10 Cheap and Easy to Make Foods if You’re Broke and in College

Having a tough time keeping yourself fed on a college budget? Don’t fret, here’s 10 really tasty and easy to make recipes for those who still need some beer money left over after dinner.

1. Sticky rice, vegetables, and soy sauce


2 cups of uncooked rice:

$1 Canned or frozen vegetables:


Soy sauce: $1.99

Total: $4.17 (makes six servings)

Price per serving: 70 cents


All you have to do is steam some rice, dump a can of vegetables (or a bag of frozen veggies) in a microwave-safe bowl and heat them up, then mix the vegetables and rice together with just the right amount of soy sauce. These three ingredients may not make a flashy meal, but the concoction is fairly healthy, cheap, and easy. (Next time you order take-out, save any extra soy sauce packets to make this dish even cheaper.)

2. Black beans and rice


1 Tbsp. of olive oil: 25 cents

1 large onion, chopped: 99 cents

2 cloves garlic, minced: 50 cents

3/4 cup uncooked rice: 50 cents

1-1/2 cups vegetable broth: 50 cents

1 tsp. ground cumin and 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper: 25 cents

3-1/2 cups canned black beans, drained: $1.98

Total: $4.79 (makes 6 servings)

Cost per serving: 80 cents

Directions :

Start by heating your oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 4 minutes, then add the rice and saute for another 2 minutes. Next, add in the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes. The spices and black beans should be added right before you’re ready to serve.

3. Egg and black bean burritos


Can of black beans: 99 cents

8 pack of tortillas: $1.88

Carton of eggs: $1.99

Total: $4.86 plus toppings (makes eight servings)

Price per serving: 61 cents


The idea is simple: Start by heating some tortillas on the griddle. While they heat, scramble a dozen eggs and heat a can of black beans on the stove-top. Once your eggs are scrambled, assemble your breakfast burritos and add any extras you might want. Toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, and hot sauce all work rather well. (You can also make these in bulk and freeze them so they’re ready to heat up on a hectic weekday morning.)

4. Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Ingredients (with homemade soup):

Loaf of bread: $1.99

Sliced cheese: 50 cents

2 15-oz. cans of chicken or vegetable stock: $1.99

1 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes: 99 cents

1 cup heavy cream: 99 cents

Fresh basil leaves for garnish: $1.99 (free if you grow your own herbs)

Total: $8.45 (makes four servings)

Price per serving: $2.11


Making grilled cheese is easy:(optional if available @analbeard ) Butter four slices of bread, and lay them flat on a hot griddle or frying pan. Add a slice of cheese, and top with another slice of buttered bread (or add some extras, like tomato slices or bacon.) Heat on both sides until each sandwich is golden brown and the cheese looks melted. The soup part is easy, too, and can be as cheap as you want it to be — from a $1 can of Campbell’s to a $4 box of organic tomato bisque.

5. Spaghetti with homemade marinara


1 large can of tomatoes: $1.49

1/2 medium onion, chopped: 50 cents

Pinch of garlic: 25 cents Loaf of bread: $1.99

12-oz. package of spaghetti: $1.19

Total: $5.42 (makes four servings)

Price per serving: $1.36


All you have to do is saute a large can of tomatoes, half an onion (chopped), and a pinch of garlic together for 10-20 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Pour this flavorful, colorful sauce over a package of cooked spaghetti or other pasta, and you’re good to go.

6. Ham, white beans, and cornbread


1 lb. dry great northern beans: $1.99

1/2 lb. cooked ham, diced: $2.99

1 small onion, diced: 89 cents

1/2 cup brown sugar: 25 cents

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper: 25 cents

1 Tbsp dried parsley: 25 cents

Box of Jiffy cornbread mix: 89 cents

Total: $7.51 (makes six servings)

Price per serving: $1.25


Rinse beans in a large pot; discard shriveled beans and any small stones. Add 8 cups of cold water. Let stand overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse beans. Return beans to pot and add ham, onion, brown sugar, salt, pepper, cayenne and parsley and water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until beans are tender. Add more water if necessary during cooking time.

7. Homemade stovetop mac n’ cheese


12-oz. box of shells, elbows, or other pasta: $1.19

3 cups whole milk: $1.09

3 Tbsp flour, sugar and salt to taste: 25 cents

3 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (about 6 oz.): $2.24

Total: $4.77 (makes six servings)

Price per person: 80 cents

Directions: Just boil a box of pasta and, in a separate pot, whisk together the milk and flour, adding about a teaspoon of salt and a bit of sugar and pepper to taste. Stir constantly until just boiling, then lower the heat and continue stirring for a few moments as it thickens.

Next, add the shredded cheese and mix until melted, and then pour the cheese mixture over the pasta. At this point, it’s ready to serve — or if you want, you can add some “extras” to make a more tasty grown-up version, like peas, bacon crumbles, cubed ham, tuna, tomatoes, or scallions. If you have time to go all out, you can dump it all into a casserole dish, top with buttery breadcrumbs, and bake it for 20-25 minutes.

8. Oatmeal and banana


24 oz. steel-cut oats: $2.99

Sliced fruit: $2

Total: $4.99 (makes six servings)

Cost per serving: 83 cents


Oatmeal + Banananananana

9. Chickpeas and pasta

Ingredients: 1 can of chickpeas: 99 cents

1 small onion, diced: 89 cents

1 jar of Ragu or other pasta sauce: $2.29

12-oz. box of pasta: $1.19

Total: $5.27 (makes six servings)

Price per serving: 88 cents


Heat one package of pasta on your stove-top until it’s al dente. After draining your pasta, add one jar of Ragu pasta sauce (or homemade marinara), a can of chickpeas, and a small diced onion. Mix it all together and simmer on low heat until your onion is cooked and the dish is piping hot.

10. Lentil stew


2 cups lentils: $2 1 large can diced tomatoes: $1.49

1 medium onion: 99 cents

Garlic and dill: 50 cents

Stick of butter: 49 cents

Total: $5.47 (makes six servings)

Price per serving: 91 cents


Take 2 cups of lentils, 1 big can of diced tomatoes, 3/4 of a stick of butter, 1 chopped onion, 1 clove garlic (minced), and 1 Tbsp dried dill. Put it all in a big pot, add some water and then bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and let it simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring to make sure the lentils aren’t too dry. Add salt and pepper to taste at the end.

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