When it comes to my budget, the majority of the money I spend is on food. Go figure. Whether it be eating out or buying all the necessary ingredients to create my masterpieces, food, without fail, trumps the other categories. I decided to be kind to my budget this week and came up with a $10 meal that will last all week. I ended up already having some key ingredients on hand, but if you don’t, the total amount still shouldn’t exceed $10 by too much. I recently discovered that Target is one of the cheapest places to buy food, especially with my handy dandy Target debit card (automatic 5% off!). Additionally, Publix always has one brand of spinach, mushrooms, and pasta on sale (usually a BOGO, which in essence just means 50% off). So between Target and Publix, you can easily find some great deals for this meal (or any!).
$10, 10-minute Creamy Tomato Veggie Pasta
- 8 oz whole wheat pasta (any kind will do, I just happened to have elbows on hand)
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (Italian style, if available)
- 2 Tbs tomato paste
- 1 yellow or white onion, sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bag fresh spinach
- 1 container sliced mushrooms (Baby Bella was half off this time)
- 3 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup reduced fat grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
First, cook your pasta according to directions. Chop your onion, garlic (if not using the already minced like me 🙂 ), and mushrooms while pasta is boiling.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat, and saute onions, mushrooms, and garlic ~ approximately 5 minutes. Season with s&p.
Next, add tomatoes (with juice), tomato paste, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and s&p. Then stir in cream cheese (broken into pieces) and 1/4 cup of Parmesan, and whisk until well blended.
Add entire bag of spinach (handful at a time) until wilted.
Mix in remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and add pasta.
Adjust seasonings as needed, and enjoy! This dish would be fantastic with some grilled chicken or sliced chicken sausage, but it is just as filling (and cheaper) without.