Rush Hour

My husband and I were lucky enough to be visited by his folks last month. Since we don't get to see them very often, we planned several outings together and our days were pretty busy. Did that mean we ate out every night? Not at all. With simple recipes like the one featured this month, we enjoyed tasty, healthy meals night after night. What's more, this one actually can be made in advance so that dinner can be done quickly and worked into a busy schedule.

Making a creamy tomato sauce in a food processor with fresh tomatoes is a key to making this pasta dish so easy. While the pasta cooks, you can easily put together the sauce and prepare the vegetables and chicken for the rest of the dish. Then, you pop it in the oven for a little while and dinner's ready before you know it!

If you want, you can substitute a different grilled meat for the chicken or leave it out altogether. I think it adds a smoky touch that's nice and we often have leftover grilled chicken around during the summer months. You can also use any combination of fresh vegetables you want. If there's something special in your garden that you want to add, go for it. It's really all up to you.

Creamy Garden Pasta

  • 16 oz. penne pasta
  • 12 oz. fat free evaporated milk
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 grilled chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 oz. shredded asiago cheese

Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain.

Meanwhile, combine the evaporated milk, 1 ripe tomato, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Toss with the prepared pasta. Add the zucchini, garlic, bell pepper, chicken breast and remaining tomato. Stir to combine.

Spray a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and pour the pasta into the dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. If desired, cover and chill until you're ready to finish the dish.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20-30 minutes. Serve hot with warm bread.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes