable Salad

Oops! I guess you get a bonus salad recipe since I put 7 recipes on here instead of 6! Yay!






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Tapioca Salad or Dessert

The recipe for Tapioca Salad or Dessert is another incredibly easy and incredibly good one from Grandma’s files. This one definitely fits Grandma’s theme of very easy and very good. We’re heading into that time of year where there are innumerable graduation parties, bridal showers, family reunions, and picnics and I don’t know about you, but I really do get tired of bringing the same old dish all the time. Here’s a new one, that’s so fast and so tasty, nobody will believe you didn’t spend a lot of time on it. It’s just that good, and even better – you can keep everything needed to make it in your cupboard or pantry and be ready to make this at a moments notice. You will always be ready for anything with this one in your back pocket.

Note the “V. Good” connotation again on this one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Salad #8

Drain juice from:

1 can of mandarin oranges (I used a small one)

1 can of pineapple (I used tidbits in juice)

Add enuf (ha! I LOVE that!) water to make 3 cups of liquid.

Cook fruit juice/water mixture with:

1 package of tapioca pudding

1 package of orange tapioca pudding (I didn’t find this at my store so I just used 2 packages of regular tapioca pudding)

Cook until boiling.

(I let the pudding cool a bit at this point before adding it to the fruit.)

Add fruits and let stand overnight or serve (I found that it thickened up a bit as it sat overnight).

I drain the juice from the can of fruit by putting the strainer right over the top of my big measuring cup.

When you’ve drained the juice from both cans, just add water to make 3 cups.

This was supposed to have 3 bananas in it, but when I was ready to make the salad, the bananas weren’t ready to go yet – they were still very green. I just left them out (since I’m not a huge fan of bananas in salad).

After cooking the pudding, I poured it into a bowl to cool down quicker instead of leaving it in the hot pan.

After mixing the pudding and fruit, it seemed a bit loose, so I did what Grandma told me to do – add mini marshmallows. It seems weird, but it works. And I know this because I’ve used this trick many times. I don’t know if in this case it was because I left out the bananas, but I added about a half bag of miniature marshmallows.

Oooh – it looks so pretty in the glass bowl my mom got while in the hospital when I was born. Apparently it held fruit – how appropriate. It’s amazing the bowl is still in one piece! This recipe is V. Good, according to Grandma, and she’s never wrong. It’s a delicious salad (or dessert) that’s perfect for any springtime or summer occasion. The ingredients are easy to have in the cupboard and ready to use to make this salad. Make a batch of this Tapioca Salad or Dessert and be ready for anything!



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Salad #7

This is another in a long line of salad recipes that are in Grandma’s file, and we are on Salad #7 today. Grandma would use these salads for all of the family gatherings, church events, and entertaining she and Grandpa would do. There were a LOT of events of every kind, so she needed a lot of different recipes. She wouldn’t have brought the same recipe more than once. You needed to show your salad prowess at these things, and the easier the recipe, the better. If you were a busy farm wife and if you could do something to save time, I’m sure you’d be more than happy to do that, as she was. These easy recipes are great for all of us trying to save time, yet wanting to put delicious treats and food out there for everyone to enjoy.

This is another salad that really should be called dessert!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Salad #7


1 package of Lemon Jello

1 package of Lemon Pudding (not instant)

2 1/2 cups water

Cook until it comes to a boil.



2 cups Cool Whip (which is pretty close to a whole small container)

1 large can crushed pineapple (grandma had written “dried” pineapple, but I think she meant a drained can of crushed pineapple)

This recipe is so simple, and you can have the ingredients handy for making this last-minute.

It takes a bit of folding to incorporate all the ingredients, but it’s worth the time it takes!

You can leave the salad in a pretty bowl and let it firm up, or you can put it into pretty glasses (like I did here) and serve them individually. We enjoyed these with a Sunday dinner and had them while they were still a bit soft. They were delicious!

This is another ridiculously easy, ridiculously tasty recipe that you’re going to want to keep handy for any occasion. How can you not just love these recipes that are so easy, so good, so handy, and so “grandma”. I know that you and your guests will adore this lemon-y and pineapple-y Salad #7.


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Ramen Coleslaw Salad

This recipe for Ramen Coleslaw Salad comes from my sister-in-law, and it is so amazingly delicious. Everyone loves this salad, and I have made it many, many times over the years since she first shared this recipe with me. I can remember one time in particular that I served this at dinner when my mom and Grandma and Grandpa came for a visit. We had eaten dinner and the table was being cleared. My husband went into the kitchen to get something and was confronted with the sight of Grandma, standing by the sink, the salad bowl in hand, slurping the last of the dressing from this salad with the serving spoon. She grew up in the Great Depression – she was NOT going to waste one drop of that delicious dressing!!! Haha! I think he just let it go and didn’t give her a hard time about it. She sure gave him a hard time enough about his eating handfuls of home-baked cookies  – when you have to bake for a large family of siblings like she had done in her youth, you don’t eat more than your fair share! She sure liked to tease him about that, but he didn’t want to make her feel bad for not wasting that dressing! He just let her enjoy it. That is a GREAT memory.

This salad is positively addicting!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Ramen Coleslaw Salad

Mix together for the salad:

1 – 1 pound package of coleslaw mix

1/2 of a red pepper

1/2 of a green pepper

4-5 green onions, diced

2 packages of Ramen Noodles, broken up (I used chicken) – save the flavor packets for the dressing

1/2 cup toasted almonds (I used slice almonds)

For dressing mix together:

1/4 cup sesame oil

3/4 cup oil (I used canola)

1/3 cup vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

2 flavor packets from the Ramen Noodles

Dash of soy sauce

Store in refrigerator if you want.

Pour over salad 10 minutes before serving.

I mixed up the dressing first. Put all the ingredients into a jar, put on the lid, and shake it up. If it sits for any length of time (maybe overnight) it takes a bit of shaking to mix it all up and get the sugar off of the bottom of the jar. It can be done. It’s worth the effort.

The salad is pretty and colorful, with pretty simple ingredients.

I brought this to my mom’s house a few weekends ago, so I packaged everything “to go”. First – mix the vegetables together for the salad.

Next I put the almonds into a separate zip top bag, put the broken up ramen noodles into a bag, and then the veggies go into their own bag. The dressing is in the jar and it’s all ready to go and pack up.

When you’re ready to eat the salad, mix it all together and pour over the dressing. It’s an easy salad to take along or to share.

This is seriously one of my favorites.

I love a salad that’s this easy to make and this tasty. Everyone you know will LOVE this salad. They may even love it enough to drink the dressing when dinner is over. Who knows?! You’re going to want to try this Ramen Coleslaw Salad – soon!!



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Garden Cabbage Salad

Today’s recipe for Garden Cabbage Salad has been around a long time. I’m not sure where this one came from, but my mom started making this in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. This salad is great for using garden vegetables. We had a big garden across the road from our house at the lake, and there were a few years when we grew cabbage. That might have been when my mom found this recipe that uses cabbage. I have a garden now, but not big enough to grow all of these veggies. That’s when I head to our favorite farmer’s market to pick up local, fresh ingredients to make recipes like this one. If you have an over abundance of garden vegetables, and you’re looking for a different kind of salad to make with said vegetables, this is the salad for you!

This salad has such simple ingredients and is so fresh tasting!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Garden Cabbage Salad

Put into a large bowl:

3 cups chopped cabbage, not shredded

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 1/2 cups chopped cucumber, with seeds removed

1 Tablespoon chopped onion


1 cup mayonnaise

salt and pepper to taste


Chill one hour or more.

These tomatoes were grown in our garden, but I got all of the other veggies at the farmer’s market.

Get your chopping skills ready! Usually I shred cabbage when using it in salads, so it was strange to chop it.

Just a few ingredients, but it’s so fresh and good!

It’s also a very pretty salad, but it’s also the kind of salad that doesn’t last too long in your frig. I would say that it will only last a day or two before the cucumbers make it a bit watery. Just go ahead and eat it all in one sitting. It’s vegetables – it’s good for you!

If you have a garden, you’re going to want to try this salad. It uses your garden produce in a little bit different way. There’s just not anything more to say. It’s easy and very quick to pull together, its uses simple ingredients, it’s a great side dish for anything grilled in the summertime, it uses veggies from your garden or local farmer’s market – what’s not to love in this Garden Cabbage Salad?




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Dressing for Garden Veggies

This recipe for Dressing for Garden Veggies goes back to the 1970’s from a family friend. This friend is the wife of my dad’s best friend. These guys had been friends from the time they were little boys, through high school (oh boy – are there stories about this time in their lives!!), and until we lost my dad at the age of 49. These guys would give each other a hard time about everything, give each other nicknames, and spend as much time together as possible. They hunted, fished, camped, and did anything they could outdoors. I love this photo of their confirmation class. My dad is the one on the left and his best friend is the one in the middle in the front. Don’t they look thrilled to be there? Ha!

The one thing they hated more than having to spend time indoors, was to have to get dressed up in their Sunday best! Except for their wedding photos (or their children’s wedding photos), this was probably one of the most formal photos they ever took. EVER!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Dressing for Garden Veggies

Mix together in a mason jar:

1/2 cup salad oil

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup vinegar (I used cider vinegar)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Pour dressing over cut veggies.

I used:








sliced black olives

Full disclosure – I used olive oil for this. If you think the salad may last more than one meal, use salad oil. Olive oil solidifies in the refrigerator if you need to store it. It doesn’t look so pretty. I would use salad oil next time.

The dressing separates, but a quick shake before pouring it over the veggies and it’s fine. It takes a bit of shaking to get all of the sugar to incorporate.

This is a pretty salad with all of the colorful veggies . . .

. . . and it’s delicious!

You can just keep adding more veggies because the dressing lasts for a week or so. This has such a tasty dressing. Call up all of your best friends and have them over for dinner. You can talk about the good old days and serve them this amazingly delicious salad with Dressing for Garden Veggies.


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