Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

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Kennedy
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Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by Kennedy » Tue May 07, 2019 8:33 pm

My nephew will be moving into his own apartment this coming school season. He and his roommates have agreed to each take an evening of the week to prepare a meal for all the young men to share. My nephew has little cooking experience and will be on a limited budget.

I told him I would put together a list of some inexpensive, easy dinners he can prepare. Any suggestions?

askerdu
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Re: Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by askerdu » Tue May 07, 2019 8:52 pm

If they can pool their money and buy an instant pot, there's a lot of easy recipes that can be found all over the internet. Chili, soups, beans/lentils, and stews are all very easy, filling, and plentiful.

mhalley
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Re: Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by mhalley » Tue May 07, 2019 8:58 pm

Or a crock pot. Lots of easy recipes for those too.

Calli114
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Re: Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by Calli114 » Tue May 07, 2019 9:02 pm

Sheet pan dinners? Many recipes to Google. If health conscious they can could add a salad & fruit.

margered
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Re: Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by margered » Tue May 07, 2019 9:08 pm

The impoverished students' book of cookery, drinkery, & housekeepery, Reed College

ladycat
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Re: Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by ladycat » Tue May 07, 2019 9:25 pm

Google "easy inexpensive dinners" and you'll get lots of ideas like https://www.campbells.com/kitchen/recip ... y-dinners/ that use soups & mixes so you dont need individual spices. It may be a good start for someone who is learning to cook.

DarthSage
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Re: Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by DarthSage » Tue May 07, 2019 9:30 pm

There are tons of ideas on Pinterest. Put in "budget dinners" or some such search criteria, you'll find plenty of ideas. Better still, put in your (his) specific needs--"chicken" or "vegetarian" or whatever.

I recommend the cookbooks, "Cheap, Fast, Good" (I think there are two of them). Their goal is simple meals done in half an hour. Some are crockpot meals, but most are skillet or baked ones. Everything from soups to stir-fry, plenty of favorites with new (but not too weird) choices.

I don't use my instant pot like I should, but I do love a crockpot. You can usually find one cheap on Black Friday. It would be great for nights when he's pressed for time. Plus, the recipes tend to make a lot (leftovers!)

It may be the Italian in me, but I would aim for pasta dishes. Cheap, quick, and you can mix it up a thousand ways. Add ground beef and vegetables to jarred sauce, serve over any shape. Add a side salad and, if he's ambitious, garlic bread--yum! He could claim "Italian night" as his night, and serve sausages one week, meatballs the next, a bolognese the next, etc.

BTW, we did this when I was in college, it was nice to not have to cook most class nights.


InMyDreams
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Re: Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by InMyDreams » Tue May 07, 2019 11:41 pm

Recurring question on MrMoneyMustache threads:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/searc ... gnaj8jt3he

Good tips, and maybe your student will learn other things from the site, too :)

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black jack
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Re: Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by black jack » Tue May 07, 2019 11:44 pm

All good suggestions.

Rice and pasta are the great extenders for meat meals, or solo with sauces (I could live on rice with hoisin sauce and pesto pasta for several days and be quite content).

Sounds like both time and skill may be in short supply. With that in mind:

Example 1: make a pot of rice, buy a rotisserie chicken, shred it, spread it over the rice in the rice cooker or pot, pour teriyaki sauce over the whole, serve. Feeds several.

Example 2: same as 1, swap pasta for rice and pesto for teriyaki.

Example 3: replace the rotisserie chicken with a takeout entree (something already diced, e.g. kung pao chicken) from a nearby ethnic restaurant, mix it with the rice or pasta.

Stews poured over rice also produce good cheap large meals.
DarthSage wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:30 pm
I don't use my instant pot like I should, but I do love a crockpot. You can usually find one cheap on Black Friday. It would be great for nights when he's pressed for time. Plus, the recipes tend to make a lot (leftovers!)
Thrift stores are lousy with crockpots, no need to wait for Black Friday.
We cannot absolutely prove [that they are wrong who say] that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us, and with just as much apparent reason. | -T. B. Macaulay (1800-1859)

Wings5
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Re: Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by Wings5 » Tue May 07, 2019 11:49 pm

For the above, the same goes for salad. Buy a rotisserie chicken and slice and put it on salad. Add sliced veggies and toppings as necessary.

Eggs go far, or egg and bacon/sausage/ham burritos. Burrito bars-put cooked fillings in bowls, scoop what you want into a tortilla, and voila. Pancake dinners. German pancakes, too...they make a good conversation piece.

Homemade pizzas take a few shots but they become legit.

Burgers are easy to bake if he can't get to a grill.

hotpancakes
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Re: Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by hotpancakes » Wed May 08, 2019 12:04 am

https://www.reddit.com/r/eatcheapandhealthy is a good resource for this. I've also found https://www.budgetbytes.com to be great for these kinds of recipes (try the coconut curry lentils!: https://www.budgetbytes.com/slow-cooker ... y-lentils/)

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FreeAtLast
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Re: Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by FreeAtLast » Wed May 08, 2019 12:12 am

Here's what I survived on during graduate school:

1) Learn how to make a good chili (a thousand recipes on the Net- experiment!).
2) Learn how to make a simple marinara sauce (thanks, la mia nonna)......then add various meats/fish (chicken, beef, pork, tuna) and veggies (mushrooms, green beans, garbonzo beans).
3) Learn how to make a Cobb salad (Internet again).
4) Learn how to make a simple macaroni and cheese casserole (Internet again).....add chunks of hot dog (my personal favorite).

You will not spend a lot and you will not starve.
Illegitimi non carborundum.

abonder
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Re: Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by abonder » Wed May 08, 2019 12:22 am

I’m still waiting for Livesoft to swoop in and ask why you have to be involved at all! Love that guy.

Dottie57
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Re: Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by Dottie57 » Wed May 08, 2019 7:19 am

FreeAtLast wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 12:12 am
Here's what I survived on during graduate school:

1) Learn how to make a good chili (a thousand recipes on the Net- experiment!).
2) Learn how to make a simple marinara sauce (thanks, la mia nonna)......then add various meats/fish (chicken, beef, pork, tuna) and veggies (mushrooms, green beans, garbonzo beans).
3) Learn how to make a Cobb salad (Internet again).
4) Learn how to make a simple macaroni and cheese casserole (Internet again).....add chunks of hot dog (my personal favorite).

You will not spend a lot and you will not starve.
Adding

Learn to use eggs

Scrabmle plain, with various veggies.
Omellettes with bacon, cheese, veggies
Hard boiled: egg salad, sliced in a salad .
Fried, placed in sandwich or open faced on toast.
French toast

Grilled cheese and soup.

Sloppy joes.

Tacos,burritos.

Chicken breast

Plain,
Add salsa
Slice in asalad,
Chicken salad (cube or tear, add chopped onion an celery,. Add seasoned salt and pepper. Also mayo.

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lthenderson
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Re: Ideas for Inexpensive, Easy-to-Prepare Meals for First Time College-Age Student Cook

Post by lthenderson » Wed May 08, 2019 8:04 am

Kennedy wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 8:33 pm
I told him I would put together a list of some inexpensive, easy dinners he can prepare. Any suggestions?
Back in the day, some of our cheapest meals were outside of the college apartment. A lot of the college bars offered free appetizers or cheap burgers with purchase of a pitcher of beer. We would nurse a pitcher while filling up on appetizers. A Chinese restaurant had an all you could eat buffet between two and three in the afternoon one day of the week for $3 (back then). That would be our one meal for the day. We also had a grill and did a lot of grilling of meats that were on sale at the local grocery store.

When we did cook at the apartment, we ate a lot of casseroles made with cheap fillers like rice and pasta. Easy to make, don't cost much and don't dirty many dishes,

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