Frugal Fridays: Southwest Mac and Cheese

Frugal Fridays is a new food blogging event that challenges you to feed a family of four for one meal for under $10.00. Even though I sometimes spend big bucks on fancy ingredients, I’m feeling the pinch too when it comes to my dollars stretching at the supermarket. This was a dish I developed when I was first out on my own – it ends up being a well balanced meal (all the major food groups) that feeds a whole lot of people (more than 4, easily) for not that much money. Feel free to jazz it up any way you wish, I’m still changing it a bit here and there every time I make it. If you like, you can stretch it out even further by adding black beans, salsa, etc.

Southwest Mac and Cheese

Now, for the breakdown of the cost:

2 boxes of generic mac and cheese @ .50 each = $1.00
1 1/2 lbs. kielbasa (3 lb. package on discount for $4) = $2.00
1 green pepper @ 2/$1 = .50
1 onion (bag is .99 on sale) = .25
1 red pepper (on sale for $1.99/lb) = $1.00
1 stick butter (@ $1.99/lb) = .50
1/2 c. milk = .50
1 can corn = .50
Total cost of dish: $6.25

And the recipe:

Southwest Mac and Cheese

2 packages Kraft (or generic) macaroni and cheese, prepared according to package instructions
1 1/2 lbs. kielbasa, sliced and diced into quarters
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 can (or thawed bag of frozen) corn, drained
olive oil
Penzey’s Fajita Seasoning
Penzey’s Southwest Seasoning

Put enough olive oil into a heated saute pan to coat bottom thinly, and then add peppers and onions and saute on medium high heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add kielbasa and saute for several minutes more, until peppers are softened and kielbasa is starting to brown. Add corn and prepared macaroni and cheese, and season to taste.

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