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Topic: Cheap meals for students...that don't involve ramen?  (Read 11710 times)
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« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2010 06:51:41 PM »

If you can:

- Buy various herbs/spices you can use for many dishes.
- Shop at a farmer's market, co-op, and/or CSA.
- Grow a few plants/herbs in small pots.
- Learn about wild edibles.
- Barter.

Here are some links:
Eat Wild
Local Foods
Nourished Kitchen Recipes
« Last Edit: October 25, 2010 07:53:35 AM by Strutter » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2010 08:16:27 AM »

Do you have a freezer? I'm no longer in college but I'm a teacher (and we all know teachers do not make much of a salary!) live alone, and am always trying to save food and money!!  So I will make a soup such as vegetable soup or casserole dish such as chicken spaghetti and freeze most of it in several small containers (so when I defrost it's just enough for a couple of days).  Also, when I was in college, for lunch I would roll up sandwhich sliced turkey in a tortilla with cheese and green chiles and pop it in the microwave. Yummy, cheap, and healthy!
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2010 09:23:50 AM »

You can try Dollar Tree if there's a store near you. Some of their stores even have a frozen food section. You can get frozen veges & even diary products. There are also canned tuna, cookies, etc.

Also, you can try shopping at Farmer's Market, if there's one near you. We've bought fingerling potatoes and a box of brown button mushrooms at $1 each.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2010 09:39:17 AM by MissCraftyFingers » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2010 09:10:08 PM »

I'm in the exact same boat as you.

I love this thread! so helpful...

First for ramen, like the other people said there are sooo many ways to make it more interesting. Get cheap ground beef (it is actually pretty cheap), and make meatballs, mix in some cheap spaghetti sauce (mix in spices too!) and cook the noodles and you've got a pretty easy cheap meal. Save the flavor packets which will make a great broth for a soup. You can boil water, mix in soup packets till you get a good flavor, then throw in some veggies (canned, frozen, or fresh! Fresh take the longest to cook on the stove, canned the shortest) and some chopped up chicken breast if you can afford it (it shouldn't be too expensive) and you've got a lovely soup.

My favorite thing ever is the dollar store.
Mine has little cans of franks, mushrooms, beans, etc. that are great for throwing together to make a quick meal. Crumbling up cheap crackers is also a great way to make a soup more filling, or you could even add noodles or rice to a soup. I like getting the cheap cans of campbells mushroom or cream of whatever broths, adding some cheap canned veggies, rice, beans, and a little bit of hot sauce.

Also if you can get some cheap lunch meat, you can chop it up, throw it in some scrambled eggs with again veggies and spices and make a great meal.

Further, try to compose meals of two important things: spices/sauces and protein/fiber. The protein or fiber will make it filling and seem like a meal, while the spices and sauces will make it interesting, varied, and flavorful. For the flavor, make sure you gather spices. They last a long time (I've had the same $2 canister of garlic powder for about 8 months) and they go a long way to make things interesting. I get mine at the dollar store and big lots, but check your local grocery store... I once wandered to the spice section of my local store and they had all these great steak spices and rubs on sale from $4.50 a bottle to $1.39 a bottle. I nearly bought them out! I got Kansas City Style, New Orleans Cajun, Sweet N Tangy BBQ, Mango Lime fish seasoning etc.

also most grocery stores carry big bottles of lemon juice for pretty cheap, and again, a little goes a long way. You only need a couple table spoons of the stuff to cover a whole pan of chicken.

If you have an Aldi near you, check them too-you can get some great deals there!
I got a 5lb bag of Whiting Fillet for about $2.50 there, which makes quite a few nice meals with the right seasonings, a little lemon juice, and rice.

I hope people keep posting in this thread, I'm always on the look out for frugal cooking tips.
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« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2010 02:27:34 PM »

soup! buy whatever veg are cheap, make batches of soup, freeze in individual portions
got me through 3 years of university student-hood
soup in the freezer is great cause you just defrost and re-heat whatever type you feel like, add any fresh stuff you have (the occasional nice bread or bit of meat)

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« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2010 07:47:39 PM »

my fav student meal (eep that was 10 years ago... )was chicken soup made from those pre cooked roasted chickens. (the kind in the deli section)  We'd eat some of the chicken for lunch, then supper, then made soup from the bones and left over meat and frozen veggies the next day. (they go quite a ways for a student) Since you are getting a small freezer, you could get one of the huge as bags of frozen veg. they are like 10$ here and last my fam of 4 (non mush food eating people)  for months, so you'd be set with 10$ on veg for at least 3-6 months.  Bulk is your friend if you can be sure it wont spoil. 
Ramen noodles are okay, but check out your asian section in the grocery.  There are Vermicelli noodles (rice noodles) that are way tastier, and have a way nicer texture and take the same 3 minutes to cook.  We generally eat them with a stir fry.  Sesame oil is gold.  (as previously mentioned) I've just started using it, and mmm boy does it ever punch up a bowl of noodles and stirfry.  If you can find rice paper, you can also make fresh rolls.  if those sound interesting to you I can give you the how to.

There are lots of easy/cheap solutions  you just need to not be afraid of being creative!  Good luck with your classes!

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« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2010 06:45:42 PM »

Instant Noodles can be made healthy by adding an egg and chopped veggies like carrots, green peas, corn, or celery.  You don't have to use all the seasoning packet.  Just add as you taste.

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« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2010 01:34:20 AM »

Ohh my gosh. This is my life. Tongue I get by on breakfast for dinner. Atleaaast 4 nights a week. Everything breakfasty is soooo delicious and so cheap. Pancaked, french toast, omelettes, cereal, yuuuum. Plus a ton of stirfrys, and my number one favourite, mushroom soup over rice.

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« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2010 11:35:37 PM »

I eat a lot of eggs. It's normally around $1.50 for a dozen and last from a week to two weeks. Also, I've been making my meals stretch with a lot of onions lately. I'm not sure what type of area you are in but it pays to look around at each local market. My partner and I both walk to the supermarkets and totally ignored our local Vons which just across the street (though not very noticeable since we used to shop at midnight) We ventured in one day out of curiosity and were blown away at how much cheaper it was than our local Ralph's. If you are lucky some supermarkets have discounted areas for food that is about to go bad or maybe even day old bread. I've bought day old cakes before for $2 for my broke birthdays.

The recipes listed in here sound really yummy btw.

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« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2010 07:43:33 PM »

I'm also a broke student, I feel your pain Tongue

I've found that ground beef is usually really cheap, the Walmart near me sells it in packs of 5 1lb. tubes for like $10 I think. So what I do is buy a few of those and keep them in the freezer. You can use it for a lot of things- meatloaf, burgers, nachos, pizza, sloppy joes, etc.

Also, potatoes and apples are cheap and versatile. You can do ANYTHING with potatoes.
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