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41 Budget-Friendly Pasta Dinners

What are our favorite quick-to-fix dinner recipes that are both ridiculously delicious and cheap? Pasta recipes, of course.

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Tortellini Carbonara

I’ve made this bacon, cream and Parmesan cheese pasta sauce for so many years and have always called it a carbonara. Low-and-behold, I recently found out it’s actually more like an Alfredo sauce. In either case, it’s absolutely heavenly! —Cathy Croyle, Davidsville, Pennsylvania

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Lazy Lasagna for 2

One day when I craved lasagna, I devised this simple recipe and it worked out beautifully. Celebrate weeknights, too! —Carol Mead, Los Alamos, New Mexico

Check out these cheap breakfast ideas, too.

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Ground Beef Spaghetti Skillet Exps Sdfm19 177728 C10 18 1b 7

Ground Beef Spaghetti Skillet

I remember my grandma making this stovetop supper many times—we always loved Granny's spaghetti! My husband and I now enjoy making it. You can easily substitute ground turkey for the ground beef if that's what you have on hand. —Jill Thomas, Washington, Indiana

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Ham Ravioli BakeTaste of Home

Ham Ravioli Bake

I based this recipe on a dish my husband likes to order when we go out for Italian food. Not only does he love it, my one-year-old daughter does, too. She'll grab a whole ravioli and eat it! —Jennifer Berger, Eau Claire, Wisconsin

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Hearty Penne BeefTaste of Home

Hearty Penne Beef

This hearty penne beef recipe is comfort food at its finest! The best of everything is found here—it's tasty, easy and a wonderful way to sneak in some spinach for extra nutrition. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Chicken and Bows

I first made this chicken bow tie pasta when I was a professional nanny. It comes together quickly at dinnertime when the kids are hungry. —Danette Forbes, Overland Park, Kansas

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One-Pot Mac and CheeseTaste of Home

One-Pot Mac and Cheese

Who likes cleaning up after making mac and cheese? Not this girl. This one-pot mac and cheese is a family favorite, and my 3-year-old is thrilled to see it coming to the dinner table. We love to add sliced smoked sausage to this creamy mac recipe! —Ashley Lecker, Green Bay, Wisconsin

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Nutty Cheese TortelliniTaste of Home

Nutty Cheese Tortellini

I like to plant Italian flat-leaf parsley in a long terra-cotta planter so I always have some on hand. It adds bright, fresh flavor to this pasta dish. —Barbara Penatzer, Vestal, New York

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Spaghetti with Four Cheeses

Spaghetti with Four Cheeses

This creamy and cheesy spaghetti dish is my mainstay whenever company's coming. The recipe, handed down from my aunt, is on the table in 30 minutes. As cook and hostess, I never feel hurried preparing this meal. —Nella Parker, Hersey, Michigan

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Fiesta RavioliTaste of Home

Fiesta Ravioli

I adapted this recipe to suit our taste for spicy food. The ravioli taste like mini enchiladas. I serve them with a Mexican-inspired salad and pineapple sherbet for dessert. —Debbie Purdue, Freeland, Michigan

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Easy Meatball StroganoffTaste of Home

Easy Meatball Stroganoff

My family comes running when I make this supper. It’s one of those things you throw together after work on a busy day because you know it works. —Julie May, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

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Stuffed Pasta ShellsTaste of Home

Stuffed Pasta Shells

These savory shells never fail to make a big impression, even though the recipe is very easy. One or two of these shells makes a great individual serving, so a single batch goes a long way. —Jena Coffey, St. Louis, Missouri

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Beefy Tortellini Skillet

This skillet wonder is a tortellini dish the family craves. From browning beef to cooking the pasta and melting the cheese, everything happens in one pan. You can add basil or chives for a touch of freshness. —Juli Meyers, Hinesville, Georgia

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BLT SkilletTaste of Home

BLT Skillet

This quick weeknight meal reminds me of a BLT, with its chunks of bacon and tomato. The whole wheat linguine gives the skillet dish extra flavor and texture. —Edrie O'Brien, Denver, Colorado

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Cheese ManicottiTaste of Home

Cheese Manicotti

Cheese manicotti was the first meal I cooked for my husband, and all these years later, he still enjoys it! —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas

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Fresh Corn and Tomato FettuccineTaste of Home

Fresh Corn and Tomato Fettuccine

This recipe combines delicious whole wheat pasta with the best of fresh garden produce. It's tossed with heart-healthy olive oil, and a little feta cheese gives it bite. —Angela Spengler, Tampa, Florida

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Taco MacTaste of Home

Taco Mac

This zesty taco mac and cheese is just as yummy the next day. Simply warm it up and garnish with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and cheese. —JoLynn Fribley, Nokomis, Illinois

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Wagon Wheel CasseroleTaste of Home

Wagon Wheel Casserole

My ground beef hot dish is a family pleaser. We love the combination of ingredients.—Barbara Hopkins, Lusby, Maryland

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Pressure-Cooker Cajun Chicken AlfredoTaste of Home

Pressure-Cooker Cajun Chicken Alfredo

This recipe is a true comfort food! Cajun spice adds a nice heat to the creamy Alfredo sauce. And nothing beats having to clean only one pot. Add more or less seasoning depending on your preferred spice level. This recipe would also be tasty with shrimp or smoked sausage. —Jennifer Stowell, Deep River, Iowa

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Weeknight Pasta Skillet Exps Sddj17  195109 B08 03 7b 36

Weeknight Pasta Squiggles

This zesty pasta dish is ideal for busy weeknights. It's low on ingredients and easy to prep, and it tastes so comforting when the weather turns cool. A salad on the side makes this healthy pasta recipe a meal. —Stacey Brown, Spring, Texas

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Skillet Mac & Cheese

This super creamy mac 'n' cheese is so simple it seems almost too easy! Kids really go for the rich cheese flavor, but I've never met an adult who didn't love it too. —Ann Bowers, Rockport, Texas

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Parmesan Bow Tie Pasta with ChickenTaste of Home

Parmesan Bow Tie Pasta with Chicken

On lazy summer weekends, we like chicken and yellow squash tossed with bow tie pasta. Add extra fresh grated Parmesan for a Sunday touch. —Sarah Smiley, Bangor, Maine

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Greek Tortellini Skillet

Greek Tortellini Skillet

Looking to please picky little palates? One tester loved this simple skillet entree so much, she made it at home for her 2-year-old daughter, who said “Mmmmm!” after every bite. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Quick Chili MacTaste of Home

Quick Chili Mac

This combines chili with one of my favorite pasta dishes. I occasionally add taco seasoning or use beanless chili and add black beans. —Lee Steinmetz, Lansing, Michigan

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Lasagna RollsTaste of Home

Lasagna Rolls

My Italian lasagna roll-ups are not complicated; they require only basic ingredients to assemble. Prepared spaghetti sauce helps me save time and get dinner on the table sooner. —Mary Lee Thomas, Logansport, Indiana

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Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta Exps Gbbz19 12349 C11 08 6b 2

Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

I try to make foods that are not only kid friendly, but are also easy to reheat since my husband works long hours and often eats later than our children. If you like, use reduced-fat cheese and ground turkey for a lighter version. —Melissa Stevens, Elk River, Minnesota

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Chicken Broccoli Shells

This cheesy entree is a make-ahead dream. Just assemble it ahead of time and put it in the oven when you’re ready to eat. I round out the meal with a tossed salad and warm bread. —Karen Jagger, Columbia City, Indiana

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Taco SpaghettiTaste of Home

Taco Spaghetti

I came up with this kid-friendly Southwestern recipe one afternoon when I was using up leftover spaghetti and ground beef. When I'm lucky enough to have extra time, I make two batches and freeze one. —Johanna Van Ness, Wichita, Kansas

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Spinach-Feta Chicken PenneTaste of Home

Spinach-Feta Chicken Penne

I wanted a light sauce for pasta, so I cooked tomatoes with garlic, wine and olive oil. It’s a blockbuster combo for seafood, too. —Geralyn Sipos, Blandon, Pennsylvania

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Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

When my mom made this spaghetti sauce, the house would smell so good that I'd open the windows to torture the neighbors. It even tastes wonderful the next day, when the flavors have really melded. —Vera Schulze, Holbrook, New York

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Ham Pasta TossTaste of Home

Ham Pasta Toss

This is my favorite meal to make when I'm short on time. You can also use different meats or vegetables depending on what you have on hand. —Sharon Gerst, North Liberty, Iowa.

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Jiffy Ground Pork SkilletTaste of Home

Jiffy Ground Pork Skillet

Some people call it dinner hour, but many of us call it rush hour. Slow down the pace with this so-simple mouthwatering meal. The only thing you'll have left over is time to share with your family at the table. —Brigitte Schaller, Flemington, Missouri

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Harvest Bow TiesTaste of Home

Harvest Bow Ties

Spaghetti squash and bow ties make this meatless dish hearty and filling. Add a can of black beans if you'd like more protein, and switch up the tomatoes for variety. Try using Italian diced tomatoes or diced tomatoes with mild green chiles. —Anne Lynch, Beacon, New York

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Bacon Alfredo Pasta in a JarTaste of Home

Bacon Alfredo Pasta in a Jar

Frankly, this is just...yum. I captured my favorite summery pasta in a jar. So delicious. So simple. Tip it all into a bowl and enjoy!—Keri Whitney, Castro Valley, California

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Sausage Pasta with VegetablesTaste of Home

Sausage Pasta with Vegetables

I made this for our pastor one night. He loved it so much we nicknamed it “Jason’s Pasta.” It’s a sneaky way to get our kids to eat more veggies. —Suzie Foutty Mansfield, Ohio

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Sun-Dried Tomato LinguineTaste of Home

Sun-Dried Tomato Linguine

We call this “Gus’s Special Pasta” because my oldest child claimed it as his own. It’s cheesy, garlicky goodness and quick to fix. —Courtney Gaylord, Columbus, Indiana

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Homey Mac & CheeseTaste of Home

Homey Mac & Cheese

I also call this "my grandson's mac and cheese." Zachary has been to Iraq and Afghanistan with both the Marines and Navy, and I've been privileged to make his favorite casserole for him for over 20 years. —Alice Beardsell, Osprey, Florida

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Chunky Chicken Cacciatore

This healthy pasta recipe is so versatile! Look in your fridge for anything else you want to throw in, like red pepper, mushrooms, extra zucchini—you name it. And if you're a vegetarian, go ahead and leave out the chicken. —Stephanie Loaiza, Layton, Utah

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Skillet Beef and MacaroniTaste of Home

Skillet Beef and Macaroni

I found this simple skillet recipe many years ago on a can label. I made some tweaks, and my family loved it. Because it's so easy to put together, it's a real timesaver for people with super busy schedules. —Maxine Neuhauser, Arcadia, California

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Sausage Manicotti

This classic Italian entree comes together in a snap, but tastes like it took hours. It's so easy to fix, and my family always enjoys it. —Carolyn Henderson, Maple Plain, Minnesota

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Pasta with Roasted Garlic & TomatoesTaste of Home

Pasta with Roasted Garlic & Tomatoes

Here’s a simple sauce with just four ingredients. I use bow tie pasta, but penne works, too. —Aysha Schurman, Ammon, Idaho

Christina Herbst
Christina is an Assistant Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in content creation and SEO optimization. She enjoys trying out local foodie restaurants and coffeehouses and adding copious amounts of garlic and cheese to any recipe she can get her hands on.