$10 buck dinners!

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White Lasagna with Asparagus Salad

There are a lot of lasagna variations and this is just another that you might consider if you have leftover cheese filling, as I did. Plus, this is a great recipe to omit the meat and make vegetarian. The kids really like the white sauce and I loved the asparagus salad. It’s so simple too. And fast. Basically, it’s similar to a salad I make with cucumber and tomato. Having asparagus instead of cucumber wasn’t just fun and delicious, but also very healthy. When I find asparagus for $1.99 a bunch, I buy it up. What a great change from the usual sauted variety!

White Lasagna:

Meat Cheese Filling (I used my leftover filling from a recent ravioli recipe, which I had froze):

1/2 cup ricotta cheese, well drained- $.50
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated- $.75
1/4 cup mozzarella- $.30
1 egg- $.15
1 lb ground beef or turkey – $2.95
1 can cream of celery soup – $.65
8 oz lasagna noodles – $.95
1 1/2 cups half and half – $.50
1 1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs (Oregano, Basil, Marjoram and Thyme) – pantry
1/2 tsp garlic powder – pantry
1/2 tsp salt – pantry
pepper to taste – pantry
Additional Basil, Oregano, minced Garlic and Salt and pepper – for ground beef (1 tsp each, except for salt. Only 1/2 tsp or to taste)

COST: $6.75

In a mixing bowl, combine mozzarella, ricotta, egg, Italian herb seasoning, 1/2 tsp salt and garlic powder. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Cook ground beef with added herbs, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Once beef is cooked, drain, then add can soup, half and half and stir till well mixed. Add 1/4 cup parmesan and mix again and set aside.

Cook lasagna noodles as directed on package, til al dente. Now you’re ready to layer.

Place a little sauce in baking dish. I like a 9×9 glass pan. After sauce, layer noodles, cheese mixture, meat sauce and top with more noodle. Repeat 2 times and top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Let stand for 10 to 15 mins before serving.

Asparagus & Tomato Salad:

1 bunch fresh Asparagus – $1.99
1/2 package grape tomatoes, halved – $1.00
1/2 red or white onion – $.15
Salt and Pepper to taste – pantry
1/3 cup Italian dressing – pantry/fridge
2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar – pantry/fridge

COST: $3.14

Place cleaned and trimmed asparagus in large saucepan filled with about 1 inch of water and a 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Just until slightly tender, but still crisp. Drain and immediately rinse asparagus in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once cool, drain and pat dry.

Next, cut steamed asparagus stalks into 2-3 inch pieces and toss into large bowl. Add halved grape or cherry tomatoes and onion, drizzle with dressing and vinegar and gently toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste and serve. So delicious! A great change from the usual steamed and buttered asparagus. Goes great with lasagna, but I can see it work well with steak or ribs.

GRAND TOTAL: $9.89


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Homemade Cheese Ravioli

A few posts back, I wrote a recipe for tortellini and meat marinara sauce. Ever since, I’ve felt nothing but guilt. I didn’t make the tortellini, I bought it. And, it was frozen. I know it’s not a big deal, but I just felt like a cheat. So I got to thinking, “pasta can’t be THAT hard, right?” Well, I will say this, it does require a little elbow grease, so have your muscles ready.

OK, OK. Don’t be afraid. I’m only teasing (a little). Truly, when it was all said and done, my family more than approved. In fact, they’ve asked for more pasta dishes. Hand made of course! Hmmm…maybe a pasta machine is in my future?

3 Cheese Ravioli:

Cheese Filling:

1/2 cup ricotta cheese, well drained- $.50
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated- $.25
1/4 cup mozzarella- $.30
1 egg- $.15
1 1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs (Oregano, Basil, Marjoram and Thyme) – pantry
1/2 tsp garlic powder – pantry
1/2 tsp salt – pantry
pepper to taste – pantry

COST: $1.20

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Pasta Dough:

5 egg yolks – $.75
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting – $.50
1/2 tsp salt – pantry
water

COST: $1.25

I looked at 10 or so recipes and instructions for homemade pasta dough and they all basically have the same four ingredients; flour, eggs (or yolks), salt and water. However, many of them also gave directions if using a mixer or pasta maker. I don’t have either one, so when I saw a website that read, “How to Make Homemade Ravioli. All You Need is a Rolling Pin. Easy Pasta Making Instructions and Tips!“, that’s exactly where I went.

I think you can do the same, so have fun and enjoy your ravioli. I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised!

Marinara Sauce:

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped – $.30
1 large can crushed or diced tomatoes – $1.19
1 small can tomato sauce – $.25
1 Tbsp Olive oil – pantry
1 1/2 Tbsp minced or crushed garlic – pantry
1/2 tsp salt – pantry
2 Tbsp Dried Italian herb mix (Oregano, Basil, Marjoram and Thyme), but if you have fresh, that’s even better – pantry
1 tsp pepper – pantry
1 tsp red chile pepper flakes/pequine (optional) – pantry

COST: $1.69

For sauce, add a little olive oil to large sauce pan as well as chopped onion and cook a few minutes. Just till onion is transparent. Add garlic and stir. Cook for just a minute or so more, then add crushed or diced tomato and tomato sauce, herbs, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Stir and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 15-20 mins. Serve over cooked/strained ravioli and top with a sprinkle of parmesan. You can also pair with a fresh salad and garlic toast. Completely optional!

Side Salad:

Mixed greens, whatever’s on sale – $.99
1 Large Roma Tomato – $.15
1 red Pepper – $.77
Salt and Pepper to taste – pantry

COST: $1.91

GRAND TOTAL: $6.05


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