Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle, but tuition is expensive, and schoolwork is time-consuming. As a student, eating in and saving money is the practical choice, but budgeting for groceries and finding time to cook can be difficult. Here are 5 easy and budget-friendly meals (which include ready-to-eat grocery store purchases) to get you through the semester!
Rotisserie Chicken, Rosemary Fingerling Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli
Yield: 5 Servings
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
(Inactive) Cook Time: 30 Minutes
• 1 tbsp chopped dried or fresh rosemary
• 2 tbsp Olive oil
• 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
• 1/2 tsp Black pepper
• 1lb fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Arrange potato mixture on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, turning after 10 minutes.
Steam 3 cups frozen broccoli in pan until tender. Carve rotisserie chicken, plate, and serve.
Leftover Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup
Yield: 4-6 Servings
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 1.5 Hours
• ½ Rotisserie chicken
• 2 Large carrots, cut into chunks
• 1 Yellow onion, sliced thick
• 2 Stalks celery with leaves, chopped
• 2 tbsp Dried parsley
• 2 tbsp Dried oregano
• 2 tsp Salt (more to taste)
• 2 tsp Black pepper (more to taste)
• 6 ounces Bow tie pasta
Throw all ingredients into a large soup pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and leave to simmer for 1.5 hours. Cook until vegetables are tender and flavors are well blended. Add noodles and cook until al dente.
Salsa Verde Chicken Soup
Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
(Inactive) Cook Time: 30 Minutes Stovetop, 6 Hours (Crockpot)
• 6 cups chicken broth
• 3 chicken breasts (Can also be made with leftover rotisserie chicken)
• 2 cups salsa verde (I use the Trader Joe’s brand)
• 3/4 cup coconut milk
• 1/2 cup sweet onions chopped
• 1 can green chilies
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp salt and pepper
• 1 tsp coconut oil (leftover from coconut milk can)
1. Add all of your ingredients to a crockpot and let simmer on low all day. (I will throw my chicken in raw and it will cook perfectly through the day)
2. If you choose to cook right before serving, simply boil your chicken in a large pot on the stove. Drain your water and add all of your other ingredients that are listed above. Allow the soup to simmer together for 30 minutes.
3. Before serving, use a fork to break up the chicken and shred.
4. Serve with fresh cilantro, avocados, and jalapenos.
Avocado Basil Pasta
Yield: 3 Servings
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
• 9 ounces (255 grams) uncooked pasta
• 1 medium garlic clove
• 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving
• 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
• 1 ripe medium avocado, pitted
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• Lemon zest, for serving
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. For a lighter option, serve the avocado sauce with zucchini noodles.
2. While the pasta cooks, make the sauce: In a food processor, combine the garlic and basil and pulse to mince. Add the lemon juice, oil, avocado, and 1 tablespoon water and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Drain the pasta and place it back in the pot. Add all of the avocado sauce and stir until combined. You can gently rewarm the pasta if it has cooled slightly, or simply serve it at room temperature.
4. Top with pepper, lemon zest, and fresh basil leaves, if desired.
Guacamole Grilled Cheese
Yield: 1 Serving
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 5 Minutes
• 2 slices of Bread
• ⅓ cup Guacamole (store bought or homemade)
• 5 Fresh sprigs of cilantro
• 2 slices of Tomato
• ⅓ cup Cheddar, shredded
• ½ tbsp Butter
1. Take two slices of bread and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Put some cheese on the bread, then add the cilantro and tomato (each on a different slice). Then top with more cheese.
2. Place the tray in the broiler just long enough for the cheese to melt, about 30 seconds or so. The key here is to melt the cheese, but don’t wilt the cilantro.
3. Remove the tray from the boiler and smear on some guacamole.
4. Add 1/2 tablespoon of butter to a skillet and melt it over a medium-high heat. Then place the assembled sandwich in the skillet and brown on both sides, melting the cheese further.