Monday, 2 January 2012

New Frugal Recipe - Creamy Baked Ziti

Creamy Baked Ziti

2 cups uncooked noodles (ziti or pasta of choice)
1 - 700 ml can of spaghetti sauce
1 - 250 g package of cream cheese
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Combine spaghetti sauce and cream cheese in pot. Heat until cream cheese is melted. Add diced tomatoes and pasta. Pour into casserole dish and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for approximately 15 minutes at 350 or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

This is one of the most delicious and cheapest meals I cook. It's a definite family favourite, too. This meal generally costs me less than $5.00, if I have a good stockpile of sale items. It also lasts more than one meal. Most times, unless the family is especially hungry, we get two meals or at least a dinner and lunches from one batch.

A general breakdown looks like this:

pasta - no more than $1/pkg
spaghetti sauce - $1/can
diced tomatoes - $.99/can
cream cheese - $1.99
mozzarella cheese - approx. $1.00 (this is a bit harder to determine, but I pay no more than $5.00 for a brick and use about a fifth of the brick.

The main thing here is to really watch the sales and stock up on the basic ingredients when they are cheap. I have about 20 packages of $1.00 pasta and spaghetti sauce in the pantry. Mozzarella cheese and cream cheese both freeze fine if you're going to use them for cooking.

Add a loaf of homemade bread to this dinner or a nice salad and you have a meal your family will love and ask for again and again!

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