Every once in a while, my local grocery store sends some pretty darn good recipes. The new favorite is penne pasta with butternut squash, kale, and goat cheese.

This recipe is from October of 2016’s “MyMagazine”:

I always try to keep in mind, keep track of meal costs. Mostly because, well, I cannot count how many times someone has randomly stated how “expensive” it is to cook ‘nice’ meals at home.

This meal does have some pretty expensive ingredients, admittedly…

The 8 ounces of goat cheese used in the current meal is, prepare yourself… $5.49. *phew*

If you told me in my lean, ramen noodles for 15 cents a pack days, I would spend $5.49 on one single package of cheese… I would have probably given you a sound, round-house punch to the lower jaw.

Well, relatively speaking… goat cheese back then was probably more like 3.99. That is still a BIG price difference. And I would have at least scoffed and punched your arm.

I get it. Life is expensive. But… well, you will see… Let’s add it up.

Fresh, red kale. $2.50

Name brand whole grain, penne pasta: $1.50

Remember, stop wasting all that water on your pasta… Just enough to cover, and keep it from sticking:

stir gently, and OFTEN

Oh, and… If you’re wondering, why whole grain… versus ‘regular’…

Look at all those vitamins and minerals. Your metabolism will thank you.

6 grams of fiber (versus 1-2 for regular)


I know the carbs are high… 39 – 6 = 33, which still needs at least 8 more grams of protein…

BUT… That’s where the goat cheese comes in… (6 grams)

Plus… Butternut squash and kale equals about 3 more grams of PROTEIN. That equals 17 grams of PROTEIN. (i.e. perfectly balanced, even with the carbs from the squash) *The Link-Balance Method, per a previous blog {CLICK HERE}.*

Now… back to cost.

I used frozen squash for the first time… This bag cost $2.99.

I roasted the squash in the oven, straight from frozen (at 350 degrees), for about 25 minutes… hey, don’t judge. It Worked.

Also in the dish is one red onion (chopped), garlic, 1/2 tablespoon of crushed red pepper, and 1/2 cup of chicken broth. We’ll estimate those as costing… hmm… around $1.00.

the recipe calls for 1 garlic clove… but that is just CRAZY… well, unless it is a GIANT clove. thus… this one got 2. 😉

Oh, and one last ingredient… Sliced almonds (about 3/4 cup).

We’ll say $2.00 for this one, since I buy in bulk…

normally, one, 1/2 cup, bag is almost $2.00. Of note, the recipe calls for PINE NUTS, which, for a 10 ounce bag is $10.99. EX-PENS-IVE! This would have raised the cost to $4.00. Luckily, for this blog, I was out of pine nuts, and had to substitute almonds. Of note, walnuts or pecans will work too…

Add in a side dish of steamed, mixed veggies:

Oohh… bad pic. Sorry!

This is 2 bags of frozen mixed broccoli, cauliflower, carrots. $1.00 each.

*Drum-roll please*


Sounds like a lot to a single person, but… 4 people were eating. AND, this recipe made enough for EIGHT PEOPLE. Thus, we got 2 full meals out of it.

17.48 divided by 8 equals

$2.19 per person.

The finished product. *yum*

As always, I hope this helps you be brave in the kitchen. Try some random recipe sent to you by your grocery story… and begin to find value in spending money on GOOD food, rather than saving money and forsaking good food, for the sake of a few bucks. (Saw an ad for Huppy Meals… ONLY $2.99! This meal is WAY better… AND cheaper.)


Cook with friends. Share the cost.

Don’t have any friends?

Cook good food. Make new, good friends. 😉