Also find out whether her restriction is no white flour or more specifically no gluten. Gluten is found in almost all prepared foods in some form, even things like salad dressing and lunch meat, not just bakery items.
I agree with the others about rice, beans, noodles, potatoes, etc. We eat the following two meals about once a week each:
World's easiest tomato sauce recipe - simmer a lg. can of crushed tomatoes with a whole peeled onion (I cut it in half) for about 10 minutes. Any more time, and it will be bitter. Finish with salt, pepper and butter. You can even leave out the butter or get fancy with basil and oregano if you want. Sounds strange, but it's great. Serve with pasta. If you buy Barilla Plus (about $2.39 per box, less on sale), it's even got protein in it.
Although home-cooked dried beans are cheaper, even a can of beans can be had for $0.69 or so - add some tortillas and whatever cheese or toppings you might have on hand for an inexpensive meal.
Eggs are also a cheap source of protein. The less processed food you eat, the more you can stretch your budget. Buy fruit and vegetables in season and freeze anything you can't use up right away.
This site might also provide some inspiration: http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/index.htm All of the recipes are not my style necessarily, but she's got good ideas in there + some emergency budget menus for $45/wk. and $70/wk. for a family of 4 - so it can be done!
Ok, first the feminist mom advice - take care of yourself and your studies first. I have no patience for men/boys who can't take care of their most basic needs (your friend with the 7 sibs excluded, of course - that's not exactly slacking...hope he's doing OK and able to get some help.)
Now a couple of recipes for after you've done your homework
* Easiest spaghetti sauce - throw a peeled onion in a pot with a can of crushed tomatoes (best ones you can afford - if they're more acidic, a pinch of sugar will help). Simmer for about 10-15 minutes - don't cook much longer or the seeds from the tomato will make the sauce bitter. That's it. If you're getting fancy, add a little butter, salt and pepper. Sounds like it wouldn't be good, but it's great.
* Any kind of beans on top of any kind of tortilla/tostada. That's as easy as opening a can and cutting up a little lettuce or tomato to put on top with some cheese and salsa.
* I second the recommendation of pizza. The premade crusts aren't too bad. Throw tomato sauce on top with some shredded cheese and whatever else you like.
* I also second the crock pot idea. You can usually get pretty cheap crock pots at garage sales. Two meats that work well in these are pork country ribs and chicken thighs because they aren't too expensive and they don't dry out. Toss in the pot with sauce - I have used BBQ and teriyaki with good results - cook on high for 3-4 hours.
* Ramen noodles can always be doctored up in various ways, and hey, they want fancier food, they can learn to cook for themselves!
You're a nice person to want to help people out. Good luck.
My favorite, hands down, is Rae's Vegetarian Chili from Allrecipes.com. I have made it in a crock pot. The alcohol in the beer cooks off, but if you prefer not to use beer, I would add a touch of molasses or something similar for that depth of flavor. At first I thought the mustard powder was strange, but it works.
* 4 cloves garlic, minced * 2 tablespoons olive oil * 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice * 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce * 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste * 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer * 4 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste * 1 tablespoon mustard powder * 1 teaspoon dried oregano * freshly ground black pepper * 1 teaspoon ground cumin * 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce * 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained * 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained * 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed * 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed * 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed * 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed * 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1. In a 4 quart pot, saute garlic in oil. 2. Add diced tomatoes (undrained), tomato sauce, tomato paste, beer, chili powder, mustard powder, oregano, pepper, cumin, hot pepper sauce. Stir in the pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, red and white kidney beans, and corn. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Top each serving with cheese (if you'd like).
My suggestion is to use a recipe like this http://www.landolakes.com/mealideas/ViewRecipe.cfm?RecipeID=5056 basically containing butter and flour, no shortening or sugar or other extraneous ingredients. Use ice-cold water, and don't overmix. You just need to use a pastry cutter or two butter knives to cut the butter in until the flour is barely clinging together. Handle it as little as possible. I don't make lattice crusts, but just a regular two-crust pie with slits cut in the top. It really works and comes out nice and flaky.