Gourmet on a College Budget: Making Something Out of (Seemingly) Nothing

Having that first apartment is most likely one of the most exciting initial feelings a college student experiences. We all imagine ourselves stringing our walls with Christmas lights, taking bubble baths (well, if you really sanitize that tub…) and cooking hearty, whole meals that remind us of our moms and fill our stomachs in a way that only sporadic trips back to our hometowns have been able to satisfy.

Two weeks in, you hit the wall. You’re broke. You’ve either been buying so much of the nicest cheeses and pastas and fresh produce that you’ve succumbed to real world prices, or you were a Ramen stickler to begin with. You’re still broke, and you’re hungry.

Most likely you have some staples in your kitchen, and those staples are exactly what can get you through your hungry nights here in State College without even touching Ramen or (don’t even say it) nightly take-out.

Here are some recipes for you to check out. You wouldn’t believe that the ingredients for these are most likely all in your kitchen.

Savoury Crepes: www.foodnetwork.com

If you don’t have the ingredients for this easy recipe in your kitchen, it’s time to stock up on the essentials. Simply made from flour, salt, pepper, eggs, milk and butter, it’s the perfect alternative to a tortilla. Put anything you want into these babies—chicken, tomatoes, broccoli, cheese, whatever!—and you’ve got a night in Paris.

Pasta Primavera: allrecipes.com

Come on now, everyone has spaghetti. Perhaps the term “primavera” scares people into thinking it takes more effort than honestly chopping up some broccoli/carrots/zucchini, sprinkling on some garlic powder and drizzling with olive oil. Surprise—primavera is so easy, and better yet—it’s completely and utterly delicious. Grab some spaghetti and some fresh produce and you’re in business. Bon appetito!

Spiced Carrot Soup: www.bettycrocker.com

You want to get really fancy without spending the money to get fancy? You have to be creative with your spices, but essentially you need a bunch of carrots, celery, heavy cream and chicken broth. The best thing about this recipe is that you can throw everything into a pot and cook it down until it becomes soup. The second best thing is that you can add whatever spices you see fit to make your soup exactly how you like it. The third best thing is that you can eat it for a week and it just gets better every time. Efficient!

There are thousands of more recipes you can find that will take you from college blah to voila. All you need is some creativity and you’re on your way to becoming a true chef—on a college budget, of course. You may still be broke, but at least your stomach will feel like gold!

Photo by Jonathan Hsieh


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