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Heloise's Kitcheneering™:
Recipes You Request Most Often

1 2/3 cups regular or whole-wheat flour (or 1/2 each type)
10 to 12 packets (about 2 tablespoons) artificial sweetener (the kind you can cook with) or 1 1/4 cups sugar (see note)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 to 2 teaspoons each of allspice, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional, see note)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup salad oil
1 cup pumpkin (if you use 1/2 cup more pumpkin you'll get a stronger flavor)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 2 small loaf pans.
2. Sift the dry ingredients and add the nuts. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, oil, and pumpkin; add to dry ingredients. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake for 50 or 60 minutes.

NOTE: You may substitute bran, wheat germ, or sesame seeds.
Makes: 2 small loaves


This low-fat recipe is served at Night In Old San Antonio during Fiesta, a 10-day citywide annual April celebration that takes place in San Antonio. This original recipe is from Faye Leavitt, a dear longtime friend, and is a hit at all functions. You can use fewer peppers or salsa—if you think your guests can't stand the heat! Or, more if you like things hot and spicy!

1 large jar of picante sauce (medium or hot)
2 16-ounce cans of black-eyed peas, drained
1 16-ounce can of white hominy, drained
1 cup of bell pepper, diced
1 cup of white onion, diced
1 cup of fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro (Chinese parsley), chopped
1/4 cup jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
1 cup of green onions, chopped (including the green tops)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin

Stir all the ingredients together thoroughly so that the individual flavors and spices will blend well. Then refrigerate for 24 hours.

NOTE: This is better if kept chilled when serving. This can be done easily by setting a bowl of Texas Caviar into a larger bowl of crushed ice.


Photo: D. L. Evans

In 1995 I asked my readers for a Red Velvet Cake recipe that had been a family favorite of a reader who lost it when her house burned down.

Heloise tasting four versions of Red Velvet Cake sent in by more than 15,000 readers!
Who knew this was such a popular cake recipe? I had loved it as a child and remembered how delicious it was, but could not find it in my cookbooks. So I turned to my wonderful readers, and boy did they deliver! Here is the quick version that is a snap to make.

1 (18.25 ounces) box yellow cake mix
5 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup low-fat or regular buttermilk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ounces red food coloring

1. In a large bowl, combine the dry cake mix and only the ingredients listed above (do not add the ingredients listed on the cake box). Check the box directions to see how long you need to mix the batter and then bake according to the directions on the box for the size pans you are using.
2. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, run a dull knife around the edges, then carefully turn out onto a cake rack or plate to finish cooling.

Cream Cheese Icing
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/2 box plus 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a mixer, blend all of the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. You can add one or two drops of red food coloring for a pink icing, or leave it white for the traditional one.


Pastry for a double-crusted 9-inch pie

2 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
20 whole soda crackers
Butter (for dotting)
Ground cinnamon (for sprinkling)

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with pastry.
2. In a medium saucepan, boil the water, sugar and cream of tartar. Add the soda crackers and boil for only 1 minute.
3. Spoon gently into the pie shell. Dot the top with butter and sprinkle on the cinnamon to taste. Cover the pie with the top crust and cut vents in it.
4. Bake 35 minutes. Let the pie cool completely before cutting so it can firm up.


1 cup cooked unseasoned pinto beans (see note)
1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar
4 ounces butter or margarine
4 eggs, well beaten
2 tablespoons molasses or dark corn syrup
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (9-inch) pie shell, unbaked
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Whipped cream or nondairy whipped topping (for serving)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Drain and mash the beans thoroughly. In a medium bowl, cream the sugar and butter. Add the eggs, molasses, vanilla, and salt. Mix in the beans. Pour into the pie shell and sprinkle the chopped pecans on top.
3. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until firm or a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve with the whipped cream.

Use canned beans or start from dried beans.


This recipe appeared in my mother's column September 17, 1959. She called the cake Conversation Piece. You'll see that it certainly can start a conversation.

1/2 cup solid shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup nuts, chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can tomato soup
1 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Optional ingredients:
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 10-inch square cake pan.
2. Cream the shortening and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the tomato soup (undiluted) and then mix in the rest of the ingredients, except the icing, one at a time.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes.
4. When cake is done, remove it from the oven. Loosen the edges with a knife. Turn onto cake rack and let cool. Prepare icing and frost the cake.

Conversation Cake Icing
1 3-ounce package cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Place the cream cheese in a small bowl and let it soften at room temperature. Add the vanilla and sugar. Mix well. Spread the icing on the cooled cake. Sprinkle it with the chopped nuts.


My mother brought this recipe back from China in the late 1940s. My father was stationed there while he was in the Air Force.

6 cups cooked, sliced beets or 3 cans sliced beets
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar (white or apple cider)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
24 whole cloves
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons cooking oil (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt

1. Drain the beets, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the beet liquid. Place the beets in a medium saucepan with the reserved liquid and the remainder of the ingredients.
2. Mix well, then cook for 3 minutes over medium heat, or until the mixture thickens. Let it cool, then store it in the refrigerator.


This flavorful salt substitute will help you cut back on salt and you’ll still be able to enjoy tasty foods. Note: It uses onion and garlic powders, not salts.

5 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (can use black)
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds.

Mix all of the listed ingredients and store in a tightly covered, labeled container in a cool, dry place. Don't store this (or any spices) above the stove. They'll lose their zip.


2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon powdered lemon rind
(or dehydrated lemon juice)

Put ingredients into a blender and mix well. Store in glass container. You can add some uncooked grains of rice to prevent caking.


4 pounds chili meat**
1 1/2 cups canned whole tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
2 to 6 generous dashes liquid hot pepper sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon cumin seed, crushed
2 cups hot water
6 teaspoons chili powder (more if needed)
Salt to taste

1. Place meat, onions, and garlic in a large, heavy fry pan or Dutch oven. Cook until light-colored.
2. Add oregano, cumin seed, chili powder, tomatoes, hot pepper sauce, salt and hot water. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer about 1 hour. Skim off fat during cooking.

** Chili meat is coarsely ground round steak or well-trimmed chuck meat. If specially ground, ask the butcher to use 3/4 inch plate for coarse grind.

NOTE: If you want to spice this up, add more chili powder, cumin or cilantro. Let your taste be your guide.


3 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar or artificial sweetener equivalent, or to taste
Pinch of salt (optional)
3 cups skim or low-fat milk
1 to 2 tablespoons powdered milk (see note)
3 tablespoons bourbon extract or to taste
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
Dash of nutmeg or cinnamon (for garnish)
4 cinnamon sticks (optional)

1. In a large saucepan, beat together eggs, sugar or sweetener, and salt, if desired. Stir in 1 1/2 cups milk and powdered milk.
2. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is just thick enough to coat a metal spoon and reaches 160F. Remove from heat and stir in the rest of the milk and vanilla.
3. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Before serving, garnish with a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon, and a cinnamon stick for stirring.

NOTE: I sometimes use half sugar and half sweetener.
Makes: 4 servings


Oil for deep frying
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar (for topping)

For best results, use a deep fryer. If you don't have one, a heavy, deep pan will be fine. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches and let it get very hot, but not so hot that it smokes or burns.

Mix the eggs, milk, flour, baking powder and salt. Pour the batter through a funnel into the hot oil, moving it in a circular motion, then in a crisscross one, until you have made a cake about the size of a large doughnut. The little cakes cook quickly, so watch them carefully.

When lightly browned, remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels. While hot, dredge them in the powdered sugar or sprinkle it over the tops of the cakes. You can use a large-holed kitchen saltshaker or shake the sugar through a sieve.




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