During my undergrad years, my roommate taught me how to cook vegetarian dishes like brown rice with pintos. It's so versatile; you can turn it into a wrap or casserole. —Natalie Van Apeldoorn, Vancouver, BC
Use up leftover noodles by tossing them with this wonderful creamy garlic sauce from Loretta Ruda of Kennesaw, Georgia. "This is my version of several recipes I've tried through the years," she notes. "It is so simple to make." Tip: "Top this dish with broiled shrimp or scallops," she suggests.
A colorful combination of zucchini and zippy canned tomatoes is delicious over quick-cooking angel hair pasta. We like the extra zest from crushed red pepper flakes. —Kathleen Timberlake, Dearborn Heights, Michigan
I spent 14 years preparing meals in restaurants, but now I just cook to entertain family and friends. I've always liked the versatility of pasta. This cheesy vegetable noodle dish is one of my grandmother's favorites, so I make it often when we get together.
This is a great summer dish because all of the cooking is done in the microwave oven, you won't heat up your kitchen. Cooked chicken, pork or extra-lean beef can easily be added to suit your family's tastes.—Carol Birkemeier, Nashville, Indiana
"Cottage cheese is the surprising base for the wonderfully creamy sauce that coats the pasta and veggies in this side dish," notes Barbara Toher of Lexington, Kentucky. "My husband, who doesn't like to compromise good taste for low-fat foods, didn't even realize this dish was lower in fat."