A summer dinner success for $2 or less per plate

We have three kids, four dogs, three cats, my husband and my myself. And sometimes friends. It’s hard feeding everyone on a paycheck to paycheck kind of budget (we’re still working on overcoming that one!). I vowed to come up with some interesting meal ideas to keep it lively, but affordable. This week, we tried what I called Summer Spaghetti. Of course, my husband, I think, was convinced that I was going to poison him because there were vegetables involved.

The children weren’t very enthused either, except the tiny one. She’s almost four and LOVES spaghetti. Well, I thought she LOVED my summer spaghetti. She was ravenous. It went well. We decided to have it for lunchtime leftovers the next day. They were less enthused. By day three (Ha, yes, I did because no school and we’re not wasting money this year!), I learned that the tiny one just really liked the spaghetti, not the extra fun I added. We live, we learn, right? My mother and I thought it was delicious. If you have veggie eaters in your house, you might like it, too!

Summer Spaghetti 2

Summer Spaghetti was fun to play around with. Here are the steps:

  1. Chop up the veggies: I used squash and zucchini – I had about five.
  2. Butter up a pan (about 2 tablespoons) and add a bit of oil. (Don’t forget to butter up the hubby, too, because – veggies.)
  3. Add the veggies to the pan. Relax as you hear those nice cooking sounds.
  4. Start boiling a pot of water for the spaghetti if you haven’t already. I used a family sized pack of noodles. Add a bit of oil or salt.
  5. Stir the veggies around a bit. Add Parmesan, roasted garlic (I like to use a lot – add it to taste), black pepper, oregano and chopped onions.
  6. Add the noodles to the boiling water.
  7. Chop up some tomatoes. I decided I might as well put fresh tomatoes in there if we’re just going to smother it with pasta sauce anyways. I used two tomatoes.
  8. Add the tomatoes to the veggie mix and stir it around.
  9. Toss in a bit of cream of tartar to help it firm up – about 1-2 tablespoons.
  10. Drain the pasta when it’s time. Take the veggies off the heat when they’re tender and look done.
  11. Toss the veggies in with the pasta before adding pasta sauce. Add cheese as desired.

How was it under $2 per plate? Here’s a breakdown:

  • Family size spaghetti box: $2
  • Squash, Zucchini and Tomatoes: $4
  • Pasta Sauce: $2
  • Cheese, butter, oil and spices: $2 (We’ll say $2, but of course I already had all of these in my cupboard and we only used a tiny bit.)

We had about 10 plates of food from this meal (some didn’t include the veggies for fear of imploding a horrible, zombie-like death from eating them), making the $10 meal stretch to about $1 per plate. I call that a win!

I thought this was delicious. Maybe I should have made it for my girlfriends instead. They would have appreciated the stroke of genius. 😛 What are you making for dinner tonight?

Don’t forget to check out my newest items over on Teespring: https://teespring.com/stores/coffee-makes-me-human

Summer Spaghetti

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