Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Sharon’s Veggie Dip

Oh how I love Sharon’s Veggie Dip! This recipe comes from Sharon, who is one of my dear friends – the Coffee Babes – 4 friends who have had coffee together every Friday (most weeks) for over 20 years, until we lost one of our babes to colon cancer two years ago. The 3 remaining Coffee Babes still meet on Fridays whenever we can! All those years ago, Sharon and I started a newsletter for our daughters’ volleyball club, met for coffee to discuss it, and have been meeting for coffee ever since! She does a lot of entertaining, and when at her house for a gathering years ago, she had this dip and I had to have the recipe for it. I’m addicted to it – it’s so good – and I make it all the time. I have altered it a bit to keep it more low-fat for me, but that doesn’t change how delicious and addicting it is. This dip is easy, tasty, and made with things you probably have in your frig and cupboard. Perfect for upcoming football parties!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sharon’s Veggie Dip

Mix all together:

1 cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise (I used Hellman’s Light Mayonnaise)

1 cup sour cream (I used light sour cream)

1 Tablespoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

1 Tablespoon parsley flakes

1 1/2 teaspoon dill weed

1 teaspoon grated onion (I have used dried minced onion flakes in a pinch – like here)

4-5 dashes Worcestershire Sauce

Let flavors mingle for a few hours or overnight.

This is another great recipe to be able to make from things you probably have in your cupboard and frig. It’s totally alright to make this according to the recipe – it’s delicious – but I use the low-fat options for me. You can also totally use fat-free options, if that’s how low you want to go.

I have to say, this dip is so fresh – because of the dill weed – and tasty – because of the other ridiculously tasty flavors that go in.

It’s great with fresh veggies – carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, pepper strips, jicama, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower – I’ve tried them all! It’s also great with crackers – regular, if you like, or low-fat, as I have here – reduced fat Wheat Thins, Less Fat Cape Cod Potato Chips, Corn Thins! So good!

I have this dip in my frig most of the time – all year round – because it’s just so stinkin’ good! Did I mention that I’m addicted to this? I know you’re gonna love this one – bring it to any upcoming football party and you have your own little less fat, healthier snack amidst all the crazy, high fat, yet delicious options that usually show up at that kind of event. I’m addicted (have I mentioned that?) to Sharon’s Veggie Dip, and I know you will be, too – it’s a good thing to be addicted to!


Leave a comment »

Roasted Winter Squash

Today I’m sharing how I learned to make Roasted Winter Squash. I never knew the name of the squash we made back when I was growing up, but I’ve learned that it’s called Buttercup Squash. This is the only kind of squash we ever had in our house. Our neighbors grew some different kinds of squash in their garden one year, and I remember that it was so exotic to have these weird kinds of squash and weird to try and bake or cook them. Of course those were REALLY weird kinds like patty pan and butternut. This is the way I learned – from my mom – how to bake squash. Knowing how much this family likes sweets, I’m not surprised that the squash we would have for dinner had butter and sugar in it. It’s not necessarily the healthiest way to eat squash, but it was a great way to make the squash from the garden kind of special. My family always used this kind of winter squash – buttercup – but you could use this method with any kind of winter squash like butternut, acorn, Hubbard, whatever kind you happen to find at your local store, farmer’s market, or grow in your own garden.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Roasted Winter Squash

Wash and dry the winter squash of your choice (I think this one is a kabocha squash, not a buttercup squash).

Start by cutting the squash in half and scraping out the seeds. Watch your fingers when you’re cutting – the squash is really, really hard, so use your biggest, sharpest kitchen knife – we don’t need any kitchen emergencies here. You can roast the seeds like Pumpkin Seeds if you want to – they’re delicious! Some people peel the squash and cut it into smaller pieces or cubes, but then you can’t fill the “cup”(s) with butter and brown sugar. This is just the way I learned how to do it. I cut the halves each into half again, and because I didn’t get it cut directly down the middle in the first place, I cut the larger half into half again, so I had 6 pieces – 2 larger ones and 4 smaller ones.

Then I poke the pieces with a fork. I’d like to think that it helps the squash bake faster, and then lets the butter and brown sugar goodness get down into the flesh of the squash easier.

I baked the squash at 400 degrees for 30 minutes initially.

Take it out of the oven and put about a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of brown sugar in the “cup” of each piece of squash.

I baked the squash another 15 minutes and checked it. It didn’t seem as tender as I would have liked, so I baked it another 15 minutes – that made 1 hour of baking all together. You can keep checking in 15 minute increments until it’s done. Keep checking to make sure the squash is tender and not firm – we’re talking tender like a sweet potato here. Look at the pool of goodness made by the butter and brown sugar. That’s what we want. Some of the caramel-y goodness from the smaller pieces dripped down on the baking sheet because the “cup” wasn’t big enough to hold it. It made a delicious, crisp frico of caramel which I put back on top the squash.

This roasted squash is so good with any kind of main dish – Hamburger Hotdish, Meatloaf, Baked Chicken, or Spanish MeatballsI serve them as is, so everybody gets their own little piece of heaven, but you can also use a large spoon and scrape all the squashy goodness out into a serving bowl or freeze it for serving later. Or you could just bake it plain and freeze it for another time, but try Roasted Winter Squash this way, with the butter and brown sugar deliciousness in it, and you’ll never go back to eating it plain.


Leave a comment »

String Bean Royal

String Bean Royal (with no “e”?) is similar to the classic casserole we all make this time of year using green beans and the obligatory cream of mushroom soup and French fried onions. I have made one kind of Green Bean Casserole (not the classic) but this one has the added flavor of onion and cheddar cheese. While I LOVE the crunch of the French fried onions that we all put on top of the classic, this one used regular sliced onion on it, with the deliciousness of shredded cheddar over the top of it all. I mean, how bad can that be? Not bad. It’s so good! And the best part of all with this recipe – it’s another ridiculously easy one! Yes! We like that! Easy, easy, easy! Did I mention that this one is easy? I think I did. It’s so great!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

String Bean Royal


1 or 2 cans of string beans (or green beans – I used 2 cans)

Pour into a greased baking dish.

Mix together and toss with the beans:

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup rich milk (they probably mean whole milk here, but I used 2% milk)

Slice thinly and layer on top of beans:

onion (I used 1/2 of a small onion)

Top with:

grated cheddar cheese (I used about half of an 8 oz. package of shredded cheddar)

It didn’t say what temperature to bake at, so I baked it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Once you have the green beans, milk, and cream of mushroom soup combined, on goes the layer of sliced onions.

Next is the layer of shredded cheddar cheese. I used about half of an 8 ounce package, but next time I’d just use the whole thing. Can you really ever have TOO MUCH cheese?

Out of the oven and it’s bubbly and hot and the cheese has melted – oh my! See – I think more cheese might cover ALL of the creamy goodness – so use the whole 8 ounce package of shredded cheddar.

This might be a new classic for your thanksgiving dinner!

It. Is. So. Good.

This is the easiest and most delicious side dish you’ll ever put in your mouth! Making a Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work. Why not go easy on a few of those classic dishes that everyone loves and can’t do without? Your guests, friends, and family are going to LOVE this String Bean Royal – and you will, too!


Leave a comment »

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!

Leave a comment »

Freezing Zucchini

Yes – it happened to me – we’re Freezing Zucchini today, because I found a zeppelin under the leaves of my zucchini plant. If you read my last post for Chocolate Zucchini Cake, I go on and on about finding a huge zucchini hiding under the leaves of the plant in your garden, and what to do with it. We have a fairly small garden, and we only planted one zucchini plant this year. We’ve tried growing them in the past, and a couple of times we didn’t get ANY zucchini. It was incredibly disappointing! This year we’ve had 3! And one was a zeppelin! I forgot to check (and I swear, it was only a few days later) and lo and behold – a zeppelin. Well, when you freeze the abundant and leftover zucchini from said zeppelin after making the Chocolate Zucchini Cake (from my previous post), or Zucchini Chocolate Cake (they’re totally different – really), you could also make Zucchini Bread, pancakes, muffins, and fritters throughout the winter months. These huge zucchini end up too big to eat (I like them nice and small – they’re more tender) and they have bigger seeds in the middle, so I have made the executive decision to freeze this one. I know that some people freeze them cut in slices or chunks, but I like to shred it. When my family grew zucchini in our garden at the lake, we would plant several zucchini plants and then have a lot to freeze. This is how we did it.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Freezing Zucchini

There really isn’t a recipe, per say, for how to freeze zucchini, so I’ll just show you how to do it using my usual amazing photography. Ha!

He’s a whopper! Almost as big as my cutting board!

The shredder on my food processor is not working, so I had to use a hand shredder. It’s ok since it fits on top of my big measuring cup and I can measure at the same time. Plus, it’s a great upper arm workout. When shredding, I stop at the soft middle part of the zucchini where the seeds are – by that time my knuckles are getting scraped by the shredder and it’s time to stop. Some of these big ones have huge seeds, and I don’t want those in my baking anyway.

I just measured two cups of zucchini per zip top freezer bag – that seems to be how much zucchini is in most of my recipes. There will be some liquid that drains out of the shredded zucchini, so just pour that out before you zip the top. Don’t forget to date and label what’s in the bag! Now just lay them out flat in your freezer, so when they’re frozen and flat, you can fit as many summer and fall harvest goodies in there as possible. That’s it! Except for a few scraped knuckles – simple!

There was enough zucchini in this one big zeppelin to make two (2 cup) bags for the freezer, plus 3 cups of shredded zucchini to make Zucchini Bread, which I will share soon. In the middle of winter I’ll be able to pull it out, thaw it, drain it, and make a delicious Chocolate Zucchini Cake or Zucchini Bread. Try Freezing Zucchini and you’ll be glad you have it to make delicious goodies all winter long!




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.



Leave a comment »

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!





Leave a comment »

Frozen Corn #2 and #3

While thinking about this post on sweet corn, I realized that it’s late August, and the summer is almost over. Soon we’ll be thinking about harvest and fall. It’s mind boggeling how fast time flies, especially in the summer. I wanted to share this photo of my mom and her brother from this time of year when they were young. It looks like they may have been playing “dress-up”, but my favorite part is that the photo is taken in front of a load of hay bales!! It’s so cute!! They’re showing traditional roles here with my mom having a doll and a fancy dress and hat and her brother sporting the toy gun. I assume he’s on his way out to hunt up dinner for the family. Ha! So, so, so cute!


I froze corn last week, but after doing my photography for this post, I started to think that maybe I’ve done Frozen Corn before. I was right, I had done it in an earlier post. The only difference between the recipe I used this time and the recipe I used last time was that last time the recipe included 2 Tablespoons of butter and this new one didn’t. If you look at the older post, you can see that at the bottom of the recipe card, it says “-over-“. As long as I did freeze corn, I’m including the newest recipe here, but I’m also showing the other side of that older recipe card. It’s basically the same recipe, but makes a larger batch and after cooking, cutting off the corn kernels, and adding the salt, sugar, and butter, you bake the corn in the oven for 45 minutes. In any case, here are two similar yet different recipes for Frozen Corn #2 and #3 for you to try.

First, the newest recipe:

Frozen Corn

Next, the back of the card used in the older post:

Frozen Corn 2

Note the “V. Good” connotation on this, and you can see that Grandma liked this one – she started using it in the early 80’s!!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Frozen Corn

Corn cut off of the cob raw:

8 cups

Put in saucepan and add:

2 cups water

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon salt

Boil 5 minutes.

Spread on baking sheet.


Put in freezer bags.


This was bi-color corn that I bought when visiting my mom in west central Minnesota and it’s amazingly delicious!


There are many ways to cut the corn off the cob, but any way you can corral the kernels works. I just use a sharp knife and cut it in a cake pan. It seems to keep the squirting juice and jumping kernels to a minimum.


This recipe is a bit different in cooking the kernels instead of the cobs.


Putting the corn on a baking sheet helps it cool off faster.


I like to use a 1 cup measure and put 2 cups into each quart size freezer bag. That way I have an idea how much I’m using when I take a bag out of the freezer.


Fresh corn on the cob is delicious, but freezing it for use later this winter is a great way to know that it’s fresh – you know where it came from and what’s in it. I already have 8 quart size bags in the freezer, but I don’t know if that will be enough for everything I use it for. Take advantage of this perfect local vegetable and freeze a batch before it’s too late!!




Leave a comment »

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!

Leave a comment »

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.



The New Vintage Kitchen

A Vermont innkeeper's collection of seasonal vintage recipes, reimagined for today's cooks.

Bernadine’s Corner

Recipes * Lifestyle

Convivial Supper

Recipes from the Past

Cooking Without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

Pinch of Yum

A food blog with simple and tasty recipes.

Mrs. Twinkle

My Wonderful Little World


a collection of recipes