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When it comes to cooking, there’s no place like home

Wire Report | 1/4/2013, noon

FAMILY FEATURES – One of the chief benefits of cooking at home is the ability to nurture healthier habits in your family. This is the mindset that’s driving “Generation Fresh,” a movement of home cooks committed to cooking more at home because they believe it is inherently healthier and delicious.

Cooking at home gives you the option of choosing exactly what goes into your meals to create flavorful, fresh food that encourages sustainable, positive changes to the way you eat.

“When trying to eat better, it’s essential that the food we make at home is really enjoyable,” says Chef Mark Garcia from the McCormick Kitchens. “Luckily, it’s easy. By adding more herbs and spices to everyday cooking you can pump up flavor while gradually reducing salt, fat and sugar.”

To make your recipes more fresh and flavorful, the McCormick Kitchens recommend these small changes to family favorites:

• Replace the heavy breading on chicken tenders with a flour mixture spiced with paprika, black pepper and oregano. Bake it in the oven to reduce fat and calories.

• For a delicious twist on traditional chili, try using boneless, skinless chicken breasts with black beans and corn. Add authentic Southwest flavor with cumin, garlic powder and red pepper.

• For pasta night, load your sauce with veggies like zucchini, mushrooms and onions instead of meat. Build layers of rich flavor with garlic powder, black pepper and McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning. Get a taste of this delicious tip with Tuscan Pasta.

For more ways to freshen up family dinner, or to find out more about Generation Fresh, visit www.McCormick.com or www.Pinterest.com/McCormickSpices.

Tuscan Pasta

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Makes 6 servings

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

2 teaspoons McCormick Garlic Powder

2 teaspoons McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Black Pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound zucchini and/or yellow squash, sliced

1 package (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms

1 small onion, chopped

6 ounces pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine

Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

  1. Mix tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar and seasonings in medium saucepan. Bring to boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add zucchini, mushrooms and onion; cook and stir 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir tomato sauce into vegetables.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on package. Drain well. Place pasta in serving bowl. Add vegetable mixture; toss well. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.