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I stretch or "expand" a box of noodle-roni by adding a little extra water (and milk if needed) with my own "cheap" egg noodles or angel hair pasta. It saves me from having to buy two boxes to feed a family of 5 and I don't have to worry about leftovers because I can make just enough. This also works great to stretch a box of rice-a-roni if you add a little of your own "cheap" rice (and a little extra water). Then you won't have to buy the larger, more expensive family size.
If your only slighly more adventurous and you want to save even more money try this. Buy your pasta on sale; often you can get it for 50 cents per pound or less. The rice is cheap, too... and you can use a cheap dry chicken boullion.
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup THIN spaghetti, broken into 1 inch pieces, about 1/6 of a 1 pound box of dried pasta
3/4 cup white enriched rice
1 1/2 cups water with appropriate chicken boullion
1/2 small chopped onion
In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add spaghetti and rice and brown for about 4 minutes. Add broth or water, salt and pepper, and bring liquid to a full boil. Cover pot and REDUCE HEAT TO A SIMMER cook 18-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork, serve and enjoy.
Experiment... add leftover veggies and/or meat to this. You'll never have to buy Rice-A-Roni again!
As sold, jars or cans of bean salad are always too sweet for me so I empty the entire contents into a large bowl, tangy seasoned liquid included, and then I drain the liquid from an assortment of other canned, unseasoned beans and add them to the seasoned ones, along with minced fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro - and stir gently but well.
I add whatever I have on hand, such as black beans, green beans, whole kernel corn, etc. Roasted diced red peppers are a welcome addition. The flavors meld quite readily and bean salad makes a great snack - goes well with rice, too. Refrigerate leftovers.