I have been working on making meals on a tight budget. Cooking on a budget doesn’t mean that I can’t make my favorite meals, like lasagna. Before, when I would make lasagna, I would spend between $25 to $30 on ingredients. With this lasagna, I only invested about $10 in ingredients. Homemade lasagna on a budget requires a little advance planning with what meals you are going to make during the week. This allows you to get the most out of your buck.
I planned on making homemade raviolis and homemade lasagna for meals this week. I also planned a chicken pasta salad. For ingredients, I purchased 16 ounce container of Ricotta, Italian Shredded Cheese (1 cup package), a $1 package of sausage, and canned spaghetti sauce. I already had split chicken breasts in the freezer, bought in a big package and separated into 2 piece bags to be frozen. All together, including the price of the amount of chicken I used, this is about $17 worth of ingredients.
For the raviolis, I used 1 Cup of Ricotta, 1 Cup of Italian Shredded Cheese, and 1 Can of Spaghetti Sauce. I made my own ravioli pasta, and had enough pasta left over to make bow-tie pasta for the chicken pasta salad. I cooked two split chicken breasts, and cut the meat into pieces. Half went into the chicken pasta salad, and the other half was saved for the lasagna.
Making the lasagna pasta was easy. I made the dough and cut it into strips. The leftover pasta was made into fettucine and frozen. Putting together the lasagna filling was easy. I took what I left of the Ricotta and Italian Shredded cheese, added 2 eggs, seasoned with salt and pepper, then mixed it all together. I opened two cans of spaghetti sauce and emptied them into a pot. Into it, I added the cooked sausage and cooked chicken. After that, I layered everything into my casserole dish.
I didn’t boil my lasagna before assembling. My lasagna pasta ended up being really light. I am going to try boiling before hand the next time I make it, and see which my family prefers. I like a lighter pasta, but I think my husband would like it thicker. I spent $1 ea for the canned spaghetti sauce, and $1 for the sausage. I estimate the rest of the ingredients to be about $6. The three meals came out to be about $17.
When you plan meals that allow you to “share” ingredients, your overall cost per meal goes down. High priced ingredients that can be divided into different meals helps you stretch your grocery money a little bit further. One of the biggest help in lowering my grocery bill, and still make really good meals, is making my own pasta. Yes, it takes time, but it only takes about 2 1/2 cups of flour to make one batch of pasta. My daughter also loves helping me make the pasta. Do you have any tips on cooking on a budget?