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A Flash in the Pan

Many nights, by the time I get home, I only have the energy to boil a hot dog or microwave a block of whatever's in the freezer. Lately, I've begun to wonder whether there's some way to eat a real dinner without calling for takeout.

Now, I think I've found it: Putney Pasta Skillet Meals. I've tried other one-pan wonders before, but they've been too salty, or so fatty I worried that Surgeon General would burst through my front door to to stage an emergency intervention. But the Putney meal I sampled last night, Chicken Alfredo, is a cut above, with very decent nutritionals, all-natural ingredients, and, hooray, a decadent taste. Multicolored corkscrew pasta and tender chicken chunks are enrobed in a cream sauce accented with gruyere cheese, while broccoli florets add a pleasing crunch (and eliminate the need to steam up a veggie side dish).

My husband and I each happily dug into our bowls -- and best of all my 9-year-old daughter loved it, too. I'll be keeping a bag in my freezer from now on, and sampling the other four varieties (Chicken Piccata, Schrimp Scampi, Chicken Pomodoro and Shrimp Pesto) soon. $8.99 to $10.99, at retailers nationwide.