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I’m in the mood for some serious comfort food like a hearty and tasty Cowboy Casserole! It must be almost fall. This is one of those budget friendly meals that will leave the tummy happy and the bank account even more content. It’s a win-win situation!
I love it when doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to prepare. Don’t you? This is one of those meals.
I know how it is to wonder and worry if the food budget is going to stretch to the 1st and then the 15th of the month, i.e. the wonderful payday. My husband and I spent our fair share of time in school living tight as students typically do. But we have fond memories of those days. We ate a lot of pasta because it’s inexpensive, and we learned to get creative with our preparation. We didn’t feel flavor deprived in the least because we challenged ourselves to create pasta masterpieces that were non-traditional and memorable! We came up with some pretty great varieties together.
This Cowboy Casserole has definitely earned its place on the medals stand of our “Pasta Challenge”.
1 lb. hamburger, cooked and crumbled
1 clove garlic, minced
3 packages Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, unprepared
1 can (16 oz.) baked beans
1/2 c. Kraft Barbecue Sauce
1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cheese powder from the cheese packet
1 1/4 c. Velveeta Shreds
1 slice of bread made into breadcrumbs (I like mine finely ground)
Cook hamburger with garlic and break up until no longer pink. Drain fat. Stir in baked beans, barbecue sauce, cheese powder and Velveeta Shreds. Boil macaroni for 6 minutes, or until pasta is soft. Drain, then add pasta to hamburger sauce mixture and toss to coat completely. Transfer to a 2 quart greased casserole dish. Dish will be full. Top with breadcrumbs and bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes, or until heated through.
**Serve immediately. This dish doesn’t work well as leftovers because the noodles will absorb the sauce/flavor and lose their optimum texture.
This easy dinner, served with a few sides and a drink, should register well under $20, and that’s serving a family of six! It would cost oodles more than that to eat out. Now that’s what I call a low budget meal that’s high on the yummy factor!
So, after a quick trip to Walmart….
…and a few necessities later (Velveeta Shreds, Kraft Sweet & Spicy Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, and some Kraft Macaroni & Cheese that was on Rollback) , my husband and I were sitting around the dinner table with the kids, reminiscing about the good ‘ol days when we had so little, yet we made the absolute most of it.
As the grocery shopper of the household, I actually created a game of couponing, keeping up with sales, and careful meal planning, to see how far below budget we could fall while still eating great. It was fun and I must say that I became quite adept at it.
I guess I’m continuing on my streak with this low budget Cowboy Casserole that looks and tastes like a million bucks!
The wheels in my head are always turning when it comes to crafting one-of-a-kind, tasty meals for my family. This one is the result of a collision of visions in my brain between a barbecue hamburger and my kids’ favorite food…mac ‘n cheese.
It certainly tasted brilliant. I hope your family enjoys it too!
What are your amazing tips for saving money on food? I’d love to hear!