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BCarlyle's avatar

What are some cheap ideas for great meals?

Asked by BCarlyle (392points) April 25th, 2008

I’m going to be a poor college kid once again in a couple months and want to stretch the dollar as far as I can. Pasta and bean burritos are classics in my book- but what other good ideas/recipes are out there?

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19 Answers

jballou's avatar

Trader Joe’s has all kinds of great stuff that’s cheap. I recommend investing in a Foreman grill and going to Trader Joe’s once a month. Much healthier then Top Ramen every day.

Specifically- TJ’s has a huge bag a frozen chicken breasts for about 8 bucks. If you get that, a bunch of rice and pasta and some fresh vegetables, you could eat some good and varied meals on the cheap.

peedub's avatar

Nigel Slater has some pretty bass-ass quick, easy, and fairly cheap recipes in books such as Real Fast Food or The 30-Minute Cook.

If you wanna go cheaper, Korean (nongshim) spicy ramen in under $1 a package and is enough for a meal. I like to add a soy sauce, scallions, and a fried egg to mine.

jrpowell's avatar

Also think about getting stuff to make sandwiches. I used to always carry a sandwich with me so I would have something between classes. That kept me from needing to eat the expensive food they had on and around campus. They hold up well and you can make them the night before and stick it in the fridge until you have to leave in the morning. I was always running late so that helped me out.

johnnyc299's avatar

When I was in college I used to live on cup a soups. We had a treat on Thursdays when we had spaghetti bolognese.

gailcalled's avatar

@PW: bass-ass is some kind of fish dish?

@BCarlyle; what kind of equipment, facilities, space do you have? Stove, fridge, pots, pans, knives, spoons other than plastic,(that one of our Flutherer’s discovered melted when used for cooking)?

peedub's avatar

Hahaha, yeah like hali but cheeks, I love em, their delicacies.

gailcalled's avatar

Here is the question from a week ago from another starving and poor college student; 27 good ideas and links. He included “healthy” on his question, but you can decide:-)

susanc's avatar

But peedub, hali cheeks are WAY pricey.

I think one approach would be refined dumpster diving. Careful, professional dumpster

peedub's avatar

I know, it was joke based on a misspelling that Gail cleverly pointed out. I do really love them though. I said bass-ass, and meant bad-ass.

ezraglenn's avatar

@collective, wouldnt a more appropriate title for this question be “what are some great ideas for cheap meals?”? Cheap ideas can be dangerous…

BCarlyle's avatar

Thanks for all the responses. I should have a full kitchen with which to work my magic when I start school (I’ve got all the basics in pots, pans and whatnot- but nothing too fancy). I will definitely try some of these ideas.

stevenb's avatar

I always love glue. You cut up a chicken breast, brown it and make sure it is cooked through, then put a can of cream of mushroom soup in with it. While that gets warmed, cook some rice. When the rice is done put the chicken & soup on top. Glue. I still love it even though my wife HATES it. We ate it alot when we were po’

gailcalled's avatar

@BC: (Just don’t read the ingredients on the cream of mush.soup label and you’ll be fine.)

kapuerajam's avatar

pb and j sushi:looks like sushi but is a pb and j

stevenb's avatar

hey, its cheap! Tastey too, but yah, not the greatest for you. I never noticed anything bad from it though.

susanc's avatar

Just make a great big green salad and throw some cooked meat or some hardboiled eggs or some leftover other protein or some nice diced tofu in it and make
a beautiful homemade vinaigrette dressing and toss it up. An avocado never hurts.
Beautiful Homemade Vinaigrette Dressing:
Lots of reasonably good olive oil
a little mustard, any type, to help hold the dressing together
a tiny pinch of sugar to make the medicine go down
a tiny clove of garlic, mashed or minced up; OR (not AND) some dried basil, crushed
Mash this all together, perhaps in the very salad bowl before the greens go in;
marinate everything that’s not greens, while you
Get your delicious greens clean and then dried off so they can hold the oily part of the dressing instead of repelling it
Toss the greens etc with the gorgeous dressing
THEN AND ONLY THEN sprinkle ungenerously with reasonably good vinegar and/or
some nice freshly squeezed lemon juice; you want the greens etc coated with oil and then seasoned with tartness
Toss vigorously

BCarlyle's avatar

Thanks for the good salad rundown… my options are definitely getting better.

susanc's avatar

You are welcome. Always eager to make people eat good food. Food is love, food is
god, food is life. Remember, the lettuce should not be wet. Ew.

zahava85's avatar

corn chowder! you can use frozen corn which is really cheap and canned chicken stock (also cheap), some potatoes and milk. it’s even better if you blend about half the soup after letting it simmer for a 1/2 hour and then pouring it back into the pot.

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