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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Budget Meal: Southwestern Chicken Salad

southwestern chicken salad

Servings: 4
Cost per meal: $9.98
Cost per serving: $2.50
Prep time: 20 minutes
Estimated Calories: 385

Salads are a wonderful meal for any night of the week—they’re quick, easy to make, and for those of you who are trying to avoiding eating too many carbs, they’re a great way to up the veggie (and meat, if you like) count in your diet! Salads are pretty underrated, in my humble opinion. Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you off- It’s more than made up by a super quick and simple preparation process. Here is a recipe for a nutritious and filling southwestern chicken salad, adapted from two different recipes, found at Taste of Home and All Recipes.

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How To: Substitute Ground Nuts for Flour When Baking

how to substitute ground nuts for flour

Did you know that you can use finely ground almonds, pistachios, etc. instead of flour when you’re baking? This is great if you want to reduce your gluten intake, are aiming for a lighter flavor, or just want to give your dessert a slightly nutty flavor to whatever it is you are baking. And hey, it helps you get some protein in as well!

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