Picnics in Maine: Colorful pasta salad is also healthy choice

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Nutrient-rich dairy foods can play a delicious role in building and maintaining your healthy family.

The cheeses, yogurts, dips, puddings, drinks and more in the dairy group supply most of the calcium you consume and help in increasing bone density, strengthening teeth and lowering blood pressure. Recent findings suggest dairy foods can even help in weight loss.

Did you know:

• More than one-third of all milk produced each year in the U.S. is used to manufacture cheese.

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• There are over 2,000 varieties of cheese.

• Opened cheese should be used within three to five days.

• Cheese can be frozen for up to two months.

Here’s a family-pleasing recipe to try:

Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

8 oz. multicolored rotini pasta, uncooked

1 cup cut fresh broccoli

1 cup cut fresh cauliflower

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into short, thin strips

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)

2 tsp. dried basil

2 Tbsp. minced sun-dried tomatoes

½ cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli, cauliflower and bell pepper during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse with cold water in colander. In large bowl, mix the pasta and vegetables with dressing. Add 1½ cups of cheese, tomatoes, basil and sun-dried tomatoes; toss. Serve on lettuce with remaining cheese.

The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association celebrates Dairy Month in June with special prices and promotions and a National Park Family Vacation Sweepstakes. For contest dates, official rules and entry form, visit www.EasyHomeMeals.com. (NAPSI)

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