$10 buck dinners!

Well balanced meals for a family of 4. $10 or less!

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Cheese Tortellini with Meat Marinara

Some things are just easier, cheaper and more convenient to purchase prepared or frozen, but that doesn’t mean it has to be dehydrated, boxed junk.  For this meal, I got lucky and hit a close out on some fresh 3 cheese tortellini in the deli section. $4.99 for a family size serving. Add some meat marinara and a side salad and you have a super easy and super yummy meal. A little over $10 bucks, but well worth the extra .59 cents. Not only is this meal great tasting, it’s so simple and fast, you’ll have it on the table before your kiddos even finish they’re homework!

Meat Marinara Sauce:

1/2 a yellow onion, finely chopped – $.30
1/2 lb hamburger or ground turkey – $1.45
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 Tbsp Dried Onion or 1/2 a small fresh onion, diced – pantry
1 tsp pepper – pantry
1 tsp red chile pepper flakes/pequine (optional) – pantry

COST: $3.19

Prepare Tortellini as instructed on package.

For sauce, brown hamburger in large sauce pan. When cooked, strain oil and return meat to pan and turn heat up to medium. Add a little olive oil and chopped onion to cooked hamburger 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 tortellini and serve with fresh salad and garlic toast.

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

COST for 3 Cheese Tortellini: $4.99 (top with parmesan cheese - $.50)

GRAND TOTAL: $10.59


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Italian Casserole Bake

No ricotta? No worries. If lasagna isn’t possible, don’t give up. Italian bake is just as tasty. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. Oh, and don’t forget to modify based on what you have on hand. It’s a recipe built on improvisation. Olives would be a great addition. Experiment and enjoy!

Italian Casserole Bake:

1 lb. lasagna noodles, cooked al dente – $.75
26 oz. jar spaghetti sauce (You can make your own with tomato sauce and herbs. Better choice.) – $1.29
1 can sliced mushroom – $.59
1 1/2 cup cup shredded mozzarella cheese – $1.59
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese – $.50
1/2 green pepper, diced – $.25 (on sale, 4/$1)
1 lb Ground Beef – $2.42
1 small onion, finely diced – $.15
1 Tbsp dried basil – pantry
1 tsp diced garlic – pantry
1 tsp dried oregano – pantry
1/2 tsp salt and pepper – pantry

COST: $7.54

Cook lasagna pasta as directed on package. Slightly al dente is best.

In large skillet, brown ground beef and crumble. When near fully cooked, add mushrooms (drained), green peppers, onion, dried basil, oregano and garlic. Saute for 2-3 mins. Add Parmesan cheese, stir and set aside.

Using a 13 x 9 inch baking dish, drizzle olive oil on bottom and place one layer of lasagna noodles.  Next, add meat mixture, sprinkling (approx 1/2 your meat mixture) over noodles.  On top of meat, spread tomato sauce (1/3 per layers). Top layer with mozzarella, add more lasagna noodles and repeat process. Top with remaining sauce and cover.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle remaining mozzarella on casserole. Return to oven for 15 more minutes, or until cheese is nicely browned.

Pair with fresh broccoli ($1.39), steamed and garlic bread. I know, I cheat with garlic bread because my local store has it for $1.99 (two split loaves, frozen. 1/2 is enough for a meal.

GRAND TOTAL: $9.93


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