Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

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.


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.


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


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.


These are really pretty simple ingredients.


Mix them all up and bake. Done.


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


It looks good enough to eat!


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!




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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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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Creamy Rice with Cinnamon and Sugar

Today I’m sharing another comfort food and because it doesn’t have an actual name, I’m calling it Creamy Rice with Cinnamon and Sugar. People, this is total comfort food for our entire family. I don’t know if it was a Swedish thing, or if it was a farm thing, or if it was just economical, but Grandma would make this a lot in the summer (AND other times of the year). I’m sure it was because it didn’t heat up the kitchen too much – they didn’t have AC on the farm – and it could get hot in that little house. She made this for my mom and uncle when they were growing up, and that makes me want to share this photo of them in the summertime when they were kids. I love this one – it looks like they’re sitting on a hay bale in the middle of a field!

This is so great – an unusually casual photo – I love it!

The smell of this cooking is enough to make me burst into tears. Both Grandma and my mom have made this my whole life, and it’s like getting a big, snuggly hug.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Creamy Rice with Cinnamon and Sugar

Bring to a boil:

2 cups milk, plus 2 more cups to add later (I used 2% milk)

1 cup white rice (I used long grain because that’s what I had on hand)

pinch of salt

Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until milk is absorbed.


1 more cup milk

Cover and simmer another 10 minutes or until milk is absorbed.


1 more cup milk

Cover and simmer another 10 minutes or until milk is absorbed and rice is tender and creamy.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

I’m sure that Grandma used whole milk to make this, maybe even half-n-half. You can go ahead and be that decadent if you want to, but I went with 2% milk. This is so simple and so good. Put the rice, milk, and salt in a pan. Put on the lid and bring it to a boil.

Let it simmer, but don’t let it do this! It was going well and looked like it was simmering nicely. I swear – I left the room for 2 minutes! Don’t leave the room – that’s the only way to prevent this from happening. When it starts to boil up, lift the lid a bit so it won’t boil over. I have to admit that I have NEVER been able to make this without it boiling over and scorching. The difference may be that Grandma and Mom never had a gas stove. I have a gas stove. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

It stuck to the bottom of the pan, too. There is a bit of elbow grease involved to get this all cleaned up, but honestly, it’s worth it. I don’t care about the clean up, it’s just that good and comforting.

Finally – it’s ready to be adorned with the cinnamon and sugar.

Oh my goodness. It sure seems like this is a Swedish thing. There is just something about the aroma of warm milk and rice that just brings me back to the farm.

Yes – it’s comfort food all the way. Sprinkle on the cinnamon and sugar and there you go. I hope you try this big, snuggly hug from home – Creamy Rice with Cinnamon and Sugar.




Spray inside of crockpot with cooking spray.

Put all ingredients in crock pot:

3/4 cup white rice

3 cups milk

3/4 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 Tablespoons butter

Cook on high for 2-3 hours.

I used a small crockpot and went 2 1/2 hours.






Cabbage Salad

I was incredibly lucky to have 2 sets of amazing and very loving grandparents. My Gramp was the first to leave us, but not until I was in college, so I was able to enjoy all of my grandparents most of my growing up years. This photo is of my other grandparents and me when I was about 3 months old. We lived next door to them until we moved to the lake when I was 8, and I was at their house almost every day.


The recipe for today is from this grandma. She made Cabbage Salad every time the whole family was all at their house for dinner. There were 12-16 of us when all of my aunts and uncles and cousins were there, and I’m sure this was just an economical thing. Also, this salad goes with absolutely everything. There isn’t really a card for this – I watched and helped her make this my whole life, so I just always knew how to do it. I’m going to try and write down what I do, but I have to admit that this changes a little bit from time to time, depending on what I have on hand and how I’m feeling on the day I make it.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cabbage Salad

Shred :

1 head of cabbage.


(All of these measurements are approximate depending on how big the head of cabbage is. Feel free to taste and adjust the sugar and vinegar to your liking.)

1 cup mayonnaise

3 Tablespoons sugar

3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar


Add to the shredded cabbage and combine.


2 sliced bananas


pineapple chunks.


You can use a food processor to shred the cabbage, or hone your shredding skills with a knife.


I used bananas for this salad, but grandma did occasionally use pineapple. Pineapple was probably for really special occasions.


This is definitely an unusual flavor combination. Not everyone in my family liked this made with bananas.


This salad is economical, it’s tasty, and it goes with any main dish. It brings back a lot of memories for me of dinners at Gramp and Grandma’s with the family around the dining room table laughing, telling stories, and being together. It was so much fun. Those are memories I’ll always cherish.



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Potato Salad

We’re big time into summer now. It’s time to make all the old summertime classics that our moms and grandma’s have made for years. They’re such an integral part of us and our summer memories. Speaking of memories, I had to share this photo of my mom and her cousin on a family trip to the lake from 70 years ago yesterday!!! I love this photo so much – I can’t stand it!!!  I love the old dock and the sand pail sitting there, and look at the old board going from the sandy shore up to the dock – no need for the adults to get their shoes wet! My mom is in the water, not wanting to get her hair wet. (Some things never change – she didn’t like to get her hair wet when we lived at the lake, either, but that was the 1970’s and the hair-do’s didn’t allow it.) Maybe they were told at the time to NOT get their hair wet! This photo looks like it could have been taken yesterday, even though my mom was 6 and her cousin was 5 (Oops! I’m giving away their age!)!


These two cousins were more like sisters and had so much fun together! They’re just so stinkin’ cute!

The classic recipe we’re making today is Potato Salad. Every family has their own favorite potato salad with those special little things their mom or grandma did to make it taste so good and make it so memorable. Both of my grandmas made great potato salad, but today I’m sharing the one from this grandma. I’m going to share one of her big secrets with you – Grandma made this one with a secret ingredient – pickle juice! Now this may not be a big deal to some of you because you’re saying to yourself, “my mom or grandma did that, too!” Yes, that may be, but did they probably didn’t make it with this family secret in it – my grandma’s special Sweet Pickles and their juice which I shared in an earlier post. You CAN use regular dill pickle juice, but it just isn’t the same. If you’re interested in trying out this family secret – I recommend making a jar of Grandma’s Sweet Pickles first, and use those pickles and juice in a batch of Potato Salad. I have been making this my whole life, so I don’t have a card for this. I’ll just have to type it out.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Potato Salad

Peel and boil under tender, 6-8 red potatoes (I happened to have russets on this day, but I usually use red).

Let them cool and then slice them.

Boil 2-3 eggs, let them cool, and chop them.

For dressing:

1 cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip (I use mayonnaise)

2 Tablespoons yellow mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

3 Tablespoons pickle juice

Mix well.


the sliced potatoes

the chopped eggs

1/2 of an onion, chopped

3 dill pickles, chopped (or if using Grandma’s Sweet Pickles, about the equivalent of 3 whole pickles)

2 stalks of celery, chopped

Add dressing and combine.

Add more mayonnaise or pickle juice depending on how moist you like it.


Mixing up the dressing ahead of time helps in the combining later.


Let the potatoes cool before trying to slice them or you will end up with very hot hands.


Everything is chopped and in the bowl and the dressing is all mixed up – ready for the final combine!


Oh my gosh, this brings back all of those summer memories of picnics and dinners at both of my grandparents houses and of summer at the lake!


Make sure when you’re making your own summertime classics that you write down all of the steps so your kids can make them just like their mom and grandma’s did! The next generation needs to know all of those family secret ingredients! It’s so important to keep all of these traditions alive, no matter what time of year it is! This salad goes with anything from the grill, so make up a batch and head out to the lake!


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Marinated Carrots

I remember Grandma making these Marinated Carrots for holiday dinners. They are a bit on the sweet n sour side, and that’s being a bit adventurous for her. They’re a little different, but are amazingly delicious, and I’d say almost more of a relish than a side dish. This recipe makes a pretty large batch, but it’s nice that the card says they keep up to 6 weeks.

Marinated Carrots

I think I remember Grandma making these at Easter time.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Marinated Carrots

Cook about 10 minutes:

2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced


1 teaspoon salt


Mix together:

1 can condensed tomato soup or tomato bisque (I used tomato soup)

1 cup sugar (gasp!)

1/4 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce (it said on the card that she once used 1 Tablespoon, so that’s what I used)

3 small onions, chopped

1/4 cup vinegar (she said she used 1/2 cup, so that’s what I used – apple cider vinegar)

1 teaspoon salt

dash of pepper

1/2 cup salad oil (I used canola)

1 green pepper, chopped

Heat, but do not boil.

Pour over carrots.


What is with the teenie, tiny carrots they have right now? I hope this trend doesn’t continue. It’s ridiculous to try and peel these skinny things – it takes forever. What ever happened to the regular sized carrots they used to have in the stores? I don’t get it. I don’t like it. Just sayin’.


This is another incredibly quick and easy recipe – the ingredients are pretty fast to pull together, but I did gasp – out loud – when it said to put in a cup of sugar. I think I’d try it with only 1/2 cup next time because it is – plenty sweet!


It end up so pretty in the end. As pretty as a side dish can be.


This is great with any main dish.


Try this unusual side dish. It’s so good and is very tasty. Easy to make and colorful with that sweet n sour flavor – you’ll love it!

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Vegetable Casserole

This is Easter week and I just had to share an Easter photo of me from when I was about 5 years old. Back in the day, you had to have an Easter hat (although this one looks like a headband with silk flowers on it) and white patent leather shoes to wear to church. Too bad the dress is covered up and we can’t see what that looked like. I love the little spring coat – I wish I had one like that now!


I loved Easter when I was a kid because there were arts and crafts involved: dyeing and decorating eggs, decorating an egg tree, and making paper Easter bunnies. There were things to bake like hot crossed buns and coconut cakes, cartoons to watch like “The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town“, movies to watch like “King of Kings“, amazing and incredibly fragrant Easter lilies to smell, and then there were the baskets that the Easter Bunny left for my sister and me to find on Easter morning. It was always so hard to wait until we got back from church to be able to eat the treats and have the big Easter dinner. Sometimes we would go to Grandma and Grandpa’s church, but the church we attended regularly made Easter morning special by having a sunrise service where they would black out all the windows, having a big black curtain across the altar hiding the cross on the front wall covered in white paper. Then when it was time for the church service to start, they would play a very loud ripping sound imitating the tearing in half of the curtain in the temple in Jerusalem when Jesus died (I hope I have that right), and there would be the white cross gleaming in the front of the church after the black curtain was pulled aside. It was very loud, very exciting, and very inspiring!

Today’s recipe is the kind of thing Grandma used to make a lot for holidays like Easter – a new and exciting vegetable dish, even though it’s basically frozen vegetables doctored up a bit. I think she was trying to make vegetables more interesting, but unfortunately, I still don’t think Grandpa liked them very much. This Vegetable Casserole is another really easy side dish that’s quick to make and easy to take to any gathering. You could even make it a day or two ahead and have it ready to go. It’s one of those dishes that’s great because it’s so nice and easy, and on a holiday there’s a lot to do to put on the big dinner. I know that’s what Grandma was thinking when trying this one for the first time.


This is a good one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Vegetable Casserole

Boil or microwave partially and separately:

1 bag of frozen crinkle cut carrots

1 bag of frozen chopped broccoli

1 bag of frozen cauliflower flowerets

Place in casserole (I lightly sprayed the casserole with non-stick spray for easy clean up).


1 onion, sliced

Mix together:

1 can cream of celery soup

1/2 soup can milk

1/4 cup sugar

Add to vegetables – I mixed them all together before putting into the casserole.

Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.


The sauce for this casserole is very simple. I had my doubts though – sugar? In vegetables?


Putting it in the oven doesn’t really change anything expect the sauce. It makes a nice sauce in the bottom of the dish.


It’s so easy, so good, and so pretty!


I truly had doubts about the sugar thing, but it’s amazing how tasty it is! This is delicious! Try it! Save yourself some time and make this very easy, very good side dish. This one is so quick and easy, it will give you more time to enjoy things like Easter videos, Easter Bunnies, and chocolate eggs.



Deviled Eggs

Everyone knows how to make Deviled Eggs, and everyone has their own recipe, but I’m sharing my recipe for them anyway. My mom made these at least once a week in the summer when we were growing up (that is, if she could get us out of the lake long enough to eat). We always ate on the deck in the summer. This photo is of me swimming the first summer we lived at the lake. That was it – we never came out of the water if we didn’t have to.


I’m really glad we have this picture. Now that we’ve been away from the lake for a while, I realize that we didn’t take nearly enough pictures of us and/or the lake. I suppose that’s because we were all always in the water and didn’t have the camera handy!!

I know mom learned how to make deviled eggs from Grandma. Grandma made a lot of them in her day, and her deviled egg recipe and her potato salad recipes were so good. They both had the same secret ingredient – pickle juice! Both recipes are really special when using her Sweet Pickles recipe and putting THAT juice in them. My sister makes her deviled eggs that way, too! This particular batch of deviled eggs has my own secret ingredient – Old Bay Seasoning. Old Bay happens to be a particular favorite of my son, so I started incorporating it into our deviled eggs. I don’t have a recipe card for this one – I’ll just type it out here.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Deviled Eggs

Here is my technique for boiling eggs: Put 6-8 eggs into a pot and cover just to the top of the eggs with cold water. Put on heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover, turn off the heat, and let sit for 12 minutes. When 12 minutes are up, drain hot water and run cold water over eggs. Let eggs sit in cold water for 15 minutes or so, and then peel.

Cut the peeled hard-boiled eggs in half the long way, remove yolks and put in a bowl.

Set egg whites on platter or container you’re going to store them in.

Use a fork to smash yolks and mix them with:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon mustard

2 large dill pickles, chopped, or 2-3 Tablespoons dill pickle relish

1-2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

2-3 Tablespoons pickle juice (or in this case, dill pickle relish juice), or enough to get the consistency you want for your yolks

Dollop a spoonful of yolk mixture into the egg whites (you can be fancy and put the yolk mixture in with a piping bag, but these don’t last long enough for me to be that fancy).

Sprinkle top with a garnish of Old Bay Seasoning.


I used relish for this particular batch, but I can’t stress enough how good these are when I use Grandma’s Sweet Pickles.


Mix it all up and get ready to dollop.


I like to put them in something that has sides so they don’t slide all over the place.


These are such a summer staple for our family. Growing up, we never had dinner on the deck in the summer without them!



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