Budget-friendly meal ideas for the student budget

by | Dec 1, 2022 | Web Archive

After you save money buying groceries, you need to think of ways to make those into easy and cost-effective meals. Here are a few ideas that can be prepared in a variety of fresh and funky ways:

1. Bolognese or Marinara sauce

These are two simple tomato-based sauces that add flavour to dreary pasta. The most significant difference is one has meat while the other does not. Make a big pot of either sauce, and use it the first night with spaghetti noodles. Freeze the rest in Tupperware containers and use it for a later date. It is very versatile as it can be used in a variety of ways. 

2. Soup

One of the most underrated foods ever. Once you learn how to cook your own soup, you won’t return to the canned stuff. There are so many varieties of soups to make. If you can think of one ingredient, it has been used in soup. There is even a chocolate soup! The only limit is your imagination…and allergies.

A well-known tidbit of the restaurant industry: the soup d’jour is usually made with leftover food the place wants to get rid of, so don’t be afraid to add  your wilting veggies! 

3. Tacos

The only person that doesn’t like tacos is someone who worked at a Mexican restaurant on Whyte Ave for over a decade. They are so easy to make and can include a variety of toppings; anything from avocados to zucchini. They are the soup of the solid food world in their versatility. Leftovers can be turned into a fun fiesta taco soup.

4. Leftovers

Old food from another night doesn’t mean it is useless. For the leftover rotisserie chicken you bought, pick the meat off the bones, mix it with the two-day-old rice, fry it up in a pan with an egg and frozen vegetables. You will have great chicken fried rice.

It is fun to get creative with food if you are daring. Every year after Christmas dinner, I combine leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Instead of reheating it on a plate in a microwave, I mix them together, place it in a meat-loaf pan and bake them into some new creation that I call Christmas  Leftover Loaf.

With the leftover salad you have, wrap it up in a tortilla, add some tortilla chips and leftover taco beef and have a beef taco salad wrap.

According to some, the origins of French Toast and Bread Pudding were based on medieval Europeans trying to figure out a way to use day-old bread in a new way to feed their families. Back in those days, they didn’t have bread clips to keep the bread from drying out, so they had to get inventive.

5. Omelettes

Eggs are some of the cheapest food you can buy. With a good pan, you can cook a great omelette that would impress Culinary Art teachers. If  you don’t fold the omelette properly, you then at least have scrambled eggs, which is not bad either way

Necessity is the mother of all invention, so don’t be afraid to experiment with food. Use Google to look for ways to use things in your fridge so you do not toss them out. You could be the discoverer of the next most significant food trend.

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