October 21, 2021 | , ,

Meals Under $20 That You Can Make In Your Dorm or Apartment


Angela DiMarco is a current finance & accounting senior at Saint Joseph’s University! She grew up right outside Philly in Kennett Square, PA, and loves living in the city. After graduation this May, she plans on staying in Philly to work. Her favorite spots in Philly (besides SJU) are the Reading Terminal Market and the Art Museum steps!

Guest-written by Angela DiMarco

My name is Angela and I love to cook! Good food does not mean an empty wallet, though.

I came up with these recipes during my freshman year when I got tired of eating the same food in the dining hall everyday, but I couldn’t spend a ton of money on food. I started taking veggies from the salad station, eggs from the omelette station, and spices from the condiment carts and got creative! I have some vegetarian and vegan options, too, but feel free to make substitutions to fit your diet best. I hope you enjoy my favorite meals from dorm life!

1. Toast with Pesto and Roma Tomatoes

If you have a toaster or a BabyDash, toast your bread. My favorite is the Graintastic Thin Sliced from Aldi. Aldi also has my favorite pesto from the brand Priano—it’s super cheap and tasty! Either take some tomatoes from the dining hall or pick some from the grocery store. Slice the tomatoes and lay on top of the pesto toast and enjoy!

2. Banana “Nice” Cream

If you have a blender in your dorm or you have a communal kitchen with a blender in your building, add about a ½ cup of the frozen banana, ¼ cup of milk or milk substitute of your choice, 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder, few dashes of cinnamon, splash of vanilla, pinch of salt, and a tiny bit of maple syrup for sweetness. Adjust any of these ingredients to fit your taste and desired thickness.

I used to take bananas from my dining hall, chop them up, and freeze in a Ziploc bag whenever I wanted something sweet!

3. Tuna Bowls with Fresh Veggies

Empty a pack of tuna into a bowl. Sometimes Acme has sales—10 packets for $10! This is the best time to stock up for only $1 each. They’re packed with protein and last in the fridge for a while. Chop up all of your toppings and add to a bowl. Add a splash of olive oil and any seasonings you prefer, then mix and enjoy!

4. Microwave “Cacio e Pepe”

Microwave a cup of pasta with water—and don’t forget the water! You don’t want to be the person who sets the building’s fire alarm off at 3am. Drain the water, then add butter, pecorino cheese, salt, and pepper; then mix and enjoy!

5. Peanut Butter Udon Noodles and Chopped Veggies

Microwave udon noodles in water (again, don’t forget the water!).

The sauce is easy: 2 tbsp. peanut butter, 1 tbsp olive oil, soy sauce to taste, black pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Mix until thoroughly combined. Drain the noodles and mix the peanut butter sauce into the noodles.

Add the toppings of your choice! I prefer carrots, cucumbers, spinach, and a soft boiled egg. You can boil an egg in the microwave! Just add water to a bowl, and add ½ teaspoon for salt per egg. This is to ensure that your eggs don’t explode! Let sit in the water for 1-3 minutes depending on how you like the yolks.

6. My Favorite—Spring Rolls!

The sauce is the same as the udon noodles. Add a little bit of water if you would like it more runny.

Chop up the fillings of your choice: I like cucumbers, carrots, mango, lettuce, and tomatoes. If you want more protein you can get some canned chicken (or grab some chicken from the dining hall!)

Take spring roll wrappers and pull them through slightly warm water. Make sure not to soak them too long or else they’ll fall apart! Once you wet the wrapper, lay it on a flat surface and put all of your fillings inside. Wrap like a burrito by folding 2 sides in and rolling the rest up.

Dip in the sauce and enjoy!

I hope you like these recipes or they have inspired some of your own! I think the best meals are the simple ones, and these kept me full and focused during my busy days of school, homework, clubs, and studying.


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