Fast and Affordable Meals


College is expensive, who has the extra cash for decent food? Turns out, you do! There are plenty of meals you can make in under 10 minutes on the cheap that have real flavor and are healthy!

I suggest starting with a hearty base that will fill you up. Whether it be rice, pasta, or lettuce, these foods make a huge difference to your meal!

Then, add veggies, fruits, or meat. Meat will be more expensive, but worth it if you enjoy meat!

Last, make sure it is well seasoned! This will make the difference between food that reminds you of the dining hall and food that reminds you of home. Feel free to saute any veggies you like and be sure to cook meat fully with seasonings beyond salt and pepper! At first the 5-6 ingredients may seem expensive but each recipe’s ingredients will make a few portions and are great for meal prep!

Keep reading for some options !

Most any of the bowl options can also be made into burritos for meals on a busy day! To try to cut down on fat or for a lighter meal, sauteeing can be done in oil, butter, or water! If you choose water, make sure to add more once it begins evaporating until fully sauteed.


  • Traditional rice bowl, similar to Chipotle, with salsa and taco seasoning (in meat) for spice and flavor!

  • Tropical rice bowl with canned pineapple, lettuce, tomatoes, and teriyaki chickpeas/ chicken! Serve with extra bbq sauce.

  • Robust Italian Pasta: Pasta, marinara sauce(with red pepper flakes, onions, bell peppers and ground beef- optional) with sauteed tomatoes and veggies!

  • Creamy Dreamy Pasta: Pasta, Basic simmered cream sauce (cream/half and half, cheese, salt and pepper, butter), and mushrooms/spinach/chicken.

  • Lemon Pasta: Pasta with sauteed lemon sauce (sautee onion in butter, then simmer with lemon juice and chicken/vegetable broth). To make creamy add half&half/cream. Add spinach/mushrooms/ pan-fried chicken. Capers add an extra kick!

  • Light Breakfast Bowl: Lettuce, fried egg(s), tomatoes/avocado, topped with salsa/hot sauce.

  • Sunshine Bowl: Yogurt, frozen fruit, and granola with chia seeds/coconut/almond slivers for extra texture!

  • Hearty Bowl: Overnight oats with add-ins like fruit and granola

  • Veggies Straightforward: rice/couscous/barley, lemon juice/soy sauce, steamed/ sauteed squash, onions, zucchini, etc.

  • Lo Mein: (basic) Long noodle pasta/rice noodles, Sauce (simmered peanut butter/sun butter/etc., Ken’s Asian sesame dressing, soy sauce, vegetable broth, and brown sugar) tossed with carrots, broccoli, and peas

  • Orange Pasta: Sautee onion, simmer with orange juice (a little goes a long way), and vegetable stock, optional cream. Add tomatoes and spinach.

  • Basic Veggie Pasta: Sautee onions and any veggies you have on hand. Simmer Rotel, crushed tomatoes, some water/ veggie/chicken stock and seasonings (Italian, salt, and pepper). Add in pasta and spinach at the end. Heat until spinach is wilted.  

  • Cheesy Pepper Pasta: Pasta mixed in a hot pan with grated parmesan cheese and plenty of pepper. Add sausage and bell peppers. 

  • Mac and Cheese Rice: Melt cheese shreds in rice and add your favorite mac n cheese toppings