Try this with any short pasta, such as fusilli, farfalle, or cavatappi. You can also vary the type of cheese; a combination of provolone and Asiago gives it an Italian flair. (Serves 6)

Creamy Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese

Seven-layer salad *

Low-fat chocolate chip ice cream
Credit: Photo: Beau Gustafson; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke

* Layer 6 cups torn iceberg lettuce, 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed and drained kidney beans, 2 cups diced tomatoes, 1 cup diced cucumbers, and 1 cup julienne-cut carrot in a large bowl. Combine 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream and 1/2 cup light ranch dressing; spread sour cream mixture over carrot. Top with 1/2 cup (2 ounces) preshredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese. Cover and chill.