Dear Heloise: Over the course of the past year, I was invited to no less than two housewarmings and three bridal showers. In each case, I didn't go but sent the new homeowners and the future brides an electric tea kettle. It's something most people don't think about, but there are any number of times you need hot water (even if you are a coffee drinker). All they would have to do is turn on the electric kettle instead of getting out a pan, filling it with water and putting it on the stove. An electric kettle works faster, too. -- Lorraine W., Cedar Falls, Iowa
BAKED ITALIAN CHICKEN
Dear Heloise: My mother used to make your Baked Italian Chicken recipe, but she passed away two years ago, and I can't ask her what the ingredients were or how long to cook the chicken. Since I work full time, I don't have time or energy to fuss over elaborate recipes. And as I recall, this was a simple recipe that only took a short time to prepare and tasted great. Would you reprint the Italian chicken ingredients? -- Catherine T., Frenchtown, R.I.
Catherine, this was a favorite of my family, too. It's so quick and easy to make. You'll need:
1 chicken, cut up or equivalent parts
1 (8 ounce) bottle of 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 and cover with the Italian dressing. Top with the onion and potatoes. Bake for about 1 hour or until done.
If easy, fast recipes appeal to you, then you'll enjoy my pamphlet "Heloise's All-Time Favorite Recipes." To receive a copy, go to www.Heloise.com or send $5, along with a stamped, self-addressed, long envelope to: Heloise/All Time Fav., P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.
There's nothing that tastes as good as a home-cooked meal on these chilly winter evenings. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: My husband and I love sun tea, and we make it all year-round. My only problem is that the residue left behind is often hard to get out of the large, wide-mouth jar we make tea in. I have to squeeze my hand in and try to use a rough, scrubby pad, and even then it doesn't always get all the residue off. Can you offer a hint on how I can properly clean the residue off? -- Sadie D., Mendenhall, Mississippi
Sadie, fill the container with hot water and then drop in one denture cleaning tablet. Let it sit overnight, and the next day just wipe away any residue. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I'm having trouble getting my popcorn to pop. It's kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator to help keep it fresh, but this doesn't seem to help. What am I doing wrong? -- Patty G., Parkersburg, W.V.
Patty, popcorn kernels should be stored in an airtight container on a shelf, not in the refrigerator. Excess moisture will prevent the kernels from popping. -- Heloise