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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!

Consider Joining HCE!

Posted by Jenna Smith -

I just returned from the Illinois Association for Home and Community Education's Annual Conference (IAHCE) where I serve as the Extension Liaison. What a fabulous time I had! There were all sorts of interesting and educational lessons to choose from, including a lesson on herbs, gluten, photography, flower arranging, energy solutions and more.

If you are wondering what or who HCE is let me explain. HCE was formed in 1915 when a Miss Eva Benfiel, a graduate of University of Illinois, developed an association for home economists. She wanted the home advisor role to be viewed as more than just a maid in the home. Now, HCE consists of over 9,000 women across the state of Illinois, educating the community and volunteering in countless activities for their communities.

If you are a woman with a little time on your hands to give back to the community you live in, I encourage you to consider joining an HCE unit in your area. To learn more about HCE or to find out how to join, check out the IAHCE website or call your local Extension office.

These wonderful women have a strong partnership with University of Illinois Extension that is invaluable to us. They help children enrolled in the 4-H program to learn how to cook, sew, and much, much more. And what do I love best about them...their delicious recipes they send me! Here is a wonderful pasta dish that takes just minutes to make. Add chicken or a type of protein to make it an entrée and double the recipe to feed a family of four.

Italian Herb Pasta and Tomatoes (Printable PDF)

4 oz. whole wheat or whole grain pasta shells, uncooked

1 T. olive oil

1 tsp. chopped garlic

½ cup fresh baby spinach

3/4 cup chopped tomatoes

Fresh or dried oregano to taste

Fresh or dried basil to taste

1-2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in large skillet. Add garlic and sauté until slightly brown. Stir in spinach and cook until slightly wilted. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil, and balsamic vinegar; cook for about 1 minute. Stir in cooked pasta; cook until thoroughly heated. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Yield: 2 servings

Nutritional Facts: (Amount per serving) 290 calories, 9 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 40 milligrams sodium, 46 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fiber, 9 grams protein.

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