Dear Heloise: I believe I read in your column that lasagna can be made without pre-boiling the noodles. That would be a great timesaver and much easier.
But how much liquid do I add? What liquid? How much longer do I bake it? -- Pressed for time in New Jersey
You read it here, and it's not all that hard. Place the uncooked pasta in a baking dish and use plenty of sauce between the layers. The noodles will absorb the extra liquid from the sauce, and that is how they cook. Place the dish in the oven and bake at normal time and temperature. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: Nowadays it seems that the expiration date on lots of edibles, such as coffee, canned vegetables and fruits, are done in a code known only to the manufacturer. It makes more sense to indicate the expiration date in month/year -- which would be very helpful to the consumer.
I recently had a bad experience with a purchase of three cans of coffee, which I had to throw away. Upon contacting the manufacturer, a representative asked for the numbers on the bottom of the can and then told me that the expiration date had passed and that the coffee was old. There was no way I could have discerned this myself. The manufacturer is sending me coupons and requested the store name so that its quality-control folks could contact the store -- which seems a step in the right direction. -- Wanda Church, Ridgecrest, Calif.
We speak to manufacturers all the time while doing research for this column. They are always helpful and informative. So, if you have a problem or concern, you should call the manufacturer. Most have toll-free numbers on the packaging, and they want to know if there is a problem. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I have seen cakes brought to bake sales, etc., with the plastic/foil touching the frosting, then the frosting comes off with the wrapper. When I wrap a cake, I put jelly beans, chocolate drops or whatever on about eight toothpicks and put them around the top outer edge of the cake. This holds the plastic off the cake (use tape to secure the plastic under the plate). If the cake is for a birthday, you can use birthday candles. The toothpicks hold better if you chill the cake before wrapping. -- Royce A. Dosher, Houston
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