Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Gluten-Free Snack Mix

I made this Gluten-Free Snack Mix when my sister visited recently (she watches her gluten intake for health reasons), and it’s so good – I might make it all the time! It makes a big batch, and you can even add doubles of your favorite snacks to make it just the way you want it. It’s easier than ever to go gluten-free these days, but you still have to read labels and do your research to make sure it’s exactly what you’re looking for. People with allergies, celiac disease, or other life-threatening gluten sensitivities should always be on guard and read labels or go to the snack maker’s website to make sure you’re all good to go. This is the easiest and fastest snack mix you’ll ever make!

Here is the recipe as I made it (this really isn’t a recipe – it’s just mixing bags of snacks):

Gluten-Free Snack Mix

Mix in a large container, 1 package of each:

Pik Nik Shoestring Potatoes

Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop Light Kettle Corn

Cheetos

Fritos Corn Chips

+Lay’s Poppables (sea salt) – made on the same line as some gluten containing products, but technically don’t contain gluten

+Peanuts – doesn’t say gluten-free on package, but technically gluten-free

+M & M’s – doesn’t say gluten-free on package, but website says they’re gluten-free

You can add any combination of tasty gluten-free snack you want, but this is what I came up with when perusing the snack aisle at my local grocery store.

Combine gently and enjoy.

When you use bags of snack, you have to make sure your container is big enough or you’re gonna have a problem mixing those delicious goodies all together.

I tried to find a lot of different textures, colors, and flavors.

At this point you could leave out the M&Ms or add them. We decided to add them – they added that little pop of sweet at the end because, of course, the peanuts and the M&Ms sink to the bottom a bit.

It’s definitely a colorful mix!

This is a tasty mix of colors, textures, sizes, shapes, and flavors. I think I’ll be making this particular snack mix over and over again – it’s delicious! Be careful – you’ll be hooked – but if you’re going gluten-free (or even if you’re not), try this tasty Gluten Free Snack Mix and you’ll see why I’m going to be making more of this soon!

 

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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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The Easiest Nachos Ever!

In light of the fact that tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, I’m sharing how I make The Easiest Nachos Ever! They’re easy to do and they’re easy to eat! When I was recovering from my winter of discontent (pancreatitis), this was one of the first things I craved and actually wanted to eat. It was scary to get back to eating normal food, and while I was still watching the fat so there wouldn’t be any more bouts of incredible pain, I was willing to risk it to eat something fairly normal. I hadn’t been eating much, I can tell you that, so we made a batch of these nachos, and wow, did they hit the spot! Deep breath, okay, here we go. Let’s try eating some of these bad boys. Hey – it didn’t go too bad. Not bad at all. There are a million ways to make nachos out there, and everyone has their favorite toppings to put on them, but this is our usual way of making them. Very easy. Very fast. Very good.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

The Easiest Nachos Ever!

Brown in a non-stick pan:

1 pound of lean ground beef (I used turkey here)

Add:

1 package of taco seasoning (sometimes I feel that a whole package is too much, so I usually use 1/2 of a package)

1/4 cup water

Cook until thick.

Put on a sided baking sheet:

a layer of tortilla chips – whatever kind you like

Layer on:

the ground beef (or turkey)

4-8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese (I used about 4 ounces, but if you like more cheese, load it on!)

Broil for 3-5 minutes to melt cheese (watch closely so they don’t burn).

Add toppings:

black olives, sliced

sour cream

salsa

green onions, sliced (I had chives ready in my garden so I used those instead – it’s so exciting to be able to do that after a long, cold winter)

You can also use shredded lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, sliced jalapeno or any other toppings you like on there.

Start with a nice layer of tortilla chips.

On goes the browned and seasoned ground beef and shredded cheese. After broiling, you can see how melty and crispy they are.

Here they are with all of our toppings. Add whatever you want to make them just the way you like them.

These nachos are a great snack, lunch, or even dinner. I just leave them on the baking sheet and let everyone dig in.

Oh yeah, baby.

What can I say? You’re going to want to try these easy nachos this weekend. Make up a big pitcher of margaritas and enjoy them by celebrating with friends. (My friend Julie makes a mean margarita – they’re so good! I’ll have to share that recipe sometime!) You and your friends will love The Easiest Nachos Ever!

 

 

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Coffee Cake #2

This recipe for Coffee Cake #2 (Coffee Cake#2 because there is already a recipe on Plenty Sweet Life named Coffee Cake) comes from one of Grandma’s sisters, and when I read through it, it seemed a bit familiar. This card is written in Grandma’s sister’s handwriting, and looking back at the coffee cakes I’ve made for Plenty Sweet Life, I found that I’ve already made this and the recipe was in GRANDMA’S handwriting, although named something different. The funny thing is, they didn’t get it from each other – the two sisters had the same recipe and they got it from two different people! Well, I don’t care who had it first, I’m glad that they both had it and that I’ve found out how good it is. It was called Overnight Crunch Coffee Cake when I made it the first time from Grandma’s recipe card, and I’m going to leave this post on here and let you enjoy it again. The first time I made it, I did let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. It looks a little different, but I’m sure they are equally delicious. The recipe seemed familiar, but it looks like I first made it 4 years ago and since I try not to do these recipes twice (there are a LOT of recipes to get thru), I haven’t made it since then. I’ve made several kinds of coffee cakes on Plenty Sweet Life, but I have to say, seriously, this one might be one of my favorites. One of my MANY favorites.

This coffee cake is just so good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Coffee Cake

Mix all together:

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup shortening (I used butter)

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

Topping:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used pecans)

Pour batter into a greased 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

The recipe says it can be refrigerated overnight – I didn’t do it that way this time – but if you want to see what it looked like when I put it into the refrigerator overnight, check it out here.

It makes a bit of a thick batter, so it takes some spreading with a spatula.

The topping really makes it!

It came out so pretty and the house smelled amazing while it was baking.

Yep – one of my new favorites.

Here is ANOTHER very easy, very fast, and very delicious recipe that you can even make the night before. No doubt about it – this coffee cake goes VERY well with coffee. Call up some friends (or your sisters), have them over this afternoon (or this weekend), and enjoy this tasty Coffee Cake #2!

 

 

 

 

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Plaza Dip for Chips

Today’s recipe for Plaza Dip for Chips is another one from one of Grandma’s old church cookbooks. I had never heard of this dip before, so I did a little research online and found that this was quite popular in the 1950’s. Huh. Who knew?! At any rate, spring is coming, and with spring comes family gatherings, graduations, weddings, and cabin openings. This dip makes a big batch, is easy to pull together and is easy to take anywhere.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Plaza Dip for Chips

Blend together:

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 Tablespoons horseradish (this seemed like too much – next time I’d start with 1 T. and add more to taste)

2 Tablespoons anchovy paste

2 Tablespoons chili sauce

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Chill a few hours or overnight.

This dip is full of pretty ingredients . . .

. . . but when it’s mixed up, not so pretty.

This is perfect for any gathering or party – it makes a pretty big batch of dip. Bring on the chips!

My family generally liked this dip, but I do recommend dialing back on the horseradish. Those in the family who like spicy things, liked it with a lot of horseradish. Those in the family who DON’T like spicy things – not so much. It seemed like that’s all we could taste – the horseradish. Try cutting back on that and let me know what you think when you try this delicious Plaza Dip for Chips!

 

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Oyster Cracker Snacks

Today’s recipe for Oyster Cracker Snacks comes from my brother-in-law’s wife. She has made some great snacks for family gatherings, and was the one who also gave me the recipe for Spicy Ritz Crackers. This one in particular we’ve been making for at least 20 years, and the whole family loves it. It’s another great snack that will be perfect for your new years party. These crackers are crunchy and tasty and FULL of ranch flavor – if you love ranch, you’ll LOVE this snack!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Oyster Cracker Snacks

Put all ingredients into an ice cream pail or large container with a lid:

2 packages oyster crackers

1 package Hidden Valley Herb Dressing

1 package Hidden Valley Creamy Dressing (I’m not sure if they make these two dressings anymore because we couldn’t find them – I just used 2 packages of their regular ranch dressing)

1 teaspoon dill seed (I didn’t have any dill seed when I made this so I used dill weed)

A couple shakes of garlic powder or garlic salt

1 cup quite warm oil (I used canola)

Shake until crackers are coated.

Just put all the ingredients into a big enough container with a lid to shake and coat the crackers.

I didn’t use an ice cream pail, but I have a nice large container I used to shake and coat.

Give it a shake until the crackers are totally coated.

They come out loaded with that ranch flavor. Let them sit for about an hour and the oil and flavor will absorb and make them absolutely delicious! Another plus – you can keep these ingredients in your cupboard for last-minute guests, or just for when you need a little snack.

Just a warning – these crackers are amazingly addictive. Seriously.

This is another very easy snack that can be ready pretty quickly. You’re going to love these and when you make them, you’re going to be addicted to them. Not that I know ANYTHING about that. Oh go ahead. Try these Oyster Cracker Snacks and get hooked!

 

 

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Chicken Salad for Crackers

The recipe for today is for a Chicken Salad for Crackers that I made up years ago. My kids have been asking me to put it on here because it’s never been written down, I just throw the stuff in and make it. This has forced me to write it down and measure things out. It’s perfect for on crackers, but it’s also great on a sandwich or in a salad. New Year’s is next weekend, and the time is right to share it.

I also just felt like sharing another photo today. This one was taken in the winter and is of my mom, who I think is with one of her uncles. The house is Grandma’s parent’s house, and by the way, that’s a nice looking pair of horses pulling that hay rack.

I love my mom’s little white boots and her pretty coat and hat!

Ok – back to the recipe for today. I think you’re going to love this one. It’s easy to pull together, and you’ll have most of the ingredients in the cupboard.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chicken Salad for Crackers

Put in a small mixing bowl:

1 (10 oz.) can chicken, broken up with a fork (you can also use about 1 cup of any chopped, cooked chicken)

1/4-1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

2 Tablespoons celery, finely chopped

2 Tablespoons onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

2-4 shakes of cayenne pepper

pinch of salt

3-4 grinds of fresh pepper

Mix well.

Let sit 2 hours to allow flavors to blend.

This is a very easy recipe – just mix all the ingredients together!

We love this Chicken Salad on Crackers, but it’s good on a sandwich or a green salad.

The recipe is also very easy to double for a crowd.

My family loves this and yours will, too! It’s tasty and very easy to do. Try this Chicken Salad for Crackers for your New Year’s party and your guests will keep coming back for more!

 

 

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3 Ingredient Watermelon Lime Popsicles

I’m so excited – I made up a recipe for 3 Ingredient Watermelon Lime Popsicles! I’m sure you can find recipes somewhere online for this same thing – watermelon and lime are just so delicious together! It’s summer, and being a big popsicle eater as a kid, I wanted to try to make my own. Since I love watermelon and I love lime, why not put the two together and make a batch of popsicles with it? With only 3 ingredients, they’re pretty healthy, too!! I do like squeezing a nice little wedge of lime on top of a nice little slice of watermelon, so why wouldn’t they taste just as delicious when put together in a popsicle? I tried it. I liked it! I like these a lot better than the sugary, syrupy popsicles of my childhood – this recipe uses real fruit juice!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

3 Ingredient Watermelon Lime Popsicles

Fill bowl of a food processor or blender with:

watermelon, cubed (about 3-4 cups)

Add:

juice and zest of 1 lime

1 Tablespoon honey (or more to taste, depending on how sweet the melon is)

Blend.

Pour into popsicle molds or paper cups.

Freeze approximately 1 hour and insert popsicle sticks (otherwise known as craft sticks at your local craft store).

Freeze until firm (I just froze them overnight).

Don’t forget to zest the limes BEFORE you cut them in half. Oops.

I just put everything into my vintage 40-year-old blender.

Blend it up!

Pour the mixture into popsicle molds. I like this one that looks like an actual popsicle, but paper cups work just fine, too.

This batch made an even 10 pops – it filled the whole mold.

This mold has a lid to hold the sticks upright, but there’s a catch. If you don’t get the sticks exactly and evenly straight up and down, it’s very difficult to get the lid off. I’m thinking that it’s easier to leave the lid off and put the sticks in when the popsicles are frozen enough for the sticks to stand upright. Once they’re frozen, run the mold under a little warm water and they pull right out. I pop them into sandwich bags and back into the freezer for storage.

The mixture separated before freezing. I don’t know why it happened, but I’m ok with the two-toned look.

The popsicles are icy cold with the sweet flavor of watermelon and honey, and the tangy taste of the lime. Summer is short, so have some fun – be a kid again and try these healthy 3 Ingredient Watermelon Lime Popsicles!

 

 

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Buffalo Chicken Dip

My sister and her family stayed with us for Christmas last year, and she and her husband made this Buffalo Chicken Dip for us. Wow – it’s delicious! This is so easy to pull together, it’s perfect for your guests at the cabin, or to bring with you to share if you’re lucky enough to be invited to a cabin. Regardless, this is one recipe you’re going to want in your arsenal of snack weapons. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s delicious – have I forgotten anything? I think not.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Mix together:

8 ounces cream cheese

8 ounces blue cheese dressing (I used ranch)

8 ounces of hot sauce (I used Frank’s)

1 cup shredded cheddar

Fold in:

3-4 cups shredded, cooked chicken

Put into 8″ x 8″baking dish.

Top with:

1 more cup shredded cheddar

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve with chips or carrots, celery, or cucumber slices.

The ingredients are easy to transport or have on hand.

Just mix everything together and add the chicken last.

Into the baking dish and on goes the shredded cheese.

30 minutes in the oven and here is the glorious result – all cheesy, spicy goodness!

This would be so great to have at the cabin or to take with you when you go to someone’s cabin. It’s an unusual snack that everyone will appreciate.

Maybe even serve it at your next book club? Or Super Bowl party? Or family get-together? The possibilities are endless.

It’s delicious. There’s just no way around it. You just HAVE to make it for someone – especially your friends and family who like their snacks a little spicy! They’ll be glad you decided to try this Buffalo Chicken Dip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ham Salad or Ladies Aid Spread

Ham Salad or Ladies Aid Spread was a staple at the ladies church group Grandma belonged to called Ladies Aid. The ladies would gather monthly at church for fellowship, a program – usually a musical piece or reading of some kind, and lunch which consisted of sandwiches – usually this ham salad or tuna salad, dessert or pie or cake or bars, and good old Swedish coffee. Once when Grandma was one of the people in charge of the program for the day, I was recruited to sing “Beautiful Savior”. I was about 8 years old or so, and I was paid one dollar! I was NOT a fan of singing in front of people, so I’m sure I needed to be bribed to do it. Ha! Singing that day is not one of my favorite memories! For some reason, even now when I have occasion to go into Grandma and Grandpa’s church basement, I still smell the sandwiches and coffee – even though that was years ago. This Ladies Aid Spread has become a staple for our family. I made it a lot when our kids had softball or baseball games or tournaments because it travels well. One time (when we had three children playing in games on the same nights), I just didn’t have the time to make it, so I sent my husband to the store to buy it ready made from the deli section of our grocery store. He seriously asked the girl behind the counter, “do you have Ladies Aid Spread?” Together they finally figured out that he meant Ham Salad. I don’t have anyone going to ball games or tournaments anymore, but I still make this a couple of times a month – just for me!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Ham Salad or Ladies Aid Spread

Mix together:

2 cans chopped ham

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 Tablespoons pickle relish or sweet pickle relish

It’s easy to tweak this recipe to your own liking. Add more or less mayonnaise, or more or less relish, depending on how you like it.

I use a fork to break up the canned ham. Mix in the mayonnaise and pickle relish – that’s it!

This is a very simple, but tasty recipe. I try to keep it as healthy as possible, but if you don’t mind a bit of extra sugar – and it doesn’t add very much – use sweet pickle relish in this. My sister and her family have found that the best thing to put in it is Grandma’s Sweet Pickles that have been chopped. Oh yes – using those makes a pretty outstanding batch.

I like to put this on buns, but bread works just as well. Buns hold up best if you’re taking these on a road trip or taking these sandwiches for an outing like ball tournaments or picnics.

Most of my family likes the sandwiches just like this, but I’ve been trying to get more veggies into everything, so now I use lettuce as part of the sandwich.

This sandwich spread is great for having on hand, or for packing for a road trip. I will be making this for our summer road trip this year! We should really call it Ham Salad, but in our family we like to refer to this delicious sandwich spread as Ladies Aid Spread!

 

 

 

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