Save on Pinterest

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.

1 / 41

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

Get Recipe

2 / 41
Lazy Lasagna For 2 Exps Cf2rds19 4574 C01 23 1b 3

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.

3 / 41
Ground Beef Spaghetti Skillet Exps Sdfm19 177728 C10 18 1b 28

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 this for our dinner. You can easily use ground turkey instead of ground beef if that’s what you happen to have on hand. —Jill Thomas, Washington, Indiana
4 / 41
Ham Ravioli Bake Exps 13x9bz20 32816 C10 02 7b 5

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
5 / 41
Hearty Penne Beef Exps Ft20 40981 F 0115 1 16

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 smart way to sneak in some spinach for extra nutrition. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen,
6 / 41
Chicken And Bows Exps Ft20 33339 F 0416 1 3

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
7 / 41
One Pot Mac And Cheese Exps Ft19 197484 F 1213 1 20

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
8 / 41

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
9 / 41
Spaghetti With Four Cheeses Exps Ft19 39663 F 0919 1 15

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
10 / 41

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
11 / 41
Exps178308 Sd143207d05 30 3b 2

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
12 / 41

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
13 / 41
Exps99455 Th153343b04 21 7b 17

Beefy Tortellini Skillet

This tortellini dish is a one-skillet-wonder 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
14 / 41

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
15 / 41

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
16 / 41
Fresh Corn Tomato Fettuccine

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
17 / 41

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
18 / 41

Wagon Wheel Casserole

My ground beef hot dish is a family pleaser. We love the combination of ingredients.—Barbara Hopkins, Lusby, Maryland
19 / 41
Pressure Cooker Cajun Chicken Alfredo Exps Thcom19 233654 C01 16 4b 2

Pressure-Cooker Cajun Chicken Alfredo

This recipe is a true comfort food! Cajun spice adds a nice heat to the creamy Alfredo sauce. Add more or less seasoning depending on your preferred spice level. And nothing beats having to clean only one pot. The dish would also be tasty with shrimp or smoked sausage. —Jennifer Stowell, Deep River, Iowa
20 / 41
Weeknight Pasta Skillet Exps Sddj17  195109 B08 03 7b 42

Weeknight Pasta Squiggles

This zesty pasta dish is ideal for busy weeknights. It contains just a few ingredients, is easy to prep, and tastes so comforting when the weather turns cool. A salad on the side makes this healthy pasta recipe a meal. —Stacey Brown, Spring, Texas
21 / 41
Skillet Mac Cheese Exps Toh5icfrtl21 27614 E07 15 3b

Skillet Mac & Cheese

This creamy mac and cheese is so simple it’s almost too easy! Kids always go for the rich cheese flavor, but I’ve never met an adult who didn’t love it just as much. —Ann Bowers, Rockport, Texas
22 / 41
Exps188377 Th153342d02 19 4b 2

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
23 / 41
Greek Ravioli Skillet Exps Cwas18 151395 D04 05  10b 14

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
24 / 41
Quick Chili Mac Exps Sdfm17 26633 C10 07 4b 2

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
25 / 41

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
26 / 41
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
27 / 41
Exps18490  Fm153592c03 10 1b 7

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
28 / 41
Taco Spaghetti Exps79284 Sd142780b08 16 6bc Rms 5

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
29 / 41
Exps177327 Sd163615c04 07 6b 1

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
30 / 41
Exps193910 Sd163615d04 01 2b 10

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
31 / 41
Exps147694 Hck163687b07 08 1b 2

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.
32 / 41
Exps25157 Fm153592b03 18 12b 1

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 ground pork meal. The only thing you'll have left over is time to share with your family at the table. —Brigitte Schaller, Flemington, Missouri
33 / 41
Harvest Bow Ties Exps Hca18 167443 D09 29 6b 2

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
34 / 41

Bacon Alfredo Pasta in a Jar

This is just so yummy. I captured my favorite summery pasta in a jar. Tip it all into a bowl, and enjoy it for a quick lunch or dinner! —Keri Whitney, Castro Valley, California
35 / 41
Sausage Pasta With Vegetables Exps Sdam18 58342 D12 06 6b 3

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
36 / 41

Sun-Dried Tomato Linguine

At my house, this dish is known as Gus's Special Pasta. My oldest child claimed it as his own when he was 8, and I am always happy to oblige his request for this cheesy, garlicky, pungent meal. —Courtney Gaylord, Columbus, Indiana
37 / 41
Homey Mac Cheese Exps171350 Cf143307c10 03 1b Rms 5

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
38 / 41
Chunky Chicken Cacciatore Exps Scmbz19 184448 B01 23 3b 13

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
39 / 41

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
40 / 41
Exps33232 Fm153592b03 18 2b 3

Sausage Manicotti

This classic Italian entree comes together in a snap but tastes as if it took hours. It's so tasty and easy to fix. My family always enjoys it. —Carolyn Henderson, Maple Plain, Minnesota
41 / 41
Pasta With Roasted Garlic Tomatoes Exps167888 Th143190a09 27 6bc Rms 2

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 a Social Media Editor for Taste of Home. She enjoys trying out local restaurants and coffeehouses and adding copious amounts of garlic and cheese to any recipe she can get her hands on. In her free time, you can find her hunting down one-of-a-kind furniture pieces at thrift and vintage stores and DIYing trendy home decor crafts.