Processed food and fast food are what many college students live on because, let’s face it, it’s cheap and easy. Nevermind what ingredients are actually in the food, a quick cheap meal will suffice almost all the time. But sometimes, our body needs a detox from all of that processed nonsense, or maybe we just want to feel self-sufficient and actually cook something in the kitchen that we pay for every month, but never use.
If that’s the case, then we need to decide what to cook, while taking into account the amount of time we have, our past cooking experience, the ingredients we need and how much all of that will cost. I feel your pain. Here are some foolproof recipes that are $5 or less per serving and will satisfy your hunger as much as your wallet.
Cheese Omelettes: $3.99-5.05 per serving
For this recipe you don’t even need to used the stove. Just use your handy dandy microwave.
- 1 large egg (or 2 egg whites)
- 2 Tbsp. milk of your choice
- Pinch salt & pepper (to taste)
- 2 Tbsp. cheese of choice
You can also add in other vegetables or meat. Try this recipe.
3-Ingredient Banana Pancakes: $1.34-$2.60 per serving
These pancakes aren’t only delicious but they’re also gluten-free and low calorie, perfect for a guilt-free yet satisfying breakfast!
- 1½ large bananas, ripe to overripe
- 2 eggs
- ⅛ tsp. baking powder
Maple syrup, butter, or blueberries, to serve
Read this recipe here.
Baked Eggs in Ham Cups: 33 cents – 49 cents per cup
Not green eggs and ham, but baked eggs in ham! Perfect for a health easy breakfast.
- 12 slices of ham
- 12 eggs
- Salt, pepper, and paprika
Check out the recipe here.
Italian Mac and Cheese: $3.05-$4.90 per serving
This is way better than Kraft.
- 1 pound dry elbow macaroni noodles
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup parmigiano-reggiano, grated, plus more for serving
- 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Try this recipe on for size.
Easy Pizza Bubble Bread: $4.69-$6.40 (feeds 4-6 people)
Some of you might have heard of this, or made it before in middle school in Family and Consumer Science (FACs) class or Home Economics class. It’s so easy and super delicious.
- 1 roll of biscuit dough
- 1 cup pizza sauce
- 2 cups cheese
- Toppings as desired
Follow this recipe from Spend With Pennies.
Homemade Tuna Cakes: 80 cents-$2.04 per serving (2 cakes)
Want a cheap way to make faux crab cakes? Use canned tuna and turn them into cakes!
- 1 can of tuna, drained
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh spinach
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper
- Squeeze of lemon juice
Follow this recipe.
Vegetable spaghetti: $4.24 – $7.49 per batch
This is a way healthier twist on spaghetti when you are craving a big bowl of pasta.
- 16-ounce box of spaghetti noodles
- A bag of your favorite frozen vegetables
- Jar of spaghetti sauce
Follow the full recipe from Fine Cooking.
Chicken & Rice: $3.07 per serving
When you are in need of a simple hearty meal, this will fill you up for sure.
- 1 1/2 cups white rice
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 2 cans of water
- 4 – 4 oz. chicken breasts
- salt & pepper to taste
See how to put it all together here.
One Pot Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff: $1.80 per serving
Good ‘ol comfort food at its finest.
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ lb. ground beef
- 8 oz. fresh button mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups beef broth
- 8 oz. wide egg noodles
- ⅓ cup sour cream
Find the recipe here.
Three Minute Fudge: $3.89 – $4.39 per pan of fudge
You’ll want to make this (and eat this) everyday.
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (12 oz.) bag any chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
This recipe is so easy that it’s dangerous.
Dump Cake: $2.00-$2.50 per dump cake
This cake tastes much better than its name suggests. There isn’t any tedious mixing or measuring, all you do is dump everything into a pan and bake it!
- 2 cans of fruit of your choice, frozen or canned
- 1 box of yellow cake mix
- ¾ cup butter sliced into pats
This is the perfect recipe to make after a long day of stressful midterms.
Easy Yummy Parfait: $3.49 – $5.49 per parfait
This recipe is perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth and your wallet without feeling guilty.
- Sliced Strawberries or your favorite fruit
No cooking required. Throw all the ingredients in a bow, cup or jar and you’re set!
You don’t have starve yourself or eat processed food if you don’t have a lot of money. All of these recipes will make you feel like you’re a professional chef without hurting your college student budget.