My life has been more economical than ever these last few weeks. Getting used to not getting a regular paycheck every two weeks is...well, not easy getting used to. Thankfully, I've been extra aware of sales at the grocery store, and have been hoarding coupons - it's amazing how much money you can save just doing these two things.
One sale the grocery store had last week was pasta for $1 a box. It wasn't whole wheat pasta, which is what I normally buy, but...it was $1. I purchased a box of rigatoni and a box of mini pasta shells, two types of pasta we rarely eat in our house. Buying them was like a treat!
We already had goat cheese in our refrigerator, and had picked up mushrooms (also $1) and asparagus at the grocery store, so this meal was a no-brainer. I made enough for two people, but feel free to double the recipe to feed four (or, to give you leftovers).
Rigatoni with Goat Cheese, Mushrooms, and Asparagus
Yields: 2 servings
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed and chopped
-Salt and black pepper, to taste
-Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
-1 teaspoon minced garlic
-4 ounces of small white button mushrooms, roughly chopped
-Splash of dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
-2 cups cooked rigatoni
-2 ounces garlic and herb goat cheese
1.) Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add asparagus, and season with salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 3 minutes.
2.) Add garlic, and let cook for about 30 seconds. Then, add mushrooms and let everything cook for 2 minutes. (Feel free to add more olive oil, if needed).
3.) Add wine, and let cook off for 3-4 minutes.
4.) Add pasta to the pan. Crumble goat cheese over the pasta and stir until cheese is melted, ensuring each noodle is coated with cheese.
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It's always reassuring to know that, even on a budget, a meal like this can be prepared for barely any money. The creamy, tangy goat cheese melted beautifully over the pasta, and the snappy asparagus and tender mushrooms provided wonderful texture throughout. Let's just say, I was bummed there weren't leftovers.
Bonus recipe: I used up the rest of our asparagus, mushrooms, and goat cheese in a pizza later in the week (I used my no-yeast pizza dough recipe for the crust). A fried egg on top of the pizza made for a filling meal.
What's your favorite budget-friendly meal to make at home?