Dear Heloise: You had a recipe that was a favorite with my husband and four boys, especially when they were watching a football game on TV. It was a TACO CASSEROLE that they devoured with gusto! Please reprint that for me, as I have misplaced the ingredients list. -- Judy T., Long Beach, Calif.
Judy, this always has been a big hit with football fans. It is one of those "non-recipes" we all keep handy, where there is no set amount for each ingredient, and really, it can vary according to personal preference or whatever you have on hand.
Here it is:
Tacos or taco chips
Taco meat or leftover ground beef
Beans (borracho beans work best)
Start by greasing (or using nonstick spray) a casserole dish, and the size will depend on how much you are making. Put a bit of salsa on the bottom, then add broken taco chips or corn chips and layer with taco meat, then beans, cheese, peppers and more salsa. Bake until hot, then cover with sour cream, black olives and some chopped lettuce before serving. If you like easy-to-make recipes that please the whole family, you'll love my All-Time Favorite Recipes pamphlet. To get a copy, go to my website, www.Heloise.com, to order, or send a stamped (70 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Recipes, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. If you like to make healthy, hearty dishes for your family, you'll enjoy having some of my favorite recipes on hand, especially when company drops in unexpectedly. -- Heloise
GRILLING SAFETY TIPS
Dear Readers: With football season comes grilling outdoors at games, but it also can bring reminders of safety tips for grilling:
* Never use a charcoal grill indoors.
* Do not light charcoal with kerosene, gasoline, alcohol or other volatile fuels; an explosion could occur!
* Be sure to place your grill away from dry grass and shrubs, or anything combustible.
* Never add starter fluid to hot (or even warm) coals. Flare-ups can be very dangerous.
* Use heat-resistant cooking mitts and long-handled utensils, and NO long, loose-fitting sleeves.
SHOEHORN IN THE KITCHEN
Dear Heloise: I used your suggestion to use a clean shoehorn in my kitchen for lifting out muffins without tearing them, and it works like a charm. -- Diana S., Idaho Falls, Idaho
Dear Heloise: I can't eat all the bananas I have, so some of them are placed in the refrigerator, where the skin will turn black but the fruit is still good. Or I freeze them and then thaw them and use them in banana bread. Too much of our good food is tossed out. If we all would think and plan carefully, there would be much less waste in America. -- Ginnie P., Lewiston, Maine
DID YOU KNOW?
Dear Readers: Avocados do not ripen in the refrigerator. Refrigeration will make the flesh of the avocado turn black. You can freeze pureed but not whole or cut avocados. -- Heloise
Don't toy with Nana!
Dear Heloise: I've stopped caving to my grandchildren when we are in the store. I used to buy them little "cheapie" toys or a snack to pacify them, but no more! Buying CHEAP TOYS is a waste of money.
If the child needs a diversion at the store, I'll give her my phone with an educational video playing. -- Nana Gina in New York
Good advice from an expert in the field. Cheap toys bought at the spur of the moment or to placate a child usually don't last very long anyway. Toys that are teeny or made of minute pieces could become a choking hazard.
It is hard to say "No," but when you do, and keep it up, hopefully the child will "get the message" that you won't give in! -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: Your advice is great! However, there are lots of us who just do not look good in bland colors. (HELOISE HERE: The reader is referring to a previous column about building a wardrobe with basic colors -- navy, black, beige, etc.)
An inexpensive scarf can give any outfit some much-needed color around the face, and at very little expense. -- Judy G., via email
You are right! When I travel for work (speeches, etc.), I always tuck several scarves in my carry-on bag. A colorful scarf can change an outfit quicker than you can snap your fingers. -- Heloise
CLEAN DOG WATER BOWL
Dear Heloise: We have two small rescue dogs that we adore. Our house is all on one level. Sometimes, if we are at one end, it's a long way for them to go to the kitchen to get a drink of water. I keep a water bowl in the den, and one in our bedroom.
They get pretty cruddy after a while. I used your hint about cleaning them with vinegar. I fill the bowls with cheap apple-cider vinegar, let them sit overnight, then scrub with a brush. Clean and fresh, and ready for Fred and Ethel. -- Jan in Texas
Vinegar is perfect to clean pet bowls. It's cheap, safe and multiuse. We, too, have several water bowls throughout the house for Chammy. Would you like more of my best vinegar hints and recipes? Visit www. Heloise.com to order my handy pamphlet, or send a stamped (70 cents), long, self-addressed envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. UPDATE: Heat the vinegar, and it will work to remove that crud in less than a half-hour! Scrub with a brush, and that's it! -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: The grocery stores have their air conditioning on so low that we freeze! Right now, we all are wearing lightweight clothes, and when I go into the store, I buy only what I need and nothing else; I'm too cold to browse! -- A Reader, Boardman, Ohio