Pasta Keeps Things Quick

IN THE KITCHEN

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More often than not you can find really good deals on pasta in area grocery stores. With the warm weather here and all the activities it brings with it, a quick and easy pasta dish is just right for dinner. Make enough for extra servings and you will have a homemade lunch that's faster than drive-thru service.

Whether it's snacks, beverages, cheese, convenient meals or other grocery products, Kraft has more leading brands than any other food company. And with so many products, the company also has a wonderful selection of recipes.

The following are some "Pasta recipes plus" that can be found on the Kraft Foods Web site.

Creamy Restaurant-Style Tortellini

1, 16-ounce package Di Giorno Three Cheese Tortellini

1-1/2 cups milk

4 ounces (1/2 of 8-ounce package) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened

6 tablespoons Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided

Grated peel from 1 medium lemon

4 cups baby spinach leaves

1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes

Cook tortellini as directed on package.

Meanwhile, place milk and cream cheese in large skillet. Cook on medium heat until cream cheese is melted and mixture is well blended, stirring occasionally. Stir in 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of the Parmesan cheese and the lemon peel. Add spinach; stir to coat. Drain pasta. Add to spinach mixture in skillet; mix lightly.

Sprinkle with tomatoes and remaining Parmesan cheese just before serving.

Special Extra

Stir in 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill for a new twist on this recipe.

Round Out The Meal

Serve this delicious dish with a crisp, mixed green salad for a simple yet sophisticated meal and finish it off with Cappuccino Dessert.

Cappuccino Dessert

2 cups cold fat free milk

2 teaspoons Maxwell House or Yuban Instant Coffee or Sanka Brand 97% Caffeine Free Instant Coffee

1 package (4-serving size) Jell-O Vanilla Flavor Fat Free Sugar Free Instant Reduced Calorie Pudding & Pie Filling

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup thawed Cool Whip Lite Whipped Topping

Pour milk and instant coffee into medium bowl. Add pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk two minutes or until well blended. Pour into dessert dishes.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until ready to serve. Just before serving, gently stir cinnamon into whipped topping. Spread over pudding.

Storage Know-How

Once thawed, store Cool Whip Lite Whipped Topping in refrigerator for up to two weeks or re-freeze.

Springtime Pasta Toss

Cook enough pasta for 4 (about 8 ounces or 1/2 of 16-ounce package) and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid when you drain the pasta.

Mix & match your recipe from these options...

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced; 1 cup each chopped carrots, chopped red peppers; Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing; 1/2 cup Kraft Shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1/2 pound Oscar Mayer Bacon, chopped (omit oil); 1 green onion, chopped; 2 cups frozen peas, thawed; Ranch Dressing; 1/2 cup Kraft Finely Shredded Italian Style Five Cheese Blend
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, cleaned; 2 cups chopped asparagus; grated peel and juice of 1 lemon; Light Done Right! Classic Caesar Reduced Fat Dressing; 1/4 cup Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed; 1 cup each cherry tomatoes, halved; frozen corn, thawed; halved green beans; Special Collection Greek Vinaigrette Dressing; 1/2 cup Athenos Crumbled Feta Cheese with Basil & Tomato

Then follow these three simple steps:

Cook pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, cook and stir meat in hot oil in large skillet five minutes or until meat is evenly browned. Stir in vegetables and 1/4 cup Kraft Dressing. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, simmer 10 minutes or until meat is cooked through and vegetables are crisp-tender.

Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Place pasta in large serving bowl. Add reserved cooking liquid and the meat mixture; toss lightly. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Kraft Cheese.

No-Cook Fresh Tomato Sauce with Pasta

2 pounds plum tomatoes (about 8 medium), chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons chopped red onions

1/2 cup Kraft Light Done Right! House Italian Reduced Fat Dressing

1/4 cup Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese

1 pound pasta, cooked, drained

Combine tomatoes, basil and onions in large bowl.

Stir in dressing and cheese.

Add pasta; toss lightly.

How To Serve as a Cold Pasta Dish

Prepare as directed; cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight until chilled.

Tossed Italian Garden Salad

10 cups torn romaine lettuce

2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 plum tomatoes, chopped

1 small zucchini, sliced

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

3/4 cup Kraft Light Done Right! House Italian Reduced Fat Dressing

Toss greens, vegetables and basil with dressing.

Great Substitute

Substitute one package (10 ounces) Italian salad greens for torn romaine lettuce.

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