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The $4.15 dinner / Sneaky, cheesy pasta

$5 Dinner Ideas /

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The $4.15 dinner / Sneaky, cheesy pasta

Do you remember dinnertime pre-kids? Oh my goodness, how relaxing that was. Lazy even. I used to make some fancy stuff, and it was peaceful. Or that’s how I remember it.

Now it’s a battle. It’s a badly choreographed dance of hiding vegetables, adapting to fussy toddler taste-buds, battling the time so not to venture into tantrum-territory, and then also trying not to spend a bucket-load because BUDGETS. I’m on a mission this year to save money, so I’m all about the budget.

Amid all that chaos, I throw in my clumsiness and someone always gets hurt and it’s always when Hubby is at work. A few months ago I was cooking rissoles, and I put the frypan in the oven to finish them off. Then I removed the hot frypan, put it on the stove and then 1 minute later GRABBED THE HANDLE.

Holy hot smoking fingers. I ran my hand under water for what seemed like forever, tried not to freak out the kids, and endured the pain. I then drove down to Hubby’s work to show him, because pain shared is pain halved, or something like that.

I had no idea what I was supposed to do with a burn. Wrap it in a blanket? Put ice on it? Foil? Sing it sweet lullabies? Cry?

Burnaid has since come into my life and told me. For minor burns you simply run the area under water for twenty minutes, and then apply Burnaid gel to keep it cool… so you can get back to life {kids/chaos/wine}. Needless to say I have a tube in our kitchen, waiting for the next clumsy moment!

Thankfully I didn’t burn myself making this recipe. It’s a cheap-as-chips recipe with hidden vegetables, that the kids will love; Macaroni Cheese with hidden zucchini.

The $4.15 dinner / Sneaky, cheesy pasta

I wanted to make a dish that came in at under $5 and served a family of four {like mine}. This one is delicious. The pasta is cooked in milk, which makes it a little indulgent and delicious, and totally edible.

The $4.15 dinner / Sneaky, cheesy pasta


3 cups of pasta {preferably macaroni or shell pasta, I bought Penne because it was cheapest}
3 cups full cream milk
1/2 tablespoon Hot English Mustard
1 teaspoon Garlic Granules {powder}
1 zucchini, chopped {either chop finely or blitz in a blender – I used my Nutribullet}
Salt & Pepper
1 1/2 cups grated Tasty Cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

♥ In a large saucepan, combine the pasta, milk, mustard, garlic powder, and zucchini. Bring the milk to the boil, and as soon as it’s started bubbling – turn down to a simmer. You’ll have to watch it.
♥ Cook for 6-8 minutes, and stir regularly so that the pasta cooks perfectly. If the milk levels start to get low, just top up with a bit of water. I added 3/4 cup to mine because I was using Penne and it needed to cook longer. Once cooked, remove from the heat.
♥ Toss through the cheeses, season with salt and pepper and serve into 4 bowls. You can serve with more steamed vegetables if you like.

What’s your favourite no-stress dinner? Have you ever had a kitchen accident like mine?

For the first aid treatment of minor burns. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional. Mundipharma Pty Limited, Sydney. Burnaid® is a registered trademark. CH-0086 Feb 2016