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I love leftovers. For one thing, I think some foods taste better the second day -- soups and casseroles especially.

I try to use common sense in deciding when it’s OK to eat the leftovers, and when they have set too long in the fridge and it’s time to throw them out.

My son-in-law, Chris, gives the leftovers one day, no matter what they are. After that, he won’t touch them. Probably a good rule of thumb. I know a couple of people who won’t eat leftovers, ever. I don’t understand that. What’s not to like about a night with no meal planning and cooking, just reheating?

When you have food or scraps you need to dispose of, what do you do with them? The first thing that comes to mind, if eating them is not an option, is the garbage disposal. I live in the country and have been told the garbage disposal is not a friend to my septic tank, so I’m careful what I use it for. But if you use your disposal regularly, here’s some tips for using that under-the-sink gadget from kitchendaily.com.

Just because it’s called a disposal doesn’t mean you can “dispose all” in it. Say no to grease and oil because the cooled grease can solidify and cause problems. Grease is also the reason not to run hot water when you are grinding the garbage. Hot water can melt the fat and allow it to re-solidify and block your drain. Run cold water when using your disposal, letting the water run 30 seconds after the garbage has drained. The cold water will keep the bearings and shredder assembly from overheating. Avoid stringy items like celery and banana peels as well as seeds from cherries, peaches and nectarines. Orange, lemon and lime peels cut into small pieces are OK, and will freshen your disposal, but be sure they are small pieces. The membrane from eggshells can get wrapped around the blade and cause problems. Eggshells are great for composting instead.

Coffee grounds get stuck in the disposal trap, and pasta and rice expand with water and can clog your drain and fill up the disposal trap.

Small fish bones are OK, but the blades aren’t strong enough for hard bones or shellfish shells. Unpopped popcorn kernels are liable to shoot right back at you out of the disposal if you try to discard them that way. Proper use of this handy appliance will mean a long life for your disposal and a cleaned out fridge for you.

A belated thank you to the Saferites for the Baby Cakes donut maker they gave me for Christmas. Before my kitchen became a vacant canyon, I whipped up a batch of plain donuts and they were delicious. I can’t wait to get my kitchen put back together so I can try some of the other recipes for different flavors. Chocolate is first on that list.

Today’s recipes come from one of my favorite cookbooks from one of my favorite friends, Cindy Harding. “The Best of the Best From Indiana Cookbook” has nothing but wonderful recipes, and I love sharing them. The corn casserole is a great side dish, but it becomes a main dish when you add chopped up beef franks into the mixture. The crunchy lemon chicken is quick, easy and tasty.

For dessert, the coconut cake is sure to please. This recipe is from men’s basketball coach Bobby Knight. I found it funny that it was his recipe and it said to “punch” holes in the cake. I changed it to poke. The only place I’ve been able to find the cream of coconut is in the liquor department of the grocery store. I buy it to mix with whipped topping for an out-of-this-world fruit dip. This idea is courtesy of Christen Stark and one I use regularly. The dip is so good I can sit and eat a bowl of it with a spoon. Have a super week and happy eating.

 

Corn casserole

1 stick margarine, melted

2 eggs, slightly beaten

8 ounces sour cream

1 (16 ounce) can creamed corn

1 (16 ounce) can whole kernel corn, undrained

1 box Jiffy corn bread mix

Mix margarine, eggs and sour cream. Add corns and dry corn bread mix. Pour into 9-by-13-inch lightly greased baking pan. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

 

Crunchy lemon chicken

2 cups bran flakes, finely crushed

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg white, beaten

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cereal, lemon peel and salt. Dip chicken in egg white. Coat with cereal mixture. Arrange in 9x13-inch baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 20 minutes or until cooked through. Makes 6 servings.

 

Coconut cake

1 yellow or white cake mix with pudding in mix

1/4 cup oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups water

1 can cream of coconut, divided

2 cups coconut, divided

1 medium tub whipped topping

Mix cake mix, oil, eggs and water, 1 cup cream of coconut and 1 cup coconut. Bake in 9x13-inch baking pan for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Poke holes in cake and pour rest of cream of coconut over cake. Let cool and frost with remaining coconut and whipped topping. Refrigerate.

Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.

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