More Bite for your Buck

by August 1, 2012
filed under Life

Good meals that feed plenty shouldn’t have to strain your budget. You don’t have to eat McDonald’s every night (unless you really want to…).

One evening I was making dinner for my family and our guests, which added up to a total of eight people. Aside from salad, we were having barbecued chicken and penne, but my one friend was a vegetarian and I didn’t want to serve her plain old penne. For some reason, bruschetta came to mind, and I felt inspired to prepare a bruschetta-like topping for the pasta. The colour of the tomato and red onion fancied up the penne, making it more appetizing, as if I had stolen it from a restaurant. We all know pasta is cheap, and without spending too much extra money, this recipe really dresses it up. Any kind of pasta will work, whether it’s penne, spaghetti or linguine.

Bruschetta Topping for Pasta (serves 4



  1. Combine the oil, tomatoes and red onion.
  2. Mix in the cilantro, salt and pepper.
  3. Serve 3-4 spoonfuls over each portion of pasta.

Tip: For full flavour, let the mixture sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving over the pasta.

Preparing the Penne (serves 4)



  1. Heat a medium or large pot of water to boiling.
  2. Add the salt to the water.
  3. Add the penne, boiling it for 12 minutes or until tender.
  4. Drain the penne.
  5. Mix in the butter and then the Italian dressing. Feel free to add more dressing if you want more than just a hint of flavour.
  6. Serve penne onto plates.
  7. Optional: For an additional fine-dining touch, garnish each dish with a sprig of parsley.

Now you have a delicious meal, which you can serve with salad or another side! What next? I couldn’t possibly leave you without a suggestion for dessert (assuming you have any room for it after the pasta). A healthier version of an ice cream sundae is frozen yogurt, berries and just enough dark chocolate to balance it out. You don’t even need too many berries, so whatever you can afford or have on hand will work. If you’re dessert-ing alone, adding extra berries is a good way to sneak in a proper serving of fruit.

Frozen Yogurt Sundae (serves 4)



  1. Scoop each 1 ½ cup portion of frozen yogurt into a bowl. The nicer the bowl, the fancier the dessert looks.
  2. Top each serving of frozen yogurt with some of the berries.
  3. Sprinkle the chocolate shavings over each bowl. If you don’t have time to grate the chocolate, you can drizzle a small amount of chocolate sauce as a substitute. Or, instead of chocolate altogether, you could use a raspberry drizzle to form a berrylicious sundae.
  4. Optional: Serve each bowl with a sprig of mint for a professional touch.

Bon appetite!

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