This week’s column is dedicated to Jane Pratzner, a dear friend in New Jersey who can make a delicious meal out of odds and ends — as most true cooks can.

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, chopped

1 pound hamburger

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 cup diced potatoes

2 cups tomato juice

2 cups milk

1/4 cup flour

Brown meat and onion in butter. Add remaining ingredients except milk and flour and cook until vegetables are tender. If so desired, corn, peas, Lima beans, etc., may be added also. Combine milk and flour and stir until smooth. Add to soup and cook until thickened. The nice thing about this is that you can add as much, or as little, of any vegetable you wish to.

When the children are home on a snow day why not try this:

Tuna Sandwich Casserole

12 slices of bread, crusts removed

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon minced onion

1 large can tuna

1 1/2 cups grated cheese

3 eggs, beaten

3 cups milk

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon celery salt

Fit six slices of bread into a baking pan. Mix mayonnaise and onion with tuna and spread on the six slices of bread in pan. Place the other six slices on top. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Mix beaten eggs with three cups of milk and the Worcestershire sauce and celery salt. Pour over sandwiches and let stand for one hour. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serves six.

A nice ending for any meal is:

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

1 (18 1/4 ounce) box yellow cake mix

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 cup pineapple juice

1 (20 ounce) can pineapple rings (drain and reserve juice)

Maraschino cherries without stems

For cake, follow the directions on the cake mix box, except substitute pineapple juice for the water (or as much as you can). To make the glaze, combine the butter, brown sugar, and 1 cup pineapple juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Layer the bottom of a lightly greased 10-by-10-inch baking pan with the pineapple rings and place a cherry in the center of each ring. Pour the warm glaze over the pineapple. Pour the prepared cake mix evenly over the pineapple rings. Bake for 35 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. After removing the cake from the oven, cover the baking pan with a larger pan. Carefully turn the cake upside down, and gently remove it from the baking pan into the larger pan.

Our thought for the week: “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” Victor Hugo