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Topic: Cheap meals for students...that don't involve ramen?  (Read 11676 times)
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Joined: 11-May-2011

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« Reply #30 on: September 03, 2011 05:24:40 AM »

I second baked potatoes. I bake them for 2 hours so they go very hard and crisp on the outside. Then slice them in half, scoop out the potato, mix it with tuna and mayo and then scoop it back in. It is delicious and super cheap. To mix it up, you can also make baked sweet potatoes with sour cream and chive.

Another good cheap food, which might sound weird but I swear tastes amazing is cup-a-soup pasta. Buy the chicken and vegetable cup-a-soups (buying the off-brand can help save money) and any kind of noodles you like. Boil the noodles and drain. Mix the cup of soup with only 1/2 the recommended hot water and it turns into a nice creamy consistancy which makes an awesome and delicious pasta sauce. If you've got the funds, it tastes great with some chopped bacon added to it as well.

Egg fried rice is another favourite. Boil your rice up and spread it out on a plate to dry out while you scramble an egg. In the pan, add in the cooked, dried rice to the egg. Then add a few tsp of soy sauce and oyster sauce to taste and some chopped spring onion and fry it all together for a few minutes while continuously mixing. I also like adding some fried tofu for texture.

I'm thinking about getting metal legs. It's a risky operation, but it'll be worth it.

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« Reply #31 on: September 03, 2011 05:51:43 AM »

Oh I miss these days. I have a couple tips first:

1) Make a list before you go to the grocery store. Plan out meals where you can make left overs and stick to your list. Throwing little things like, oh say cookies, into the cart spontaneously can really push up the cost of your bill at the checkout. I always used to ask myself "Do I NEED this?" and usually the answer was no.

2) I used to find it really useful to make enough food for leftovers. Then if I was really busy with classes and homework and work the next day and didn't have time to make a lunch or dinner I could just throw something in the microwave. Otherwise I'd end up eating out or in the dining lounge which are both expensive.

Soo things I liked to cook for cheap?

Pasta. I lived on pasta. And you can always get all your veggies and proteins in too. You usually have some vegetable you've been meaning to eat and will go bad shortly that will go great in a pasta. IF you watch out for pasta sauce to go on sale and stock up thats your best bet. Every now and then the grocery store would do $1 a jar which is really good.

Pitas. I would buy those half pita shells and mix myself up a big salad in a bowl and stuff the pitas full. I'd do a couple at a time and wrap them up in the fridge for convenience. Im a pita fiend and its so much cheaper than going to Pita Hut, and to be honest more tastier.

On that front. If you like salads buy your own ingredients, don't buy the bagged salad. If you eat enough of it so it doesn't go bad you can stretch the ingredients much farther. Problem with fresh produce is you really have to make sure you can eat it all on your own before it goes bad. I often used to make the mistake of buying too much.

If your school is in a city which has a fresh farmers market that can be a great place to save some money. Be familiar with what you pay at the grocery store so you can determine if you are getting a good deal.

Back to meals... I used to use potatos a lot. Those 5lb bags are pretty cheap and will last a while. I'd make mashed potatos, scalloped potatos, steamed potatos, baked potatos, potato wedges, the list goes on.
People think potatos are just a bunch of filler. But potatos have a LOT of nutrients, stuff other veggies only have in small quantities. There are 2 problems:
1. Potatos keep their nutrients near the skin or DONT peel them before cooking.
2. Potatos have a lot of carbs, so does pasta. So if you are struggling with your weight at school it might be better to not eat as many as I did.

I agree with the poster who said proteins are most expensive and watch for stuff on sale. Theres a couple things you can depend on to be cheaper - usually ground beef (thought not lately) which can be used in all sorts of things from tacos to pasta to sloppy joes to home made hamburgers. Also CHICKEN THIGHS, I've consistently found they are the cheapest form of chicken - try to get deboned and deskined, the price is usually the same for chicken thighs - where as chicken breast is ridiculously more expensive. I also agree that buying a whole chicken is typicly cheaper than buying the individual parts because you have to do a little more work yourself.

I also used to find that pork ribs go on sale pretty consistently but they take a bit of work to prepare. I have an amazing recipe and used to make home-made ribs fairly often in college. IF you are interested I can send it over to you. When I went to college my mom made my a recipe book with all my favourites of her time-honoured recipes, so I could cook instead of eating in the dining hall. It made a world of difference in my life. If you are interested PM me and I can type it up for you. It was so helpful!



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« Reply #32 on: September 03, 2011 08:16:54 AM »

ALSO -- WORD to the chicken thighs thing previous poster^! they are the cheapest and actually really tender! for me, this was a recent discovery.

In which I do it my own damn self (DIMODS?): http://ellipsus.blogspot.com/
« Reply #33 on: September 04, 2011 04:08:24 AM »

I have two recipes.One healthy and one not so healthy.
Healthy one: Spanish Mac and Cheese
1 tblsp oil
2 cps Mac Noodles
1/2 of an 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cp diced onion(optional)
Garlic salt and salt to preferred taste
1-2 cups CUBED CHEDDAR cheese
Put oil in a sauce pan on medium heat.Add onion and noodles.Stir until noodles get slightly brown.Add tomato sauce,as much water as you want for a soup cinsistency(sp?), garlic salt and salt.Bring to a boil and boil for as long as package directs.Like 8-10 minutes.Turn off heat.Stir in 1/2 the cheese.Top with remaining cheese.This also melds well over night in the fridge.
You can also do the same with rice with out the cheese.Yummy.
Not so healthy:
3 Ingredient Ghetto Taco Pie
Bag of Doritos or other nacho cheese tortilla chip
1 can chilli beans
Shredded cheddar cheese
In a medium bowl layer the chip,beans and cheese until the bowl is almost full.Microwave until hot.Eat it up.This also melds the flavors well in the fridge over night.
Hope this helps

Life is pain,Highness~Dred Pirate Roberts<br />My Chatterings http://mousee23.blogspot.com/<br />http://pinterest.com/mousee23/
« Reply #34 on: October 25, 2011 09:36:45 AM »

Over the summer I made something that is completely strange but yummy. Seafood soup. I took some canned fish with mustard sauce (the type with a peal off top you find at discount stores) canned smoked oysters and smoked mussels (found at the same place) canned veggies - corn, green beans, potatoes (use the liquid as well), some dried mushrooms, and some dry white wine and cooked it all up together. I cannot remember if I added rice or noodles. It was one of the most surprisingly good meals I ever had. I'm sure you could do something similar with any left over seafood that was not breaded but you could even try to see how it turns out if it is breaded.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011 09:39:27 AM by tomico » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2011 11:58:24 AM »

1 box mac-n-cheese
1 can cheapest-chili-you-can-find

Make mac-n-cheese as directed. Pour in chili. Stir.
This probably makes 3 separate meals for me...

so mac-n-cheese - .40
chili - 1.00
milk/butter - .10 (i'm guessing)
1.50/3 = .50/meal

Warning: Attention Deficit Crafter.
« Reply #36 on: December 15, 2011 03:18:02 PM »

It's probably already on here, but can be super cheap & changed up as you like it. Veggie Pasta salad. Cook pasta elbows or mini shells al dente rise quickly & drain very well. Mix with any frozen veggies, diced fresh veggies, diced cheese or meat & add italian or ranch dressing. good as a side dish ir can  a meal too if you add a little meat. A great way to use up left overs & little bitss of this & that.
« Reply #37 on: January 15, 2012 04:45:01 AM »

Things I always have on hand:

- Indomie mi goreng (seriously, better than ramen)
- rice
- frozen vegetables
- eggs

That way I can have omelettes, fried rice, normal rice, noodles, noodles with eggs, noodles with vegetables... and shake it up by adding seasonal vegetables like asparagus or pumpkin, and proteins like tofu or meat.  Frozen veggies also tend to be cheaper than normal vegetables, last longer, taste about the same, and take a quarter of the time to prepare/cook all very important when you're a busy college kid!  Wink

Things I learnt from my mother:

- buy a metric bieberton of meat when you can get it for cheap and freeze whatever you're not using (only duh, don't defrost it and then put it back in the freezer)
- stir-fries are cheap and quick
- chop up your bacon before adding to rice/omelettes, it makes it go a little further
« Reply #38 on: February 27, 2012 06:46:53 PM »

I have been and am still in poor town and here are my tips.

Always used powdered milk in a recipe because it is cheaper than the other stuff and last a long time.

Canned Chicken/Tuna is cheaper than the meat section.

Canned or frozen veggies and fruit.

Coupons and deals are your BESTEST friend ever.

Use rice to stretch just about anything

Go to the Grocery store early in the AM to get deals on meat and throw those cheap bits into the freezer.

Buy a stand up shredder and shred your own cheese and potatoes with it.

My all time fave cheap dish is this and you can change it up a million different ways.

Serves about 8 people
1lb ground hamburger or turkey or chicken whatever is on sale
2cups rice
1 can corn
1 can black beans (or whatever beans you have)
1 can tomatoes
Taco seasoning (or Chili powder onion powder and Garlic powder with black pepper and salt)
Shredded cheese (optional)
Sour Cream (optional)

Make the meat like the taco seasoning pkg says to then add rice and water to the pan. Drain corn and beans and add to the pan. add in tomatoes when rice is finished cooking serve and add cheese to the top.

You can make this without the meat as well.

I pretty much make everything with rice because rice is cheap and stretches a meal further.

Another one pan dish is this
1 or 2 boneless skinless chicken breast
Mc donalds honey mustard or 2 tbs honey mustard I always seem to have Mc donald's honey mustard on hand because of  people giving it to me.
1 pkg frozen broccoli and cheese
2 cups of rice

marinate the chicken in the honey mustard and then cook in a pan  once cooked chop the chicken into chunks and place back into the pan with water rice and the broccoli. Place lid over pan and wait for the rice to be done. Serves 6-8 people

"Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in." ~Veronica Mars
« Reply #39 on: February 28, 2012 06:56:10 PM »

You can either freeze the liquids from the cans for soup stock later or use it to replace some of the water in a recipe. It's better than throwing out the vitamins and minerals that seep into the liquids from the canned food.

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