Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Baked Acorn Squash

I love Baked Acorn Squash, so today I’m showing you how I make it. You can find so many different kinds of squashes this time of year, and I love to buy them locally at a farm stand we go to – they’re pretty inexpensive that way. You may have some from your own garden, or from your local farmer’s market, but no matter where you get them, try this tasty recipe. You may want to buy a couple extra, bake them, and put the delicious squash in your freezer for later this winter. For some reason, the smell of squash baking in the oven is so cozy and just smells like fall to me. That’s why this recipe is appropriate for now. Right now. Go out and pick up a couple of acorn squash to bake up this weekend.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Baked Acorn Squash

Wash and dry 1 acorn squash.

Cut the squash in half and using a spoon, clean out the seeds from the middle of the squash.

Using a large, sharp knife, put the cut side down and make slices about 1/4″-1/2″ thick.

Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay the slices, flat side down, on the baking sheet.

Lightly spray tops of squash with olive oil.

Brush with maple syrup and lightly sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until tender.

At this point, you can remove the squash from the skin and freeze it in a container in your freezer.

Watch your fingers when slicing the squash. They can be slippery little suckers – especially if you take the skin off first. You can also bake them in halves, but it does take longer to do it that way.

I got the slices from the whole squash all on one baking sheet.

After baking, the squash is tender and fragrant and absolutely delicious. It goes well with anything – I served it with Pork Chops with Rice for one of our Sunday family dinners.

This squash is so good – it’s going to become a staple for our family dinners, and I’m sure your family will like it, too. That little sprinkle of cinnamon makes it smell like fall when it’s baking, and it will give your whole family the “cozys”! Try this Baked Acorn Squash and enjoy the flavors and smells of fall!

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Spinach Dip

We’re going back to the 80’s today with this Spinach Dip. It was the 80’s wasn’t it, where this dip showed up at every gathering everybody went to – EVERYWHERE? I think we just got sick of it, because we had it so much, but it’s so delicious and tasty! We should bring it back – cuz it’s so easy to make and it’s so good and good for you and – why not? This recipe comes from one of Grandma’s sisters, who got it from her daughter, who just happens to be my godmother. Got all that? Good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Spinach Dip

Mix all together:

1-10 ounce package frozen spinach, chopped and drained

1 can water chestnuts, chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped, white and green parts

1 pint sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

1 package dry vegetable soup mix

Refrigerate overnight or several hours.

I thawed the frozen spinach, drained it, and then put it into a tea towel and twisted it to squeeze all the water out. We don’t want your dip to be runny or too wet.

I flattened out the spinach on the cutting board, cut one way and then cut it the other way, all the way across to make small pieces.

This takes a little bit of chopping, but it really is a fast and easy dip.

These are pretty simple ingredients.

Mix it all together, and it’s ready to go.

!!!Warning!!! – Do not, I repeat, DO NOT serve this right away. It needs to sit overnight (that’s best) or at least several hours. It has to have time for the flavors to meld and get all yummy and delicious. That’s why this is in the “Make Ahead” category.

You can serve this with any fresh veggies like I did here – with snap peas, carrots, cherry tomatoes. Or like the recipe says, you can serve it with – potato chips or sour dough bread.

Everybody’s into bringing back the 80’s, and that includes the weird clothes, the funky music, and the amazingly delicious food. This is so typically 80’s – I say we start with bringing this Spinach Dip back – don’t you agree?!!!

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Potato Packets on the Grill

We’re grilling today, and we’re making Potato Packets on the Grill! We used to make packets like this to grill back in the 1970s at the lake where we lived. Today I’m just showing how to make the packets with potato and onion, but once in awhile we’ll add sliced carrots to them. I know they used to be called Hobo Dinners (or something like that) when you’d also add hamburger in there, but we didn’t usually do that. The possibilities for grilling things in foil are endless, but today we just need a side dish in foil. I don’t use a written out recipe for this, I have always just made this up. I know some people don’t like cooking with foil, but we really don’t do this very often. My family always loved when I made these, so I hope you try them and you’re family will like them, too!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Potato Packets on the Grill

Pile on each square of foil (making 1 per person):

1 potato, sliced

a few slices of onion

a pat of butter or splash of olive oil – you don’t want the potatoes to stick to the foil

salt and pepper

fresh thyme leaves (I used the herbs from the pot on my deck) or any other fresh herbs, if desired

Keeping the vegetables as flat as possible, seal the edges and ends of the foil to make a packet. Sealing the edges keeps the steam in the packet and helps the potato cook more evenly. Keeping the potatoes flat in the packet helps them cook faster.

Lay packets on grill for a bit before grilling your main dish – about 10-15 minutes total. You could put them over the hot part of the grill first, but then move them to the cool part of the grill to keep warm while you grill your main event. We didn’t flip the packets, but if you feel the need to do that, go ahead – that might make for a nice browning on both sides of the packet.

Cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes or slice them if you want to (you can peel them, but I didn’t here). Then slice the onion and get your herbs ready.

Put all ingredients into the middle of the foil square.

Roll the middle edge of the foil, then the sides to make a packet.

Here are the packets all ready for the grill. My husband grilled these for about 10-15 minutes total, but if you’re worried they’re not done, open them up a bit and prick with a fork or knife and make sure they’re tender. If not, throw them back on the grill for a few more minutes. It will all depend on how hot your grill is and how long you have them on there.

I served the potatoes with a grilled ribeye and green beans from our garden, and I had to add a few cherry tomatoes from the pot on our deck, too! Um – yum! You can find the recipe for the Compound Butter here – it’s great on steak!

It’s fun to make these potatoes to serve with whatever you’re grilling. Kids will love to help make these and see how they turn out – delicious! Let me know if you try these and what other vegetables you try! Have fun – this is what summer’s all about! Next time you’re grilling, go ahead – have some fun – and try these easy and delicious Potato Packets on the Grill!

 

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Green Bean Casserole

Today’s recipe for Green Bean Casserole is a bit different from the green bean casserole that we all know and love. Grandma wrote this one down in a book of handwritten recipes that the family gave to my sister years ago. There was also a written down recipe for the usual green bean casserole, and this one was written underneath. Technically, this recipe would be named Green Bean Casserole #2, but since I haven’t shared the usual kind of green bean casserole yet, I’m going to go ahead and name this one Green Bean Casserole. The recipe is short, sweet, and to the point. It’s also delicious and just a little bit different from the usual recipe.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Green Bean Casserole

Cook as directed on the package:

2-3 packages of French Cut Green Beans (I used 2 packages of frozen beans for this)

Add:

2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup

1 (8 ounce) can of sliced water chestnuts (I had whole water chestnuts and I didn’t feel like I got them sliced thin enough)

Top with:

1 small container of French Fried Onions

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

There aren’t a lot of ingredients in this one. That’s what makes it so great. It fits the criteria – quick, simple, and delicious.

Make sure to cook the beans until they’re tender. I wasn’t thinking about how they wouldn’t really be cooking in the oven. They are only in the oven to warm through and crisp the French fried onions on top.

Ready for the oven.

This is a great side dish that will be delicious with anything.

How can you go wrong with something that has French fried onions on top? I would make more things with these onions on, but I can’t stop snitching them from the top of the dish! Love those things. This Green Bean Casserole is a little bit different, but quite a bit delicious!

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Seven Layer Dip

I found this recipe for Seven Layer Dip in one of Grandma’s church cookbooks, and guess who had submitted it? My mom! I kind of think she originally got this recipe from me, but oh well, it’s a good one none the less! This is another one of those that we have for a light lunch or dinner sometimes when the weather is tooooo warm and we don’t feel much like starting the oven or the grill. Seven Layer Dip is similar to The Easiest Nachos Ever and goes perfectly with Julie’s Margaritas! Seriously, I could eat this whole batch of dip by myself. Not even kidding.

Wow – I love this stuff.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Seven Layer Dip

In a flat dish spread evenly:

1 can of Mexican bean dip or refried beans (I usually use refried beans)

Combine:

1 cup sour cream

2 Tablespoons taco seasoning

Spread on top of beans.

Layer in order given:

1/2 cup black olives, sliced

1/2 cup green olives, sliced

5 green onions, chopped (you can also add sliced jalapeno if you want to spice it up)

1 large tomato, chopped or 1 cup salsa

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Can make ahead and keep in refrigerator overnight.

Serve with tortilla chips.

I used a deep dish pie plate for this, but you could use a quiche plate or even a small cake pan if you need to. Sometimes I use the taco seasoning, sometimes I leave the sour cream plain. Just depends on how I’m feeling that day.

Full disclosure – I don’t really measure anything when making this dip. I know that will come as a shock to my family (no it won’t). I use the can of refried beans and then about a cup of sour cream, but after that all bets are off. I just put in what I know my family likes. I usually don’t use green olives because my family goes crazy for black olives. I only used two green onions in here because instead of a tomato, I usually use salsa and it has some more onion in it and some in our family don’t especially care for onions. They boys in the family like more spice, so sometimes we add jalapeno or hot salsa. You see how this goes.

This dip is so pretty and so great for a hot summer day.

Don’t forget Julie’s Margaritas! Perfect!

You will absolutely love this dip. There is ample opportunity for more margaritas than normal – salty olives, salty chips, salted rim on the margaritas. Heaven. Make a batch of this Seven Layer Dip today – better yet make 2 – you’re gonna need 2!

 

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Baked Cabbage

I know, I know – Baked Cabbage doesn’t sound that great. O.M.G. This is a recipe I found when going through my mom’s recipes and it is so good. I don’t know where she got this recipe – maybe from a co-worker? It might have been the year we grew cabbage in our garden and we had a LOT or cabbage to use. Anyway, I don’t ever remember my mom making this – and I would have remembered – but I’m glad she kept the recipe. We love cabbage anyway in our family, but this recipe takes the humble cabbage to new heights. When you say the recipe is called Baked Cabbage – that just makes my laugh. It sounds like it would be a dish that’s not so great. Who would have thought that cabbage could be this good! I’m not kidding! This might be one of the best vegetable dishes I’ve EVER had! It’s delicious!

This would be a great dish to make in March after St. Patrick’s Day when cabbage is cheap or when you hit the Farmer’s Market and buy local!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Baked Cabbage

Coarsely cut up:

1 medium head of cabbage

Boil in water until partially done – about 5 minutes.

Drain and put cabbage into a casserole.

Mix together:

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

a little milk

Add this to cabbage and mix.

Add enough milk to just cover the cabbage (I used about 1/2 cup in all).

Add buttered bread crumbs or croutons on top (I used croutons).

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Cut the core out of the cabbage before chopping.

There aren’t a lot of ingredients, . . .

. . . which makes this fairly inexpensive to make.

Boil the cabbage and then . . .

. . . drain it before putting it into the casserole dish.

You can see that I didn’t really add a lot of milk, just enough to barely cover the cabbage.

While I’m sure the buttered bread crumbs would be delicious, I used some croutons I had in my cupboard. I did crush them a bit.

The egg mixture makes it almost like a custard.

We had this cabbage dish for dinner, and we ate almost the whole thing! It really hit the spot for some reason. It mixes the wonderful taste of the cabbage with the sweet custard, and it’s really good! Next time you’re at the Farmer’s Market, pick up a cabbage and try this Baked Cabbage.

 

 

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Wild Rice Casserole

This recipe for Wild Rice Casserole is absolutely delicious. It originally came from my aunt, and when thinking about this recipe, I started remembering my aunt and uncle’s wedding. It was the most special weekend, ever! It started with me being able to have my hair done. When I look at the pics of it now, it just makes me laugh. Whomever did my hair got a bit carried away with the teasing and hairspray. I mean, seriously – I was just a little girl. That’s how I look at it now, but back then I felt so grown up and special. Here is a photo from their wedding.

The wedding was about 100 miles from our small home town, in the metropolis of St. Paul, so after having our hair done (I assume my mom had hers done, too) we drove to St. Paul for the Groom’s or Rehearsal Dinner (I don’t know if I have the name of it right) and then stayed in a hotel overnight. That was also something that was incredibly special. I had never done that before. I remember that Grandma and Grandpa stayed there, too, and their room faced the Minnesota State Capital, which was lit up at night. I had never seen anything so magical. I have so many wonderful memories of that weekend. It was pretty special to a little girl who got to be all grown up for a weekend. Or at least she pretended she was.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Wild Rice Casserole

Cook in 2 1/4 cup boiling water:

1/2 cup wild rice

Cook 20 minutes.

Add:

1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice

Cook 20 minutes more or until water is absorbed.

Cook until tender:

3 teaspoons margarine (I used butter)

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

Mix together with rice, onion, and celery:

1/4 cup soy sauce

4 oz can sliced mushrooms

Small can sliced water chestnuts, drained

1/3 cup slivered almonds

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

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This recipe seems to have several parts, and it does, but they come together very easily.

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There is another easy way to cook wild rice at the bottom of the card. I’d use that next time. The water evaporated when I was cooking the rice and I don’t think the wild rice got quite done enough, but I was afraid it would stick to the pan and didn’t know if I should add more water. It might have cooked a bit differently, or faster, because I have a gas range, instead of an electric one? I’m not sure.

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These are really pretty simple ingredients.

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Mix them all up and bake. Done.

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I used my Meatloaf recipe and made some individual ones to serve with this casserole.

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It looks good enough to eat!

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This casserole is so good and goes wonderfully with any kind of main dish. I highly recommend you try this Wild Rice Casserole – it is absolutely delicious!

 

 

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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

Add:

1 cup mayonnaise

salt and pepper to taste

Combine.

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:

carrots

celery

peppers

peas

cucumbers

mushrooms

radishes

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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Bean Salad

Bean Salad is one of those recipes that Grandma neglected to finish. At least I think she did. I’m sure when she jotted this one down, it was just for her – to be able to remember it herself – never thinking that maybe someone else would want to know how to make it someday. The way this one is worded makes me think she knew just what to do with this. She just wrote down the basics and that was it, but I’ll elaborate on that as we go along. This is another one of her weird recipes that seems incomplete, but ends up totally delicious. I haven’t really seen too many recipes for beans used in this way, but I did post a 3 Bean Salad,  in the first year of the blog. This sounds like it would be tasty with either a large Sunday dinner, or the cold meat and cheese dinner she would serve once in a while. Let’s try this Bean Salad and see how it goes.

This really is a tasty salad.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Bean Salad

Boil in 2 bullion cubes (I used chicken bullion since she doesn’t say what kind – also don’t know what she meant by “etc”):

Beans (There is no quantity here – I used about 1 1/2 pounds of frozen beans from our garden.)

It says to add onions, so I added 1 chopped onion to the beans while they were boiling. (I told you this was a bit of a strange one.)

Next it says to use a mayonnaise dressing plus mustard. I used the mayonnaise dressing that I always use on Cabbage Salad, but added a Tablespoon of regular yellow mustard.

That’s it. I know. Weird. But tasty. Seriously.

Boil the beans with 2 bullion cubes – ok . . . ?

Add onions – ok . . .?

Mayonnaise dressing plus mustard – ok . . . ?

That’s it. Funny – it sure is keeping with Grandma’s theme of really easy to make and really good to eat.

I’m not sure if this is what it’s supposed to be or look like, but it’s the best I can do. Sometimes I wish I could just ask – is this right?

I guess the answer is – it’s good! It’s crazy, but right or wrong, this is a delicious and very different way to use green beans. It’s great for any time of year, but especially now that our gardens are plentiful with fresh green beans. This salad is the prefect side dish with pretty much any main dish. So there you go. Bean Salad – I say it’s close enough!

 

 

 

 

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