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Here’s 10 Cheap Quarantine Meals to Save Your Wallet

So what happens when it’s the 4th week of quarantine and you start growing tired of eating the same things over and over because you don’t have the money to go out and spend?

1. Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Now I know the name sounds fancy and hard to make but Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe translates to spaghetti with cheese and pepper. Literally. And if you are anything like me, you are practically 50 percent pasta at this point in your life because you eat it so much. But sadly there have been times where the usual recipes just don’t float my boat anymore and I don’t have enough money for takeout. So, what do I do? I took a nap because I had no idea what to do. But then while in an act of desperation I looked up easy pasta recipes and boom, Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe popped right up. All you do is after you’re done boiling the pasta, drain it, then in a pan add some butter and some pepper. Swirl that around for a bit, then add the pasta back in and put as much cheese as you want on that sucker and call it a day.

For the whole recipe click here.

2. Chicken and Egg Ramen

Alright, something that you guys have to know about me is that I absolutely love ramen. It is my favorite place to go out to, my favorite comfort food to make. It’s amazing, I love it, if you don’t then move on to the next recipe cause this just isn’t for you. But if you do like ramen, and like me, you can’t afford to indulge yourself right now, this recipe for chicken and egg ramen is super simple and gives you license to really get creative with your food. All the recipe is just regular chicken ramen that comes in a pack and when you are about to be done cooking it in the pot, add an egg in and stir really well. The egg will create ribbons and make the broth creamier while also giving you more protein. It’s awesome, I promise you.

○  Bonus tip: Go out and explore new flavors and add-ins that you never even thought of before. My favorite combination is the Black Shin Ramen with bok choy and imitation crab. But if that is too out there for you, I also tried adding little pieces of potatoes to my chicken ramen and it definitely gave it a more homey feel while also being delicious. 

3. Beef Stew

Ok, this one is for all my crock pot gals that like making meals and planning ahead. (Side note: These girls are amazing, if you know someone who has a crockpot and actually uses it, never let that person go. They 100% have their life together and will also have food. Period.) Beef stew is one of the harder recipes on this list purely because of what stuff you need to put in it. But if we break it down into simple terms, just put some potatoes, carrots and onions. Then throw in some stew meat which goes for about $5 at your local Walmart and a beef stew seasoning pack and bam you’re done. All you do after that is turn on the slow cooker and take a good long nap that will have you wake up to a great smelling house and food.

For the whole recipe click here.

4. Leftover Fried Rice

This one was a specialty in my house growing up, every time it was in between paycheck weeks or we had a lot of food left over that we needed to finish first before it went bad, my mom whipped up some leftover fried rice. I loved it so much because there wasn’t a real concrete recipe for it. It was just soy sauce, salt, rice and egg that stayed the same but everything else would change. You could add leftover meat that was cooked, veggies and really anything you wouldn’t mind eating with rice.

5. Easy Chicken Tacos

Dude, it’s tacos, you can do whatever you want and throw it in a tortilla and it will be amazing. There is no way to mess it up. But, if you want to get technical, all you would really need is some chicken and taco seasoning along with some cut up tomatoes, onions and lettuce. If you want to add something more, you can add cheese or sour cream (or be like me and add both) to give it more flavor. This recipe is also super fun to do with your family or whoever you are quarantined with.

For an easy recipe click here

6. Roasted Potatoes 

Roasted potatoes was actually one of the first things I ever learned how to make as a kid. It was super simple and fun for me to make that it became my go to food if I was ever hungry. Literally all it called for was to chop up as many potatoes as you want, put them in a bag with oil and any seasonings you want and then shake that bad boy up. Once you were done shaking it, you just spread it on a pan and put it in the oven.

7. Nachos 

Nachos (AKA the first thing I learned how to make in college) are a personal favorite of mine. This is because it literally is good for any and all occasions. Late night snack? Nachos. Don’t want to eat a whole meal but feel a little peckish? Nachos. The list goes on. My personal recipe consists of tortilla chips, a lot of cheese (and I mean a lot of cheese) and then anything else I have in my house that wouldn’t be an insult to put on top of nachos. I usually go for a spritz of lime juice, some red onions and cilantro if I have it in my fridge.

8. Easy Pasta Carbonara

This one is a little more complicated compared to the other recipes because even though it doesn’t take a lot of ingredients, timing and heating is crucial. Have too hot of a pan and the egg will cook too fast, too slow to add the pasta and the cheese won’t melt. The recipe is cheap and easy, but to pull it off you have to want it. All you need really is just pasta, an egg, a boatload of cheese, bacon and some determination and you’ll be all set.

For an easy recipe click here.

During a time like this, many of us are left with a lot more free time then we are used to, and so in order to bring ourselves comfort we eat food that we know we enjoy. But even I get tired of mac and cheese when I eat it 5 times in a week. This time also means that in our homes and families we need to get more creative with how to stretch the budget to make it last longer. So go for it. Add potatoes to pasta, throw some garlic on it and create your new favorite recipe. You never know you don’t like it till you give it a try, so what’s stopping you?

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Hello! My name is Kartika Ahern, I am a freshman studying Biomedical engineering. In my free time I love photography, swimming and going to Chipotle with my friends. Follow me on Insta! @lil.tika
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