Living on a College Budget: Five Meals for Less

Roxie Srikoulabouth

Let me guess. It’s Sunday night, and your checking account is low. With tuition, textbooks, school supplies and housing, you wonder how you are going to afford groceries for the week. Fortunately, I have brought you five meals for $35.
The Grocery List:

  • Rotisserie Chicken
  • Avocados (2)
  • Salsa
  • Can of Black Beans
  • Can of Corn
  • Brown Rice
  • Bag of Spinach
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Celery
  • Bag of Carrots
  • Chicken Broth Cans (2)
  • Tomatoes (2)
  • Minced Garlic
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Pasta Noodles
  • Onions (2)
  • Fage Greek Yogurt Cup
  • Lemon

Meal 1: Cheesy Nachos
Time to Make: 10 Minutes

½ a cup of black beans
1 cup of salsa
1 cup of shredded rotisserie chicken
2-3 handfuls of tortilla chips
2 cups of shredded cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, put a few handfuls of chips onto a tray and add the other ingredients on top. After this, pop it in the oven, and, within 8-10 minutes, it should be done. It’s perfect for a snack or a meal.
Meal 2: Burrito Bowl
Time to make: 25 minutes

½ a cup of the black beans
1 cup of salsa
2 cups of rotisserie chicken
1 avocado
½ a cup of corn
½ a tomato
2 cups of brown rice
1 cup of shredded cheese
4 cups of water
½ onion
2 teaspoons of olive oil
A dash of salt and pepper
Start by filling a pot with 4 cups of water and begin boiling the brown rice.
While the rice is cooking, cut up the tomatoes and onions and slice up the rotisserie chicken and avocado. Once the rice is done (after about 20 minutes), bring it back to heat and add the onions stir on medium-low heat.
Warm up the rotisserie chicken in the microwave by placing the chicken on a microwavable safe plate and then drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper on top.
Once the rice and chicken are finished, you put the brown rice at the bottom of the bowl, topped with chicken, corn, black beans, salsa, sliced avocado and cheese.
You have made your (almost) Chipotle burrito bowl.
Meal 3: Spinach Salad with Avocado Dressing
Time to Make: 10 Minutes

2 cups of spinach
1 cup of rotisserie chicken
1 carrot
1 celery
2 teaspoons of olive oil
Dash of salt and pepper
½ cup olive oil
1 avocado
1 cup of Fage yogurt
2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoon of lemon juice
Dash of salt and pepper
For the salad, you need to slice up the carrot and the celery. Once that is done, throw them into the bowl along with the spinach and the warmed up rotisserie chicken (just like in Meal 2).
For the dressing, you cut the avocado in half and carve out the avocado into a small bowl. Then you cut a lemon in half and juice it. This can be done by simply squeezing the lemon with your hands. After this, just add the olive oil, yogurt, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
Finally, mix it all up and drizzle it on top of the salad.
Meal 4: Chicken Noodle Soup
Time Needed: 35 minutes

2 cups rotisserie chicken
2 cans of chicken broth
1 onion
1 carrot
1 celery
1 teaspoon of olive oil
¼ cup of minced garlic
Dash of salt and pepper
2 cups of pasta

Start by chopping up the onion and putting it in the pot, along with the minced garlic and olive oil.
While the garlic and onion are on the stove, chop up the carrot and the celery and add it to the pot. At this point, you should put a lid on the pot and let them marinade with each other.
After about 5-10 minutes, add the chicken broth, salt and pepper.
Leave the pot on medium high for about 15-20 minutes and then add in the pasta.
After this, allow the pot to cook on medium high for 10 minutes and then switch to medium low. Check the pasta and make sure it is soft before serving.
Meal 5: Rice and Fancy beans
Time needed: 25 minutes

The remaining chicken (should be 1 ½ cups)
The remaining black beans
The remaining corn
2 cups of rice
½ onion
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 cup of salsa
2 teaspoons of olive oil
4 cups of water
Cook the rice for about 20 minutes on the stove top with four cups of water. While the rice is cooking, chop up the onion.
Once the rice is done cooking, drain the water and return to the stove. Then add the onion, minced garlic, olive oil (1 teaspoon), salt and pepper along with the rotisserie chicken. Put a lid on the pot and let the food simmer on medium low heat for 10 minutes.
Now, combine the black beans, corn, olive oil (1 teaspoon) and salsa together. Mix it up and set it aside.
Once the pot is finished, you put it in a bowl along with your fancy beans. Who knew leftovers could taste so good?
Hopefully, these meals were simple, fast and kept you on your budget.
Don’t forget that you’ll have some food left over to eat throughout the day such as carrots, greek yogurt or chips and salsa. Also, your next trip to the store will be cheaper because you’ll already have spinach, salt, pepper and rice.
Do you have any cheap meals of your own? Comment below!