savin' and smilin'

easy, breezy meals — for less (series)

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2009 at 10:47 pm

*I will be releasing more “easy, breezy meals — for less”  in subsequent blogs.

So let me start out by saying I’m an awful cook. But, I am pretty great at saving money, finding bargains and controlling my spending. These two skills (or lack thereof) have pushed me to search for cheap foods that are healthy and, most importantly, easy to make. Here is one super easy meal that I’ve adopted as staple of my diet; it’s never failed me:

NOODLES (SPAGHETTI, MAC N’ CHEESE, ETC.)

I didn't make this, but doesn't it look delish? © disneymike / flickr

I didn't make this, but it looks delish! © disneymike / Flickr

What You Need:

  • Noodles — $2 (I prefer whole grain or whole wheat, since these varieties are healthier)
  • Sauce — $3 (I like Ragu’s Sun-dried Tomato and Sweet Basil Sauce; usually red sauces are healthier than cream-based ones)
  • Salt — can’t be more than $1, right?
  • Cheese — $2 – $3 (I’m addicted to Kraft’s Parmesan, Romano and Asiago blend; it’s low in cholesterol, too)
  • Seasonings — $2 – $3 (I like garlic powder, and a few red pepper flakes for spice)

What You Do: If you can boil water, you can make a noodle dish. Simply fill a medium-large pot with water and place it on the burner. Top the pot and turn the burner to high heat. Gas burners heat differently than electric ones, but in about 6-8 minutes, your water should be boiling. You’ll be able to tell because large bubbles will be rising to the water’s surface. Once your water is boiling, add a pinch or two of salt (for taste) and add your pasta. When using long noodles, like spaghetti, I usually take a handful and break them in half over the pot; this makes the noodles shorter and easier to eat when cooked. Leave the pasta in the pot (with the top off) for about 5-7 minutes before checking on it. Once this time has passed, you may taste test the pasta, or try this little trick: Carefully lift a noodle out of the pot with a utensil and throw it against the wall; if it sticks, it’s done! The last things to do is strain the water from the noodles, using a metal strainer. Once that is completed, you can heat up your sauce of choice in a small sauce pan over a burner on medium heat. Add your sauce and seasonings to the pasta, and enjoy!

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