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5 Quick, Easy, Cheap, and Healthy Recipes for Students

by Charles Ebert

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With the opening of each new semester, as you hit the books, do not forget to make food your priority. You need a lot of energy as a student. This energy should take you through the long lectures, study group discussions, and maybe even a part-time job. 

It sounds much easier to grab some fast food when you’re in a hurry, but we assure you a cooked meal will be much better. A recent study showed that 24.3% of NYU students are overweight and 6% are obese because of their poor eating habits. Good food has the ability to make you feel like a new person. But there are a few other qualities that make an ideal recipe – it should be filling, tasty, and easy to cook.

The recipes below are effective, quick, and very cheap, thus suitable for the college student that is on the budget:


1. Mexican Stuffed Chicken Breasts


This recipe serves up to four people. It has a cooking time of 25 minutes and a hands-on time of 10 minutes.


  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 yellow pepper that has already been sliced into small thin strips        
  • 4tsp of chipotle sauce
  • 2tbspn of salsa
  • 75g of shredded cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Make deep incisions on the tops of the chicken breast. Ensure that you do not cut all the way through.
  2. Put the chipotle sauce in a bowl, add the chicken and toss to coat.
  3. Place the chicken on a baking tray with the cut side facing up. Stuff the cuts with the tortilla chips and pepper slices. Drizzle the salsa over the tips and sprinkle the grated cheddar.
  4. Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with rice or guacamole.


2. Sausage Casserole


This process, although taking a little longer to cook, has results that are totally worth it such as leaving you in a good mood. The hands-on time is 10 minutes, hence, does not require a lot of effort. The recipe below serves four people.


  • 8 sausages (beef, chicken or pork depending on your preferences)
  • 3tbspn of Branston pickle
  • 1tbspn olive oil
  • 400ml of beef stock
  • 2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2tbspn flour
  • 3 parsnips


  1. Heat half the oil in a pan and brown the sausages. Put in the slow cooker.
  2. Using the remaining oil, cook the onions until soft for about 10 minutes and allow them to caramelize by increasing the heat in the last three minutes. Stir in the flour, followed by the stock. Mix for about a minute and add to the slow cooker.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and cover with a lid. Cook for four hours.
  4. Serve with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.


3. Black Bean Cottage Pie


Photo credit: onegreenplanet.org

This recipe has a hands-on time of 15 minutes and a cooking time of 30 minutes. The recipe below serves up to four people.


  • 75 g of low-fat sour cream
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 250g minced beef
  • 1tsp cumin powder
  • 400g black beans drained and rinsed
  • 400g of chopped tomato
  • 750g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 50g feta cheese


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions for 5 minutes. Add beef and fry for 5 minutes or until browned. Stir in the spices and garlic and cook for one min. Occasionally break up the mix with a spoon.
  2. Add the beans and tomatoes and allow it to boil. Simmer for 1 minute until it thickens. Add in the coriander.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the sweet potatoes by boiling them in a large pan of water for 15 minutes. Cook until they become soft. Drain the excess water and mash the potatoes while stirring in the sour cream.
  4. Preheat the grill to high. Place all the ingredients in an ovenproof dish beginning with the beef and the mashed sweet potatoes on top. Crumble the feta cheese on top. Grill until the cheese turns golden. Serve immediately.


4. Prawn and Chorizo Pasta


The recipe has a hands-on time of 20 minutes and a cooking time of 15 minutes. The recipe serves four people.


  • 290g red peppers, roasted and drained
  • 1tbsp tomato puree        
  • ½tsp caster sugar
  • 350g pasta
  • 150g chorizo ring
  • 150g raw king prawns
  • 1 garlic, chopped
  • 1/4tspn chili flakes
  • 2tbspn sherry
  • 200g spinach
  • A handful of parsley, chopped


  1. Divide the peppers into two and add one half in a food processor together with the tomato puree, seasoning, and a little sugar to taste.
  2. Bring salted water to boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions provided on the cover packaging. Drain, reserving a cupful of the water.
  3. Heat a deep frying pan over medium heat and fry the chorizo until golden brown. Add prawns, garlic, and chili flakes. Cook until the prawns are pink. Add sherry and bubble for about 30 seconds. Stir the peppers that had been reserved earlier. Allow the food to simmer.
  4. Add spinach and pasta into the frying pan. Cook until the spinach has wilted.
  5. Sprinkle parsley and serve with a homemade pasta sauce.


5. Toad in the Hole


Photo credit: dinner4tonight.com

This recipe is quick and very delicious, just perfect for those long winter evenings.


  • 175g flour, sifted
  • 3 eggs, beaten       
  • 225ml milk
  • 2tbspn vegetable oil
  • 8 sausages
  • 125g cherry tomatoes


  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Put flour in a bowl and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and milk and whisk.
  2. Place oil and sausages in a pan and roast for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and seasoning. Pour batter into the tin. It should cover over and between. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve with salsa.


With these recipes, you are set for the semester. Make sure you do not forget desserts too. 


Learn to whip up finger-licking meals that are easy on the pocket and are guaranteed to impress your guests on a budget culinary vacation.

You can find Charles on Custom Writings. Connect with him on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook & Google+.

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