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Easy Recipes that Won't Break the Bank

by Jessica Lavopa

Eggs with Home Fries. (Photo/Jessica Lavopa)

College has enough expenses as it does, with tuition, housing and book costs, the last thing you want to worry about is if you can eat for the day. If you have a meal plan, you got it covered, but if you're like me and opted out of a meal plan this semester, you may find yourself eating Cheez-Its for dinner sometimes.

Having three meals a day might not sound that important to you, but eating healthy can have a massively positive impact on your life. According to nutritional psychiatrist Eva Selhub at the Harvard Health publication, not getting enough nutrition can have a negative effect on your mental health. If you don’t eat enough not only will it affect your ability to focus but it also controls your mood. According to Selhub, if you improve your diet it can help prevent depression by raising your serotonin levels.

The National Student Campaign against Hunger and Homelessness says 44 percent of students cut down their meal sizes, and 22 percent don’t eat for a day at all due to financial reasons. Eating healthy might sound easy, but money is often a contributing factor to why college students don't eat well.

In a 2016 study done by the National Conference of State Legislature, 48 percent of United States college students don’t have enough money to buy food. 32 percent believe food and housing problems have impacted their education. To help combat food insecurity, Purchase has opened up a food pantry located in the Learning Center in the basement of the library.

Here you can find non-perishable food items such as pasta and canned beans. But believe it or not, there are a lot of recipes that can come out of these items, and there are cheap solutions you can get at your local supermarket.

Introducing: cheap recipes for college students!

Chickpea Pasta (Vegetarian option available)

This recipe comes from Angela Flanagan at SUNY Binghamton.

Prep time: 30 minutes

(Photo/Jessica Lavopa)


● Canned chickpeas

● 2 Garlic Cloves

● Chicken broth (optional)

● Tomato Paste

● Olive oil

● Flour

● Pasta of your choice

● Seasonings: salt, pepper, basil


1. Heat a pan with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil depending on how much chickpea sauce you would like to make. In another pot, boil water and cook pasta, preferably shells, but any type of pasta can be used.

2. Chop up 2 cloves of garlic and sautee them in the oil olive until golden brown.Add your chickpeas, use half a can if cooking for one. Add about half the can of the chickpea juice in the pan - If you are vegetarian use more of the chickpea juice as a substitute for chicken broth.

3. Simmer the chickpeas in the juice until they become soft and you can begin to crush them into the sauce. Crush half the chickpeas.

4. When half your chickpeas are crushed up, add ¼ a cup of chicken broth to the pan. Mix until sauce begins to thicken with the crushed chickpeas. If your sauce is too much liquid add flour to thicken.

5. Add one spoon full of tomato paste for flavor

6. Season to your liking with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and basil.

Pour the sauce on top of your pasta and enjoy!

Spinach Pasta with Sausage

Prep time: 35 minutes


● Italian sausage

● Pesto

● Pasta of your choosing

● Mushrooms

● Parmesan cheese

● Olive oil

● Spinach

● Seasonings: salt, pepper, parsley, garlic powder, basil


In a pan heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil and in another pot boil water for pasta.Cut up 2 mushrooms, if you’re cooking for more than one person cut up 4 mushrooms instead. Sauté the mushrooms for about 3 minutes then add your spinach to the pan. You can use any type of spinach, frozen or fresh. Season your mushrooms and spinach with salt, pepper, basil, parsley and garlic powder to your liking.

2. In another pan begin to cook your sausage after removing its casing and chopping it up. When fully cooked, add it to your spinach. Sauté for about 5 minutes to make sure the sausage is fully cooked. When your pasta is done, pour the spinach and sausage mixture over the pasta. Add a teaspoon of pesto and mix it in.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Eggs and Home Fries

Prep time: 20 minutes

(Photo/Jessica Lavopa)


● Potatoes

● Green and/or red peppers

● butter

● Onions

● Eggs

● Seasoning: salt, pepper, basil

● Hot sauce (optional)


1. In a pot, boil water

2.Wash your potatoes, do not peel them. Boil 2-3 potatoes, depending on how many people you are cooking for, for 8 minutes.

3.While your potatoes are cooking, cut up peppers and onions. In a pan, heat up two tablespoon of butter, throw your peppers and onions in, saute for about 5-6 minutes

4. Now that your potatoes are done boiling, cut them up into tiny pieces, and throw them in the pan with your vegetables. Sautee your potatoes and vegetables until potatoes are crispy, then season with salt, pepper, and basil to your liking.

5. Now that your home fries are done start cooking your eggs (over easy, scrambled or sunny-side upIf you want, add chili powder or hot sauce to the home fries for more flavor and a little spice.

(Photo/Jessica Lavopa)

Apple Cider Chicken with French Fries

This recipe comes to you from Purchase Alumni, Kevin Cevallos

Prep time: 1 hour


● Chicken breasts

● Rice

● Potatoes

● Apple cider vinegar

● Olive oil

● Butter

● Seasonings: salt, pepper, adobe, paprika, chili powder


1.Prepare your seasoning/dry rub for chicken: In a bowl mix together adobe, paprika and chili powder (equal parts of all ingredients or you can decide on your own measurements depending on what you like.)

2.Wash your chicken and coat it in the dry rub you just madeIn a pan heat up one tablespoon of olive and one teaspoon of butter - cook your chicken for about 10-15 minutes, don’t overcook the chicken.

3.While your chicken is cooking boil water for the rice and potatoes

Halfway through cooking your chicken, add a mix of ¼ water and ¼ apple cider vinegar to the pan and cook chicken until fully cooked.

4.Preheat the oven to 350 and put your chicken in the oven to keep it warm. DO NOT throw away the leftover juices in the pan from the chicken

5.Boil water for potatoes.

6.Boil your potatoes for 5-7 minutes until you can stick a fork through them without trouble.

7. Cut your potatoes into wedges, and cook them in the juices left over from the chicken. Cook potatoes until golden brown

8. Lastly, make your rice

Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!



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