Save Money, Time, and Calories

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I’ve been asked why I blog about my recipes.  I understand the confusion…these are just simple recipes for my own family.  Nothing special: not restaurant quality, not gluten-free, not vegan.

But my motivation is the league of young families, college students, and bachelors that I know that know the basics of cooking but are too poor or too stretched for time to make dinners like mom used to make.  And let’s face it, cheap, pre-packaged food may save money but it’s also usually less nutritious and more calorie laden. My goal is to share with people that making your favorite foods can be healthier, most cost-effective, and easy.

(Side-note:  I’m not opposed to buying a boxed lasagna or other frozen dinners, but I do read the nutritional info and ingredients.  You might be able to make the same thing at home for a similar price and with ingredients you trust more…take control of your dinner!)

Take my most recent recipe: Easy Stuffed Pasta Shells.

Time:
10 minutes for water to boil…but I didn’t have to stand there watching it or anything.
about 10 minutes for pasta to cook….checked in a few times to stir the pot and check progress
5-10 minutes prep work and shell-stuffing
40 minutes baking time…where I left the room until the timer went off
5 minutes standing time
TOTAL: about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  BUT, most of the time I wasn’t actually doing anything.

Cost:
I’ll be honest; I often use the store brand or off-brands to save money.  Usually, it’s a great trade off.  Buffered Aspirin isn’t just similar to Bayer Aspirin, it’s exactly the same.  The off-brand Captain Crunch and Pizza Pockets are actually better, to my family, than the real deal.

Eggs, 1/2 dozen — $1
Pasta shells, about 30 in box — $1.50
Spaghetti Sauce — $1 – 1.50
Low Fat Cottage Cheese — $2.50
Shredded Mozzarella — $2
TOTAL:  less than $10.  AND, I’ve still got 5 eggs and half of everything else to use in a different recipe.

Nutritional Info (Compare the Nutritional stats to the dinner serving of classic lasagna at a leading chain):

Stuffed Shells                                                Lasagna
Per serving
Calories: about 500                                     about 850
Carbs: about 70                                          about 40
Fat: about 10g                                             about 47g
Sodium: about 900mg                                  about 2800  mg
Protein: about 30g                                        about 70g

My dinners usually have less than 500 calories and 60 carbs, but considering this is a cheesy pasta dish, I’m happy.  Plus, you could use low-carb pasta, low fat mozzarella, and add Spinach.  The nutritional info will change as you change the recipe.

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