DEAR HELOISE: Years ago when I'd help my mother make pies, she always told me to take the bowl, the mixing blades to the blender or mixer, spoons and anything else I used to make pies, and place them all in the refrigerator overnight. I also would put the marble slab we used in there as well. When we got ready to bake, everything was chilled, and for reasons I can't explain, the crust was always as light as a feather. My mother said it was because we chilled everything beforehand.
-- Shannon M.,
DEAR HELOISE: Please repeat your potato soup recipe so I can make it now that the weather has gotten so cold. My husband and I love a bowl of very hot soup and a salad on these chilly evenings.
-- Karen T.,
Port Huron, Mich.
DEAR READER: I'd love to repeat it for you. One of things I like best about winter is hot soup, so here it is.
Heloise's Potato Soup
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon shortening
1 cup water or chicken stock
2 cups milk
¼ teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
First, cook potatoes, onion, shortening and water in a large pot until potatoes are soft. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. This makes about 4 servings.
Here's an additional tasty tip: You can puree celery and onions in a blender and add the combination to most soups for extra flavor, without a whole lot of extra calories.
DEAR HELOISE: My family loves it when I make homemade pizza, and I enjoy knowing everything I use is fresh and wholesome. However, even when I use a non-stick spray on my pizza pan, I still get dough that sticks to the pan. What am I doing wrong?
-- Laura A.,
DEAR READER: Try this -- after spraying the pan with the non-sticking spray, sprinkle a tablespoon of cornmeal on the pan before placing the dough on it.
DEAR HELOISE: I was in the middle of making a meatloaf when I found I was out of bread crumbs. Instead of driving to the grocery store, I reached for a box of oats, and the meatloaf turned out just fine.
-- Gloria C.,
Ocean Springs, Miss.
DEAR READER: You can also use instant mashed potatoes or crushed soda crackers in an emergency like that, and the results will still be very tasty.
Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email