Tuesday, July 12, 2011

3 Cheap, Easy, Healthy Recipes!

Super Easy Pizza from Scratch

Pizza is one of those foods that, as college students, we seem to rely on constantly. Which is fine, except that it costs about $10 to order a pizza, and about $3 to MAKE a pizza. All you need to make a pizza is the crust, and then the rest is up to you. The fun of pizza is that you can put WHATEVER you want on it! I usually start with pasta sauce and cheese, and then just throw on whatever. I've used bacon, spinach, tomatoes, sliced deli meat and cheese, potatoes, Alfredo sauce, and yes, pepperoni. To make your pizza, you'll need to start with the crust. Contrary to popular belief, pizza crust is not difficult to make - you don't even need yeast. To make an easy, delicious thin-crust pizza to hold whatever crazy toppings you can think up, follow this recipe:

2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 c. water
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Mix flour, salt, baking powder and water. Knead on floured counter just until workable and spreadable, about 2 minutes. Put on pizza pan. With fingers, spread vegetable oil on crust (helps so tomato sauce won't soak into crust).

Now it's time to add whatever ingredients you want, in whatever order you want. Typically, the sauce comes first. Throw it all on there. Now, bake at 425°F for 20 minutes. That wasn't so hard, was it? Mmmm, pizza.

Brazilian Beer Marinated Chicken

This is a Broke Student approved recipe because the main ingredient is beer, and it doesn't take much work. Also, it's cheap. You could probably use any beer for this marinade, but it WILL affect the taste. For example, cooking chicken in Natty Light or Keystone is not going to magically make those beers taste like anything other than piss-water (sorry, I'm a hater). But, in the spirit of being a Broke Student, just use whatever you happen to have in your fridge, it'll probably turn out ok! To make this recipe as cheap as possible, buy some boneless, skinless chicken breasts when they are on sale, and check out your local Dollar Store to see if they have Dijon Mustard (that's where I got mine). This is the ~original~ recipe, so I've added my Broke Student notes off to the side. As a Broke Student, don't be afraid to tackle a recipe any way you can by omitting whatever you don't have and substituting whatever you do! Do remember to start this recipe a day ahead of time - it doesn't take much time at all to actually make the marinade and cook the chicken, but the chicken does need to marinade for several hours to allow the marinade to penetrate! Now, onto the recipe.

1 cup light beer (I used Corona, a pilsner works best)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I used garlic powder)
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf, crushed (I didn't have any, it was fine)
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (Or however many you have - I used like, three, and just had a lot of marinade for them to soak in)

Whisk together the beer, oil, mustard, paprika and pepper in a medium bowl. Add chiles, onion, garlic and bay and combine. In a marinating container (such as a ziploc baggie) combine thawed chicken and marinade. I sliced up my chicken first, but if you want whole chicken breasts, that's fine too. Marinate in the refrigerator for anywhere from 6 to 48 hours. To cook, grill in a skillet or on a George Foreman counter top grill. You can use the marinade to baste (essentially, pour over) the chicken while grilling for the first portion of cooking. Don't use the marinade as a sauce though, it's not very food safe. You CAN use it to base some veggies, though! I used the onions from the marinade along with some sliced zucchini and basted it before discarding the marinade. I ate it with rice, and it was delicious!

Vegetarian Moroccan Stew

Also known as Tagine, this is a very basic Moroccan stew recipe that is delicious, healthy and cheap. Don't be intimidated by the ingredient list, this recipe is super easy and absolutely DELICIOUS. Basically you just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and keep adding spices as it's cooking until it tastes the way you want it to. I used carrots and zuchinni because they were in season and cheap, plus a can of tomatoes (mine were Italian Seasoned, and that worked excellently) and some rehydrated garbanzo beans (feel free to use canned, but if you can find dried garbanzo beans, they are MUCH cheaper! To rehydrate dried beans, follow these instructions). Now, there is a pretty lengthy list of spices here, and I didn't have several of them, so I improvised. Just keep tasting and seeing how you like it. I happened to have some Garam Masala, an Indian combination spice, and that worked really well - Allspice would probably work too. Don't pay attention to the measurements, just do whatever smells and tastes good to you. Moroccan Stews are a little bit sweet and tangy, unlike a savory stew might be. So get creative and use whatever spices you have on hand. Also, don't be scared to use peanut butter - it creates such a delicious depth of flavor, and plus, cheap protein! You can play around with the recipe some since it is a stew - for example, you could add potatoes, or use more or less of any of the vegetables. Frankly, I tend to ignore measuring altogether for recipes like these. Now, the recipe:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 can of diced tomatoes
(Mine were Italian Seasoned)
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed zucchini
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
(I got some from the Dollar Store - feel free to use Garlic Powder, or to omit entirely)
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup couscous

Heat oil in a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, onion, carrot, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add the entire can of tomatoes and broth, and the rest of the ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Make sure as you add spices you taste periodically!

While the chickpea mixture simmers, prepare couscous. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Serve the stew over couscous.


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