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Turning scalloped potatoes into tasty potato soup

Dear Heloise: I love scalloped potatoes, but sometimes make too much. So I like to take the leftover scalloped potatoes and turn them into potato soup in a big soup pot. Since the potatoes are already cooked and seasoned with chicken broth, milk, salt, garlic and onions, the whole recipe takes only a short time to prepare for dinner. I like to add finely chopped celery, carrots and maybe some diced ham if I have it in the house. The amount of milk you add depends on the amount of potatoes you have, but make sure it has that thick, rich taste. There are no exact measurements to this soup; you just experiment until you’re satisfied with the results, and the results are always delicious! Add a salad and some warm rolls to the dinner, and you have a healthy, hearty meal. — April P., San Antonio, Texas

WASTED WATER

Dear Heloise: We Americans waste so much water that shouldn’t be tossed out. After boiling eggs, soaking a garment in a bucket or bowl or after the ice in a bucket has melted, use it to water your indoor or outdoor plants. The plants will flourish, and you’ll be recycling used water. — Penny D., Lynnwood, Wash.

HELOISE’S CHINESE BEETS

Dear Heloise: My mother-in-law was here in Wilmington about a year ago, and I made your Chinese Beets recipe. Since she is legally blind, she can’t make this recipe for herself, but she likes it so much that I want to make it again for her when she is here. Would you reprint this one so I can make this for her? — Linda V., Wilmington, Del.

Linda, of course I will! Here it is:

6 cups cooked, sliced beets — or 3 (16 ounce) cans of sliced beets

1 cup sugar

1 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

24 whole cloves (You may want to start with 12, because 24 is very strong.)

3 tablespoons ketchup

3 tablespoons cooking oil (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash of salt

Drain the beets, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the beet liquid. Place the beets in a medium saucepan with the reserved beet liquid and the remainder of the ingredients. Mix well and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat or until the mixture thickens. Let cool and store in the refrigerator. You’ll be able to vary the tanginess of this recipe by reducing the number of cloves you use.

If you like easy to prepare recipes with a hint of unusual flavor, then you’ll love my “Heloise’s All-Time Favorite Recipes”! It’s so simple to get a copy. Just go to www.Heloise.com on your computer or send $5, along with a stamped (75 cents), self-addressed, long envelope to: All Time Faves, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. You’ll enjoy having these handy, tasty recipes at your fingertips when unexpected company arrives or when you want to surprise your family with something out of the ordinary.

And remember, we always enjoy hearing from you when you have a hint to share with the rest of America. — Heloise

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Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.

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