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Speeding Spring to the Family Table

Dragging through the last days of winter? Let the first breath of fresh air stir you to cook up flavor-packed fare that welcomes springtime with great gusto.

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Dragging through the last days of winter? Let the first breath of fresh air stir you to cook up flavor-packed fare that welcomes springtime with great gusto. Especially eye-opening for March, a yellow-accented salad and a lemon-rich dessert. Their crisp, tart flavors herald warmer days to come.

Mexican Pasta

Serves 6

30 minutes or fewer 

Using fresh pasta helps you assemble this dish in minutes. And the tortellini can catch and hold the sauce, yielding delicious bites with each mouthful. A tart green salad offers a flavor counterpoint, and oranges or poached pears provide a pleasing close. Makes about 9 cups.

1 20-oz. pkg. fresh 3-cheese tortellini

2 Tbs. vegetable oil

2 tsp. minced garlic

6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 tsp. chili powder, or to taste

8 oz. sliced mushrooms

6 oz. taco-seasoned ground   soy “meat”

4 oz. shredded low-fat cheddar  or mozzarella cheese

1 large avocado, peeled and   sliced, for garnish

1. Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, and cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and rinse.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbs. oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic 30 seconds, and add tomatoes and chili powder. Cook 5 to 8 minutes; remove from skillet.

3. Reheat skillet with remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and add mushrooms and soy “meat.” Sauté 2 to 3 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to soften. Stir in tomatoes and cheese; cook, stirring often, 5 minutes more.

4. Spoon equal portions of pasta onto plates; top with “meat” sauce, and garnish with avocado slices.

PER SERVING: 400 CAL; 25G PROT; 14G TOTAL FAT (5G SAT. FAT); 48G CARB; 165MG CHOL; 380MG SOD; 7G FIBER; 2G SUGARS