Need some cheap ideas for student living that are not bland to eat :)



Chef K. October 2, 2011
When I was a student, I made up a very quick, and simple chicken dish. I put down a double layer of foil. Then, put down a couple handfuls of dry rice. Top that with a few veggies like snap peas, water chestnuts, and whatever I had in the fridge. Drizzle on a little soy sauce and some sesame oil or a pad of butter, and maybe a little chicken stock or some other liquid. Mirin would probably be good. Fold the foil up to seal around the food, and put it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 or so minutes directly on the oven rack. Be careful not to tear the foil. (I would usually get it started then go take a shower, and it would be done when I was finished.) Put the contents on a plate and top with Chow Mein noodles. I didn't use any measurements, so I didn't always have success with getting the rice consistently cooked. It seemed to get less done toward the edges of the package. You could try adding more liquid (I only used about 2 or 3 ounces), or cook the rice separately. I liked making this dish, because it was so simple, and there was very little cleanup.
clintonhillbilly October 2, 2011
Lentil bolognese-- soak red lentils for half an hour or so, chop up celery, carrots, onion and garlic and sautée in olive oil. Add a can of tomatoes and the lentils, season to taste and add whatever dried Italian herbs you like. Have it over spaghetti. Super healthy and cheap!
nutcakes October 2, 2011
Keep some salads made from grains or beans in the referigerator, they keep well, are healthy and cheap.

Mix one can chick peas, drained with 2 cans tuna, drained. Add scliced celety and or radish for crunch. sliced green or red onions if you like it. Dress lemon or wine vinegar, oil and salt and pepper. This is realy nice with coipped or halved cherry tomatoes.The cherry ones keep a little better in the fridge.
ATG117 October 2, 2011
Eggs every which way from just scrambled to a frittata to used as a binder mixed with leftover pasta to make a pasta-like pie. Pasta itself is another great staple that can be the base for all types of vegetables, meat, chicken, or tofu. Another idea, the recipe below or one of the many other lentil recipes on the site.
nutcakes October 1, 2011
Here is an old favorite, make it as spicy as you like. Sticky Garlic Chicken. I like it over thin noodles (asian wheat ones or spaghettini) and you can stretch it a bit more by doubling the sauce and the noodles. It just have a bit of sticky glaze to coat the noodles. Don't be afraid of one or 2 entire heads of garlic, by chopping coarsley, it becomes sweet and carmelized.
sexyLAMBCHOPx October 1, 2011 - Amazing!

Also, be sure to check the sales at markets for fish, beef, chicken.
A slow cooker can make great stews with less expensive cuts of meat. Also you can cook once and freeze. Try to find a food shopping partner - buy bulk or whole cuts of beef and butcher and divide at home. It's less expensive to eat what's in season and taste better. Purchase from the bulk bins so you buy what you need and not waste.
Pastry N. October 1, 2011
2 strips Bacon
1 Medium spanish onion
1 Large garlic clove
2 Medium Zucchini
2 Large Roma Tomatoes
Parmesan cheese
Linguini Pasta

1,, Cook 2 pieces of bacon in a large non-stick skillet. Remove bacon and retain rendered fat over low heat.

2,, Dice onion and one large garlic clove. Slice zucchini into 1/2" coins. Dice roma tomatoes

3,, Turn up your heat to medium and add onion to cook until it has a nice golden translucent color. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds

4,, Turn up heat to medium high then add zucchini coins and sear both sides until lightly golden and browned ever so slightly around the edges.

5,, Top zucchini rings with diced tomato and sprinkle liberally with parmesan. Place in the oven (or individual servings in a toaster oven!) on broil to melt cheese.

Serve with marinara pasta sauce over linguini!

RebeccaCooks October 1, 2011
My favorite is rice mixed with sambal oelek and whatever veggies you have around, with a fried egg on top.
Sam1148 October 1, 2011
A "needle tenderizer" can turn a cheap cut of meat into tenderness
I've seen these on sale for much cheaper 15 bucks or so at Academy Sport in their outdoor cooking section at the end of BBQ season..and at Publix supermarket.
Good for turning a flat-iron or round steak into cube steak for country fried steak.
Or tenderizing chuck roasts.
spuntino October 1, 2011
Greens with a fried egg on top! Cheap/easy/quick

1. Chop onion, garlic and whatever greens are in season - kale/broccoli rabe/even brussels sprouts/chard/etc.
2. Saute onion & garlic in olive oil til translucent; once they're soft, salt onions. add greens in & wilt. Put in bowl.
3. In a separate small frying pan, fry an egg in a 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Put on top of greens in bowl.

If you like spice, add some chile flakes. If you want some cheese, grate some pecorino or parmesan on top of the greens. If you have cooked grains on hand (quinoa/kale/barley), you can put all of that on top of some grains. Or not, either way.

Cheap. Complete. Seriously good with a glass of wine/comforting & warming, especially in winter.

Sam1148 October 1, 2011
Thai coconut soup.
Chop up a boneless skinless chicken breast as fine as you can. Sautee that with a tea-spoon of "Thai Kitchen" green curry past. (add mushrooms if you wish).
Simmer with a can of coconut milk and lime zest. Adjust spice with more curry and add a can of low sodium chicken broth. Simmer a bit more. If you want meatless or 'shelf stable' option, use tofu instead of chicken and add the tofu at the final simmer to keep it intact.
Add lime juice and fish sauce/or a touch of soy sauce to adjust the salt element.
You can reduce that further and serve over rice the next day. Don't forget the lime! It really needs lime. Carrot cubes can be added at end--but lightly sautee or nuke them--just to slightly cook them as they should have some crunch.
sdebrango October 1, 2011
Check out the contest a few months ago for the best dirt cheap meals, here is the link, there are some fantastic recipes.
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