Meal #1 for Cooking Newbies

Recently I had dinner with my good friend Toni. She works in Connecticut, but is at her company’s Manhattan office every few weeks. On these nights we always get together for dinner and drinks. Toni has been my support system in more ways than one over the last year. We have both been trying to navigate the post graduate world and unlike many of our friends on the grad school route, we are trying to figure out this whole “real job” and next chapter thing. This most recent dinner was long overdue and we had a ton to catch up on.

During dinner, one question Toni asked me reminded me of one of the biggest concerns I had about moving out and living on my own…how the heck am I going to feed myself on a budget?! She asked me about the meals that I prepare and what I tend to make now that it’s all coming out of my pocket. This sparked an idea to start writing posts on the latest meal I concocted for myself to make it through the week without starving.

Every Sunday afternoon I have started a routine of preparing meals for the week. I go through my refrigerator and pantry to see what I have leftover and what ingredients I need to get at the store. I create a shopping list and stick to it, then return to make food for the week.

So here it goes, Meal Idea #1 for the Cooking Newbies.

Pasta with spinach in a red sauce

This is hands down one of the easiest meals that I make on a regular basis. Pasta is incredibly cheap and a great meal to prepare in large quantities on Sunday to use throughout the week. I try to make at least 3-4 lunches a week so I don’t waste money on those ridiculously overpriced $10-12 salads at nearby cafes. This recipe takes very little time and is a filling option that is perfect to pair with a side of fruit for lunch at the office.


  • Box of pasta of your choosing
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Jar of red sauce


  1. Boil a pot of water over medium/high heat.
  2. Cook pasta according to instructions on the box (typically 8-12 minutes depending on the pasta type)
  3. Drain pasta and keep in strainer.
  4. Add spinach in batches to the pasta while it is still hot. The spinach will wilt.
  5. Pour sauce into a pot and bring to a boil.
  6. Add sauce to the pasta/spinach combination.
  7. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  8. Eat delicious meal!

This is seriously one of the easiest recipes I know and it is delicious! I prefer less red sauce and parmesan cheese but you can use to your hearts content! Pasta is a staple in my diet and this is a simple twist on the classic pasta in red sauce.

*As with this and all future posts, I am NOT a chef and do not claim to be an excellent cook. These are simply meals that I have come up with to get by on my budget!*


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