5 Cheap and Easy-to-Cook Dinners for College Students
Feb 02, 2012
Tired of the same old food night after night? Cafeteria meals just not cutting it for you? Maybe, but with your tight budget it probably seems like there's just no way to make cheap, easy and varied meals. Right? Wrong. You'd be surprised at some of the great meals you can make without straining your funds.
You might have seen these before at parties, but they also make great meals and snacks just for you. All you need are tortillas and either sour cream or another sticky substance to hold the whole thing together. After that, the choices are up to you. Deli meat, spinach leaves and a little ranch dressing work well. You can replace the sour cream with cream cheese and add some ham for a healthy and delicious meal. One that seems to work particularly well is sour cream, American cheese, hot sauce and deli chicken. It has a spicy bite to it and it's very filling. Put whatever you like on the tortilla, then roll it up and cut in slices so that when you lay them on their sides they look like little spirals. Friends will love to eat these with you, and they keep in the refrigerator for about a week.
Spaghetti and Other Pasta Dishes
Pasta tends to be inexpensive, keeps well and makes a ton of food per package. Get creative with some spaghetti noodles. Sure, you can always go with the classic tomato sauce, but there's more than just that. You can use cans of Campbell's cream soups for a new taste, especially the cheddar and broccoli. For other tastes, add spices or slices of peppers. You can even add meat like chicken, beef and ham depending on what's cheap at the grocery store. This is also a dish that keeps incredibly well. You can make the pasta all at once, or keep some until you next need it. Ground beef and other meats also freeze well and canned soups last practically forever.
All you generally need to start making these meals is a box of Bisquick, a greased pan, a few eggs and some milk. There are even directions on the side of the Bisquick box to help you get started. From there, the options are nearly endless. You can put almost anything into this and have it come out tasting great. You can add leftover veggies, an assortment of cheese and a little black pepper to the mix. Cook until a knife inserted comes out clean and you'll have a Bisquick soufflé, also known as an impossible pie. You can also add fruit and sugar instead to get something a little sweeter. Really, whatever leftovers you have or whatever is cheap at the store will work with this dish, and it will make enough to last for many meals.
If you need to get fancy, either for a date or for a group meal, bruschetta is a great way to show off your cooking skills without actually doing too much. All you'll need is olive oil, basil, a few fresh tomatoes, garlic or garlic powder and bread. Cheap bread works fine, but if you can find a small loaf of French or sourdough that fits your budget, that's a better way to go. Dice the tomatoes finely, mix them with garlic and basil to taste and then mix with olive oil until it looks good and slimy. Then, toast the pieces of the bread and put the tomatoes on top in little spoonfuls. It's a classic Italian dish and you can always customize it to make it your own. You can add onions, Parmesan cheese or even a layer of mozzarella between the bread and tomatoes. Whatever you can afford is fine. It comes out looking fancy, lasts for several meals or several guests and takes less than half an hour to make.
It may sound a little too simple to be a good meal, but that's only because you haven't thought outside the box yet. Soup can contain any number of things and can be served any number of ways. Get creative with carrots, bullion and onions, or blend up some spinach and mix it with cream for a more filling soup. Use cornstarch for a thickener and don't forget about the wide varieties of spices out there. You can also beat an egg and pour it slowly into simmering broth for a more protein-rich meal, often called an egg-drop soup. You can make these in huge amounts to save for later, and if you get bored of the flavor you can always add new things when you reheat it.
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