Dear Heloise: I've heard about your "Bootleg Beans," and it seemed like a recipe my family would enjoy. Would you please reprint this recipe?
— Shirley in Oregon
Shirley in Oregon: I’d love to! You’ll need:
3 strips of bacon
1 small onion, chopped
1 can of pork and beans in tomato sauce
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons of ketchup
Fry the bacon in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until almost crisp. Add the onion and continue frying until the onion starts to brown. Pour off almost all of the grease. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir to mix well, cover and simmer until thoroughly heated.
This recipe makes an excellent addition to a simple hamburger night or with hot wings, hot dogs or as a side dish for a meatless meal.
Dear Heloise: What is the difference between low-fat cottage cheese and low-fat ricotta?
— Casey in South Dakota
Casey in South Dakota: Low-fat cottage cheese is very low in fat. It is also relatively low in calcium and high in sodium compared to other dairy products.
Low-fat ricotta, which some people use interchangeably with cottage cheese in some recipes, has double the calories, more fat, but has more calcium. Cottage cheese is great topped with fruit, and ricotta is best for lasagna and can substitute for cream cheese in dips.
Dear Heloise: We love to grill in the summer. For some reason grilled food outdoors just seems to taste better. My biggest problem is getting my kids to eat vegetables, so I thought maybe if we grilled them, they might find vegetables more appetizing. Which veggies grill best?
— Andrea in Wisconsin
Andrea in Wisconsin: I love grilled vegetables! Here are some grilling hints:
Bell peppers — Cut into quarters, remove the seeds and grill skin side down for 12 to 15 minutes.
Corn on the cob — Soak the corn in the husks in cold water for 30 minutes. Peel back the husk, but do not remove. Then, remove the corn silk and pull the husks back over the cobs and twist closed. Cook on the grill for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Mushrooms — Cut the stems level with the mushroom, then brush with oil and cook about two minutes on each side.
There are many vegetables you can grill, including squash, zucchini and tomatoes. Experiment!
Dear Heloise: In my many years of cooking, I have tried several ways to keep from crying while chopping onions: holding a matchstick between my teeth so I breathe through my mouth, and even wearing swimming goggles. But I've found that the best thing to do is to put the onion in the freezer for about a half an hour before slicing. Problem solved. Fewer tears.
— Janet in New York
Dear Heloise: I clean charred shish kebab skewers after grilling by pushing them through a dry, soap-filled steel wool pad. They get clean in a flash! Then I wash and rinse as usual.
— Norma in North Carolina
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