• 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup bread crumbs $0.24
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
  • ½ tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • Freshly cracked Pepper $0.05
  • 8oz. pasta $0.50
  • 4 Tbsp salted butter $0.31
  • 3 cloves garlic $0.24
  • 28oz. can whole peeled tomatoes* $2.43
  • ½ tsp salt (or to taste) $0.02
  • Freshly cracked pepper $0.05



  1. To make the toasted bread crumbs, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the bread crumbs, salt, oregano, and some freshly cracked pepper. Cook and stir the bread crumbs continuously until they achieve a deep golden color. Remove them from the skillet and let cool until ready to use.
  2. To make the sauce, mince the garlic and add it to a large deep skillet with the butter. Sauté the garlic in the butter over medium heat for about a minute, or just until it becomes fragrant. Add the can of tomatoes, along with all the juices, and some freshly cracked pepper. Break the tomatoes up into a few chunks with your spoon (they should be soft and easily crushed).
  3. Stir the ingredients in the skillet, then let it come up to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it continue to simmer, without a lid, for about 30 minutes. Stir the sauce occasionally as it simmers, breaking the tomatoes into smaller pieces as you stir.
  4. While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Save about ½ cup of the starchy cooking water before draining the pasta in a colander.
  5. After simmering for 30 minutes, the sauce should have thickened and become slightly less acidic and slightly more sweet. Season the sauce with a final ½ tsp of salt (or to your liking). Add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Use some of the reserved starchy cooking water to loosen the pasta if it becomes too dry. Top the pasta and sauce with a generous sprinkle of toasted bread crumbs, then serve.



Penne ala Vodka


  1. 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
  2. 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  3. 100 – 150g cooked Ham (optional), diced
  4. 1 small onion, chopped fine
  5. 1 Tbsp garlic chopped
  6. 3/4 cup heavy cream
  7. 1/4 cup vodka
  8. 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  9. 2 tbsp Parsley , chopped
  10. 1 can of tomatoes deseeded and chopped (I used Italian plum tomatoes)
  11. 2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a saucepan and then add in and cook the onion and garlic till translucent.
  2. Add in the ham, lower the flame and let it cook for about 10 minutes, stir it occasionally.
  3. Add tomatoes and parsley and cook till almost no liquid remains in pan (med-low heat) stirring frequently…
  4. Add cream, vodka and chilli flakes and boil until thickened to sauce consistency.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Sauce can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.
  6. Cook penne pasta in a large pot of boiling water with salt till al dente. (They will cook a little more with the sauce)
  7. Bring sauce to simmer and add in the pasta. Whisk in for a minute and serve. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.
  8. Enjoy…

Monterrey Chicken Skillet

  • 2 cups shredded pre-cooked chicken (1/2 rotisserie chicken) $3.50
  • 1 (10 oz.) can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chiles) $0.99
  • ½ lb. fusili pasta $0.63
  • 2 cups chicken broth $0.30
  • ⅓ cup BBQ sauce $0.36
  • 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese $1.24
  • 3 slices bacon $0.92
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.17
  1. Place the chicken, pasta, and Rotel tomatoes (undrained) in a large skillet. Add two cups of chicken broth and stir to combine. Cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid, turn the heat on to high, and let it come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes, giving it a quick stir every 5 minutes or so.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet until brown and crispy. Drain the cooked bacon on a paper towel, then crumble into pieces.
  3. After simmering for 15 minutes, the pasta should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed. If the pasta is still firm, let the skillet simmer for 5 more minutes. If the pasta is tender, but there is still a lot of liquid in the skillet, let it simmer without a lid for 5 more minutes.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed, drizzle the BBQ sauce over top. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the BBQ sauce and cover the skillet with the lid. Leave the heat set on low and let the skillet sit for five minutes to melt the cheese. Once the cheese is melted, top with the crumbled bacon and sliced green onions, then serve.

Bacon and Spinach Pasta with Parmesan

Bacon and Spinach Pasta with Parmesan



Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
30 mins
Total time
40 mins
Total Cost: $4.65
Cost Per Serving: $1.16
Serves: 4
  • 6 oz. bacon (1/2 12oz. pkg) $1.84
  • 1 small onion $0.36
  • 2 cups chicken broth $0.30
  • ½ lb. pasta $0.64
  • ¼ lb. (3-4 cups) fresh spinach $0.96
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan $0.55
  1. Cut the bacon across the strips into one-inch sections. Sauté the bacon in a large skillet until it is brown and crispy (no extra fat needed). Carefully pour the fat off into a bowl, leaving about one tablespoon in the skillet.
  2. While the bacon cooks, dice the onion. Once the bacon fat is drained from the skillet, add the diced onions and sauté until they are soft and transparent. Allow the moisture from the onions to dissolve some of the browned bits off of the bottom of the skillet.
  3. Add two cups of chicken broth to the skillet and dissolve off any remaining browned bits of bacon drippings from the bottom of the skillet.
  4. Finally, add the pasta to the skillet, place a lid on top, and let the skillet come to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. Give the skillet a quick stir to loosen the pasta from the bottom every five minutes or so, replacing the lid quickly each time. After 15 minutes the pasta should be tender and most of the broth absorbed. There should be a little bit of thick, saucy broth remaining in the bottom of the skillet.
  5. Add the fresh spinach to the skillet and stir until it has wilted into the pasta. Turn off the heat, sprinkle the Parmesan over top, stir to combine, and then serve.

King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese


All the flavors of a favorite casserole come together in the comfort of mac and cheese.

King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe


  • 1/2 (16-oz.) package cellentani pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (10-oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 (8-oz.) package pasteurized prepared cheese product, cubed
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender.
    Stir in tomatoes and green chiles and prepared cheese product; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until cheese melts.
    Stir in chicken, next 4 ingredients, and hot cooked pasta until blended.
  3. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 11- x 7-inch baking dish; sprinkle with shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly.



Potato Chip Chicken Fingers

Potato Chip Chicken Fingers are lean chicken breast strips coated with crunchy chips then baked until golden brown and crispy. The flavor possibilities are endless!

Potato Chip Chicken Fingers via @Iowa Girl Eats

The idea behind Potato Chip Chicken Fingers is that you crush up some chips you’re trying to stop snacking on then use them to coat strips of chicken before baking until golden brown and crispy. The idea goes to hell, however, when you’ve licked the bag clean and have to buy a new one!

Regardless, these Potato Chip Chicken Fingers are so, so, so good. The inside of the chicken stays nice and juicy from a quick bake in the oven, while the crushed potato chips on the outside get even more crunchy. Use whatever flavor of potato chip you want – the possibilities are as endless as the chip aisle.

Potato Chip Chicken Fingers via @Iowa Girl Eats

I served my Potato Chip Chicken Fingers with a honey mustard dipping sauce (the same spoon-drink-worthy sauce I served with my copycat Chick-fil-A nuggets!) but you could serve yours with anything you’ve got. BBQ sauce, ketchup – whatever!

Potato Chip Chicken Fingers via @Iowa Girl Eats

Start with your chips. Like I said – the original idea was to use Poore Brothers Parmesan Garlic potato chips, but these Cheddar & Sour Cream chips had an excellent flavor too!


For 2 servings, crush 3 cups potato chips in a bag with a rolling pin or your hands, or use a food processor. Place the crumbs into a shallow dish or bowl.


Next, pat dry 2 chicken breasts then season lightly on both sides with salt & pepper. Most chips have a lot of salt on them already, but you’ll miss the flavor if you skip this step.


Cut the chicken into 4 or 5 strips. You could also use chicken tenders for this!


Layout the chicken and chip crumbs next to a shallow dish with 1 egg whisked with 1 Tablespoon milk(could use water) and a nonstick-sprayed, foil-lined baking sheet.


Dunk the chicken into the egg mixture then roll in the chip crumbs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once, and you’re done! Easy, right?

Potato Chip Chicken Fingers via @Iowa Girl Eats

I think a dunkable dip is a must for chicken fingers, and a honey mustard sauce sounded like it’d be really yummy with the cheddar & sour cream flavor of the chips.

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce via @Iowa Girl Eats

All I did was stir together 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt with 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard, 1-1/2 Tablespoons dijon mustard and 2 Tablespoons honey until smooth. I could drink this stuff.

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce via @Iowa Girl Eats

Serve with a fresh or roasted veggie, I tossed roasted brussels sprouts into the oven to roast alongside the chicken, then dig in!

Potato Chip Chicken Fingers via @Iowa Girl Eats

Potato Chip Chicken Fingers

Print this recipe!

Serves 2

3 cups potato chips
1 egg
1 Tablespoon milk
2 chicken breasts, cut into strips (or 3/4lb chicken tenders)
salt & pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Crush potato chips in a food processor or with your hands in the bag then pour into a shallow dish or bowl. Whisk together egg and milk in a separate shallow dish or bowl.
  2. Season chicken strips lightly with salt and pepper then dunk into egg mixture. Allow excess to drip off then roll in chip crumbs and place on a nonstick sprayed, foil-lined baking sheet. Continue with remaining chicken then lightly spray tops with nonstick spray or olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Potato Chip Chicken Fingers via @Iowa Girl Eats

If you like the crunch of chips, then you will love these chicken fingers! So crispy and yummy. And while we’re talking about it – add that honey-mustard dip to my list of food kryptonite, mmkay?

Amazing Ziti


  • pound 95%-lean ground beef
  • cups shredded carrot
  • 10 3/4 ounce cans reduced-fat and reduced-sodium condensed tomato soup
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • ounces dried cut ziti pasta (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • tablespoons snipped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
  • teaspoon onion powder
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)


In a 4-quart Dutch oven, cook ground beef and shredded carrot over medium heat until meat is brown. Drain off fat. Stir tomato soup, the water, uncooked ziti, dried basil (if using), onion powder, and garlic powder into meat mixture in Dutch oven.

Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and cook about 25 minutes or until ziti is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in fresh basil (if using) and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle individual servings with Parmesan cheese