A lot of stories claim that mac and cheese was created by Thomas Jefferson, Marco Polo or the cooks of China. My favorite theory? An Italian housewife invented it to introduce non-Italian Americans to macaroni. —Stephanie Sorbie, Glendale, Arizona
Spinach provides a delicious base for all the wonderful flavor combinations found in Kierste Wade's hearty salad. The Midland, Michigan reader writes, This salad is perfect for so many different occasions, including when company comes.”
This creamy dish resembles traditional rice risotto, only it’s quicker and easier to make. Fresh herbs enhance the tender orzo pasta and sweet butternut squash. Try it as a warming side dish for pork.—Country Woman Test Kitchen
This noodle side dish is so versatile that it can accompany steak, pork chops, chicken or even hamburgers. Chill leftovers to serve as a cool main-dish salad on a warm summer night. When time allows, I like to replace the pepperoni with sliced cooked chicken.
-Julie Mosher, Coldwater, Michigan
I had to get my firefighter husband to eat more fruits and veggies to lower his cholesterol and triglycerides. Fresh chard and tomatoes add a lot of fiber and vitamins to our diets, but we love this recipe for the flavor. While he would never admit to eating "health food" around the firehouse, this dish is one of many that made his trips to the doctor much more pleasant! —Carolyn Kumpe, El Dorado, California
Hot pasta is tossed with a fresh-tasting sauce that includes tomatoes, basil and Brie cheese in this deliciously different dish. It's very pretty, too. Even when it cools off, this pasta tastes great.
-Diann Mallehan, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Garlic, basil and oregano add pizzazz to this savory side dish. The pasta is tender and moist, and there's plenty of cheese flavor. I like to serve it alongside steaks or chicken.
Concord, North Carolina
"I'm the mother of two very active boys, and this flavorful dish is one they'll always eat," writes Tracey Jones from Chesapeake, Virginia. "Another reason I love it is I usually have the ingredients on hand."
"Besides helping on our farm, I work as an environmental assistant for a power district," relates Denise Goedeken from Platte Center, Nebraska. "It's quite a challenge to put a good nutritious meal on the table and still have time for doing things with my family." Denise's husband and their two girls enjoy this dish, which you can make for just 20¢ a serving.
Looking for a quick tasty side dish that goes well with all kinds of meats? Denise Elder in Hanover, Ontario shares a recipe for tender, tasty noodles you’ll want to try. “For a colorful variation, sometimes I add slightly cooked red and green pepper strips and a quarter cup of peas,” she adds.