Budget recipes for students, by students

Many college students struggle to fit nutritious meals into their daily schedules. These meals often take quite a bit of time to prepare and tend to be expensive. Regardless, nutrition is still important, and negligence of this fact will only create problems for students who are already low on energy. Here are five student-made recipes that are cheap, quick, nutritious and sure to help slow the rate of ramen consumption in college dorms.

Lucas’ Barbecue Chicken Quesadilla

Servings: 5

Total price: $12.49

Price per person (three-person dorm): $4.16


  • Tortilla: $2.28

  • Cooked chicken (John Soules Chicken Fajitas): $5.48/lb

  • Cheddar cheese: $2.22

  • Chopped onion: 65 cents

  • Cilantro (optional): 88 cents

  • Barbecue Sauce: 98 cents


  • Heat skillet or griddle to medium high heat.

  • Place tortilla in the pan carefully.

  • Flip over when it starts to bubble.

  • Repeat to broan both sides.

  • Add cheese, chicken, onion and cilantro to half of the tortilla.

  • Top with barbecue sauce. Work quickly so tortilla does not burn.

  • Fold tortilla in half; toast a little longer if needed.

Lucas’ Potato Casserole

Makes 6 servings

Total price (Walmart): $13.97

Price per person (three-person dorm): $4.66


  • 10 potatoes: 34 cents each

  • 1 can Great Value cream of mushroom soup: 50 cents

  • 1 cup whole milk: $2.58

  • 2 cups Great Value shredded cheddar cheese: $2.77

  • 6 slices Great Value Hickory Smoked bacon: $2.98

  • 1 packet Hidden Valley dry ranch dressing: $1.74

  • Butter or cooking spray to grease the pan

  • Oven safe casserole dish or pan


  • Peel and slice potatoes into square chunks, then boil for 10-12 minutes.

  • While potatoes are boiling, mix ranch dressing, cream of mushroom soup and 1 cup of whole milk into a bowl. Mix until it is a thick consistency.

  • Cook bacon and tear pieces into small slices.

  • Once potatoes are boiled, grease the bottom of the casserole dish or aluminum pan with cooking oil or butter.

  • Place potatoes evenly at the bottom of dish.

  • Pour ranch dressing/mushroom mix over the top of the potatoes. Spread evenly.

  • Sprinkle remaining cup of cheese over the top of the dish.

  • Evenly distribute bacon slices to top off the dish.

  • Cook dish in oven for 25-30 minutes.

Jimi Sharber's Breakfast Health Bowl

Servings: 4

Total price (Walmart): $10.82

Price per person (three-person dorm): $3.60


  • Apple: $1.08

  • Banana (bunch): $1.54

  • Pear: 96 cents

  • Greek yogurt: $3.47

  • High protein granola: $3.77


  • Chop up fruit into bite-sized portions; place in bowl.

  • Add and stir yogurt with fruit.

  • Sprinkle high protein granola over bowl.

Wyatt Shafer's Eggs "and a Little Extra"

Servings: 4

Total price (Walmart): $6.80

Price per person (three-person dorm): $2.26


  • 3 eggs: 1 dozen= $3.00

  • 4 serrano peppers: 8-12 peppers or .25 lbs= 60 cents

  • On the Border Mild Salsa: $2.50

  • Cilantro: 1 bunch= 88 cents


  • Chop up Serrano peppers before cooking eggs.

  • Crack eggs in pan over stove and begin scrambling.

  • Add onions and peppers accordingly.

  • Add salsa to finished dish.

Clint Boyett's Classic Spaghetti and Caesar Salad

Servings: 5

Total price (Walmart): $10.76

Price per dorm (three-person dorm): $3.60


  • 1 container tomato basil spaghetti sauce (Great Value): $1.96

  • Seasoned Italian ground turkey: $3.25

  • 1 small box of spaghetti: 82 cents

  • (Optional) 1 tablespoon brown sugar: 99 cents

  • 1 bag of caesar salad kit: $3.74


  • Put seasoned turkey into frying pan and cook at medium high heat until meat is brown.

  • Add the jar of spaghetti sauce, stir and reheat to a simmer at medium high heat (10 minutes).

  • (Optional) Add a teaspoon of brown sugar for sweetness.

  • While meat is simmering, add noodles to boiling water (cook as directed on package).

  • Drain and put noodles on a plate; top it with the sauce.

  • Toss caesar salad kit together in a bowl.

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