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posted: 5/22/2013 6:00 AM

Frugal living: Ideas for using up chili sauce and candied fruit

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Q. Someone gave us a gallon-size can of chili sauce and I have no idea what to do with it once opened. Any ideas would be appreciated.

D.M., Virginia

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A. You can open it and transfer it to freezer storage bags, so it's in smaller portions. Use it in spaghetti sauce, chili, sloppy joes, for shrimp cocktail sauce, on top of meatloaf, as a meat marinade, or in homemade salad dressing, to name a few ideas.

Q. I have a question about cleaning the dishwasher. There's a persistent idea on the Internet that you can clean your dishwasher by running it empty with two packs of lemon Kool-Aid. That seems unlikely to me. If it's a matter of acidity, surely vinegar would be more effective. Have you tried the Kool-Aid thing? If so, how did it turn out? If not, how do you clean the inside of your dishwasher?

R.N., Florida

A. Citric acid works well to clean dishwashers. Many of my readers fill the soap dispenser with either powdered Tang or lemonade-flavored Kool-Aid and run a full cycle. Lemi Shine dishwasher detergent additive works well, too. I remove the racks and use a green 3M Scotch-Brite pad and an old toothbrush to scrub around the seal/gasket and drain, and to clean the interior walls. I use regular liquid dishwashing soap in hot water, then rinse. Then I clean the interior with bleach and follow up with another rinse. I pour vinegar in the dishwasher and let it run on a hot cycle.

Q. I somehow wound up with about 8 ounces each of candied pineapple and candied red and green cherries. They're not fresh or dried; they're the really sticky kind that goes in fruitcake. Any ideas how I can use these without making fruitcake?

Jo S., email

A. I'd make candied fruit cookies or biscotti. But fruitcake can be quite delicious when homemade -- not at all like the type you see in the stores during the holidays. (No offense to those folks who love that kind.)

• Sara Noel owns Frugal Village (frugalvillage.com), a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. Send tips, comments or questions to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106, or sara@frugalvillage.com.

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