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Cooking On A Dime With Dani!

I am going to share one of my infamous gourmet meals you can cook in 30 minutes

A lot of people ask me, “Dani, how do you manage to feed your family on $100 a week?!” They honestly don’t believe me! What’s worse, they use their own excuses to justify their spending on groceries.

So if you are curious about how I save so much money, or even if you’re just looking for a delicious meal idea, I am going to share one of my “famous” gourmet meals you can cook in 30 minutes. This meal can feed 10 people for around $12. Your family probably isn’t that big, so you can invite some friends or have great leftovers for lunch or even another meal.

If you’re gluten-free, lactose-intolerant or a vegetarian, just cut out that part of the meal and prepare it in a separate dish. That saves you from going out of your way for any number of different diet restrictions and helps cut down on feeling like a short-order cook!

And, if I’m looking to lose a few pounds I’ll make this meal for my family and just skip the pasta on my plate. It’s easy and there is plenty of other food to go around.

Dani’s Penne-Pinching Pasta Meal


  • Available veggies, e.g., broccoli, onions, tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, cucumbers, scallions, Romaine lettuce, avocado, garlic.
  • Dried chilies
  • Pasta (penne is great, but you can use whatever you have on hand!)
  • Hot or mild Italian sausage. (My family loves it spicy!)
  • Butter
  • Parmesan cheese (2 cups)
  • Half & Half (1 pint i.e., 2 cups)
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar

Alfredo Sauce

1. Over medium heat, begin melting a stick of butter in a saucepan. Saute the garlic.

2. When butter is melted, add 2 cups Half & Half.

3. Add Parmesan. Mix and set aside.

Sausage & Veggie Mix

1. Remove the casings from the Italian sausage (hint: slightly slice the casing length-wise and peel). Cook in a frying pan over medium heat. When meat is almost cooked, add the onion.

2. Saute, then add broccoli, bell pepper, etc. Trying using kosher salt to season; the coarseness really works well with veggies. Leave vegetables al dente, i.e., a little crunchy. NOW pour in the Alfredo sauce. Add the cooked pasta and dig in!


Do NOT use packaged lettuce! Wash the Romaine and add the tomato, scallions, cucumbers and avocado. Add a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Homemade Dressing

ix a 1/4 cup of olive oil and two spoonfuls of vinegar, a spoonful of water, chopped garlic, Parmesan and a pinch of chili pepper. Stir. Toss with salad and enjoy!

Extra money saving tips!

  • “Improvise on imperfection”… my philosophy when you don’t have everything the recipe specifies! Do NOT go to the store for missing ingredients.
  • When slicing, quarter your veggies… they go further that way!
  • Check out more of my personal tips and grocery list ideas to help you fatten your wallet.

Let me know what tips you might have to save at the grocery store and still cook like a millionaire! Hit Like and Share on today’s post to share these recipes with your friends, fellow chefs and family members.

If you’re looking for tips and strategies to save money, build wealth and decrease debt, check out The Dani Johnson Show at 12 pm ET/11 am CT. Tune into the show on either your TV or radio and please remember you can always stream today’s show right on our website.

In great faith,

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