Helpful Hints

Posted: December 6, 2017 at 1:40 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: There's nothing I like more than a hearty, warm bowl of soup in chilly weather. Have you got any tasty recipes I can make for my family?

-- Rose H., Oregon

DEAR READER: Rose, I have one from a friend of mine that I think you'll really like. It's called Marilyn's Garden Cheddar Soup, and it's terrific in chilly weather.

Marilyn's Garden Cheddar Soup

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 small zucchini, halved and sliced

2 tomatoes, peeled and cut into wedges

1 celery stalk, sliced

1 cup portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 onion, halved and sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 1/2 cups beef broth

1 1/2 cups tomato juice

1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced

1/2 cup dry red wine

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a stockpot, add first nine ingredients and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in basil, wine, salt, pepper and parsley. Sprinkle top of each serving with cheddar cheese.

DEAR HELOISE: When I buy a pound of bacon, I divide the package into three- or four-strip packages since I won't be using it all at once. I wrap each group of strips in clear food wrap and place them in a long, narrow box. They take up so little space in the freezer and are nice and straight when I want to cook them.

-- J.P., Bedford, N.H.

DEAR HELOISE: I've always been told not to refreeze meat that has been frozen and thawed out. Why can't I refreeze meat that's been thawed? Is it dangerous?

-- Clint W., Washington

DEAR READER: Clint, according to the University of Nebraska's Institute of Agriculture, if food is thawed in a refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking it. However, the quality of the meat will change due to moisture lost in the thawing process. The institute recommends not refreezing meat left outside of a refrigerator for two hours or more.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Heloise@Heloise.com

Food on 12/06/2017