Dear Heloise: I have a pretty good hint: When you MAKE MEATLOAF, the cleanup is a pain in the you-know-where. I spray the pan with any kind of cooking spray, then line it with foil. When you take the meatloaf out of the pan, there is very little cleanup. — Linda W., Bakersfield, Calif.
Dear Heloise: I buy iceberg lettuce wrapped in plastic. I remove the plastic and give it a cold-water rinse. Then I tip it over on the root side in the drainer for 10 minutes. I wrap it in paper towels three times, then run it under cold water quickly (do not soak). I put it in a zippered plastic freezer bag, then in the vegetable drawer. It will last for two weeks. I’ve done this for 25 years. — Justine in The Villages, Fla.
Dear Heloise: To save money, I decided to make my own TV dinners. I bought some heavy plastic plates at a discount store, and I put the leftover portions on the plates, then place them in freezer-safe bags and put them in the freezer. When I decide to eat one, I pull it out and put it in the microwave. This way, I don’t waste food, and it tastes as good as the day I made it. — Charlotte W., Falls Church, Va.
A chilly hint
Dear Heloise: When I realized I had six ice cube trays, I knew they must have uses besides just making ice cubes. So, when I have leftover soup, I put it in these ice cube trays so I can pop the cubes out and microwave them for a quick lunch or dinner. My sister likes to freeze leftover coffee to make iced coffee, or to cool down coffee that’s too hot. — Claire T., Colby, Kan.
Storing china and serving pieces
Dear Heloise: Living in a small space means I have to get creative with storage. I put my mother’s china in large plastic containers with lids and put them under my bed. The beautiful serving pieces that have been handed down in my family are in two tall kitchen baskets, hidden in my bedroom under a table with a tablecloth that goes to the floor. — Angie, Columbia, Tenn.
Dear Heloise: We live out in the country and tend to buy groceries in bulk. Sometimes I repackage my meats, but I color-code them with a felt pen — red for beef, yellow for chicken and blue for fish. This saves time and energy not standing in front of an open freezer door. — Kate M., Half Moon, N.C.
Wash your hands
Dear Heloise: When I get home from the grocery store, I always wash my hands before putting anything away. That shopping-cart handle is touched by many people. — Patty L., Barrington, R.I.
Did you know?
Dear Readers: Chickpeas also are known as garbanzo beans, and they are the main ingredient in hummus. — Heloise
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