Frugal Gourmet: Baked Rigatoni

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Quizzle_FGMain_v1As an avid distance runner, a good portion of my calories often comes in carbohydrate form. From bread to pasta, I love it all, but I also like to keep my waistline and budget in check when it comes to cooking the meals I love to devour after all of those miles.

When I found this recipe for Baked Rigatoni on, I was drawn to how easy it is to prepare, and I appreciated the low cost. For less than $10, you can cook a meal for four that won’t leave anyone hungry afterwards!

I don’t eat red meat, so I opted to swap out a mix of ground turkey and chicken instead of the beef. You could also go completely meatless and instead add in chunked veggies such as carrots and squash. Additionally, I threw in a couple of handfuls of spinach to round things out from a nutrition standpoint.

In terms of preparation, there really isn’t much to do. After you’ve pre-cooked the pasta and whatever meat you’ve decided to add, it’s only a matter of throwing everything into the pan and popping it into the oven. This type of cheap, simple recipe is perfect because you can do other things while it’s cooking, plus you can easily re-heat leftovers for a satisfying meal when you’re crunched for time.

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When it’s time to serve this dish, you can pair it with a small salad or side of veggies for a completely balanced meal. As suggested in the recipe, a bit of parmesan is a great complement. If you opt for mozzarella, throw it on top just before the cooking is done so it can melt and brown before you take the dish out of the oven.

Bon appetite!

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Jen is the owner of The Happy Homeowner, where she writes about living a healthy, balanced life one cent at a time. Previously, she paid off $14K in credit card debt in less than a year and hasn’t looked back since. Follow along on Twitter with her financial, fitness and travel adventures @bthhomeowner!