Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

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.



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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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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!!




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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.



Hot Bath Tomatoes

We had a garden every summer when I was growing up, both of my grandmas and grandpas had gardens every summer when I was growing up, and I have a garden every summer. There would be tomatoes coming out of our ears from these gardens (all except mine – I’ve lost all the sun needed to grow tomatoes – too many trees). We had to do something to preserve these tomatoes, so canning was the best option. Grandma did this every year, she taught my mom how to do it, and she taught me and my sister how to do it. Who knew that they were called Hot Bath Tomatoes – we just called them canned tomatoes!! We would have an assembly line going to tackle this huge project: someone would be putting the tomatoes into the boiling water to get the peel off easily, then someone would be putting the tomatoes into the ice water bath to stop the tomatoes from cooking too much. We would all have paring knives to peel the skin off of the tomatoes and cut them into fourths. Then the tomatoes were heated just to boiling and popped into the clean, sterilized jars, the rims were wiped clean with a damp towel, the lids were taken from boiling water and put onto the top of the jars, and at last the lids were screwed on. That was my favorite part back then, seeing the jars lined up and ready to go into the canner. If felt good to have helped make these things we would have to eat later in the winter. There was such a camaraderie with the whole family helping. It was hot work with the canner heating up the kitchen (it was usually done in late August or early September), and it was a lot of work to get it all done, but I LOVED it!!! I just loved it.

Hot Bath Tomatoes

These tomatoes are so great for making all of those sauces and soups later in the winter!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Hot Bath Tomatoes

Peel and cut tomatoes (for easier peeling, put into boiling water for 30-45 seconds, then into an ice bath to stop the cooking).

Bring tomatoes just to a boil.

Put into jars (quarts or pints) and leave 1/2 inch of head space at the top of the jar.

Put jars in canner, having water covering jars with 2 inches of water.

Boil for 45 minutes in canner.

You can find the recommendations for this on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.

Cool and listen for the “pop” of the lid sealing.


I haven’t canned tomatoes this year (I did make a batch of Grandma’s Tomato Soup), but I did do them last year and I have just one jar left.


You can see the tomatoes cut into fourths and how they make their own juice. There’s nothing but tomatoes in here!


We use a lot of tomatoes throughout the year in spaghetti sauce, lasagna, soups, hot dish, the list goes on and on. Canning tomatoes this way is a tomato saver AND a money saver!


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Broccoli Casserole

I found this photo when looking through my big box of pictures, and I just had to share it now because it’s so appropriate for today’s obsession with facial hair. This is my great-grandfather, my grandpa’s father, who was Danish, and died of consumption when Grandpa was 2 years old. What a magnificent mustache! No wonder young men these days are trying to emulate this look. My son loves this mustache, has recently shaved off his beard, and is now sporting quite the mustache himself.


The recipe for today is another traditional dish for our family. We had Broccoli Casserole at a lot of Sunday dinners at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm in the big dining room. It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it serves a large group.

Broccoli Casserole

This is a great side dish to use with any meat.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Broccoli Casserole

Cook as directed:

2 boxes frozen broccoli

1 box frozen cauliflower

Add until melted:

1 8 ounce jar Cheez Whiz

Combine with:

1 can cream of celery soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Can top with French fried onion rings.


I couldn’t find actual boxes of frozen vegetables at my store, so I used small bags of vegetables.


This isn’t the healthiest of dishes, with the use of 2 cans of cream soup and the Cheez Whiz, so I’d save this for a special occasion.


The soup and Cheez Whiz make a lot of sauce, so don’t worry about using bags of vegetables instead of boxes. There’s plenty to cover a lot of vegetables.


I had the vegetables in the oven with some other things, so I had it in there a little longer than 30 minutes, but still put the French fried onion rings on during the last 30 minutes.


This vegetable dish is delicious and the aroma is amazing. Give this one a try. It’s so good. Just try to keep it out of your mustache.




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Freezing Pumpkin

I’d like to think that once Grandma’s family had a freezer, they did things like freezing pumpkins and garden vegetables. I don’t think they had a freezer at the time that this photo was taken!

action pic of Johnson kids

It’s a bit blurry, but I LOVE IT!!! These were the days of having to sit still when the photo was taken. You can tell that these kids were in constant motion! I THINK Grandma is the little blur in the bottom left. They probably did a lot of canning to preserve their garden harvest. I’ve never even thought of canning pumpkin, since we have the convenience of the freezer. I don’t remember stories of them eventually being able to freeze things, but she must have known how to do it. The year we grew so many pumpkins in Grandma and Grandpa’s farm garden, my mom wanted to try to make a pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin and I’m sure Grandma helped her figure out how. There were so many pumpkins, we had to find a way to preserve them, so we figured out how to Freeze Pumpkin. Like many of these recipes, it’s pretty easy to do – it just takes some time.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Freezing Pumpkin

Pick a pumpkin that you want to freeze for pie making at a later time.


It’s hard to cut up this gorgeous pumpkin!


This pumpkin is about the right size for one pie.


I split it in half and scoop out the “guts” and seeds. Make sure you keep the seeds for roasting! Check out my post for making Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds.


Cut into pieces and roast in a 400 degree oven for 40-60 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.


Scrape flesh off of rind and put into food processor.


I was able to fit all of the pumpkin into the processor at once. Give it a whir until the pumpkin is as smooth as you want it.


I usually fill the freezer bags with 2 cups so it’s enough for one pie. There’s always some that stays in the bag, so I add 1/4 cup extra to be sure you have enough pumpkin in the end. You can also take the pumpkin out of the bag before it’s thawed so that none stays in the bag, but I seem to forget to do that, and then I end up short.


When the freezer bags are full, I freeze them flat so they take up less room in the freezer. That’s it. Not hard at all, it just takes a little time. I’ll be making a pie with this pumpkin in a couple of weeks. You’ll love the fresh pumpkin in your pie when you try this!



Frozen Green Beans

Between our gardens and the farmer’s markets popping up everywhere right now, we need to do something with the abundance of green beans available to us. I don’t always have a lot of extra beans in our garden (we eat them all), but I try to freeze a few bags so we can have them in the middle of winter. This is really easy to do and great for preserving this local and plentiful vegetable.

There is no recipe card for this so I’ll just write it out.

Here is the recipe as I made them:

Frozen Green Beans

Pick and wash green beans.

Cut off ends and cut to desired length.

Blanch in boiling water 2-3 minutes.

Put beans into ice water bath and let cool a few minutes.

Drain and put into freezer bags.

Label with contents and date.



Not everyone likes to cut both ends off of the beans. I do like to cut them off, but that’s the beauty of doing it yourself. You can do it any way you want to.


Blanching and then the ice water bath really doesn’t take very long and you know what’s in there! Nothing but beans!


I try to make the bags as flat as possible so they fit into the freezer better. I read somewhere that it’s a good idea to use a plastic basket in your freezer to hold all of those freezer bags full of frozen goodies. That made a lot of sense to me, so I tried it. It’s easier to see them, sort them, and get at them for thawing. It alleviates the problem of the bags sliding and falling out of the freezer and onto the floor every time you need to find something. There was one small issue – the freezer bags are taller than the basket so I can’t stack another basket on top and there’s a lot of wasted space above the basket of frozen vegetables. I’m still working on this issue so I can achieve maximum storage! These beans will be another taste of summer for the middle of winter. Go out and get some of these plentiful vegetables now while they’re so bountiful and local and fresh!!! This really is a pretty easy way to preserve them for later use.




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