By Kim Galeaz
 

It's no secret that picky eaters love pasta. Toss it in a creamy sauce, and even the toughest customers will bite. Store-bought Alfredo sauce is packed with fat and calories, but replacing half of it with 1 percent milk and a hint of lemon really lightens it up. Swap regular pasta for whole grain, add your favorite seasonal vegetables, and you've got a hearty, healthy meal.

Time-saving tip: Cut vegetables in advance and refrigerate in airtight container. Cook pasta in advance and refrigerate. After cooking vegetables, heat pasta slightly in microwave, then toss with vegetables and sauce.

Makes 4 servings (about 2 1/2 cups per serving)

Ingredients

12 ounces whole-wheat or regular rotini, uncooked

1 tablespoon canola oil

3 1/2 cups of seasonal vegetables (broccoli, asparagus or squash) cut into bite-sized pieces

2 finely minced garlic cloves

For sauce:

1/2 cup 1 percent milk

1/2 cup store-bought light Alfredo sauce (found in the refrigerated pasta section at your supermarket)

1 tablespoon lemon zest

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm in large bowl.

  • While pasta cooks, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.

  • Add vegetables and garlic, stirring about 3 to 4 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

  • With slotted spoon, remove vegetables; add to pasta.

  • Combine milk, Alfredo sauce and lemon zest in skillet and bring to boil. Boil 2 to 3 minutes until slightly thickened.
  • Pour over pasta-vegetable mixture, add grated cheese and toss lightly.

Nutrition information (per serving) 435 calories; 11.5 g fat; 25 mg cholesterol; 435 mg sodium; 63 g carbohydrate; 8 g fiber; 22 g protein.