Frugal Meal #1 – Fettuccine Alfredo

Hi everyone! So in line with asking everyone if they bring lunch to work with them on Monday, I figured I would start posting the meals I make for dinner. We have a few favorites that are pretty cheap, and they usually take one day up for my meal plan. KK over at Student Debt Survivor posted one yesterday and I knew I had to join in. I love sharing recipes and seeing what other people enjoy making.

Now, this is a pretty lame version of fettuccine because I’m using sauce from a jar, which I hate, but it is less expensive than making the sauce yourself. I have a recipe from my dad, which I will post at the bottom in case you want to try it out, but I’m not sure if it’s cheap. I am sure that it’s probably less than what you would pay at a restaurant, though.



1 package of fettuccine noodles

1 jar of alfredo sauce

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

I like to get Buitoni’s fettuccine because it is fresh, so it comes out nicer (it’s also what my dad uses). My grocery store was having a sale on these for $2. The jars usually go for $2.50. It doesn’t really matter which brand you buy – I’ve been trying all sorts and sadly they pale in comparison to my dad’s, but that’s what you get for a jar. I would probably pick Newman’s Own as my “favorite.”

How to make it

There’s pretty much no prep work here, which is why I love making this! Simple and easy. Just heat up a medium pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the water so that the noodles don’t stick together, and wait for it to boil. Once it does, put the whole package of fettuccine in and stir it around occasionally. It doesn’t take very long to cook, less than ten minutes, so just keep checking and stirring until it is done to your liking. Strain the pasta once done.

Alfredo Sauce

The sauce is also simple – I just stick it in a bowl in the microwave for about 45 seconds and it comes out fine. Mix it with the fettuccine and you have your meal! You can always season it too, as I find the sauces don’t always have the most amazing flavor. I like to add pepper.

Garlic bread for the side dish

Garlic bread is amazing, even if it leaves you with horrible breath. R and I had purchased this on sale as well, I think for $2 or $2.50. We got the Pepperidge Farm Garlic Toast. Yum. All you have to do is put it in either the oven or toaster oven for 5-6 minutes. That’s all it takes! You could also just buy Italian bread at the store, cut it in half, layer it with a mix of butter, olive oil, garlic powder, and oregano and toast it. My mom and grandma both make it this way and it’s always delicious.

Garlic Bread

Why it’s so great

This recipe is so easy to add to, so if you prefer having tomatoes or other vegetables in your dish, it’s easy to incorporate them in. You could also add chicken, but we didn’t have any. All in all this probably takes me 10 minutes to make, and because it’s pasta, it is filling. We usually have leftovers enough for one, so if you want to stock up, I’d suggest getting two packages.

All in all, for two people, you’re spending around $6-$7 for a meal. Not bad considering it’s filling, there should be some leftovers, and most fettuccine alfredo dishes cost $11+ at quality restaurants.

My Dad’s Recipe

1 package of noodles

1/2 cup of butter

½ pint of sour cream

½ pint of heavy cream

½ parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons of chopped chives

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

¼ teaspoon of nutmeg

In large saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in sour cream, heavy cream, cheese, chives, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook over low heat until hot and bubbly.





  1. Holly@ClubThrifty July 31, 2013 at 6:59 AM

    I absolutely love pasta…especially because all pasta dishes can easily be made vegetarian. I’m scared of carbs though!!! =)

    1. E.M. July 31, 2013 at 8:35 AM

      Oh I know, I don’t like carbs either! I really want to try out spaghetti squash as a “substitute.”

      1. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans July 31, 2013 at 2:57 PM

        This looks amazing! I’m drooling…

        I’m a big fan of spaghetti squash! I usually prepare it with red sauce though, not sure how it would taste with alfredo sauce.

        1. E.M. July 31, 2013 at 6:44 PM

          I really want to try spaghetti squash! I would probably have that with red sauce, too.

      2. Holly@ClubThrifty August 1, 2013 at 7:13 AM

        I love spaghetti squash as a substitute! I just always seem to forget about it!

  2. Michelle July 31, 2013 at 7:18 AM

    Yum! So easy to make and still so yummy!

    1. E.M. July 31, 2013 at 8:33 AM

      Easy to make + yummy = perfect dinner!

  3. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply July 31, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    I’m getting hungry just looking at that! It’s definitely a frugal and easy meal. I like to add some chicken and green peppers in there too… I’m not a big foodie and haven’t had homemade alfredo sauce so I don’t know any better. I just get the Target brand sauce for $1 or the Ragu one for $1.50 when it’s on sale.

    1. E.M. July 31, 2013 at 7:00 PM

      Hm maybe I’ll try the Target brand – their market pantry tater tots are really good, as are their cookies. I’m not a foodie either; if my dad hadn’t made it I would never know the difference most likely.

  4. DC @ Young Adult Money July 31, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    This is one of my absolute favorite meals! I make it every couple weeks or so. Definitely tastes good, is inexpensive, and really easy to make.

    1. E.M. July 31, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      R would agree with that. It’s the #1 thing he orders whenever we go out somewhere (if it’s available).

  5. Pauline July 31, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Pasta sauce is imported so pretty expensive here. I only buy pesto but plan on making it now that I have lots of basil. Will have to try alfredo, thanks!

    1. E.M. July 31, 2013 at 6:46 PM

      Pesto sauce is also good! I’ve been meaning to try to make it. Thanks for the reminder :)

  6. debtfreeoneday July 31, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Yum! That looks good! I am a fan of jar sauces too just because it’s much easier. Pasta is one of my all time favourite dinners so I might try this one and add a few veggies in it!

    1. E.M. July 31, 2013 at 6:45 PM

      Pasta has always been a favorite of mine, too. Amusingly, I refused to eat alfredo sauce for so long just because I thought it was weird that it was white, haha. My dad always told me it was my loss. He was right!

  7. Micro July 31, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    I’ve never been a huge pasta fan but it is easily a go to quick meal. This makes me want to document my crock pot chicken I will be making tomorrow. A single whole chicken can give you dinner, leftovers for salad, chicken stock, and even bone broth.

    1. E.M. July 31, 2013 at 9:52 PM

      You totally should! I need a crockpot, it seems to make everything easier. I’ve heard so many good things about using the leftover chicken for different dishes. Plus, I’d love to make bone broth. You could make a little series out of it.

  8. Pretired Nick July 31, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Damn, right as my wife decides to go dairy- and gluten-free? How could you?

    1. E.M. August 1, 2013 at 9:39 PM

      Haha! Sorry :(. I am trying to go gluten-free as well, but it’s just so cheap to stick to basics like this. Ugh, food dilemma.

  9. Matt Becker August 1, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    Looks great! Though my wife does pretty much all of our cooking, I’ve been trying to expand my skills a little recently. This looks like a good one to try out.

    1. E.M. August 1, 2013 at 9:39 PM

      It’s so simple I’m sure my boyfriend could make it if he wanted to try, so I have no doubt anyone else could! My mom mostly does the cooking as well, but my dad’s fettuccine alfredo and waffles are to die for.

  10. Debt Hater August 1, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    I used to make this pretty frequently in college. I usually baked some chicken, cut it up, and threw it in the sauce as well. If it was only me eating I also got a lunch out of it or even another meal. For some reason I’m not that big a fan of fettuccine though so a lot of times my go to pasta was the whole wheat penne.

    1. E.M. August 1, 2013 at 9:35 PM

      I think I will add the chicken in next time, now that we have some. Fettuccine can get annoying – I’m not a huge fan of spaghetti just because it’s time consuming to get it all on the fork! :) I like having penne with it, too.

  11. KK @ Student Debt Survivor August 1, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    Thanks for the mention. That looks delicious. I’m a big fan of the pep farm garlic toast. I like that you can make one or a whole box and stick the rest back in the freezer. Quick and easy.

    1. E.M. August 1, 2013 at 9:34 PM

      You’re welcome! Quick and easy food is definitely the way to go, especially after a long day of work.

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