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This article was published April 2, 2014 at 2:53 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: I remember a hint about microwaving bone-in chicken pieces a short time before grilling to ensure doneness. Could this have come from your column?

  • Sue O. in Minnesota

DEAR READER: You may have read it in my column. Here is the information you requested from the experts this expert relies on. You can microwave chicken first (according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture), but only if you immediately plan to move it to a hot grill to finish cooking. Don’t partially cook meat or chicken when planning to refrigerate and cook later. All of the bacteria may not be killed, and you certainly don’t want to make your family sick.

DEAR HELOISE: I love cookie jars and have a small collection. I like to actually use them. However, I have found that many jars do not have a sealed lid to keep the cookies truly fresh. I keep the cookies sealed in a plastic, zipper-lock bag inside the jar. You still are using the jar, but are making sure that they stay extra fresh.

  • Jane D. in Ohio

DEAR HELOISE: I was starting to bake, and noticed that the can of baking powder had just expired. I recall reading somewhere that you can do a simple test to tell if baking powder is still active. Can you tell me how to test the baking powder?

  • Sandra M. in Wyoming

DEAR READER: Exact measurements aren’t really important, but take about a cup of hot water and add about a teaspoon of the baking powder. If the baking powder is still good, it will start to bubble when it hits the water.

DEAR HELOISE: Every morning I have an omelet for breakfast. Usually I put fresh spinach in it, but when I couldn’t use up the spinach fast enough, I put it in the freezer so it wouldn’t spoil. Once frozen, the spinach crumbles nicely for my omelet while still in the bag. This is easier than cutting the spinach fresh, and it tastes just as good.

  • Cathy in Pennsylvania

DEAR HELOISE: Before I spray any pan with cooking oil, I open my dishwasher door and place the pan on the inside of the door. I then am able to spray the pan, causing any over spray to be trapped in the dishwasher and washed away with the next load.

  • Gina T. in Kentucky

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Food, Pages 38 on 04/02/2014

Print Headline: HELPFUL HINTS


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