By People Staff
March 11, 2009 12:00 PM

THIS MONTH’S QUESTION

How do you put dinner on the table fast?

TWICE THE FOOD, HALF THE TIME

When cooking a meal for dinner, double the batch, eat one for dinner that night and freeze the extra for dinner another night.

—Jill Thornhill, Fort Wayne, Ind.

CHOP AND GO

I precut and measure all the ingredients needed for dinner and put them all in separate bowls (with plastic wrap on them) in the fridge. Then that night preparing dinner is a breeze!

—Betsy Wise, Lubbock, Texas

IT’S ALL IN THE PREP

Each morning my family and I set the table, empty the dishwasher and complete other tasks that take time away from dinner preparation. That allows me to help my son with his homework while I cook and get things going during the evening.

—Pam Clifton, Fredericktown, Mo.

DOUBLE-DUTY DINNERS

I plan a couple meals from one. If I serve baked chicken one night, I’ll shred the leftover chicken to make soup the next night. Or if I make a roast, I’ll use the leftovers for barbecue sandwiches. That’s four meals with cooking just two times.

—Paula Carriger, Jenks, Okla.

CROCK-POT IT

I put ingredients in the slow cooker before going to work and dinner is ready when we get home.

—Linda Fischer, Lexington, Ky.

FUNNY TRUE-LIFE STORIES

Have a Laugh!

DINO BAIT

My son, Jake Payne, 4, ‘posed’ by the dinosaur exhibit at Disney World last spring.

—Jessica Bryan, New York City

LAW & DISORDER

We arrived home one evening to find our front door ajar and we dared not enter until the police arrived. After checking the house, the officer reported, “We’re not sure what the burglar took, but he sure made a mess of your bedroom.” When we went to inspect the damage, we had to laugh. It was just as we had left it that morning. When my mother told me to always wear clean underwear she should have told me to fold and put it away, too!

—Sarah Wilke, Dallas

PET PHOTO OF THE MONTH

Boogie is 6 months old and has a naturally formed heart on his forehead. He’s a real sweetheart!

—Lana P. Williams, Whitley City, Ky.

THE BIG DIG

We live in West Virginia, but my husband worked in nearby Ohio. One day the valley was hit by a severe snowstorm and since replacement shifts were unable to get to the plant, he had to stay at work. Two days later he emerged, broom and shovel in hand, and began digging piles of snow away from the car. Finally, he got to the license plate…OHIO! He’d worked 45 minutes digging out someone else’s car!

—Carole Dawson, New Martinsville, W.Va.

MAKE LIFE EASIER

Reader-Tested Tips

LET US SPRAY

To keep a plastic storage bowl from becoming stained by spaghetti sauce, chili, etc., spray the inside of the bowl with any cooking spray like PAM before adding food. The bowl will clean without any discoloration.

—Susan Davis, Gulf Breeze, Fla.

WINE VS. WINE

If you spill red wine on a light-colored carpet, pour white wine directly on top of it, then gently blot the liquid up with a thick towel. The white wine neutralizes the red and makes it easier to lift the color off.

—Joanna Wagner, Wilmington, Del.

LITTER PERFECT

To get the musty smell out of old suitcases, put a small container of Kitty Litter inside for a few days. It will absorb the odor.

—Cookie Wagner, Glen Head, N.Y.

THAT’S A WRAP

Use those shower caps hotels give you to cover rising bread dough. They stretch easily to fit different size bowls.

—Sara C. Thomas, Washington, D.C.

CHOCOLATE SURPRISE

When baking a chocolate cake, I always pump up the wow factor by using chocolate milk instead of the regular milk called for in the recipe. Who doesn’t love extra chocolate?

—Caroline Kidston, Charleston, S.C.

NEXT MONTH’S QUESTION: HOW DO YOU MAKE BIRTHDAYS SPECIAL?

E-mail country@peoplemag.com and let us know. If we use your answer, we’ll send you a free CD! This month’s winners will receive a copy of Dierks Bentley’s new release, Feel That Fire.

GOT A FUNNY PHOTO OR STORY? OR A REALLY USEFUL TIP?

E-mail country@peoplemag.com and let us know. If we use your answer, we’ll send you a free CD!

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