Over 12 Super Fast, Cheap and Easy Pasta Recipes

My very busy friend Josie is always asking me for fast and easy meal ideas. These pasta recipes are easy to make, have a quick prep time, and as a bonus are inexpensive. I’m so confident that they are super easy, I am recommending them for newbie cooks. I think teens can prepare many of these. I recommend them for students, singles, busy executives and anyone who laments “I can’t cook.” Hopefully these recipes appeal to the accomplished but busy cook as well.

Recipes have 2 to 5 ingredients. Serve with soup or a salad, or a vegetable side, and you have a meal for 4 people. Big eaters, larger family, or no side dishes? No problem, these recipes are easy to double. Singles and couples, you’ll have another meal for already cooked for later.

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti and Meatballs | Source

Your “Homemade” Pasta Dishes


If you know you’re going to be short on time when it comes time to cook your meal, consider cooking your pasta ahead of time. Salt the cook water. Toss cooked, drained pasta with 1-2 T butter or oil. Pasta reheats well in the microwave. At our house we just work the refrigerated pasta into the warm sauce until heated all the way through.


Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce | Source

Simple, Basic Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
  • 1 large jar or 2 cans favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 1 lb spaghetti pasta, cooked and drained
  • Parmeasn cheese

Instructions for Basic Spaghetti Sauce

  1. Combine ground beef with sauce in large saucepan or in skillet.
  2. Cover and simmer. Heat thoroughly. I prefer to simmer at least an hour, until the hamburger texture changes.
  3. Serve over hot pasta.


Variations for Spaghetti Sauce:

Purchase frozen Italian meatballs. Simmer about 15-20 meatballs in favorite spaghetti sauce for about 45-60 minutes.

Brown onions, peppers, or garlic with ground beef.

Add sliced mushrooms or capers.

Use ½ lb ground beef and ½ lb ground pork or Italian sausage.

Serve over spiral pasta or other favorite pasta.


Turkey Tetrazzini
Turkey Tetrazzini | Source

Turkey Tetrazzini


1 large or 2 small cans of cream of chicken soup

1 cup milk

2 cups cooked chopped turkey

1 medium onion, chopped

8 oz sliced mushrooms

Olive oil or coconut oil

1 lb of linguini, cooked and drained


1. Sauté onions in oil in a hot skillet. As onions begin to get tender, add mushrooms and sauté.

2. Pour soup, milk and turkey into skillet with mushrooms and onions.

2. Cover and simmer. Heat thoroughly.

3. Serve over hot pasta.


Variations:

Add a small can of corn for texture, and a half can of English peas.

Use a can of chicken or turkey if you don’t have turkey.

Serve over other favorite pasta.


Rate My Fast, Cheap and Easy Tetrazzini Recipe

3 stars from 2 ratings of Easy Turkey Tetrazzini

Making Turkey Tetrazzini

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp in tomato pasta sauce
Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp in tomato pasta sauce | Source

Angel Hair Pasta and Shrimp


1 lb frozen shrimp, shell and tail off

1 large can or jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1 lb of angel hair pasta, cooked and drained

Butter or olive oil

Parmesan cheese


1. Rinse to thaw shrimp. Drain thoroughly.

2. Sauté shrimp in hot skillet in olive oil or butter. Skillet must be hot or shrimp will essentially boil. You want it to lightly fry. Set shrimp aside.

3. Pour can or jar of spaghetti sauce in your skillet. On low, heat thoroughly.

4. Add shrimp to sauce.

5. Pour sauce with shrimp over the pasta. Sprinkle parmesan.


Variation:

Sauté shrimp with garlic.

Prepare with shrimp and Italian sausages.


Chicken and Broccoli Fettuccini
Chicken and Broccoli Fettuccini | Source

Chicken and Broccoli Fettuccini

1 lb fettuccini, cooked and drained

1 large can of chicken, with juice

2 jars of alfredo sauce

1 bag frozen baby broccoli florets

Parmesan cheese


1. Pour both jars of alfredo sauce into skillet.

2. Add chicken with juice.

3. On low, heat thoroughly.

4. Steam broccoli, or boil and drain. Broccoli should still be a little firm, and bright green.

5. Pour sauce over pasta. Arrange broccoli on top. Sprinkle parmesan.


Variations:

Use grilled chicken, sliced into strips instead of canned chicken.


Making Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Fish and Scallops in Cream Sauce over Linguini

Pasta with seafood
Pasta with seafood | Source

Seafood Pasta


1 lb linguini, cooked and drained

½ lb mild fish fillet, like flounder

½ lb sea scallops

2 jars of Alfredo sauce

Butter or olive oil

Parmesan cheese


1. Line baking pan with foil. Place fish fillets. Bake at 350° for about 15 minutes.

2. Sauté scallops in hot skillet in olive oil or butter. Skillet must be hot or seafood will essentially boil.

3. Reduce heat. Pour both jars of Alfredo sauce into skillet. On low, heat thoroughly.

4. Separate fish into small pieces. Add to sauce.

5. Pour sauce over pasta.


Variations:

Use different pasta such as bowties or penne.

Use bay scallops to reduce cost.

Use shrimp instead of scallops.

Use crab meat instead of fish.


Vermicelli with Sauteed Spinach, Onions, and Mushrooms

Skillet with vermicelli in Arrabbiata sauce with sauteed sweet onions, baby bella mushrooms, and baby spinach
Skillet with vermicelli in Arrabbiata sauce with sauteed sweet onions, baby bella mushrooms, and baby spinach | Source
Vermicelli in tomato and olive oil sauce with zucchini
Vermicelli in tomato and olive oil sauce with zucchini | Source
Spelt pasta in tomato and olive oil sauce with artichoke hearts, peas, and carrots
Spelt pasta in tomato and olive oil sauce with artichoke hearts, peas, and carrots | Source
Vermicelli in Arrabiata sauce with hearts of palm and mushrooms
Vermicelli in Arrabiata sauce with hearts of palm and mushrooms | Source
Corkscrew pasta with fresh tomato, yellow squash, zucchini, and corn
Corkscrew pasta with fresh tomato, yellow squash, zucchini, and corn | Source
Pappardelle pasta in Alfredo, with mushrooms, fresh yellow squash, fresh tomato, and fresh corn
Pappardelle pasta in Alfredo, with mushrooms, fresh yellow squash, fresh tomato, and fresh corn | Source

Vegetarian Spinach and Mushroom Pasta


This is one of my favorite “go-to” meals. I love HEB store brand vermicelli with my favorite Arrabbiata pasta sauce and vegetables such as artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, and zucchini. My absolute favorite combo is sautéed sweet onion, spinach and baby bella mushrooms.


5 oz baby spinach

1 sweet onion

8 oz baby bella mushrooms

16 oz pasta

1 can or jar favorite pasta sauce

Coconut oil or olive oil

Cheese


1- Cook pasta per package directions.

2- Slice onion pieces to desired size. Sauté in coconut or preferred oil. Scoop into bowl.

3- Slice mushrooms and sauté. Scoop into bowl with onions.

4- Sauté spinach in batches. Set aside with onions and mushrooms.

5- Heat pasta sauce in sauté skillet, or large pot.

6- Add drained pasta, and stir to combine (or use tongs).

7- Add sautéed vegetables.

8- Sprinkle with Parmesan or Asiago cheese if desired.


Variations:

Create endless combinations by changing up the type of pasta, the sauce, and the vegetables.

Use artichokes, peas, and carrots.

Use fresh seasonal vegetables such as corn or squash.



Using Packaged Noodles and Sauces


These dishes are prepared with packaged noodles and sauces. These are the packaged products I’ve found to be the best flavors. They are quick and easy to prepare, and I have used them many times over the years for quick meals.



Tuna, Peas, Mac & Cheese

Tuna, Peas, Mac and Cheese- A long-time favorite at my house.  Served with broccoli.
Tuna, Peas, Mac and Cheese- A long-time favorite at my house. Served with broccoli. | Source

Tuna, Peas, Mac and Cheese

2 boxes spiral macaroni and cheese

About ¼ cup milk

1 large or 2 small cans tuna

1 can tiny Llessur English peas


1. Cook macaroni, drain.

2. Pour tuna and peas with juices into a pan and heat, then drain.

3. Prepare cheese sauce in pan, add a little more milk.

4. Combine all ingredients in pan and heat together.


Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper

Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper.  My absolute favorite Hamburger Helper for decades.
Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper. My absolute favorite Hamburger Helper for decades. | Source

Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni


1 box of Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni

Milk per package directions

1 lb hamburger


1. Cook according to directions on the Hamburger Helper box. I find that it takes a bit longer to cook than the package says, and I usually wind up adding another ½ to 1 cup of water.


Variations:

Doesn’t need anything! In my opinion, this is the best that Hamburger Helper has to offer. It’s been the favorite at our house for a couple decades.


Hamburger Helper Stroganoff with corn, peas, and yogurt
Hamburger Helper Stroganoff with corn, peas, and yogurt | Source
Hamburger Helper Stroganoff with beef strips
Hamburger Helper Stroganoff with beef strips | Source

Hamburger Helper Stroganoff


1 box Hamburger Helper Stroganoff

Milk for preparing noodles per package

1 lb hamburger, browned and drained

1 can Niblet’s corn, drained

1 can beans or peas, drained


1. Soak Hamburger Helper potatoes 15 minutes or so to soften and they will cook better.

2. Drain potatoes, then cook according to directions on the Hamburger Helper box. .

3. Add the drained beans and corn. This gives good texture contrast.


Variations:

Add 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt. Stir in just before serving.

Use Hamburger Helper noodle stroganoff instead of Potato Stroganoff.

Use lean beef, sliced into thin strips, then pan fried until done, instead of ground beef.



Lipton Noodle Options
Lipton Noodle Options | Source

Lipton Noodles Stroganoff


2 packages of Knorr Lipton Stroganoff Noodles and Sauce

Milk for preparing noodles per package

1 can of ham, mashed with a fork


1. Cook Stroganoff according to Knorr Lipton directions on the package.

2. Add ham with juice

3. On low, heat thoroughly.


Variations:

Use canned turkey or chicken.

Add ½ to 1 cup of plain yogurt or sour cream.


Source

Teriyaki Beef and Noodles


2 packages Lipton Asian Sides Teriyaki Noodles

3/4 lb lean beef round steak


1. Slice beef in strips, ¼” thick or less. Brown in skillet. Add oil as needed.

2. Cook noodles according to Lipton directions on the package.

3. Combine meat and noodles in skillet.



Pasta Roni Angel Hair Primavera with White Chicken

Pasta Roni with white meat chicken added
Pasta Roni with white meat chicken added | Source

Pasta Roni Angel Hair Primavera


2 packages Rice-A-Roni Pasta Roni Angel Hair Primavera

Milk per package directions

½ lb frozen shrimp, shelled and tails off

2 T butter or olive oil


1. Cook the pasta according to directions on the Pasta Roni package.

2. Rinse to thaw shrimp. Drain thoroughly.

3. Sauté shrimp in hot skillet in olive oil or butter. Skillet must be hot or shrimp will

essentially boil. You want it to lightly fry. Set shrimp aside.

4. Combine shrimp with noodles and sauce.


Source

Knorr Lipton Parmesan Noodles


2 packages Knorr Lipton Parmesan Noodles

Milk for preparing noodles per package


1 can chicken, with juice

1. Cook the noodles according to the Knorr Lipton package directions.

2. Add chicken with juice.

3. Heat thoroughly on low.


Variations:

Add ½ to 1 cup of plain yogurt or sour cream.

Top with shredded parmesan.


Basil Pesto

Vermicelli with Pesto
Vermicelli with Pesto | Source

Bonus Pesto Recipe

See below in hub comments, easy Pesto recipe by Simple Tim. I usually use fresh basil, fresh garlic, raw almonds, Parmesan, and virgin olive oil.


Have I tickled your interest? Are you ready to try some of these fast, easy and cheap recipes? If you’re a novice cook, or just busy with life, build your meal around these main dishes. Just say no to carry out and fast food.

More by this Author


Comments 12 comments

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 18 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Great list of recipes that's easy to do. I love the variations as well. Thanks for sharing. Voted up!


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 5 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Thanks for reading and commenting Lydia B. Hope you enjoy the recipes. Let me know what your favorites are.


Lydia B. 5 years ago

Thank you so much, i love these ideas! im on a tight budget and i love how simple and economical these recipes are. after google searching "easy pasta recipes" and getting tons of recipes that involve expensive ingrediants i was relieved to find these recipes! thanks again!


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 5 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Thanks HubbyHubberton and AlmostLola. I have a couple other "Super Fast, Cheap and Easy" hubs. Check out my Main Dishes, Casseroles, and Soups and Chowders.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Thanks denise for reading and commenting, and giving credibility to my efforts.


denise.earwen profile image

denise.earwen 6 years ago from Stockholm Sweden

Well dear, These are great rmcrayne! with the current financial situation many households are finding it hard to make ends meet! fortuantely pasta is one of the few affordable yet delicious ingredients out there which can be whipped up into delicious meals in no time.Thanks for sharing these recipes.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Tim, that does sound easy and delicious. I'm gonna add the ingredients to the grocery list. Used to have some herbs including basil, but we gave up. Half the year it's so hot here, you'd just about have to water plants twice a day outside.


Simple Tim profile image

Simple Tim 6 years ago

oh! but nothing beats freshly made pesto!..its so easy...I started a herb garden by the kitchen widow. Basil. coriander and Parsley.

All you need for your own homemade pesto is;

a bunch of basil, a clove of garlic, half a handful of pine nuts or nuts of your choice, I prefer almonds! and half a cup of olive oil.

Throw the basil, nuts and garlic into a blender..chop it up...add the olive oil..stir..add salt and you are good to go! then just add some hot boiled pasta and you have an instant delicious dish! You can add some of your favorite toppings into the dish e.g tomatoes or olives (my favorites)


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Thanks for reading Tim. And thanks for reminding me about pesto. I have a couple packages of Knorr pesto mix in the pantry. I think pesto, mixed with the essential oils my naturopath wants me to consume daily, would be good on pasta or vegetables.


Simple Tim profile image

Simple Tim 6 years ago

These are great rmcrayne! with the current financial situation many households are finding it hard to make ends meet! fortuantely pasta is one of the few affordable yet delicious ingredients out there which can be whipped up into delicious meals in no time.Thanks for sharing these recipes.

One of my favorite pasta dishes has got to be pasta pesto! also really simple--delicious and affordable!


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 7 years ago from San Antonio Texas Author

Thanks Christy. Happy cooking!


Christy8914 7 years ago

I love pasta, and these sound really good. I can't wait to try every one. Thank you for your time, effort, and experience.

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