Staying on Budget

For people who love money.

Five Cheese Small Shells

If I am cooking for a crowd that involves kids I find it easiest to make some sort of pasta with cheese. I like taking different vegetables and mixing them into a layered pasta dish.  

Stove Top & Oven

If you have zero ingredients then this recipe will cost about $22.23 as of April 2022.

  • If you have a fully stocked pantry this recipe will cost about $17.50.

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

Recipe serves: 8

Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup

Equipment needed: 1 pot for pasta, 1 sauté pan and 1 baking dish 13×9 inch.

Total time: 90 minutes


Let's grocery shop!

I am assuming you have salt and pepper. It is not included in pantry and spices. If you have a fully stocked pantry there will be a savings of about $4.73.

Pantry & Spices

Total: $4.73 as of April 2022

  • olive oil $2.77
  • italian seasoning $0.98
  • red pepper flakes $0.98


Total: $17.50 as of April 2022

  • 1 zucchini $0.81
  • 1 portobello mushrooms 8 oz $3.29
  • 1 onion $0.62
  • 1 bulb garlic $0.48
  • 1 box small pasta shells 16 oz $0.92
  • 1 tub ricotta cheese 15 oz $2.12
  • 1 bag shredded mozzarella cheese $1.98
  • 1 jar marinara sauce 24 oz $1.88
  • 1 bag sliced provolone $1.84
  • 1 tub grated parmesan romano cheese $1.98
  • 1 container of eggs 1/2 dozen $1.58

Let's prep!

Let's cook!

  1. Start a large pot of water and cook 1 pound small pasta shells to al dente.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°
  3. Heat a sauté pan then add:
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • shredded zucchini
    • onion
    • mushrooms
  4. Cook until onions are soft about 4 – 5 minutes
  5. Add garlic for 1 minute
  6. Remove from heat
  7. Drain the pasta
  8. Add 1.5 cups of pasta sauce to the bottom of the pan then:
    • add ½ the noodles
    • top the noodles with sautéed vegetables spreading evenly
    • top the vegetables with the cheese mixture spreading evenly
    • top the cheese mixture with torn slices of provolone cheese
    • add the rest of the noodles over the cheese
    • add the remainder of the sauce to the top spreading evenly
    • sprinkle ¼ cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano over the sauce.
  9. Bake covered for 40 minutes then uncovered for 10 minutes longer. Rest for 15 minutes.

This recipe can also be found in Menu 7 – Family of 4

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