Need a fast answer to, “What’s for dinner?” but you have a limited budget and time? We have you covered. With these eight quick and cheap recipes, you can hang up on your go-to delivery restaurant and save your money for books (and other college stuff).
You can make any of these dishes in less than 30 minutes, and anyone who smells your delicious new dinner will wonder how you found the time to become a student chef.
1. Chicken Pesto Salad Sandwiches
Not only is this dish quick and easy, but it’s healthier than most versions of chicken salad. Follow the recipe, or make it even easier for yourself: use pre-made pesto, a rotisserie chicken and single serving container of plain Greek yogurt. The salad itself less than 150 calories per serving.
2. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Poke a few holes in a sweet potato with a fork, and put it in the microwave for 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of your spud. After that, you can fill it with whatever your heart desires, put it in the oven at 350°F for 10 minutes, and enjoy. Make you filling while the sweet potato cooks in the oven to cut down on more time. For chipotle chicken filling, heat shredded chicken, spinach and a chipotle pepper in adobo in a skillet, or follow this recipe: http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/healthy-chipotle-chicken-sweet-potato-sk…. For a sweeter alternative, try this broccoli-cheese version: http://www.acouplecooks.com/2013/02/broccoli-cheese-stuffed-sweet-potatoes/.
3. Pita Pizza
Pita bread is not only better for you than pizza dough but it also makes your personal pizza ready and available in just 15 minutes! Okay, maybe that’s not as fast as Little Caesar’s pizza, but depending on the ingredients you pick, the pita pizza version will be healthier and just as affordable. Try this barbeque chicken version: http://www.pumpkinnspice.com/2015/06/04/barbecue-chicken-pita-pizza/. Or keep it simple with spinach, mozzarella and olive oil.
4. Pad Thai Ramen
Where would we be without Ramen noodles? Upgrade your go-to dinner from the dorm to your first apartment by trying this simple recipe. Just add: peanut butter, soy sauce and scallions. Seriously. It’s that simple. To upgrade from apartment-level to house standing, add chicken, crushed peanuts, Sriracha, mushrooms and bean sproats. Go here for the recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/349053/ramen-noodle-upgrade.
5. Weeknight Stir Fry
You can personalize this recipe however you want and with whatever you have in your refrigerator. One of HC’s favorite blend of veggies: edamame beans, broccoli, snow peas and tofu. Also, make it faster by buying a bag of Birds Eye Steamfresh rice—ready in the microwave in just 4 and a half minutes.
6. Loaded Nachos
Another adaptable recipe, your version of loaded nachos can depend on whatever you have on hand. For the simplest version, all you need is cheese, salsa and chips. But if you want to get fancy, HC recommends adding black beans, corn and a jalapeno pepper.
7. Orecchiette Pasta with Chicken Sausage
This inexpensive and simple dish takes only 20 minutes to throw together. Imagine: instead of waiting over half an hour for your Krishna delivery you can cook this delicious pasta dinner and still get all the flavor and full-stomach feeling for less than half the price of your chicken tiki masala. As if this pasta couldn’t get any better, it’s only 284 calories per 1 ½ cup serving.
8. Breakfast Sandwiches
For a sweeter finish to your busy day, treat yourself to a breakfast sandwich. No recipe required. Just spread a little bit of butter on two slices of bread, add your fruity filling, and heat your sandwich on the stove until both sides are crispy and warm. Best fillings: strawberry and Nutella or blueberries and cream cheese with cinnamon.