German Spaetzle Noodles

german spaetzle recipe

German Spaetzle is the ultimate “cheap” dish.  After all, it doesn’t get much more frugal than a dish mainly comprised of eggs, water and flour.  It’s the shape of these noodles that make them fun to eat.  Dress them up with gravy, herbs or freshly grated cheese.  My kids LOVE this dish and my daughter can make them all by herself.  Plus, they’re ready in about 15 minutes from start to finish.

Frugal Tips:  We have a Spaetzle Maker, but you can make an impromptu spaetzle maker at home.  The first time my husband and I made these noodles we were newly married and broke – so we used a tin can with holes punched in the bottom.   A smaller can “squeezes” the spaetzle dough through the holes.  You can also use a colander to make spaetzle if it has wide enough holes.

German Spaetzle Noodles
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Serves: 2-4
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tsp. water
  • 1½ C. flour
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  1. Combine ingredients to form dough. Press dough through the holes in a colander or spaetlze maker into boiling water. The noodles will rise to the surface when they’re done cooking. Serve with butter, gravy or other thick sauce. Garnish with parsley if desired

I first posted this recipe on

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter



This butternut squash ravioli with sage brown butter recipe is frugal fall cooking at its best.  The creamy, rich combination of goat cheese and butternut squash will make your mouth water.  The only drawback is the time it takes.  I made mine in stages, since everything can be refrigerated and assembled when it’s convenient.  Luckily, it freezes well– so make sure to make extras while you’re at it to enjoy long after the last leaf has fallen off the tree.

Frugal Tips:  The goat cheese is the only somewhat spendy item in this recipe, but don’t substitute it for anything else.  Look for deals on goat cheese at ALDI, Sam’s Club and even Target.  If you use a Target REDcard, you’ll save an additional 5% on all your purchases, including groceries.

Make your own butternut squash puree and freeze the leftovers to enjoy all winter long.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Pasta
  • 1 Tbsp. + 7 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. minced shallots
  • Puree from one medium butternut squash (approx. 1½ C.)
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • ¾ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ C. ricotta cheese
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • One batch fresh pasta dough
  • 12 sage leaves, chopped + 5-6 additional whole sage leaves for garnish
  • Toasted pine nuts (optional for garnish)
  • Goat cheese crumbles (optional for garnish)
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt one tablespoon butter and sautee the shallots until translucent. Turn the heat down and add the butternut squash puree, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from heat and stir in the ricotta cheese and goat cheese.
  2. Roll the pasta dough into thin strips. Use a glass to cut circles as pictured below. Spoon one teaspoon butternut squash filling into the middle of each round. Brush edges with water and press to seal. Use a fork to crimp the edges.
  3. Boil pasta for 3-4 minutes until it floats. Give it a toss in a skillet with butter to brown it as well.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the butter and chopped sage leaves over low to medium heat until brown. Remove from heat.
  5. Spoon butter over the pasta and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and goat cheese (optional).

butternut squash ravioli   butternut squash ravioli

butternut squash ravioli

butternut squash ravioli

I was inspired by Emerill’s recipe for Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter on but adapted it according to my own taste.

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine Noodles

shrimp scampi linguine

Last weekend, I was watching an old episode of Barefoot Contessa and Ina Garten presented her fabulous shrimp scampi recipe.  It looked so simple and easy, I decided to put it to the test.  I’ve made shrimp scampi many times before, but Ina’s recipe called for lemon and cracked red pepper in addition to my typical recipe.  As expected, it was delicious!

Frugal Tips:  I rarely pay full price for shrimp.  Often, it goes on sale at the grocery store during BOGO sales.  When it does, I stock up!

Adapted from Shrimp Scampi by Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa on

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine Noodles
Recipe type: main
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Serves: 4
This delicious dish is ready in under 30 minutes
  • 1 box linguine noodles
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2½ Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 1 lb. uncooked shrimp
  • ⅓ C. chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • ¼ C. lemon juice (I used juice from concentrate)
  • ⅛ tsp. red pepper flakes
  1. Prepare linguine according to package instructions. In a large skillet, melt butter in olive oil. Add garlic and give a quick stir. Next, add salt, pepper and shrimp and cook until they turn light pink, turning as necessary. Add parsley, lemon juice, and red pepper. Add linguine noodles, tossing to coat with the shrimp scampi sauce. Serve immediately.


Mussels with Wine and Garlic Sauce

mussels with wine and garlic sauce

Mussels with wine and garlic sauce is simple to make, doesn’t take very long, and is surprisingly frugal.  It’s something my husband and I enjoy if we are doing a date night dinner at home.    This dish costs around $10 total, and serves 3-4.  There is something about freshly steamed mussels that seems romantic, or date-worthy.   For us, anyway, they’re “special.”

Frugal Tip:  At only around $4 per pound, mussels have a huge visual impact for not much money.  They look great on your plate and will impress any dinner guests you may have!  Another great way to use them is in this easy paella recipe, which is a great way to use up leftovers.

Mussels with Wine and Garlic Sauce
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Serves: 3-4
Easy and surprisingly frugal!
  • 2 lb. mussels (make sure you discard any that are gaping open)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ C. onion, minced (or shallots)
  • ¾ C. dry white wine
  • ⅔ C. chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 lb. linguine noodles
  1. Prepare linguine according to package directions. In a large skillet with a lid, melt the butter. Add olive oil and sauté the garlic and onions until translucent. Add the wine and mussels and about half of the parsley. Cover and heat until mussels have opened (about 8-10 minutes). Add remaining parsley as a garnish. Serve mussels and wine sauce over linguine.



Rigatoni with Bolognese Sauce

rigatoni with bolognese sauce

rigatoni with bolognese sauce

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Last week my husband and I had the pleasure of shopping at Bario Batali’s store, Eataly, while we were in New York City.   Not only do they have great ready-to-eat treats and drinks, they’ve got a fabulous marketplace stocked with gourmet foods.  I would have preferred to have picked up some of their delicious-looking meats and cheeses, but I doubt they would have fared well in my luggage on the trip back home to Minnesota.  Instead, we picked up a bag of rigatoni.

I’ve made rigatoni with bolognese sauce before, but it had been a long time (I usually make my parents’ spaghetti recipe when craving a red sauce).  These wide noodles are great for hearty sauces like this bolognese.   Veggies are the heart of the dish.  Traditional bolognese is typically a bit thinner, but I like my veggies a little chunkier (as you can see in the photo on the right).   For the “traditional” bolognese sauce, you can chop them in your food processor or blender for the right consistency.  When it comes to cooking, I don’t like to follow the rules!  You can also add Italian sausage if you’re not a fan of meatless dishes.

Frugal Tip:  Mascarpone cheese can be expensive.  An acceptable alternative would be to use Neufchatel or cream cheese instead.   Look for great prices on fresh produce like onions, carrots, mushrooms, peppers and garlic at ALDI food stores (see what’s on sale at ALDI in the Mommysavers Grocery Bargains Forum).


Rigatoni with Bolognese Sauce
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Fresh veggies and wine lend an earthy flavor to this rich bolognese sauce
  • 1½ C. hot water
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped finely
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ¼ C. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pkg. white mushrooms, chopped coarsely
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • ⅔ C. red wine
  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta, cooked
  • ⅔ cup Parmesan cheese
  • One ring Italian sausage (optional) sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, red pepper, and garlic. Saute until tender. Add the thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, mushrooms, sliced sausage (optional), tomato paste and tomato sauce. Stir until sauce begins to thicken (about 5-6 minutes) and mushrooms are soft. Add the wine, and reduce heat. Cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese.
  2. Pour your bolognese sauce over cooked rigatoni in a large casserole baking dish. Top with grated Parmesan and bake until cheese bubbles.