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Get Creative When Cooking for Two

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(ARA) - Empty nesters, couples, and roommates all share a similar challenge: making tasty meals for two.

Most cookbook recipes are geared to serve four, six, even eight. And while leftovers can be a bonus, no one wants to eat them every other night.

Even for two-couple households pressed for time, there is no reason not to enjoy a healthy, flavorful meal. In many busy homes, dinner is the one time set aside to catch up on the day's events.

Here are some shopping and cooking tips to make it easier to plan, prepare and share a quality meal.

* When shopping for produce, don't be shy about asking a clerk to repackage vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower into smaller portions.

* If your local grocery store has a bulk section, this can be a great way to buy only the quantity you need.

* Ask your butcher to divide larger cuts of meat into single portions and freeze the rest for another meal.

* Have the necessary equipment to cook smaller quantities -- smaller saucepans, mini loaf pans, etc.

* Instead of cooking vegetables, meat and carbohydrates separately, think about casseroles or pasta dishes for a meal in a dish.

* Stock up on convenience items that will let you put tasty and nutritious meals together in a flash.

Both Stouffer's and Lean Cuisine Skillet Sensations and Stouffer's Oven Sensations offer easy and delicious options in portions just right for two.

These all-in-one meals offer great taste, good nutrition and quality ingredients -- including tender beef, juicy white meat chicken or turkey coupled with rice, pasta or potatoes and bright, crisp vegetables.

Nearly every variety in the Sensations line has been improved and now offers more meat. "We responded to consumers who said they would like more meat," says Roz O'Hearn, director of communications for Nestlé's Prepared Foods Division.

Stouffer's Skillet Sensations and Lean Cuisine Skillet Sensations are ready to eat in about 15 minutes. To prepare, simply open the bag, pour the contents into a skillet and cook for 15 minutes.

Nestlé has just introduced the newest addition to the Stouffer's Oven Sensations line, Chicken and Dumplings: tender white meat chicken and dumplings with vegetables in light chicken gravy.

"We introduced Oven Sensations after we heard from consumers that they missed the oven-roasted flavors of meals like pot roast, but didn't have time enough to cook them," says O'Hearn. "Whether you use the Sensations products in the oven or on the stovetop, the cooking aromas will remind you of Mom's kitchen."

The latest food technology allows Nestlé to individually quick freeze the ingredients in its products, which means the meat is more tender and the vegetables retain more color, texture and flavor. "Homemade taste was never so easy," says O'Hearn.

Also important on those busy nights, Skillet Sensations and Oven Sensations offer easy clean-up, letting you get out of the kitchen quickly. For more easy meal ideas, visit www.stouffers.com .

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