Dear Heloise: My mother used to make your BAKED ITALIAN CHICKEN, and I still can remember how great it tasted. It was easy and quick to prepare, so can you reprint that recipe for us working women? -- Pam M., Ashboro, Ind.
Pam, I always loved this recipe! Here it is:
Heloise's Italian Chicken
1 chicken, cut up or equivalent in parts
1 (8-ounce) bottle nonfat (or regular) Italian salad dressing
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
4 medium potatoes, sliced (peeled or not) into bite-size pieces.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray. Place the chicken in the casserole dish and cover with the Italian dressing. Top with onions and potatoes. Bake for about 1 hour, or until done.
If you want more easy-to-prepare recipes that are sure to please your family, order my pamphlet All-Time Favorite Recipes. Just send $5, along with a stamped (71 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, to: Heloise/All-Time Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at www.Heloise.com. FYI: Italian dressing makes an easy, fast marinade for meat. -- Heloise
CUT THE RECIPE IN HALF
Dear Heloise: When cutting a recipe in half, should the cooking time be reduced? Just to let you know, I enjoy reading your column in The Gaston (N.C.) Gazette. -- A Reader, Gastonia, N.C.
It all depends on what you're cooking. A cake probably would be just under half the time, while a roast usually would be a little over half the time. If it's a stir-fry, it's the same time. You'll have to keep an eye on your recipe to judge how long something needs to cook. -- Heloise
LETTER OF LAUGHTER
Dear Heloise: Every Christmas Eve, I make oyster stew, along with salad and crackers. I made the Heloise Olive Nut Dip spread and served it to my olive-hating son-in-law. He loved it and commented on how delicious it was. That's when we told him one of the main ingredients happened to be OLIVES! We had a hard time holding our laughter inside! -- Kate C., Mechanicsburg, Pa.
ICE CREAM DRESSED UP
Dear Heloise: Sometimes I have an unexpected guest(s) for dinner, and finding a last-minute dessert is difficult. I discovered that you can take a simple dish of ice cream and dress it up with some whipped cream and chopped nuts. I always encircle the ice cream with whipped cream, or some other topping, sprinkle nuts on top and add a dab of whipped cream on top. Stick a wafer cookie in it and you have dressed-up ice cream. -- Hazel P., Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.
Dear Heloise: I have found that a good way to change up cold cereal is to add texture by using fruit-flavored yogurt rather than milk. Double the goodness. -- Dona in Houston
BUGGED BY BUNS
Dear Heloise: Why can't hamburger buns be packaged in bags of four? Our family of two invariably has to throw out some of the contents of the larger packages. -- T.B. in Alabama
FIT TO BE FOLDED
Dear Readers: Surely one of the most frustrating household chores must be FOLDING A FITTED SHEET -- isn't it maddening? Here's my method to make it easier:
1. Fold the sheet in half, bring the elasticized ends together and invert one into the other.
2. Fold again in half lengthwise, bringing one set of corners to the other, so that all the corners are folded into each other.
3. Continue to fold as small as you'd like, smoothing the sheets as you go.
4. Fold the flat sheet, too, and condense all the sheets into one pillowcase.
Which household chore is your least favorite? How do you make it easier? Let us know at Heloise@Heloise.com. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I use a fizzy denture cleaner, specifically the one for overnight cleaning. But over the years I've finally discovered that it is NOT the thorough cleaner one might expect.
So every few days or so, I dampen the corner of a clean cloth, dip it in baking soda and rub the entire denture clean. I'm always surprised at the amount of discoloration of the cloth from that scrubbing, and of course the dentures are unharmed. -- Bill L., Little Rock, Ark.
Bill, as you probably know, baking soda is one of my all-time favorite cleaners. It's cheap, readily available and safe. I've touted its benefits for my entire career, and I've compiled a collection of my favorite hints and recipes that include baking soda into a handy pamphlet. Would you like to receive one? It's easy. Send a stamped (71 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at www.Heloise.com. By the way, fizzy denture tablets also can clean the toilet bowl if you are out of your regular cleanser. -- Heloise
GLOB OR SLAB
Dear Heloise: My hint is to use a table fork to stab off a glob or a slab of margarine. Globs are easy: Just stick the fork in, rotate the handle down and scoop. Globs are fairly easily dumped on veggies, etc.
To slab, carefully direct the fork to a depth for the thickness one wants, then lift. For a slab, one usually has to turn the fork bottom up and "wipe" it on the bread or bagel. -- Brad T., Campbelltown, Pa.
Brad, you must be an engineer! This also would work well for slightly chilled cream cheese or margarine spread. Consult the label for portion and calorie information. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I read your column every day - always good info! Another great use for old pantyhose: If your tomatoes or any other plants need to be staked, pantyhose make excellent ties. They won't cut into the stalks, because they will stretch as the plant grows. -- Patrick H., via email