An easy way to stretch your grocery budget is to prepare one or two meals a week without meat. Vegetables are a good choice, but so is pasta, especially when the pasta doesn't require a lot of additional ingredients.
Baked Ziti is one of my favorite pasta dishes. Not only is it easy to prepare, at .67 cents a serving, it's budget friendly. Unlike ziti recipes that use homemade sauce and several kinds of cheese, this recipe only uses four ingredients: ziti, Parmesan cheese, pasta sauce and Mozzarella cheese.
For some reason, I have a hard time finding ziti -- a tubular pasta -- in the grocery store. If you have the same problem, penne, rigatoni or mostaccioli are all good substitutes.
Cook the ziti in a pot of salted water. Drain the ziti thoroughly and combine it with the pasta sauce and 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese. To keep from dirtying another bowl, I combine the ingredients in the pot I used to cook the ziti.
Pour the contents into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. For a smoother finish, use finely shredded Mozzarella cheese and put it on top of the Parmesan cheese.
Put the uncovered dish back in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese.
Add a salad and garlic bread and you've got a filling meal that doesn't break the bank.