BY TAYLOR MABELITINI
At the end of any long shift of work or busy day of classes, it’s nearly impossible not to be met by the neon glow of golden arches or crunch wrap supremes on the commute home. But after both one’s blood sugar and one’s lower intestines have been assaulted by the scourge of dollar menus everywhere for far too long, what is there for a broke student to do? One could start with these easy, cheap, and quick chow recipes.
- Homemade Pizza Rolls
This after-school classic gets a healthier variation (albeit, only slightly) with this homemade twist.
Canned croissant dough
First, take your croissant dough and roll it out onto a cookie sheet, separating each croissant. Preheat your oven to the degree printed on the can label, then spread pizza sauce evenly on each piece of dough in a thin layer. Sprinkle cheese over the sauce and then add any toppings of your choice (pepperoni, green pepper, ham). Roll up each piece of dough into the croissant shape and arrange evenly on the cookie sheet. Bake for the time as directed on the can label.
For a morning on-the-go that requires more nutrients than a cup of joe or for a light post-workout snack, this smoothie is a perfect fix.
Frozen fruits of your choice
½ cup plain yogurt
Splash of milk
Sweetener of choice if needed
Drop frozen fruit into your blender and pulse. Add yogurt and pulse again, then add milk and blend one final time. Sweeten to taste. If not a huge fruit fan, a frozen banana can be used as a base and other ingredients, such as peanut butter or protein powder, can be added.
- Pasta Bake
For a pan of pasta that’ll put Olive Garden to shame, whip up this garlicky cream-based bake.
Bonus: No restaurant required, and therefore no need to change out of sweatpants.
Pasta of choice
Jarred cream sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Bring two cups of water to a boil on your stovetop and add pasta. Cook 7-8 minutes or until firm to the bite. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While pasta is boiling, heat up jarred sauce in a pan on medium heat. Once pasta is done, drain and toss with sauce. Pour into a baking pan and sprinkle with cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
Cheesy, chip-filled bliss is literally less than moments away with these oven-baked nachos.
Shredded Mexican cheese
Meat of choice (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (for easy cleanup) and spread out a layer of tortilla chips. Chop green pepper, onions, and tomatoes and layer over the chips. Sprinkle cheese generously on top. Add another smaller layer of tortilla chips and repeat with the cheese and toppings. Bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until cheese has melted.
- S’mores Dip
No bonfire needed. All that’s necessary for this delicious dip is a preheated oven.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Melt butter in the microwave or on a stovetop and coat the insides of an oven-safe pan liberally. Layer the bottom of the pan with chocolate chips (or chunks, or pieces, use whatever you have on hand) and then top with a layer of marshmallows, filling the top of the pan. Bake for 5-8 minutes or until marshmallows are golden brown.
- Guacamole (for cheaters)
This easy crowd-pleasing dip could take even less than 10 minutes. Salsa contains all the ingredients needed to chop and dice for homemade guacamole, so simply folding it in is a quick shortcut.
First, slice open your avocados and scoop the insides out into a bowl. Throw away the pit and the skins. Using a fork, mash the avocados to your desired consistency. Add two-three spoonfuls of salsa and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Egg Drop Ramen
A twist on the classic chicken noodle while still keeping in mind a college student staple, egg drop ramen is perfect for chilly fall nights.
Bring water to a boil and chop green onion. Cook noodles as according to ramen packet. While it’s cooking, crack egg into the hot pot with the noodles and stir gently, creating small egg ribbons. Add seasoning packet and green onions, stir until fully incorporated.
- Apple Pie Bites
In case the taste of grandma’s cooking is too far out of reach, one can find it again in the palm of their hands with these easy apple pie handhelds.
Apple pie filling (or pie filling of choice)
Rollout pie dough
Roll out the pie dough in one sheet. Using a cup or a cookie cutter, cut dough into circles. Scoop pie filling into the center of each circle and top with another dough circle, sealing the edges with a fork. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
- Pot Pie Biscuits
Don’t bother waiting a whole hour to cook an entire pie – exchange biscuits for pie dough and make these easy single-serve portions.
Canned potpie soup
Open can of biscuits and cut each biscuit in half horizontally. Use fingers or a spoon to create wells in the bottom of each piece of dough. Scoop potpie soup into each well and place another dough piece to cover. Seal edges with a fork and bake at time directed on biscuit can.
A lunch classic that can be customized any which way for any and all sandwich-related needs.
Toast two pieces of bread and put aside. Fry bacon and slice tomatoes. Spread mayo on toast slices if desired. Assemble sandwich and add any extras if wanted (fried egg, turkey, avocado).