Dear Heloise: Pounding or flattening meat or chicken using flimsy plastic wrap or bags can be messy. Instead, save and use the empty bags from cereal boxes. They are amazingly tough, stay in place and are air- and waterproof. Sealed with tape they make great storage/freezer bags too. — Russ B., Ashburn, Va.

Use a Ruler

Dear Heloise: Keep a ruler in a kitchen drawer just for measuring out pie crust, etc. It comes in handy in more ways than you might expect. — Anne J., San Pedro, Calif.

SEND A GREAT HINT TO:

Heloise

P.O. Box 795001

San Antonio, TX 78279-5001

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE

Back By Demand

Dear Readers: Here at Heloise Central we get many requests to reprint my Bootleg Beans recipe. It’s a great recipe, especially at cookouts and other summer gatherings. So here it is:

3 strips of bacon, fried and diced

1 small onion, chopped

1 can pork and beans in tomato sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2-3 tablespoons ketchup

Fry the bacon until crisp, then cook the chopped onion in the bacon grease until brown. Pour off most of the grease and add the beans, brown sugar and ketchup. Stir well, cover and simmer slowly for a few minutes. You also can bake this dish in a 300 degree oven for about an hour.

You can find this recipe and many others in my book “In the Kitchen With Heloise.” — Heloise

A Marshmallow Maven

Dear Heloise: Here in Florida we have a high humidity situation. Since I like to cook several dishes that contain marshmallows, I had to find a way to keep them without having the whole bag of marshmallows sticking together. My mother-in-law suggested that I seal the bag very tightly after taking some out and then place the bag in the freezer. It worked perfectly. Now I just take out what I need, seal up the bag and return it to the freezer. No more marshmallows sticking together. — Connie R., Tampa, Fla.

Eggnog Hint

Dear Heloise: My family loves eggnog, and I make a large amount every Christmas. That means I usually have some leftover. I pour the leftover eggnog in ice cube trays and save them for when we make pancakes. This gives the pancakes a richer flavor than buttermilk. My whole family loves these eggnog pancakes long after the holidays are over. — Judy K., Milford, Del.

Burnt Pie Crust

Dear Heloise: My neighbor told me about a way she uses to prevent the outer edges of her pie crusts from burning while the rest of the pie is cooking. She takes a sheet of aluminum, folds it in half and then cuts out the center, leaving an open circle with edges. She places the open circle over the pie so that only the edges are covered with the aluminum and folds the loose edges around the pie dish. This prevents her pies from burning. — Sarah M., Ashland, Wis.

Additional

Counter Space

Dear Heloise: I have a tiny kitchen in my condo, so when I want or need additional space to work in, I open one of the drawers and place a cutting board or cookie sheet over it. This allows me to work on something and to keep an eye on the stove where something is cooking. — Kathy S., Oak Hill, W.Va.

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— Send a great hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 7950000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; fax: 1-210-HELOISE; email Heloise@Heloise.com.