Easy Penne Casserole

Months ago I promised a few of my cheap recipes, but I never actually got around to posting any. So I’m starting. Here’s my penne pasta casserole. It costs a few dollars to make and feeds me and my boyfriend twice.


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 bag of penne pasta
  • spaghetti sauce (I use Prego)
  • cheese


  • Boil the pasta until it is almost cooked. You want it just a little undercooked, where it’s soft, but not quite done.
  • Brown the ground beef. Again, don’t completely cook. You don’t want it to be red, a little pink is okay.
  • Pour pasta, ground beef and spaghetti sauce into big dish.
  • Sprinkle cheese on the top. If you want it extra cheesy, put cheese throughout as well.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Note: This “recipe” doesn’t count on exact amounts. Pasta, beef, sauce and cheese all depends on your liking. We like a lot of meat and cheese. Some people like more pasta. You can’t really mess this up. Also, you can substitute the pasta for another kind if you’d like. Macaroni noodles work fine.

A cheap Thanksgiving when you can’t go home

Don and I aren’t going to make it back home for Thanksgiving because he’s working over the holiday (he works in retail), so we weren’t planning to do anything special. I was thinking about making chicken fried steak since we have everything we need, but now, I think I’m going to make my own Thanksgiving.

  • Cooked rotisserie chicken – $5.99
  • Kraft Stove Top stuffing mix – $1.99
  • Green beans – $0.25 a can
  • Kraft macaroni and cheese – $0.25 a box
  • Cranberry sauce – $0.89 a can
  • Pumpkin pie mix – $1.99

Total: 11.36

My local grocery store has cooked rotisserie chickens, which is what I’m going to use, but you can over-roast a small, inexpensive turkey or chicken, which can be about $5 if you pay attention. Most of this stuff doesn’t require a whole lot of work, and can be a nice substitute for a great home-cooked Thanksgiving. While Kraft mac and cheese doesn’t even come close to Grandma’s, it’ll be better than cold pizza.