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Creamy Lemon Ricotta Shells for Under $5

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ml's Susannah Locketti: Back-to-school time brings about a kind of "uh -oh" dinner mentality. It's that period in late August when we realize that we will have to once again pull off dinner in between work schedules, homework, music lessons and sports practice. Not to mention, we're broke from the back-to-school shopping. Thankfully, I have a dish that's got you covered in ten minutes for under five bucks! My Creamy Lemon Ricotta Shells are loaded with protein (from the ricotta cheese), while the flavor is lightened up with a burst of fresh lemon juice and zest. A hint of nutmeg and garlic give it that "dinner" feel, and the shells hold on to the flavorful creamy sauce. Serve it with a side salad for a quick and easy weeknight meal!

Creamy Lemon Ricotta Shells

1 lb. box medium shell pasta
15 oz. container fat-free ricotta cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
Dash nutmeg (optional)
Grated Parmesan cheese (for garnish)

Method:While the pasta is boiling, combine all ingredients except Parmesan cheese in a food processor until smooth. Drain pasta, add pasta back to the pot and add ricotta cheese mixture. Toss to thoroughly combine, and serve immediately. Top with Parmesan cheese and another sprinkle of nutmeg.

Susannah's Time- & Money-Saving Sense:Pasta dishes can get pricey when you add expensive meats or seafood. In this case, just 1/4 cup of ricotta cheese boasts six grams of protein. I bought the fat-free variety to keep the dish healthy, yet kept it creamy by combining the cheese with heart-healthy olive oil.

Always work and prep while the pasta boils to keep things moving in the kitchen. You'd
be amazed how much prep and cleanup you can accomplish in ten minutes!

Look for lots of back-to-school food savings in the circulars right now, and stock up on the items you use most. I picked up the pasta for this dish for well under $1.

Cost Breakdown:

Pasta -- $ .77
Ricotta cheese -- $2.50
Olive oil -- Free (on hand)
Garlic -- Free (on hand)
Lemon -- $ .67
Spices -- Free (on hand)

Total cost: $3.94

Copyright 2010 by Susannah Locketti.

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5 comments so far | Post a comment now
Nicole August 24, 2010, 12:19 PM

This sounds delicious! Think I might cook it tonight for dinner and see what the kids think!

Stacey Allaire August 31, 2010, 12:31 PM

That looks so yummy and simple to make - even I could do it!

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