$10 or less recipes for students

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$10 or less recipes for students

Danielle Livingston, Staff Reporter

As a college student, I look for any way to save a few bucks. On the other hand, I grew up in a family where every single night we had a delicious home-cooked meal. To say the least, I go a little crazy if I do not cook for a long time. Through my cheap adventures, I have found several recipes that do not make a large hole in your wallet, but leave your stomach full and satisfied.
Caution: for any of the recipes below, cook your meat before putting it into the recipe unless it dictates otherwise and please be careful when dealing with raw meats.
Poor-man’s Pho

Pho is a Vietnamese soup that usually consists of rice noodles and a rich, hearty broth. Poor-man’s pho uses ramen noodles and the broth that comes from the powder packet to make a simulated pho experience. Like real pho, you add whatever additional ingredients look tasty to you. Below, I list the usual suspects when it comes to the add-ins. Nothing is better than real pho, but on a college budget you cannot go buying pho every day of the week.

Price: varies to how much you want in it. If you just want brothy noodles, probably a dollar. If you would like to add meat and vegetables, you may go all the way up to $10.

i.      Ramen noodles (flavor is your choice)

ii.      Additional ingredients of your choice (optional)Chicken or steak strips
Onions, mushrooms, bean sprouts, etc
Cilantro, basil, etc
Lime juice, sriracha, etc
Get creative! This is your pho!

i.      Make ramen as the directions dictate on the packaging.
ii.      Do not drain all the broth (to make Pho you need broth).

iii.      To really make it Pho add whatever additional ingredients you would like.
iv.      Allow for the broth and noodles to cool for a few minutes before eating.

Can-of-Soup Pot Pie

Regular pot pie brings most of us back to home. It is a pie crust filled with meat and vegetable goodness in a rich gravy. To re-create this meal (for far cheaper), you can use pre-made pie crusts and cans of soup.

Price: around $7 (depends on the soup and amount you buy).

i.      Pre-made pie crust
ii.      Two cans of soup (I prefer chicken noodle and chicken chowder, but you can pick whatever flavors suits your taste buds.)

i.      Put the first pie crust in a pie tin.
ii.      Take two cans of soup and drain some of the liquid, but not all.
iii.      Pour the soup into the pie crust.
iv.      Put the second pie crust on top and seal the two crusts together. To do this, apply pressure to where the pie crusts meet. Be sure that the pie crust is not overhanging the edge of the tin (it is ok to remove some pie crust).

v.      Slit a few holes (about four) on the top pie crust to make sure the soup on the inside does not bubble out.
vi.      Put the pie in the oven for the amount of time and temperature the pie crust box dictates.
vii.      Allow for the pie to cool for at least five minutes before enjoying.


A quesadilla is a Hispanic dish that consists of a tortilla (folded over itself) and cheese inside. You can also put meat, sauces and/or vegetables inside as well.

Price: Can range from $5 to $10 depending on the ingredients you choose.

i.      Small amount of butter
ii.      Tortillas
iii.      Cheese of choice
iv.      Beef or Chicken (optional)
v.      Bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, jalapenos, etc (optional)

i.      Put a saucepan on medium heat and put a little butter in it.
ii.      After the butter melts, put a tortilla into the pan.
iii.      Put cheese and other fillers of your choice into half of the tortilla.
iv.      Fold the other half of the tortilla to cover your fillings.
v.      When the one side of the tortilla is golden brown, flip the quesadilla to brown the other side.
vi.      After both sides are crunchy and brown enough to your liking, take it out of the saucepan to eat.

Homemade (kind of) Pizza

Who does not love a good pizza? My favorite kind of pizza is one with little sauce and cheese, but lots of pineapple and bacon. Mmm.

Price: can range from $7 to $10.

i.      Premade pizza crust
ii.      Premade pizza sauce
iii.      Mozzarella cheese or whatever cheese you enjoy
iv.      Chicken, pork, beef, pepperoni or bacon (optional)
v.      Onions, bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, etc (optional)
vi.      Pineapple (optional)

i.      Roll out the pizza dough.
Depending on the kind you get, you might have to precook the dough a short amount of time before you put on the toppings. Other kinds of dough you do not need to precook. Be sure to read the directions for whatever kind of dough you buy.
ii.      Put on the amount of sauce and cheese you want.
iii.      Place your toppings on top of the cheese. If you would like your toppings more secure, put cheese on top of your toppings as well.
iv.      Cook the pizza for as long as the directions state.
v.      Allow the pizza to cool before eating (because otherwise you will burn your mouth horribly, trust me).

Garlic Chicken

Chicken is relatively cheap and is a great source of protein, which is great for a college meal. Caution: when dealing with raw chicken be very careful, and frequently wash your hands and work station.

Price: around $5.

i.      Minced garlic (you can buy a jar of it)
ii.      Chicken breast or any cut of chicken you prefer

i.      Coat your chicken with the garlic.

ii.      In a saucepan, cook your chicken on medium heat.
iii.      You will know it is done when the inside is no longer pink and is fully white.
Do not be afraid to cut it open to check.

Noodles (lots of them)

Noodles are great fillers for a hungry college student. This is another dish to make your own creative way (depending on your taste preferences).

Price: around $6.

i.      Noodles of your choice
ii.      Sauce of your choice

i.      Fill a pot three-fourths of the way full and bring to a rolling boil.
ii.      Put your noodles in
iii.      Each type of noodles has a different cook time. Sample one noodle every once in a while to know that they are done.
My 6-year-old brother taught me that throwing a noodle at the wall will also tell if the pasta is done. If it sticks, it is done. Now, I am not entirely sure if he knew that was a way to tell if pasta is done (it is), or if he just wanted to throw pasta at a wall. Either way it would not be surprising for him.

iv.      After the noodles are cooked, drain the water out and then add your sauce to the noodles.
Supreme Nachos

Nachos not only makes a great late night snack, but they make a great dinner or lunch (I would not recommend them for breakfast).

Price: can vary from $3 to $10 depending on what you all put on your nachos.


i.      Tortilla chips
ii.      Cheese of your choice
iii.      Chicken or beef (optional)
iv.      Beans (optional)
v.      Onions, jalapenos, chilies, lettuce, tomato, etc (optional)
vi.      Hot sauce, taco sauce, guacamole or sour cream (optional)
vii.      Make it your own!

i.      Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
ii.      Spread out chips on a cookie sheet.
iii.      Apply cheese and any toppings you would like.
iv.      Put the cookie sheet in the oven (after the oven is preheated) until the cheese is bubbly.
v.      Remove the cookie sheet and allow the nachos to cool.


The gyro is a Greek dish that consists of lamb meat in a pita. You can put additional things in the pita (such as cucumber yogurt, onions, lettuce and so on). This is my cheat recipe because all you need to do is buy the gyro kit from the store – it gives you all the directions and things you need.

Price: $6
i.      The gyro kit (the brand I buy is Opaa!)
i.      Follow the directions on the box (they are simple to make, do not worry).


Kabobs are meat and vegetables on a stick that are usually cooked on a grill, but can also be cooked on an oven top. I have seen only meat kabobs and also only vegetables. You get to pick what you want on your kabobs.

Price: can range from $7 to $10.

i.      Steak or chicken (optional)
ii.      Zucchini, onion, tomato, bell peppers, etc (optional)

i.      Put your meat and/or vegetables on a skewer.
ii.      On all sides cook the skewer.
Do not be afraid to cut the meat open to be sure that it is cooked all the way.
Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joes are another great American meal. A sloppy joe is a sandwich that consists of loose meat in a sauce that you pile onto a bun.

Price: around $9.

i.      Hamburger meat
ii.      A can of sloppy joe sauce
iii.      Hamburger buns

i.      Cook the hamburger meat in a saucepan on medium heat.
ii.      After the meat is completely cooked, drain the grease, and then add the can of sloppy joe sauce.
iii.      Mix together the meat and sauce.
Take the meat-sauce mixture and put as much as you would like on your hamburger bun

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