This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Barilla® and Johnsonville®. The opinions and texts are all mine.
We are getting closer to the time of year when the monthly budget gets a little bit tighter. All the fun and festivities of the holidays can put a strain on the finances a bit, so I try to balance it by cutting back wherever possible in other areas of the budget. Choosing more inexpensive meals is just one way to make a little room in the budget. This family-friendly Italian sausage pasta bake can easily be made for less than $10, and it feeds our family of four with plenty of leftovers.
I tend to gravitate toward pasta dishes when I am making budget-friendly meals because A) pasta, yum, B) pasta cooks up quickly and easily, and C) everyone loves it. When I bust out the Barilla Blue Box, I know I am not going to have to deal with my kids complaining about my dinner choice.
One of the ways I cut back on extra ingredients in this recipe is by using Johnsonville Mild Italian Sausage because all the spices and flavors are built in. Instead of buying and measuring a bunch of different spices, I can just cut up the sausage links and, boom, flavor city.
When you are making this recipe you can choose whatever shape of pasta floats your boat. I love rigatoni, but macaroni might be more familiar to your kids. I bought the Italian sausage links and squeezed the sausage out of the casing before I browned it, but buying the tube of Italian sausage would save you that step. Whatever works best for you!
At my local Kroger, I can usually score French bread or a baguette for around a dollar. I buy one of those instead of spending a few dollars more on garlic bread from the freezer section. Round things out with some salad, and I have a hearty meal on the cheap!
I can count on my Kroger to have Barilla and Johnsonville in stock, so I can run in and grab the ingredients for this meal even on the busiest of days. It’s a great go-to meal to have in your dinner time arsenal.
- 1 lb. Blue Box Barilla Pasta of your choice
- Johnsonville Mild Italian Sausage, links or ground
- 24 oz. crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups shredded cheese
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, and set aside. Squeeze sausage from casing into large frying pan. Cook over medium heat until browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Add tomato and sausage sauce to drained pasta. Stir well. Pour pasta mixture into 9x13 pan. Top with shredded cheese. Bake in 375 degree for 20-30 minutes.