When we left Roanoke a few months ago to move back to the New River Valley, we left a lot. Jobs in a ministry where we got to see lives changed, the first home we made “ours,” and a town we had just started to find our way around. We left best friends from college that coincidentally lived minutes from us, but also a church that turned into a family–filled with people who invited us in so quickly and who we fell in love with. Finding out that we both got these new jobs was truly bittersweet–we needed these jobs, but we knew leaving Roanoke was leaving more than just our little 800-square-foot duplex.
It meant leaving people who were truly transformative in the first year of our marriage. And we were really sad and really scared that we wouldn’t find a community like that here. But, as much as we still long to be with our Roanoke family, God didn’t forget about us here in Radford…and He’s blessed us beyond comprehension. (He’s known for doing that, by the way.)
This week, we had our first official Supper Club, and our house was rocking with laughter for hours. It was such a blast to bring together friends–living in a college town is tough on us “old” people (AKA all the people not in college), and finding friends that aren’t planning to up and leave the second they get their diploma has proven to be challenging. So, we joined forces and can’t wait to keep these monthly dinner dates going. I think that a trip to a NASCAR race, an amusement park, and the golf course were all planned for the coming weeks prior to the end of the night…which makes me think Supper Club was a hit.
I love to cook–especially for other people–so I selfishly called dibs on making the meal this time around. What I forgot was that, with two weeks left in the month, we had $16.50 left in our groceries budget.
Full disclosure: we’ve been married almost two years, and this is the first month we’ve genuinely attempted to stick to a budget. Shout out to YNAB for being the simultaneously best and most annoying thing that’s happened to our money situation. I’m not a fan of an app telling me I can’t go browse the clearance aisles in Target, but I’m also not a fan of not being able to pay our bills, so YNAB’s keeping us on track.
Anyways, I knew I had to make a budget friendly meal–but still feed eight hungry people…and still eat good food! I’ve learned that the best way to do this is stick to an Italian theme. Pasta’s cheap, people. (Especially when you have a .45 cent off Kroger coupon…ayo!) To have a variety, I made both a baked spaghetti and a chicken alfredo dish, with salad and garlic bread on the side. For dessert, we chowed down on some poppyseed bundt cake and fresh whipped cream. It was delicious, and we had tons of leftovers (Morgan and I are going to turn into big bowls of pasta after eating this all.week.long.). Best part: I spent just about $20 on it all. My opinion on this dang budget is that a whole lot of grace should be allowed ;).
Here are two of my favorite recipes from the night!
12 oz spaghetti
1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
Brown the ground beef in a skillet, adding in the Italian seasoning and minced garlic.
Cook spaghetti according to instructions in a large stockpot. Drain pasta.
Cut cream cheese into quarters.
Add cream cheese, spaghetti sauce, and beef to pasta, stirring to combine. (This may take a bit because of the cream cheese, but the hot pasta will melt it–so stir away!)
Pour the spaghetti mixture into the baking dish, and top with parmesan cheese. (I’ll probably add some mozzarella next time around. I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as too much cheese.)
Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly.
Glazed Poppyseed Bundt Cake
(adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)
1 box yellow cake
1 box instant vanilla pudding (3.5 oz box)
1 Tbsp poppyseeds
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup coconut oil (you can use any oil here, but coconut adds a really good sweetness!)
1 cup sour cream (can be reduced fat)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. This next step is huge. I messed it up. Grease and flour the crap out of a bundt pan.
Mix cake mix, vanilla pudding, and poppyseeds until smooth. Add juice, oil, and sour cream, and mix until combined.
Add the eggs one at a time.
Pour the mixture into the SUPER GREASED AND FLOURED bundt pan, and bake for 35 minutes. Don’t overbake!
Right before taking the cake out of the oven, start the glaze.
Now…I know this is a lot of sugar and butter, but the way to handle it is to just tell yourself that you deserve it. Because you do deserve a cup of sugar and a stick of butter mixed up.
Put the butter, sugar, and water into a small saucepan, and bring it to a boil. Keep the mixture boiling until you pour it on the cake (if not, it will harden).
Turn the cake out of the pan when it is slightly cooled, and pour the boiling glaze all over the top. It will seep in and be perfect. (Well, it will be perfect if you greased enough. Mine was mighty ugly…but still perfectly delicious so whatever.)
You can dust it with some powdered sugar, or we served it with fresh whipped cream.
Have a super Supper Club!