I know you all are probably wondering how homemade pasta can actually save you money. You saw the title and thought, “well, I doubt that – a box of spaghetti is less than two bucks!” You wouldn’t be wrong – boxed pasta is undeniably cheap, but there’s a better, healthier, and more satisfying way to eat Italian delicacies. What is it? Make your own homemade pasta!
Last weekend my wife and I realized that we had a ton of leftover turkey – and not much time left to use it. Being frugal-minded and environmentally-conscious, we try really hard to never waste food. So, we decided to make some homemade turkey noodle soup. There’s nothing better than a steaming hot bowl of soup on a brisk and snowy day, right?
Plus, turkey noodle soup is easy. We take the turkey carcass and some leftover dark meat and throw it in the crock pot with as much water as we can possibly fit. Then we open up our freezer and grab a bag of frozen veggies – any kind will do – this time we used Italian seasoned protein blend of veggies that we got on sale and didn’t like plain. We threw two bags in the crock pot, turned it on low, and let it sit all day while we were out and about.
We came home around five and were ready to partake in our delicious meal. The only problem: there were no noodles. Now, my wife and I graduated college just a few years ago and we still tend to lean toward the “easy” meals rather than the “good,” “healthy,” or “frugal” meals. We are working on changing this, but it can sometimes be difficult when you have a habit built up, so we reached into our cupboard for a box of pasta.
That’s when we started thinking about how amazing homemade pasta tastes compared to boxed noodles. They’re so flavorful and the texture is to die for and we thought to ourselves – are they really that hard to make? We’ve done it before, why do we never make them? It was time to pull the recipe book out and give it another go.
We took the next half hour to make noodles (yes, that’s all the time we needed and it would have been faster if we had been more focused). We made a double batch and threw them into the crock pot. When we sat down to eat our soup, the homemade pasta was the star of the show. We couldn’t get enough of it.
Then we got to thinking: if it only takes that long to make homemade pasta, why don’t more people make it themselves? Let’s think about it: my wife and I are in our mid-twenties and we easily understood the recipe and were able to produce an amazing homemade pasta dish within a half hour. Why couldn’t others do the same?
There are a few responses that I often hear to this question.
1.) I just don’t have the time to make homemade pasta – I’m too busy. Which I have to say is just impossible. If you are able to go to the store, buy pasta, and spend half hour boiling the pasta – you have time to make homemade pasta. It barely takes any more time than regular pasta – maybe ten minutes, and that’s pushing it.
2.) I don’t have the right tools. That’s one of the greatest things: you don’t need anything new! Sure, there are plenty of machines that make homemade pasta easier, but if you don’t have them: it’s still a simple task! All you need is a mixing bowl, spoon, measuring cups and spoons, a rolling pin, and a knife or pizza cutter and you’re set!
3.) I’m not skilled enough to make homemade pasta. The thing with homemade pasta is: it’s super easy. Pour ingredients together, mix, roll, cut, boil: simple. Homemade pasta is possibly one of the easiest meals to make (and also the easiest way to impress your family and friends).
4.) Why would I make homemade pasta when boxed pasta is less than two bucks? This is where we really get into why homemade pasta is such a great idea and how it can save you $100 on your grocery bill each and every year.
Let’s take a look at the cost analysis of these two differing types of pasta while assuming we are making four servings:
|Homemade Pasta||Boxed Pasta|
|Ingredients||5 lb Flour: $2||Box: $2|
|26 oz Salt: $.75|
|1 Dozen Eggs: $4|
|1 Gallon Milk: $4|
for 4 Servings
I know what you are thinking – how do we get those numbers? Well, the boxed pasta section is pretty simple. One box of pasta will make the same amount of food as one batch of homemade pasta and is $2.
However, homemade pasta works a little differently. Yes, the ingredients do total a whopping $10.75 when added as a baseline, but we need to take a few things into consideration. First and foremost: most of these ingredients you already own and always have around. It’s unlikely that the making of pasta will be the first time you purchase salt (if it is, I’d love to know your secret).
Second, we need to take them one ingredient at a time because none of them will be used in their entirety with one batch of pasta. In fact, the above ingredients create six full batches of homemade pasta, with a bunch of ingredients leftover. Even at six batches, the cost of homemade pasta is cheaper than that of boxed pasta at $1.79 per batch.
Here are the breakdowns for the ingredients:
- 5 Pound Flour – $2: One 5 pound bag of flour can create 20 batches of homemade pasta making it $.1 per batch.
- 26 oz Salt – $.75: One 26 oz container of salt can create 144 batches of homemade pasta making it $.005 per batch.
- 1 Dozen Eggs – $4: One dozen eggs can create 6 batches of homemade pasta making them $.67 per batch (and the most expensive ingredient by far).
- 1 Gallon Milk – $4: One gallon of milk can create 128 batches of homemade pasta making it $.03 per batch.
As you can tell, by buying the ingredients ahead of time – you will certainly save money each time you go shopping. But the question is, will you save $100 as I promised?
Let’s say that you make a pasta meal twice per week – maybe you have spaghetti or ravioli one day and mac and cheese another day, or you make enough to have leftovers for lunch, or have two servings made for company. In any case, let’s assume that you average two servings of pasta per week for meals.
For 52 weeks using boxed pasta, you will spend a total of $208 to have pasta two nights a week – which doesn’t sound bad at all, right? I mean, it is only $4 a week.
Now, let’s take a look at 52 weeks using homemade pasta. Instead of spending $208, you’ll pay a total of $84.24 throughout the course of the ENTIRE year. That’s only $1.62 a week – cutting your bill by more than HALF for those bills.
Over the course of the year, your family will save $123.76 – more than ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS just by making your own homemade pasta!
If that’s not enough to convince you, think about this: The boxed pasta you buy at the store is chock-full of chemicals and preservatives making it one of the least healthy decisions you can make for you and your family. By making your own pasta, you have the opportunity to know exactly what goes into your body. If you choose to use organic ingredients rather than their cheaper counter parts, your cost may rise slightly, but will still be ultimately cheaper and healthier than the boxed alternative.
My wife and I have vowed to go from now until my 25th birthday (October 2016) without buying any boxed pasta. Read more about my goals here: HERE.
Can you handle the challenge of keeping your family healthy and living frugally?
Is it really a challenge when it means eating delicious homemade pasta?
Okay, so now that we have convinced you to try homemade pasta it’s time that we share our age-old family recipe for the most delicious homemade pasta with you. Don’t feel stuck here though – branch out! Try new recipes and go crazy.
HOMEMADE PASTA – The Hammon Recipe
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp Milk
- 2 Eggs
- Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well.
- Coat surface with flour and place ball of dough on top.
- Roll out dough with a rolling pin until it is really thin (less than a quarter inch).
- Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut pasta into desired shapes.
- Place finished pasta into boiling soup, broth, or water and stir often for around 10 minutes (or until it has reached desired tenderness).
- Serve as desired and enjoy your first batch of homemade pasta
Thank you for reading today! I truly hope that this inspires at least some of you to give homemade pasta a try – you certainly won’t regret it. If you do, let us know how it turns out.
Also, if you’re willing, share your favorite recipes for pasta in the comments below!
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