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65 Vintage Labor Day Recipes

Step back in time with our vintage Labor Day recipes. These nostalgic dishes will help you give summer a proper send-off and remind you of the good ol' days.

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Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

When my grandma served this shortcake, she usually topped it with homemade vanilla ice cream. —Angela Lively, Conroe, Texas

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Corn and Green Bean Salad

I love the crunch of veggies, so I combined them with a buttermilk Caesar dressing in this corn and green bean salad. It’s good served immediately, but it’s even better after chilling for a few hours. It’s a fun vintage Labor Day recipe to serve up to call the summer to a close. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois
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Lemon Icebox Cake Exps Tohjj22 267487 Dr 01 19 3bv2

Lemon Icebox Cake

Nothing screams retro dessert like an icebox cake. Include this cool cake in your vintage Labor Day spread. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Grilled Thighs And Drumsticks Exps Ft21  24818 F 0818 1 7

Grilled Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks

When Mom makes grilled chicken thighs and drumsticks, this is the way we like it prepared. It’s juicy, has great barbecue flavor and makes a big batch, so it’s perfect for summer picnics and family reunions. It has that vintage Labor Day vibe. —Brenda Beachy, Belvidere, Tennessee
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Delightful Fruit Salad Exps Ft22 40253 F 0301 1 15

Delightful Fruit Salad

As much or as little Cool Whip can be added to taste. If I have some mandarin oranges or maraschino cherries, I add a few to the top. I used this recipe as a salad, but my friends say it is good enough to be a dessert! —Elaine Bailey, Bloomfield, Indiana
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Cucumbers With Dill Exps Ft20 28619 F 0327 1 Home 10

Cucumbers with Dill

Sprinkling cucumber slices with salt and letting them stand in a colander draws out excess water so they stay crisp when set on a barbecue buffet. Try this cucumber dill salad alongside any grilled entree. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Cola Burgers Exps Sdjj19 10699 C02 05 3b 12

Cola Burgers

A friend who’s an excellent cook shared this hamburger recipe with me, and it has since become a family favorite. The unusual combination of cola and French salad dressing added to the ground beef gives it fabulous flavor. The mixture is also used as a basting sauce on the moist burgers. -Melva Baumer, Millmont, Pennsylvania
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Bacon Pea Salad Exps Thjj17 166658 D02 02 5b 4

Bacon Pea Salad

My husband absolutely loves peas. My middle son isn't the biggest fan, but he loves bacon. So, I combined the two, and it was perfect! This pea salad is an awesome side dish, especially for barbecue. —Angela Lively, Conroe, Texas
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Grilled Chuck Steak Exps Diydap21 30974 B06 03 2b

Grilled Chuck Steak

The marinade for this grilled chuck steak is equally delicious brushed on beef kabobs. I like it so much better that store-bought varieties. —Jan Briggs, Greenfield, Wisconsin
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Pina Colada Icebox Cake Exps Sdam18 206698 D11 29 3b 3

Pina Colada Icebox Cake

This icebox cake has all of the flavors of a pina colada. It takes just one bite to escape to a tropical island! —Rachel Lewis, Danville, Virginia
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Grilled Buttermilk Chicken Exps Bfbz19 193422 B01 16 4b 2

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

I created this recipe years ago after one of our farmers market customers, a chef, shared the idea of marinating chicken in buttermilk. The chicken is easy to prepare and always turns out moist and delicious! I bruise the thyme sprigs by twisting them before adding them to the buttermilk mixture; this tends to release the oils in the leaves and flavor the chicken better. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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Pineapple Pretzel Fluff

I often bring this salad to potlucks, and everyone goes crazy for the sweet and crunchy combination. Be sure to add the pretzel mixture right before serving to keep it crispy. —Beth Olby, Ashland, Wisconsin
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Rainbow Gelatin Cubes

These layered jello cubes are fun to serve and to eat! I vary the colors to match the occasion. Kids of all ages snatch them up. —Deanna Pietrowicz, Bridgeport, Connecticut
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Grandma S Sour Cream Raisin Pie Exps Ppp18 6171 C04 25 6b 16

Grandma's Sour Cream Raisin Pie

The aroma of this pie baking in my farm kitchen oven reminds me of my dear grandma, who made this pretty pie for special occasions. —Beverly Medalen, Willow City, North Dakota
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Rock N Rye Pork Roast Sandwiches Exps Rc21 263241 B07 27 3b

Rock N Rye Pork Roast Sandwiches

Detroit's Faygo Rock & Rye soda (or pop, as we call it in Michigan) gives these pork roast sandwiches such unique flavor with notes of vanilla and cherry. These sandwiches are a hit at summer picnics and Faygo pop brings back fond memories of growing up in Michigan. —Jennifer Gilbert, Brighton, Michigan
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Grandma's Potato Salad

Our Fourth of July feast wouldn't be complete without this chilled old-fashioned potato salad. It's my grandma's treasured recipe. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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Kentucky Grilled Chicken Exps Ft21 21310 F 0420 1 1

Kentucky Grilled Chicken

This Kentucky grilled chicken is perfect for an outdoor summer meal, and my family thinks it's fantastic. It takes about an hour on the grill but is worth the wait. I use a new paintbrush to mop on the basting sauce. -Jill Evely, Wilmore, Kentucky
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Pina Colada Molded Salad Exps32663 Nbc143387b01 17 4bc Rms 3

Pina Colada Molded Salad

My gelatin ring gets a tropical twist from coconut, pineapple and macadamia nuts. It's a wonderful anytime treat. Now that I'm retired from teaching, I have more time for kitchen experiments. —Carol Gillespie, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
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Carolina Style Pork Barbecue Exps Scmbz19 161096 B01 24 4b 5

Carolina-Style Pork Barbecue

I am originally from North Carolina (where swine is divine) and this recipe for the slow cooker is a family favorite. My husband swears my authentic Carolina ‘cue is the best BBQ he has ever eaten! —Kathryn Ransom Williams, Sparks, Nevada
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Layered Salad for a Crowd

This salad is a favorite of my three sons. I took it to a luncheon honoring our school district’s food service manager, and she asked for the recipe. I like to make the dressing the day before so the flavors blend together. —Linda Ashley, Leesburg, Georgia
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Blackberry Apple Pie

My mother made this pie so often, she could do it with her eyes closed! We picked the berries ourselves, and the apples came from the trees in our orchard. I can still taste the delicious combination of fruits encased in Mother’s flaky pie crust. —Fran Stanfield, Wilmington , Ohio
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Crispy Fried Chicken

If you’ve wanted to learn how to make crispy fried chicken, this is the recipe for you. Always a picnic favorite, this deep fried chicken recipe is delicious either hot or cold. Kids call it my Kentucky Fried Chicken! —Jeanne Schnitzler, Lima, Montana
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Rhubarb Upside Down Cake Exps Srbz16 605 D09 14 2b 5

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

I’ve baked this cake every spring for many years, and my family loves it! Use your own fresh rhubarb, hit up a farmers market or find a neighbor who will trade stalks for the recipe! —Helen Breman, Mattydale, New York
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Smash Burgers

A Smash burger is exactly what you think it is; balls of ground beef smashed onto a hot griddle. You’ll want to smash them pretty thin so they cook quickly, but it also gets you those crispy, browned edges while still keeping the interior nice and juicy. Now is not the time to cut calories or skimp on salt: Go for ground chuck that is at least 80/20. If you can find a blend with ground brisket or short rib, all the better. The best burger comes with being liberal with kosher salt—it is beef’s best friend. —James Schend, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
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Kettle Corn Exps Ft21 164832 F 1013 1 16

Kettle Corn

If you go to a fair looking to satisfy your craving for popcorn, you’ll get the same wonderful salty-sweet taste at home with my kettle corn recipe. Now you can indulge whenever the mood strikes you. —Jenn Martin, Sebago, Maine
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Tangy Spareribs

I still remember coming home from church to the smell of these ribs baking in the oven alongside baked potatoes. They have an old-fashioned homemade barbecue sauce that clings to every morsel. —Judy Clark, Elkhart, Indiana
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Summer Macaroni Salad Exps Dia18 185628 B05 25 1b 12

Summer Macaroni Salad

When we grill, my mother asks me to make this summer pasta salad. To make it extra creamy, I like to keep a small amount of dressing separate and stir it in just before serving. —Carly Curtin, Ellicott City, Maryland
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Rhubarb Cherry Pie Exps Ppp18 2570 D05 08 1b 5

Rhubarb Cherry Pie

As a young girl, I dreamed of being able to make pies like my mother. Her rolling pin, which I inherited, is 2 feet long and 8 inches wide! In fact, this is Mom's recipe, although I substituted cherries for the strawberries in her version. I first made this pie for a church gathering 20 years ago, and everyone's looked for it at every potluck since! —Eunice Hurt, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
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Meatballs in Barbecue Sauce

This recipe came from my home ec teacher in high school. I enjoy making it because you can throw it in the oven and still have time to do other things.—Yvonne Nave, Lyons, Kansas
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Grandma's Spinach Salad

With all its fresh ingredients, this pretty spinach salad was my grandma’s favorite. Even my little ones like it (but don’t tell them spinach is good for them)! —Shelley Riebel, Armada, Michigan
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Corn Dogs Exps Tohjj20 1362 B01 31 2b 1

Corn Dogs

Prepare corn dogs at home just like you’d get at the fair. Both kids and grown-ups will love this hearty corn dog batter. —Ruby Williams, Bogalusa, Louisiana
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Strawberry Pretzel Dessert Exps Cpbz19 4444 E11 02 3b 4

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Need to bring a dish to pass this weekend? This make-ahead strawberry pretzel salad will disappear quickly at any potluck. —Aldene Belch, Flint, Michigan
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Easy Pimiento Cheese Exps Ft20 258985 F 1217 1

Easy Pimiento Cheese

Every good Southerner has their own easy pimiento cheese recipe. It’s wonderful on crackers, in a sandwich with a fresh summer tomato, inside a grilled cheese sandwich or plain with some crackers. —Josh Carter, Birmingham, Alabama
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Sugar Cream Pie Exps Ghbz18 58705 E08 15 2b 7

Sugar Cream Pie

I absolutely love Indiana sugar cream pie; especially the one that my grandma made for me. Here, we serve it warm or chilled and call it "Hoosier" sugar cream pie. —Laura Kipper, Westfield, Indiana
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Baked Honey-Glazed Chicken

When I was a young girl, this was my oldest sister's Sunday dinner. The tradition has continued, as I make this dish twice a month and my four daughters serve their families with this favorite dish. It has an old-fashioned subtle flavor and the chicken is crisp and brown. —Pat Dube, Phoenix, Arizona
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Old Fashioned Pear Cake Exps90921 Hcka143243d08 28 3bc Rms 2

Old-Fashioned Pear Cake

Old-fashioned pear spice cake is a wonderful ending to a meal. It's not too heavy or rich, but the moist treat is brimming with flavor.—Audrey Golden, Cary, North Carolina
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Marina S Golden Corn Fritters Exps177279 Sd143205b01 24 5bc Rms 6

Marina's Golden Corn Fritters

Just one bite of these fritters takes me back to when my kids were young. Nowadays for our get-togethers, I sometimes triple the recipe. Serve fritters with maple syrup or agave nectar. —Marina Castle Kelley, Canyon Country, California
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Sweet & Savory Pineapple Cheese Ball

One of my favorite dishes in childhood was my mom's pineapple and green pepper cheese ball. Now I make it, and it’s always a hit. —Susan Harrison, Laurel, Maryland
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Low Country Boil Exps Cimzs20 45042 E12 13 7b 16

Low Country Boil

Ideal for camping and relaxing trips to the beach, this crowd-pleasing low country boil includes a combination of shrimp, crab, sausage, corn and potatoes. —Mageswari Elagupillai, Victorville, California

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Mom's Chopped Coleslaw

For Friday dinners, my mother made coleslaw to go with our fish. It’s still a family tradition, and the tangy dressing even works on a tossed salad. —Cynthia McDowell, Banning, California
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Oven Fried Chicken Drumsticks Exps Ff20 167360 B02 25 2b 2

Oven-Fried Chicken Drumsticks

This fabulous recipe uses Greek yogurt to create an amazing marinade that makes the chicken incredibly moist. No one will guess that it has been lightened up and is not even fried! — Kim Wallace, Dennison, Ohio
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Corn Pudding With Bacon And Cheddar Exps Cimzw20 251505 E09 03 3b 3

Cheddar Corn Pudding with Bacon

This cheddar corn pudding can be prepared ahead and refrigerated overnight. Remove from the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking. —Lynn Albright, Fremont, Nebraska
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Spiced Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I often bake this beautiful cake in my large cast-iron skillet and turn it out onto a pizza pan. —Jennifer Sergesketter, Newburgh, Indiana
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Homemade Potato Salad

This homemade potato salad recipe doesn't have many ingredients, so it isn't as colorful as many that you find nowadays. But Mama made it the way her mother did, and that's the way I still make it today. Try it and see if it isn't one of the best-tasting potato salads you have ever eaten! —Sandra Anderson, New York, New York
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Slow Cooker Barbeque Pulled Pork Sandwiches Exps Tohesodr21 142407 E02 17 1b

Slow-Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches

“Foolproof” is a perfect way to describe my barbecue pork recipe. With just four ingredients and a slow cooker, you can make these fabulous sandwiches with very little effort. —Sarah Johnson, Chicago, Illinois
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Sour Cream Lemon Pie Exps Thjj18 7804 D02 02 1b 1

Sour Cream-Lemon Pie

I first tasted this pie at a local restaurant and hunted around until I found a similar recipe—now it's my husband's favorite. —Martha Sorensen, Fallon, Nevada
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Slow-Cooked Smokies

I like to include these little smokies smothered in barbecue sauce on all my appetizer buffets since they're popular with both children and adults. —Sundra Hauck, Bogalusa, Louisiana
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Grilled Corn in Husks

If you’re new to grilled corn in the husk, season the ears with butter, Parmesan cheese and parsley. It’s especially good! Be sure to give the corn a long soak before putting it on the grill. Hot off the grate, the kernels are moist and tender with a wonderful, sweet flavor. —Nancy Zimmerman, Cape May Court House, New Jersey
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Cherry Waldorf Salad

We combine apples with tart cherries and dried cranberries to give an autumn twist to classic Waldorf salad. —Marie Hattrup, Sonoma, California
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Authentic German Potato Salad Exps28993 C10582b06 29 6b Rms 11

Authentic German Potato Salad

This authentic German potato salad recipe came from Speck’s Restaurant, which was a famous eating establishment in St. Louis from the 1920s through the ‘50s. I ate lunch there almost every day and always ordered the potato salad. When the owner learned I was getting married, he gave me the recipe as a wedding gift! —Violette Klevorn, Washington, Missouri
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Campfire Casserole Exps Ft21 35350 F 0609 1

Campfire Casserole

With three different types of meat and four kinds of beans, this Campfire Casserole really satisfies, especially on a vintage Labor Day spread. Serve it with cheese-topped corn bread for a complete meal. —Flo Rahn, Hillsboro, Kansas
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Overnight Layered Lettuce Salad

This layered salad is a family favorite from a church cookbook I've had for 40 years. The bacon adds a fabulous crunch. —Mary Brehm, Cape Coral, Florida
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Rustic Tomato Pie Exps Ftts20 251740 B02 13 1b 16

Rustic Tomato Pie

Perk up your plate with this humble tomato pie. We like to use fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes and herbs, but store-bought produce will work in a pinch. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Old-Fashioned Coney Hot Dog Sauce

Camping and hot dogs go hand in hand. Roast some up over the fire, then top with this irresistible one-pot sauce. —Loriann Cargill Bustos, Phoenix, Arizona
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Red Cabbage With Bacon

If you’ve braised, marinated or served red cabbage raw, try it steamed, then toss with bacon and a tangy sauce. We serve it with pork or chicken. This is how to cook cabbage with bacon. —Sherri Melotik, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
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Cherry Plum Slab Pie With Walnut Streusel Exps Rc21 258303 E02 18 9b 21

Cherry Plum Slab Pie with Walnut Streusel

I love to make desserts with fruit and streusel all summer! You can use store-bought crusts or make your own. I recommend stacking your two pie crusts on top of each other and then rolling them to the correct size. —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah
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Ambrosia Fruit Salad Exps Thca18 40203 B04 27 1b 4

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

My mom's ambrosia salad, with its tasty combination of fresh fruits and creamy yogurt, is a family favorite, and a great addition to a backyard barbecue. —Colleen Belbey, Warwick, Rhode Island
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Marmalade Meatballs Exps Scmbz18 45349 B01 17 3b 5

Marmalade Meatballs

We had a potluck at work, so I started cooking these meatballs in the morning. By lunchtime they were ready. They were a big hit! —Jeanne Kiss, Greensburg, Pennsylvania
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Old-Fashioned Banana Cream Pie

This old-fashioned banana cream pie recipe is full of flavor. Because it uses instant pudding, this no-bake dessert is ready in just minutes. —Perlene Hoekema, Lynden, Washington
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Simple Lime Gelatin Salad

Looking for a festive dish to light up the buffet? This pretty green gelatin salad is eye-catching and has a delightful, tangy flavor. —Cyndi Fynaardt, Oskaloosa, Iowa
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Bacon, Cheddar and Swiss Cheese Ball

When it’s time for a party, everyone always requests this ultimate cheese ball—it’s such an impressive appetizer. And if you’re a party guest, it makes a fabulous gift for your hosts.—Sue Franklin, Lake St. Louis, Missouri
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Plum Upside Down Cake Exps Ugfbmz17 2045 B05 04 2b 8

Plum Upside-Down Cake

Since my husband liked pineapple upside-down cake, I decided to give this recipe a try one night when we were expecting guests for dinner. Everyone pronounced this cake "Delicious!" and asked for seconds.—Bobbie Talbott, Veneta, Oregon
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Judy's Macaroni Salad

After finding this vintage macaroni salad recipe years ago, I tweaked the flavor and bumped up the pickles. Tuck this dill pickle pasta salad inside your picnic basket. —Elizabeth Kirchgatter, Maysville, Kentucky
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Brown Sugar Baked Beans Exps Ft21 17991 F 1005 1 3

Brown Sugar Baked Beans

If you must be stingy with salt, you’re sure to appreciate this flavor-rich bean dish. “These beans are well-received by folks who love hot and spicy foods and those with a more conservative palate, too,” writes Debra Hogenson of Brewster, Minnesota. “It’s requested for all our family reunions.”
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Grandma's Carrot Cake

My grandma was very special to me. She had a big country kitchen that was full of wonderful aromas any time we visited. This was one of her prized cake recipes, and it continues to be a favorite from generation to generation. —Denise Strasz, Detroit, Michigan

Katie Bandurski
As Senior Shopping Editor, Katie connects Taste of Home readers with the best gifts, deals and home products on the market. An avid foodie and a holiday enthusiast, Katie is an expert at cultivating meaningful moments. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and watching Christmas movies.