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Eating on a Budget

Due to limits on your time and budget, cooking while in college takes a great deal of planning and commitment. The rewards are worth it: Eating nutritious, balanced meals helps to increase your energy level and burn calories more efficiently. While it's easy to excuse grabbing a bag of chips or picking up fast food for dinner, it's still not the best alternative for you. These six meals are easy to prepare, well-balanced, and cheap. Your roommates probably have some good suggestions, too, so don't hesitate to exchange ideas.

Six Easy Dinners

Crustless Quiche

  • 6 eggs
  • Crustless quiche
  • 4 oz. milk
  • 4 oz. shredded cheese
  • 4 oz. chopped spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Beat eggs and milk. Pour into greased pie pan. Slowly stir in cheese and spinach without scraping the bottom of the pan. Bake at 375f for 50-60 minutes. Makes for a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Parmesan Pasta

  • 8 oz. whole wheat pasta
  • 2 oz. olive oil
  • 4 oz. of frozen peas (thawed)
  • 4 oz. parmesan
  • 1 diced tomato
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Boil and drain pasta. Return pasta to pan and mix in remaining ingredients on low. That's it!

Lunchmeat Omelet

  • 2 oz. chopped turkey
  • 2 oz. cheese
  • 1/2 diced tomato
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp of milk
  • Chopped spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Melt butter in skillet, pour in eggs. When the eggs begin to thicken add all other ingredients. Fold the omelet in half by flipping one corner. Cook until the edges are browned.

Chicken Stir-Fry

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
  • 3 c Stir fry vegetables
  • 8 Chicken tenderloins
  • 2 c Rice
  • 2 oz. Soy sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp honey (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This recipe makes getting your daily fill of veggies easy. Begin preparing your chicken and rice before you sauté the vegetables. Heat olive oil in a lidded skillet and then add the veggies. Add the cooked chicken last. The soy sauce and honey add great flavor to the dish; if you have these ingredients just add them to the oil before you toss in the veggies. Serve with rice.

Cous cous

For those of you who haven't yet tried cous cous - you don't know what you're missing. So, maybe it is just a sophisticated alternative to the ramen noodle, it's still worth eating. It only takes about 5 minutes to cook and comes in many flavors and forms including whole wheat. Black beans, grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, chopped carrots, and diced broccoli, all compliment this dish and add nutritional value.


Even alone, rice is a stand up dish that is cheap, and depending upon the variety you select, healthful. Black beans, cheese, broccoli, and peas all mix well with rice. Brown or wild rice are the best for you - get either of those varieties if you can.

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