Monday, June 21, 2010

EASY & LIGHT PASTA PRIMAVERA

I had a different dish on the menu for tonight, but realized too little too late that I had forgotten to remove the meat from the freezer for it! Hate when that happens; meat's just not quite the same when you force it to defrost in the microwave. I thumbed through some old recipes I've had hanging out in my binder, and came across this one that uses dry ranch dressing mix in the sauce. I made a few minor adjustments and ended up with a pretty tasty little meal for my family.

EASY & LIGHT PASTA PRIMAVERA
(Serves approx. 4)

10 oz. Ronzoni Smart Taste penne rigante pasta, cooked according to directions on package
2 Tbsp. trans-fat free margarine such as Smart Balance
1/2 - 3/4 C. half & half
1/2 - 3/4 C. reduced sodium chicken broth
4 oz. light cream cheese
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 ( 13 oz.) can chunk chicken
3-4 C. frozen mixed vegetables of your choice (I used broccoli, carrots, cauliflower & squash)
fresh parsley for garnish
more Parmesan cheese for garnish
salt & pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta according to directions on package for al dente. Drain and rinse with fresh water.
2. In medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine butter, half & half, cream cheese & ranch dressing mix. Whisk until smooth. Add Parmesan cheese and whisk until smooth again, adding more half & half or broth until desired consistency.
3. Add canned chicken to sauce and warm through. In meantime, put frozen veggies in a microwaveable dish and cover with plastic wrap. Steam cook for approx. 5 minutes or until no longer frozen. (Veggies can also be cooked with pasta during last 5 minutes of cooking).
4. Assemble by placing pasta on large platter, then layer with sauce and veggies. Top with parsley and more Parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

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