How to Cook A Delicious, Budget Meal for Two

Eating on a budget doesn’t always have to mean sacrifice. Sure, if you’re saving up at home, eating ramen is super cheap. If you’re on the road, eating locally is fun & usually the most inexpensive (a meal for street food in Thailand can be $1-3). But, hey, sometimes we all need a little change.

After two months on the road in south east Asia, I’m craving for some. It’s been a bumpy road adjusting to street food and, quite frankly, I miss cheese. SO! I want to share with you a ridiculously simple recipe that will stretch beyond one meal for two (maybe even three meals!) and is simply divine: My Little Spaghetti Dish


My Little Spaghetti Dish Recipe
We cooked this all using one pot and one stove top burner. If you have more equipment available – kudos! Also, I’ve found that even when I cook a 1/2lb of pasta, we end up with one dish left over. You can use all your ingredients to make more and just save the leftovers for the next day. It’s all up to you!

Cost Breakdown: $23 Total >> 2 plates x 3 days = 6 meals
$3.83 per person, per meal
Tips: Buy brands that are on sale, without compromising the taste. We bought the sale brand tomato sauce, cheese, and Carrefour brand spices – all brought down the cost & didn’t compromise taste.

+ 1-2 peppers
+ Spinach
+ 1/2lb pasta – Pasta seems to be a cheap staple that fills you up and can really stretch. It always seems to double in size in the pot…
+1/2 jar store prepared tomato sauce – It may seem a bit expensive, but like pasta, you can stretch this. Also, it will save you on buying spices!
+ Package of shredded cheese – I don’t know if it’s true everywhere, but I’ve noticed that shredded cheese is usually cheaper than a block of cheese. It also saves a step – ha! Plus, it’s a decent protein to add to the dish.
+ Italian mix seasoning – Just as good as buying separate spices and will save on cost & space. If you can splurge, I suggest you buy rosemary and some fresh basil leaves to chop up and add in to your sauce.
+ Salt and pepper mix

1. Heat up a tablespoon of oil or butter in your pot/pan. Add peppers and mushrooms. Add a dash of salt/pepper mix. Cook for three minutes or until color brightens. Add in spinach. If the pan gets too hot, add a tablespoon of water and simmer.
2. Add italian seasoning to your liking and set aside in a plate.
3. Heat up purified water in the same pot (if you like less dishes!). Bring to a boil, then turn to medium. Add pasta, dash of salt, & a tablespoon of oil.
4. Cook according to package. Usually 8-12 minutes. Do a taste test to cook the pasta to how you like!
5. Drain the pasta. Tip: we used the lid of the pot we had to keep the pasta in and drain the water out into the sink.
6. Turn your stovetop to low. With pasta in pot, add in tablespoon of oil, your tomato sauce, seasoning, and half a package of shredded cheese (or more if you like it cheesy like me). Stir until cheese melts. Turn the stovetop down if it starts to burn in any way.
7. Add in pre-cooked veggies and stir.

VOILA! Simple, quick, budget… and YUMMY. Serve with your best budget wine (we found a Beaujolais Villages on sale so I snatched that up) and a nice bread if you can find one (sometimes they go on sale late in the day at bakeries/grocery stores!).

What’s your favorite go to budget recipe? We love changing things up, so please share below in the comments!

xx. Jillian


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