Staying on Budget

For people who love money.

Cheese Ziti

Sometimes I’m just in a funk and do not want to cook and need comfort food. I love Mac and Cheese but know it is not the healthiest option. This recipe is a good substitute for the days when you just need noodles and cheese and nothing else will do. 

You will notice I have really cheap bread on the grocery list. I like to make bread crumbs with homemade bread or really cheap bread stored in my freezer. If I am using bread crumbs to top a dish I like the taste of butter and crunch versus store bought which sometimes has a grit texture.  

If you have ZERO ingredients then this recipe will cost about $13.95 as of May 2022.

I am assuming you have salt and pepper and do not add it into the recipe total cost.

Recipe serves: 4

Serving size: 1 cup

Equipment needed: 1 large pot for past, 1 sauce pan, 1.5 quart casserole dish with lid

Total time: 1 hour

Let's grocery shop!

I am assuming you have salt and pepper. It is not included in pantry and spices.

Pantry & Spices

Total: $6.07 as of May 2022

  • butter $3.58
  • flour $1.56
  • bread $0.93


Total: $10.34 as of May 2022

  • ziti pasta 16 oz $0.92
  • 1/2 gallon milk $2.38
  • 1 - shredded cheese 8 oz $2.22
  • 1 ready to bake pizza dough $2.49
  • 1 parmesan romano cheese $2.36

Let's prep!

Let's cook!

  1. Bring water to a boil and cook ziti to package directions.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°
  3. In a sauce pan melt 1 tablespoon butter then stir in 2 tablespoons of flour until smooth. 
  4. Once the mixture is smooth and you no longer see white flour slowly add milk while stirring constantly. Continue to stir until mixture is thick and creamy. 
  5. Turn off the heat and add 3/4 cup of cheese and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese until melted. 
  6. Drain cooked pasta and add to the casserole dish. Add the sauce evenly over the pasta. I like to mix it in a little making sure all the noodles have a little sauce. 
  7. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Once the 20 minutes is complete, melt 2 tablespoons of butter
  9. Add the butter to the bread crumbs and mix in well then add the mixture to the top of the pasta evenly.
  10. Bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes or the topping is brown. Enjoy! 

This recipe can also be found in Menu 2 – Family of 2

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Christin Lee


It is fun to think that there might be a short cut but the reality is planning plus diligence equals financial freedom.

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