In college, we pretty much all ride the struggle bus. However we don't always have to eat fast food, ramen, lettuce or sandwiches for dinner. There are some really great options for meals if you plan your ingredients, look up recipes, and make a shopping list.
Tacos are pretty simple, you can use ingredients for other meals, so it serves multiple purpose. If you go vegetarian this could cost you about 2 bucks per taco, probably 3 with meat or fish. Add some chips and guac/salsa and always include a margarita.
2. Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash is a great multi use squash, you could probably eat a week worth of meals off of one squash. You can make it into a healthy spaghetti dish, a pesto lasagna, or a shrimp alfredo. For around 10 dollars you could make multiple meals and left overs, also goes great with wine.
3. Bell Pepper Pesto Pasta
Bell peppers are around 1.50 dollars to 2.99 for a pack of minis, pesto can cost you around 1.79 at Aldi and pasta is 1.00 at Walmart for great value brand. You can also add avocado to the sauce, parmesan cheese, shrimp or chicken to this meal. Left over bell peppers can be used as a side dish, in a salad, as a snack, or for tacos. Pasta and Rose are BFF by the way.
Eating healthy is very important in college, and your entire life. Some are pushed away from the price of a salad, but do your shopping correctly and it could cost at most 10 dollars for a healthy salad. Buy ingredients that you will use in other meals, like avocados which you can put on toast, make a pasta sauce with, or cook an egg in. Strawberries which are great own their own, or in a frozen treat. Also wish bone as great evoo based dressings. To round of this healthy dish try pairing it with a cool glass of lemon ice water.
5. Stuffed Bell Peppers
Stuffed bell peppers are up to your creation. They are around 1.50-1.99 depending the season and you can add whatever you want to them. I love making them with my left over produce and cheese and rice at the end of the week. I love to have a vodka martini with my bell peppers.
You can purchase mini pizza dough at Aldi that come with three and pizza sauce, purchase some mozzarella cheese and you can also use left over produce, pesto sauce or meats to make any topping you like. Your night wouldn't be complete without your favorite beer in hand.
Yes steak is on this list, because steak is not that expensive, just don't buy a New York strip. A cut of sirloin and some rib-eyes can cost 4-6 dollars, add around a buck for a potato, and if its summer an ear of corn can be found for .33 cents. Top it off with saute mushrooms for 1.49 a pack. You can also cook a steak on the stove top and finish it off in the oven. Red meat and red wine are a match made in heaven.
Ground beef can cost around 3 dollars, I even think ground turkey is cheaper, use sandwich bread for buns, and you can add other ingredients from the week, like avocados, mushrooms, cheese, egg, onions, lettuce and tomatoes. You can make your own fries with potatoes, which you can buy a bag for around 3-4 dollars and have potatoes for other meals or a meal of its own. Sangria swirls go great with a great burger.
9. Stuffed Mushrooms
Jalapeno popper stuffed mushrooms are to die for. 1.49 for portebello mushrooms steaks at Aldi, .50 cents for jalapenos, cream cheese and cheddar cheese. You can also add bacon or ground beef which will up the price and flavor of the dish. Pour yourself a nice glass of moscato punch and enjoy.
10. Roasted Chicken
Walmart sells hot rotasierre chicken and its to do die for, you can also eat off of it for a few meals! Add a side of roasted brussels sprouts, rice, aspargus, salad, peas, or anything else you like as a side that's in your fridge. Mojitos will give a fresher taste to this meal!
Bottle of tequila can cost 5-50 dollars, let's be honest we're getting the cheap bottle, limes are around .15 cents, around a buck for sugar (for simple syrup), and sweet n sour will be around 2-3 dollars. You can buy triple sec if you want or a fruit such as watermelon, strawberries or any other flavor you want to pair your fresh margarita with. Compared to restaurants you can buy ingredients for multiple margaritas then you could get at a restaurant.
12. Frozen Yogurt
Four ingredient frozen yogurt is so easy to make, greek yogurt, honey, lemon juice and strawberries. Add to a blender or food processor, put the fridge for a few hours and you've got your self fro-yo!
The price of these do not include condiments or spices. Which do up the cost but they also last a long time.