Pasta is not only the most versatile food, it’s tops when it comes to budget family meals. That’s because pasta is reasonably cheap, you can make the sauce with or without meat for a further budget saving, and you can serve it in a variety of ways.
When it comes to the variety of pastas available, meal possibilities are endless. You can serve pasta as a main dish or couple it with a salad, or with a chicken or meat entrée.
Left-over cooked pasta noodles will keep well (covered) for a couple of days in the refrigerator. They can then be reintroduced to the dinner table in either a cream sauce, fried with onions and peppers, or added to soups or stews.
When you cook pasta, give some thought to the type of noodles and how you could serve left-overs two days later. Cooking it once for two dinner meals is a time-saver. And don’t be afraid to mix/match different types of noodles together for some dishes. It doesn’t always have to be spaghetti noodles with meat balls either, there’s a large variety of noodles.
A few ideas of what you can do with pasta:
- Make homemade mac and cheese with elbow macaroni
- Spaguetti with/without meat sauce or meat balls
- Pasta bows are very nice in stews or cream sauce
- Stuff large shells or tube noodles with a cheese mix and serve with a tomato sauce
- Use alphabet, ring or other small noodles in soups
- Bake a hearty lasagna
- Make a quick homemade alphabet pasta with a light sauce, using tomato soup and seasonings
- Serve pasta noodles as a side dish, plain with a dab of garlic butter and basil
- Linguini noodles are nice in a cream sauce or served cold in pasta salads
- Make a macaroni salad with elbow noodles
- Small shell noodles are good in soups; large in stews and either in a tomato sauce
Pasta is an excellent choice and budget stretcher for serving many or a few and especially when you’re not sure how many are coming to dinner. Leftovers don’t usually stay around long and cooked pasta meals usually freeze well.
If you’re very creative and want to save even more, consider making your own pasta. There are excellent pasta making tools, but this task does take time.