It's almost hard to believe we've been doing this challenge for four months now. I hope some of you have found some useful tips when it comes to feeding your family on a budget, or maybe at least a recipe or two you want to try.
This month's $50 challenge is even more helpful than in months past. See, we just got back from a two week vacation in Florida, and all that fun leads to some much needed budget following back here at home. You know how it is, you save for a vacation so you can enjoy yourself, you eat out a lot, you let the normal day to day budget worries slide a little, and then you come back and reality rears its ugly head. But hey, that's what vacation is for...having fun and relaxing!
So we are home and it's time to get back on track with economical, wallet friendly meal plans that I can feed my family without breaking the bank. This time of year, I love focusing on fresh veggies and fruits because they are in season, and at their best prices, both at the grocery store, or if I'm really lucky, a local farmer's market. Yes, we love to grill out and barbecue too, but I try to fit in the fresh produce wherever I can too.
The new recipe I'm sharing today is actually one I developed for my little guy. See, our favorite pizza place in the world just happens to be in New Smyrna Beach, Florida where we vacation. Not only do they have hands down the BEST pizza on the face of the planet, but amazing pasta dishes as well. And this time during one of our five visits ( yes in a two week period), we all decided to have pasta instead of our usual pizza. Boy, we weren't disappointed. It was just as delicious as anything we could get at that famous Italian chain restaurant, and easily something I could recreate for him at home.
Plus, it's super budget friendly and you can stretch a few ingredients to feed a hungry crowd! You might even have most of them on hand right now in the kitchen! Oh, and it can be on the table in under an hour!
Summer Corn Salad
Creamy Baked Ziti*
There you have it. What I could feed my family for $50. Pretty good, huh? Now like always, remember a couple things. One, we have freezer beef, so those grilled steaks are already paid for, making it easier for me to stay in budget with such a treat. Two, I shop at Aldi's, Kroger and Walmart. I get everything at the best price possible and watch sales very closely. And finally, we all know different areas of this country have different prices, so maybe where you live, only 3 of these could be made for $50. That's okay! We all do the best we can with what we have!
Creamy Baked Ziti
1 lb. ziti
1 (24 oz.) meat flavored spaghetti sauce
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
6 oz. cream cheese, diced
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried basil
3/4 c. sour cream
2 c. shredded mozzarella, divided
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Boil pasta to just al dente. Do not over cook. While pasta cooks, in a large skillet combine spaghetti sauce and diced tomatoes. Stir in cream cheese until completely melted and combined. Season with garlic powder, basil, salt and pepper. Stir until mixed well. Reduce heat to low. When pasta is cooked, drain well. Add to sauce mixture and stir to combine. Add 1/2 pasta mixture to 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with sour cream and spread to make a layer. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella. Add rest of pasta. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with a little parsley before serving.
Shared at Weekend Potluck