Ok, so it really doesn't get any cheaper than Spaghetti. Pasta is about as cheap as it comes. Tomato sauce usually isn't that expensive either, but homemade tastes far better, and is often healthier (no added sugar, lower sodium).
This super simple recipe for homemade marinara sauce is flavorful enough to enjoy on it's own, or with meat added (this happened to be a meat-free day's batch). It would also make a great starting point for eggplant or chicken parmesan, lasagna, pizza... or anything else you can think of!
I made this marinara for about $1... that's about $0.17 per serving. Put that together with some pasta for $1/lb and that's a $2 meal!! It doesn't get much cheaper or easier!*
Makes about 6 servings
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
Warm saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant and garlic is slightly tender; add bay leaf. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and oregano; stir until tomato paste has dissolved. Simmer over low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Serve immediately over pasta, or in your favorite recipe. Also keeps well in refrigerator or freezer for future use!
*Price breakdown: garlic $0.15; crushed tomatoes $0.79; tomato paste $0.06. Cost of herbs/evoo not included.