Monday, February 16, 2009

So, Can You Really Make A Rockin' Dinner For $4?

Last week, I mentioned that I've been taking baby steps towards becoming more frugal. I've been making my coffee at home and taking it in to-go cups instead of heading to the drive-thru several times a week.

On that same post, I mentioned that I can make a rockin' dinner for my family from the money that I save from just one of those drinks - which is about four dollars.

Well, y'all. I most certainly can. And, so can you.

This Penne with White Beans and Baby Spinach is an excellent weeknight meal. It is so easy to prepare, and the ingredients all work so well together and create a filling and delicious one-dish meal.

And, it costs less than FOUR bucks!

So, how much does this meal really cost, you ask? Well, here's a breakdown. If I find these things on sale, it costs even less. However, this is the retail price for the items needed to make this dish (minus spices) at my local grocery store:

1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes ($.89)
1 (16 oz) can Great Northern Beans ($.89)
1 onion ($.33)
1 cup fresh baby Spinach ($.50)
1 pound penne pasta ($1.16)

Grand total: $3.77

This meal can feed my whole family, and we still have leftovers - which make a great lunch. I hope you'll try this one. You can add diced roasted chicken or cut up rotisserie chicken to this dish to make it more hearty; however, it is a great meal on its own!

Here's the recipe!

Penne with White Beans and Baby Spinach
my own recipe..

1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 medium onion, diced
1 (16 oz)Great Northern Beans, drained
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 pound penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder, and crushed red pepper. Cook for 3 minutes. Add beans and hot pasta and saute until beans are heated through. Add baby spinach and cook until spinach has wilted - approximately 2-3 minutes.

Serve warm, topped with Parmesan or mozzarella cheese, if desired.


  1. I totally make this as a meal all the time! I love it! Except I've never tried the beans. I usually toss in tomatoes, spinach, onion, garlic, and/or squash. But really, it is whatever I have on hand. It is the best! And yes, totally cheap!

  2. Yum! I have most of this stuff in the pantry right now. Thanks for sharing and I'd be up for more frugal recipes from you! Thanks!

  3. It sounds wonderful! Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Thanks, I am willing to give it a try... the Sarah recommendation is pretty much all I need in order to make it from my crew at least once. And we have yet to be disappointed by any of your recipes! :-) Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for the suggestion. It's whats for dinner over at our household tonight! I needed an idea (after all that's half the battle).

  6. Yummy! Gonna try it on the family - hehe! :)

  7. My, you're amazing. Thanks for sharing, Sar!

  8. That looks delicious. I will definitely keep that in mind, since Lent is upon us and I am always looking for meat-free dishes. Thanks!

  9. Mmm - can't wait to try this! Sounds so yummy!

  10. This looks wonderful - thanks for sharing!

  11. Made this last night and it was wonderful. This was good timing, I just lost my part-time job and a cheap dinner idea was just what I needed.


  12. You know, I think you're onto something, especially in this economy, with the whole frugal meal thing. This looks delicious!

  13. Love this Keep them coming I was just looking at our budget and boy does it need these sorts of meals.