Easy (And Cheap) Homemade College Meals

By Ruth Chung


With such a busy schedule it can be difficult to find time to cook a full 3-course meal, or find the time to sit down with friends and fully enjoy it. At the same time, a tight budget can prevent us from eating the foods we’re really craving.

Hearing my apartment-dwelling friends worry about what to make for dinner each evening makes me wonder what sorts of recipes are time-friendly, budget-friendly and health-friendly. But finding a perfect combination of the three can be difficult. Even living in the dorms and eating in the dining hall all the time can become repetitive; often I find myself just craving a good, warm, home-cooked meal. And my apartment friends tell me that instant ramen is beginning to lose its charm.

So here are 5 quick, cheap, simple and memorable meals to vamp up your college eating experience.


  1. Dragon Noodles

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook times: 10 mins

For an Asian twist and a sweet, spicy kick, try these Dragon Noodles. It gives you the satisfaction of an Asian takeout without the expenses and extra grease.


For the full recipe/Photo Creds: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2012/08/spicy-noodles/

  1.  Mason Jar Salads

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 0 mins

Salads are a vital part of a healthy diet. Appealing vegetables are often hard to incorporate into a meal, but with this very simple and transportable meal, you can get your fix of veggies without stressing about getting to class on time.


For the full recipe/Photo Creds: http://nu.spoonuniversity.com/cook/mason-jar-salad-bar/

  1. Marcella Hazan’s Famous Tomato Sauce

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 45 mins

Almost nothing can beat a good homemade pasta sauce. This recipe does take a bit longer, but the results are even more rewarding. A good sauce from scratch is difficult to achieve, but this recipe incorporates all the basics, yet still manages to produce a tasty sauce with a health-conscious footing.


For full recipe/Photo Creds: http://www.thekitchn.com/marcella-hazans-amazing-4ingre-144538

  1. One Pot Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins

This recipe is a “one-pot-wonder,” including your fix of veggies, meat and carbs all in one! Amidst heavy campus and dorm food, this clean recipe is both different and refreshing.


For full recipe/Photo Creds: http://www.justusfourblog.com/2014/09/one-pot-chicken-enchilada-pasta/

  1. The Peter Pan-ini

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins

Remember when PB&Js were exciting? This last (but not least) idea takes the classic sandwich snack and adds a twist with a Panini maker. The results are both innovatively crunchy and familiarly satisfying. Make one, two, or threeto enjoy as a snack or as a quick meal.


For full recipe/Photo Creds: http://dartmouth.spoonuniversity.com/cook/weekly-panineats-nostalgini/


*Image Sources:

All images courtesy of their respective websites, listed above

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