5 Cheap Pasta Meals for Families

No surprise here -- cheese is our favorite pasta pairing. See more comfort food pictures.

As rising food prices gobble up a larger percentage of our incomes, families are turning to less expensive food to put dinner on the table. Pasta is one of these. It's versatile, quick to cook and has a long shelf life. That means you can buy lots of pasta when you find it on sale and keep it in the pantry until you need it.

Whether it's the basis of a quick and hearty meal, the body of a casserole or a belly-filling addition to homemade soups, a pound of pasta goes a long way. According to the National Pasta Association, 16 ounces of a typical dry pasta cooks up to around 8 cups, and since the recommended serving size of cooked pasta is 1/2 cup, that means you can whip up 16 portions!

Work some affordable yet hearty pasta meals into your weekly menu planning with these five ideas.