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Make your appliances multi-task

By on November 2, 2012



ear Sara:

After reading your article on using a waffle iron to make cornbread waffles, pizza, omelets, brownies, etc., I brought my waffle iron out of the closet after I hadn’t used it in years. I’m motivated to try some new things! Do you have any other suggestions? — Lisa, New Hampshire

Dear Lisa:

You can make quick and easy cinnamon waffles using a can of pre-sliced cinnamon rolls. Add four rolls to your waffle maker, close the lid and bake them. Watch them closely, so they don’t burn. These are great for lazy weekends or sleepovers with kids. You can use any boxed muffin mix (or homemade, for that matter) to produce a wide variety of waffle flavors, too.

Dear Sara:

How do you freeze fresh/raw mushrooms? — Kayla, Ohio

Dear Kayla:

I don’t suggest freezing them raw, as they tend to get mushy/slimy. I would steam, saute or blanch them, then freeze them.

Dear Sara:

I’m just getting into owning houseplants, and I need to do some replanting from the plastic pots they’re sold in into something nicer and more permanent. I was at the secondhand shop today and they have a lot of flowerpots, but none of them had a hole in the bottom for drainage. Is it OK to use this type of pot for spider plants and ivy, or do I need the ones with a hole and a saucer? — Sage, Denmark

Dear Sage:

I like my spider and ivy plants to hang and to have drainage. So if you have ceramic pots, consider some sort of hanger for them. It’s not a must, but because they are both trailing plants, I prefer them hanging. I wouldn’t directly re-pot into ceramic pots without drainage holes, but you could place the plastic pot into the ceramic, so there’s still drainage, but a decorative pot, too. Spider plants are fairly forgiving, but they grow best if watered when the top of the soil first becomes dry to the touch. Because they like to be pot-bound, keeping them in their original plastic pots isn’t a problem. Ivy plants like to be evenly moist, but don’t allow their roots to sit in water. Both plants like bright light (not direct light).

Dear Sara:

I was given a bag of frozen Italian-style meatballs and I need ideas for what I can do with them. I know I can use some for pasta and sandwiches, but could I use some as the main meat with mashed potatoes, beans, etc.? Also, the only way I know to cook them is with chili sauce and jelly. Any ideas would be appreciated. — Hope S., North Carolina

Dear Hope:

Yes, you could use them as a main meat. They would be good with rice or potatoes. You could put them on homemade pizza, in a casserole, soup, stew, calzones or in a pot pie.
Here’s a creative recipe that uses meatballs, string cheese and refrigerated biscuits to make “Meatball Bubble Biscuits”:
I would be hesitant to use them in some recipes, such as chili, nachos, tacos or stroganoff, because the Italian flavoring in frozen meatballs can be quite overpowering. Consider making cheese ravioli or lasagna noodles, spaghetti sauce and meatball bake for a change-of-pace pasta dish.

photo by zcopley

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