So I have been having to do some major budget grocery shopping lately. I am pretty used to that though, counting every cent and using lots of coupons. And I am rather good at it! I can get a pretty good amount of groceries for $40.00. You just have to take the time to look at all the ads and coupons out there and shop for items where they are the cheapest, it isn't rocket science...just time consuming.
So during my college years I have definitely learned how to stretch a buck, cough cough taco bell, and how to eat what I want most of the time. I have champagne taste on a kool-aid budget, yes kool-aid not beer, so I tend to get frustrated with budget shopping because you end up buying the same ole stuff! I have gotten creative in the kitchen to whip up something I was craving for pennies. So I figured I would share them with you! I have lots of receipes I would love to try and when I have money to I will share those with you, until then these are some simple, and common sense, ways to spice up that college budget cooking.
Quick & Easy Chicken Quesadillas (This will prob be the most expensive on the list)
-Shredded cheese, I use mexican style for even more flavor. Generic will do just fine!
-Burrito size tortillas
Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken in a single layer on one tortilla and top with shredded cheese and a second tortilla. Cook for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and tortilla is to your liking! Voila!
I use half a package of the chicken and the cheese for one big quesadilla, that feeds 2..or 1 very hungry person! So you can use these items to make 2 meals technically. But you could spread it out and use smaller tortillas for a single serving.
The total meal can cost you very little depending on where you shop. At Kroger I can usually get all of the items for about $5-7, based on specials and if I need sour cream/salsa! No more spending $12 at a restaurant for a medicore quesadilla!
-Frozen ravioli, Kroger's brand are awesome!
-Your favorite sauce, I use Traditional or Four Cheese Ragu.
You pretty much just cook the ravioli by the package, warm the sauce, then simmer together for a few minutes!
This meal probably cost about $3-5, depending again on sales. I always keep ragu becuase it will go on sale a lot so I stock up then! Spaghetti is a cheap meal that had been done to death, so this changes pasta night up a bit. I like to add ground beef, Ethan prefers it like this, but when on a budget this will do! And I never knew frozen ravioli could be so good, I will have to tell you about my ravioli casserole another time...yum!
-Mac and cheese dinner
-Cheese whiz, velveeta...just extra cheese!
Cook macaroni by box. Brown ground beef. Mix together and add more cheese to your liking, simmer until oooey and gooey! Bake it for a few minutes for an even more delicious meal!
I know it is common sense, right? Well I know some people might not have thought of it...so I am here to help! I love anything with mac and cheese and have tried to spice it up whichever way I can! I would even add some salsa to this for a yummy mexican kick!
This would cost about $4-6, based on sales and what type of macaroni you got. Because you can get the cheapest Kroger kind for about $.40!
Southern French Toast
-Bread, quantity depending on how many people your feeding
-Eggs, I usually do 1 large egg to every four pieces of bread
-Milk, now this is just eyeballing...enough when added to eggs to cover your bread
-Cinnamon, eyeball to your liking
-Syrup or powdered sugar
Heath griddle or skillet. Mix milk, egg, and cinnamon in a shallow baking dish. Dip bread into mixture until fully coated. Brown on stove/griddle until golden on both sides.
This is how I have always made french toast. It is so yummy and so inexpensive! I keep eggs, cinnamon, bread, and milk in the house so this varies in price! I only make it if I have all of the stuff in the fridge and pantry. Now you can have that scrumptious french toast any morning you like!
Chop up your peach, I leave on the skins. Place it in a bowl with your measurements for cinnamon, honey, and brown sugar. Microwave for about 2 min or until syrup-like. You could also boil it on the stove.
I crave peaches a lot! I love them! I also would love to make a cinnamon peach cobbler like everyday, but it is time consuming. So when I am craving those sweet balls of heaven, I whip up this warm quick snack! You will be surprised at how delicious it tastes, and all for about $1-2, assuming you have to just buy the peaches. This expensive-tasting dessert is perfect in the summer when the peaches are sweettt, but also yummy in the fall cuddled up on the couch.
Single Serving Banana Pudding
-Pudding pack, I get vanilla..guess you could change it up with chocolate though!
Plop some bananas down in your pudding pack, crumble in some nilla wafers. Add a squirt of whip cream on top if you'd like. Yum!
I love banana pudding, but I always make too big of a batch. This way I can get it whenever I am craving it. I sometimes let it sit for about 30 min to get all cold and yummy before I dig in! This would cost about $3-5 depending on what brands you bought.
I hope these will help you if you ever have to do that awful budget shopping. These are just a few I could think up quickly, but there are tons of ways to spice up your budget shopping. Just be creative and you can eat something delicious and different besides the same ole Ramen noodles and tomato soup! A couple more of my favorties:Take a can of sweet peas and boil in lots of butter, salt, and pepper- I eat this even if I am not on a tight budget! And drizzle caramel over your ice cream sandwich to get a fancy tasting dessert! YUM-O!