My body clock was out on Sunday morning because of the change to clocks with the end of daylight saving (thank goodness, I say - it's ridiculous to rise at 6am in the dark this time of the year in Australia).
I ended up turning on the TV (still missing my ritual of the past of turning in the now-axed excellent Sunday program on Channel 9) to see a Today on Sunday segment where Leila McKinnon was cooking up a budget-priced dinner of pasta with tomato sauce. It worked out at just under $10. Find it at: http://today.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=797812
My partner and I threw together our own simple pasta dish creation some years ago and enjoy it on a regular basis. I love cheese-based pasta sauces but they are not the healthiest option and I'm not a tomato lover so we invented our own.
It has four ingredients:
pesto to taste (homemade or shop bought)
425g tin of tuna in springwater
Pinenuts are optional (not exactly budget conscious but quite nice as an extra)
Simply cook up the pasta as usual. In a separate small saucepan, put the drained tin of tuna and add the pesto. I use half a 190g jar, but adjust to your own taste. Mix tuna and pesto well with a fork to break up the chunks of tuna. Warm through on a medium heat - take care not to let it catch on the bottom. The pinenuts go in just before you're ready to serve.
Dish up the past and plonk the tuna pesto mix on top ... I add a bit of parmesan cheese to mine too.
The cost of this (without pinenuts) is about $10 in total (including 1/2 jar of shop bought pesto). It is cheaper when various ingredients are bought when on special at the supermarket. It would easily feed four adults - the pasta is quite filling. A side salad would stretch it further.
Apart from being a cheap meal, it takes only about 10 minutes to get it on your fork and adds a fish meal to your menu for the week. Healthy and cheap. Two big ticks!