Today instead of posting a frugal tip, I am posting this frugal meal. This is an easy dish to put together, which along with a green salad and some garlic bread made of French Bread or Texas Toast picked up at the bread outlet store for $1.00 will make a dinner that is less than $1.00 per person. While it might not qualify for a $5.00 dinner, it is still very frugal.
This can be a “pantry dinner” if there is already browned up ground beef or Italian Sausage in the freezer. I usually use the Italian Sausage. Bulk Italian Sausage sells for $2.29 a pound at a local grocery store, so is much cheaper than what ground beef sells for here. I use ready-made spaghetti sauce which I can often purchase for $1.00 a jar and preshredded Italian Blend Cheese which I can also buy an 8 oz. package for $1.00 from time to time. I do love making my own DIY Groceries as much as possible, but sometime saving money trumps “homemade".
This recipe originally came from Carnation Instant Dry Milk back when it was a real bargain. Dry milk isn’t much of a bargain any more so I have adapted the recipe to not use it.
This is layered like a lasagna. It can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated. Bake an extra 15 to 20 minute.
Easy Cheesy Spaghetti Bake
1 lb. ground beef or Italian sausage
1 (26 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
12 oz. spaghetti
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
3/4 c. milk
1 to 2 c. shredded cheese, mozzarella, Italian Blend, or Cheddar
1/3 c. grated Parmesan
Brown meat and drain. Add spaghetti sauce. Rinse jar with a little water and add to sauce. Simmer 10 min., stirring often. Bake spaghetti into thirds and cook as directed on package. Drain. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring well. Gradually add milk. Cook until mixture begins to thicken. Add 3/4 c. cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Set aside. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Place a thin layer of meat sauce in the bottom Layer 1/2 spaghetti, 1/2 remaining meat sauce, all of cheese sauce, 1/2 spaghetti, 1/2 sauce. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees 20-25 min. Let stand 15 minutes before serving to firm up layers. Makes 6-8 servings.
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