Eating Great Food on a Budget: Part 3 Pasta

WELCOME BACK to my Eating Great Food on a Budget series! This article is going to focus on all things pasta. Pasta dishes are overall cheap but cheap doesn’t have to be tasteless or crappy. If you tried my pulled pork from Part 1 or Mammy’s Italian Check from Part 2, you know that flavor is not lacking. What is lack is the extra money that isn’t necessary!

My favorite pasta dishes stand alone as a full meal or make a great side. First up is my Little Grandma’s Mac and Cheese. This recipe comes all the way from Lithuania via the Lusitania and Ellis Island in August 1894 from my great grandmother. My other great grandmother was taller so the Little Grandma name was born.

Little Grandma’s Mac and Cheese

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni – Cooked according to the direction on the box
  • 2 cans of stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cans of condensed tomato soup
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese

In a pot, combine the stewed tomatoes, tomato soup, and sugar over medium heat. Heat until the tomatoes come to a boil. STIR OFTEN so that the tomatoes do not burn.

Layer in a pan starting with macaroni, then cheese, and then tomato mixture. Continue to layer until complete. Bake uncovered in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let this mac and cheese cool for a little bit.

Total Cost $4.17

I love making this dish for parties or when I am hosting a large dinner party. If I am going an office pot luck, I love to bring my food in the crock pot and have it cook in my office.

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

  • 3 boxes of mac and cheese
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1 pound of browned ground beef or hot dogs (optional)

Cook the macaroni and prepare the cheese according to the box. Add the mac and cheese to a sprayed crock pot. Add in the can of corn with the water. Add in the browned beef or chopped up hot dogs. Mix all of the ingredients together.

Cook on low for 4-5 hours. When you a ready to serve, sprinkle the shredded Monterey Jack Cheese and cover until melted.

Total Cost with hot dog $4.38

uncooked three pastas

When you are meal planning, add in one of these pasta dishes to you plan. They are total crowd pleasers, easy on the wallet, and super easy to make! For less than $5 a dish, you can get 5-10 meals or a full week of lunch/dinner sides.

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