Budget Meal: Baked Chicken Parmesan

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Servings: 4
Cost per meal: $9.47
Cost per serving: $2.37
Prep time: 15 minutes
Estimated calories: 300

I absolutely love Italian food, but often find at Italian restaurants the portions are too big and the food is prepared in the least healthy way possible. That’s why for this week’s budget meal, I decided to adapt Skinnytaste’s Baked Chicken Parmesan because I wanted to lighten up one of my favorite Italian dishes – and do it on a budget. The result is a great week night meal you and your roommates can easily make – or you can freeze the leftovers for when you’re on the go and have a great alternative to those sodium-loaded frozen dinners.

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How To Eat Well During Your College Years: An Interview With a UVA Nutritionist

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Melanie Brede                                                        Amy Chestnutt

This week we interviewed nutritionist Melanie Brede from the Elson Student Health Center here at the University of Virginia. Here is her helpful advice! Our final question was collaboration from Melanie and one of her colleagues Amy Chestnutt with the Eating Disorders Education Initiative at the UVA Women’s Center

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Budget Meal: Zucchini and Sweet Potato Frittata

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Servings: 4
Cost per serving: $1.69
Cost per meal: $6.75
Prep time: 45 minutes
Estimated calories per serving: 225

For this week’s budget meal I decided to go vegetarian and low carb with a zucchini and sweet potato frittata. (Bonus: It’s also Paleo-friendly!)  A frittata is kind of like an omelet, only it’s fluffier and filled with more vegetables and such. It’s cooked in a unique way—you start it on the stove, and then you finish it in the oven. Sure, maybe it sounds like a breakfast food, but if you’re like me, then you probably don’t get around to making this type of thing for breakfast often. So why not try it for dinner? Continue reading

Budget Meal: Chicken Fajitas

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Servings: 1-3
Cost per meal: $9.75
Cost per serving: $3.25
Prep Time: 10 minutes 
Estimated Calories: 465

These chicken fajitas are one of my go-to meals during the week because I love Mexican food, but I don’t always have the time to go out to eat and can’t always afford fajitas when I do make it out since they seem to be one of the pricier items at most Mexican restaurants. The best part about this recipe is that I threw it together on a whim one night and so it’s easy to add in any other vegetables, other meats, or toppings you like to keep it interesting. This recipe is also great because it’s easy to make a single serving for yourself or make enough for some friends, too.

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Budget Meal: Shrimp Pad Thai

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Servings: 5
Cost per meal: $9.77
Cost per serving: $1.96
Prep time: 40 minutes
Estimated Calories: 256

Pad thai is a restaurant favorite but with this simple and inexpensive recipe you can customize it however you like! It also has significantly lower sodium than restaurant or pre-made versions of pad thai. The original recipe from Big Girls Small Kitchen was adapted by doubling the recipe and adding shrimp for protein. I bought the shrimp, rice noodle, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and bean sprouts at a small independent Asian supermarket. Prices are significantly lower and there is much more variety at local ethnic supermarkets compared to mainstream grocery stores.

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How To: Make Your Own Balsamic Vinaigrette

Salad Dressing

Three ingredients, one bottle and you’ve got your own homemade balsamic vinaigrette. This is much healthier than what you’d find in the grocery store and it will dress approximately four salads! Spruce up your lettuce or dip some sliced raw veggies in it. I love sliced apples and carrots with a balsamic drizzle, it’s the epitome of sweet and salty!

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Budget Meal: Shamrock Egg Bake with Turkey Sausage

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Servings: 9
Cost per meal: $9.57
Cost per serving: $1.06
Prep time: 60 minutes
Estimated Calories: 301

Brunch is a fantastic meal for college students, it’s always a social activity and will double as breakfast and lunch! I named this casserole the Shamrock Egg Bake with Turkey Sausage because of it’s green and gold color, and it’s perfect for spring time! Unlike most breakfast casseroles this one does not need to be prepared a day ahead for the bread to absorb the egg. You can also serve this as a “breakfast for dinner” meal and refrigerate the leftovers! I adapted the original recipe from Taste of Home by adding turkey sausage for additional protein to make this a complete meal.

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